Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wet Cold And Dark

The Salsa drew the short stick and had to go out with me in the wet and cold tonight. The Flags were pointing straight and north, but that didn't make it warm...anything but...
Saw the Minnehaha Creek turkeys, but it was too dark for the pictures to turn out, and the turkey wasn't too keen on me using the flash.
I think I got a little lucky with my late start, as the roads had dried up pretty good. It was dark when I got home though. 33/16.0

A Little Farm Fun

Not Bike Related Picture Warning

A couple of things I saw while working today.

Scott County Just South of Belle Plaine Le Sueur County North of Le Center

Le Sueur County Barn East of Le Center

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tough Wind Close Call.

Flags were flying straight this evening. That east wind was movin'.
I almost got nailed by a car over on the UofM campus at an intersection. She just was in too big of a hurry. I didn't have a stop and she did. Strangely she didn't pull out until I was right in front of her. I veered to my left and yelled. She slammed on her brakes, and had that OMG! look on her face. She just didn't see me. Her bumper was aiming directly at my right knee. I don't know...maybe a foot or two and I would have been on her hood.
Be careful, it's dangerous out there. 32/16.1

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Little Solitude

Needed a little quality alone time, so I got on my Orbea, with my camera in my left jersey pocket, and started pedalling toward Baker. I was greeted with cool, crisp, spring air, an empty hazy blue sky, and peace. Just beautiful, quiet, calm, with the birds, wind and my thoughts all that I could hear. 52/17.5

Redwing Black Bird At Holy Name Lake
Medina Road Barn
Holy Name Lake

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Couldn't Even Feel The Cold

34 degrees when we went through Excelsior. We were shocked that it felt so warm...must be that late March sun angle.
7 of us started out north towards Wayzata and Hamel. Light winds, tons of sun and very little traffic made it so enjoyable. We rolled into Delano and BK found a great little coffee shop for us to re-fuel at. Amy was astonished that we were averaging 19.9 for the first 40 miles. I think her exact words were, "that's fast". Nate was talking about his ride last Saturday, and how much harder it was compared to this ride today. The smirk was hard to miss.
We did work together well, with 4 or 5 of us sharing pulls. There was lots of sprinting going on. It seemed like everyone except me, of course, got at least one sign. I am the domestique, and am in charge of providing the elites with a superb lead-out.
It did get a little tougher after Delano. It seemed like there were a few more rollers, and the wind, although light, wasn't as favorable. But the scenery, (we saw eagles and hawks, rode by very full rivers and still frozen lakes) and great company made it a little easier to cope with.
A little faster today than last Saturday, which is the idea behind building. 78/19.7

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sunny But Cold

Going to go have dinner with my daughter. Takin' the day off the bike. I'll be playing hard, in the cold tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Glad To Be Out

Yeah, it's been a little on the cold side, but over the last couple of weeks I've only been on the Evil One twice, and that was just 'cause it was so wet. So, in the grand scheme of things, I'm not going to complain.
I saw a few cyclists out, mostly commuters again, including Lynne and Amy.
It almost wasn't snowing, but then it was, then it wasn't, kind of a bi-polar day I guess. Coming around Calhoun at the end of my ride, I ran into a pretty good snow squall. 33/16.8

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few More Layers

Neoprene booties, and glove liners were in order today. Temp at 30 with a windchill of 20...Ahhh Spring in Minnesota. It was the Evil One the last two days, but got on the Salsa today. Saw Lynne as she was commuting home, rocking to the tunes and pushing the studs. 33/16.6

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cold And Wet

Donned the rain gear and cycling cap, as the hoped for let-up never came. With the blue bill of the cap low, glasses stayed dry, but that was about it. A couple of commuters were out, no one else. A neighbor saw me, as I was leaving, and asked, "you're going out in this?" I tried to explain that it's a fine line between sanity and insanity, but came up short when I claimed to be on the sane side of the line.
After about 30 minutes shoes, gloves and tights were soaked through. Drops on the edge of my cap bill would move back and forth from right to left, for about 2 minutes, until finally falling and becoming lost in the massive puddles that had already formed on the road below. I got no sympathy, or attention for that matter, from a few crying gulls, and a scampering squirrel I saw along my soggy route.
A wedge of white fog laid low over charcoal grey lakes slowly losing ice from the pelting rain. I felt the same rain on my face flowing to the back of my neck, and sending invading tingles of cold down my spine.

It's nice to feel. 25/15.5

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Singing In The Rain

There was a break in the rain so I danced with the Evil One this afternoon. Got home just as the drops started falling again. 31/15.5

With the warm temps lately, there's a little more flow over St. Anthony Falls.
Not Bike Related Warning

Did a little exploring with my grandson Elijah Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Coffee

Woke up at about 9AM and figured, well I could probably make it to the cafe by 10AM, for the team coffee ride. We never stopped for coffee, but we did get to stop right along the Mississippi for Talib's flat. It was great to see everybody. Lots of teammates showed up as the weather has turned a little more friendly. Quads were feeling fine, after yesterday's effort, and it was nice to be out with great friends, lots of fun chatter, and a nice easy recovery pace. It's all good. 48/16.2

Saturday, March 21, 2009


There were Gophers, boys from Nature Valley, a former Grandstay(er), and Amy who represented the Birchwood Cat 2 men all saddled up on their "A" machines ready to ride at Punch. Nature Valley was showing off their new steads as was BK. I had literally dusted off my Orbea (very gently, I didn't want to scratch it) and brought my computer out of sleep mode to represent the Birchwood 50+ers.
This ride was magical, with pace lines, that moved as smooth as silk. Everyone knew what to do. Nobody said, let's do a pace line, it simply started when we got into open country. The skill exhibited on this ride was amazing. Two pretty tough climbs, and 3 or 4 city limit sprints kept the excitement level high. I may have taken the hill out of Carver, it's hard to know when you're blacking out. But I basically got my ass handed to me, on everything else including some just plain cruel short steep stuff. I enjoyed watching the sprints from way back. Muecke and his Valley cohort, were very tough and are in great shape. They're racing in a couple of weeks. Schueller got at least one sprint, Parsons got one, and like I said, the two Nature Valley boys were all over this ride.
The bar is set high for this season by starting out with such a fantastic ride. This is one I'll remember for awhile. And I have to say, Amy was remarkable, she didn't miss a beat, the only woman on the ride, surrounded by 1's,2's and 3's. 80/19.3

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Rain

Rain moved in confirming this to be a day off the bike. I'll be playing hard tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good Week Of Riding

Finally got a good consistent week in the saddle, with 275 miles. My riding week starts on Friday, don't ask why.
Rode with Karl, Todd, Alo, and Amy for a little bit this evening. We all wound up going our separate ways eventually, but it was nice to see everyone, for a few miles.

After I broke off, I came along Minnehaha Creek.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nice Stretch

The riding has been good lately...hope this trend continues. 34/17.3

Not Bike Related Photos Warning

South of Foley Minnesota On Highway 25

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'll Take 56

Don't want to jinx anything, so there will be no specific season mentioned in this post. It's getting nice out there though. The roads and trails are drying up nicely. The Mississippi is free of ice and Minnehaha Creek is flowing. 34/16.9

More kite boarders were out on Calhoun. The boards were very noisy and sounded like grinders as they cut into the ice.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Did not want to end this ride, but I was willing to stop and take a couple of pictures. 36/16.8

Sunday, March 15, 2009


A little sloppy out there, so I saddled up the "B" road bike (Salsa Campeon). Hooked up with Todd, Chris and Amy. We had to deal with a little ice as we started out and even walked it along some stretches. Things were pretty much all thawed out by the time we made it to Wayzata, and my riding companions saved me a lot of money just before we got there. We rode up to Baker and around Minnetonka, which is one of my favorite routes.
It's hard to believe that anybody would be inside today! 48/16.2

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sometimes It's Personal

Planned on stopping and taking lots of pictures...wound up not stopping at all.

The wind was tough, straight out of the south at 15mph, so, of course, I headed into it.
The hard effort into the wind paid off...started dropping demons at Augusta. They had all fallen off by the time I made East Union. Looped around East Union (there is nothing there, but earth).
Having a much lighter load and the wind at my back the freedom was overwhelming. Speeds of 26,27, 28, 29 and even 30mph on the flats.

The wide open farm fields, with barns as temples and silos as spires of the newly revealed earth, saved my soul from the claustrophobia of life.

Reborn 74/17.9

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just A Quickie

No ride pictures, but went out, for a little over an hour, around the lakes. Very nice evening. 16/13.2

Stuff I Saw While Working

OK, so maybe I wasn't actually working when I took these, but I was getting there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stayed In...Hopefully The Last Time

Another beautiful day, with an even more beautiful end.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Hours At The Gym

An all day rain and snow event got me to the gym. It looks like ice, wind and cold will put me there again tomorrow. There's always the weekend.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm A Fan Of Extended DST

Pulled in at the end of the ride with plenty of light, and it was almost 6:30. Late day rides are nice. Lots of cyclists out, now that there's a little more light after work. 30/16.2

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Hate Politics

I got this email from the Birchwood Team President, after today's ride.

Frist let me say that I would rather have been able to have this conversation with you in person on the ride today. For a number of reasons, that didn't happen, but I don't want to ignore this opportunity to share my thoughts.In the two seasons you've been on the club, I've enjoyed countless conversations that I've had with you about our respective world views and have come to appreciate the insight and intelligence that you bring to those conversations. I come away from those chats certain that you are a level-headed and conscientious person and I appreciate your presence on the team.Given all of that, I have a hard time understanding who the Tom is that I sometimes see on some of our team rides, and today's is the recent example that spurs this message. I'm having a hard time squaring the thoughtful, community-oriented Tom in conversations with the "too important/busy/in-a-hurry to slow down for stop signs, wait for a red light to change, or wait for a teammate who dropped back as a result" person that can come out on rides. Now, I could certainly be way off in my interpretation, but as I repeatedly tell my students, we judge each other as much (usually more) on our actions as we do our words and I don't have an alternate interpretation to fit.I was not feeling spry enough to lead a ride today and was happy with someone taking over, but the tone changed the minute the whole group rolled through the first stop sign and it continued to plummet for me as the group rolled the next two and then couldn't wait five seconds for the light at Lake Street to change to green (it had clearly turned yellow when I pulled up to the intersection and I waited for the green). Had I been feeling better, I would have chased the group down and requested that we keep it a casual Sunday ride. I believed, however, that the group would notice that not everyone was together and wait up, giving me the chance to speak my peace when we regrouped.I can't tell you how disappointing it was to watch the group ride on ahead without a single person looking back. Although I don't and can't hold you personally responsible for the actions of others, I would like to suggest that the leader on the road of any ride sets the tone for how the whole group responds to the ride, each other, traffic, and traffic stops and that the tone could have been much different this morning than it was. (An analogy that comes from teaching is this: If I let my class start a day with a lot of freedom to act and behave in any way they choose, I have a much different class (more unruly, less focused) than if I expect them to model successful and respectful behavior. Some days, I'm more flexible, but when we need to have a focused day, I am much more conscious of how I hold them to positive expectations. Although my work life is with 10- & 11-year-olds, I know that adults are not drastically different when it comes to some of these basic behavior patterns.)By the time the group disappeared from my view going around the curves on Otis, I determined that I wanted none of the nonsense I had already seen and went off on my own in search of some quality riding and thinking time. Needless to say, the group ride today was not a good experience for me, and I shudder to think what someone who was checking out our club would have thought had they been invited along. Are we now no different the GP, or Flanders, or the fixie-riding maniacs who don't think rules and respect apply to them?My goal with Birchwood is to get the team to a better place than it has maybe ever been in terms of community, teamwork, respect for other cyclists, and respect for other users of the road. There's only so far that we can go, admittedly, but I don't see that as an excuse to not care about it and try to make it a better experience for more people. I would much rather count you as an ally in that effort because I know that people do rightfully listen to you and follow your lead, regardless of whether you want them to.I'm interested in your thoughts and would gladly spend time in a conversation like we've often had on the bike discussing this further.
Thanks for your time, Andy

This was my response.

Had our conversation taken place on the bikes, it would have been a very short one.
I'm sorry that you had a disappointing ride today. I won't take any responsibility for that though. Mostly because I think we are responsible for our own happiness, but also because of the "thank yous" I got from the other 5 riders. I was also very pleased with the tone of today's ride, and had no desire to change it.
I too have been pleasantly surprised by the delightful conversations I've had with you on our group rides. I respect you as a person and as a cyclist. You have a great wealth of knowledge about cycling. Nevertheless, as is the case with all people, you and I have differences, some of which are quite dramatic.
I joined Birchwood for one reason, and that was to meet a particular woman. Along with her, I have made some friends, that I have gotten very close to. I have no desire to leave the team. I get friendship from the team, and I give that back. I also enjoy giving my style of riding to the team, and offer it just about every Saturday. I am very confident, that when anyone rides with me, they know exactly what to expect. I do blow stop signs, when I deem it safe, and red lights don't always change for cyclists. Everyone knows that I ride just a little faster than I advertise, and those who have put in a real hard effort have been surprised to find that I'll soft pedal, and I'll even fall back and bring them back up to the group. None of that's going to change, Andy. Even when I have a BW kit on, or when I have organized a ride with an invitation extended to any BW team member. I hope this makes your effort to reconcile who Tom is a little easier.

I remember a TCBC ride many years ago. It was the hill ride. It was towards the end, and we were coming up Ohio. There weren't a whole lot of us. I was leading the charge. Just before Annapolis, a guy in a Loon State jersey came around me and beat me to Annapolis. That is really rare. Even PM hasn't beat me up Ohio. I remember saying to the Loon, "good job, Andy! Way to go!" Andy, if you put your foot down at every one of those stop signs along Ohio, that was an even more incredible job than I had thought at the time, because I sure as hell hadn't.

Your friend,


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Tough Ride

Team websites, email lists and blogs were full of excited chatter about training rides today. Lots of options to choose from, Silver was even doing a Prescott Wisconsin hill session. We saw Penn, Tonka, Verve and another two or three groups before we even got to Wayzata.
The training season has started, with racing beginning in mid April. I love the culture, the people and, of course, the competition, but cycling is changing, for me, or probably better said, I'm changing. I still hold out the slim chance of showing up for a time trial or even Ken Woods, but any interest in racing has been fading for several years now, with no Brett Favre resurgence.

I expected more people to show, but with the five grace minutes expired, two of us departed at 10:05 into a slight, but noticeable headwind. Smiles and fun conversation got us north of Wayzata easily. With more open space allowing the wind an unabated onslaught, smiles became a grinding clench of teeth and conversation turned mute. Rollers conspired with the wind and red barns, brown horses, tan fields and gray fences started to disappear, being replaced by salt covered asphalt. Out of the saddle, our helmets pointing down, cranks seizing, all that was heard now was the rush of the wind, and an occasional groan or cough. Quads were screaming for the torture to end, lungs wanted the fire to be put out, their complaints interrupted only by the lone thought "another roller".
I thought I heard the words "no more", with the south turn not even two miles ahead. No cars coming, a lean to the left, the helmets leveling, backs straightening, cadence increasing, jaws relaxing and smiles started to return. Even joking ensued, "I thought you were keeping track of where we are".
I refueled at Maple Plaine, with Gatorade and a Snickers Bar, and it seemed like only minutes before we were in Excelsior. This was a tough ride for me, as I overcome the weight and lethargy of winter...typical for March. They'll all be like this for another four to six weeks. Amy is hard core. She didn't fall off once, not even on the hills. The Evil One was a dutiful servant today, but I want to be on my road bike. I gotta get my miles up. Second best average speed of the early season. 58/17.2

Friday, March 6, 2009

Forty Five and Sunny

Had some days off earlier in the week, so I put a few easy miles on today. Lots of smiles out there, joggers in shorts and plenty of cyclists. The lake paths were a little crowded. 16/13.6

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two Color Ride

No flying for the clouds today, they were grounded.

Stone Arch Bridge From Lock and Dam No. 1

Mississippi River Looking North From Lake Street
Weeping Willows at Lake Of The Isles

Felt great to be riding. 30/15.2
Not Bike Related Warning

I heard a fantastic speech by Barbara Brown Taylor on Minnesota Public Radio today. She gave her speech at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis over the noon hour. The speech may be accessed at the MPR website.
Click on Audio (right hand side of page. She speaks for about 30 minutes)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just Couldn't Take It

...had to get out. Felt OK, but still a little weak. Maybe 30 miles, but that notion didn't last much past the first five minutes, of riding.
Kept it nice and easy. It was great to feel the bike on the road again. It's only been two days, but that's the effect of addiction. 20/14.2

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 2

Slept for over 12 hours yesterday and last night. Worked out on the couch again today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's A Doozie

Head cold kept me laying on the couch today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Every Once In Awhile

Sometimes it's just not a good ride. The weather was nice, for January, the company couldn't have been better, but I just didn't get in the groove today.
I was having a hard time finding a good line, and felt a little uneasy the whole ride. I'm also fighting a pretty good head cold. I didn't even stop for coffee with my friends, that's how lousy I was feeling. I just wanted to be home. That's unusual. 31/13.0