Friday, April 24, 2015

Dairy Roubaix, 2015

Dairy Roubaix.
Route was 107 miles for the long ride. I was in a group of 20 riders or so and we missed a turn. After 6 miles we figured it I and some of the pack back-tracked so we ended up with 119 miles and around 7,000 feet of climbing. The rest did their own thing while we roade to catch back up.

Gravel, blacktop and concrete roads.

"This brilliant event is like most true gravel grinders. It’s free or “pay what you can” and is completely unsanctioned. Although some folks come out to race it, most come out for the camaraderie and to simply enjoy the countryside around Wyalusing State Park, resting like a giant near both the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. The routes offered are a 54 miler and a 107 miler. Both are challenging, but the 107-mile option puts riders on hills so steep no compact crank is low enough. Think 20 percent grades covered in sand or gravel. I call these wonders “black-out hills” because just about when I think I’ll either pass out or puke, the crest comes into my narrowing vision and I get to rest for a few brief seconds on the following descent."

Random pics off the 'net.
Photo Credits below as listed:

 route same year to year

marcus on the far left
 michael mayer


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring 2015 (Mud Season)

The shoulder seasons in the upper midwest can be frustrating for many when it comes to biking. Too cold, too wet, too windy, too muddy and the list goes on.....

Now with the option of having a fatty, I see no issues. The 9:zero:7.
Out looking for antler sheds.

The trusty  Salsa "road" bike. (summer pic)

The fatty is great when ice and snow are still on the local Tomorrow River Trail "rails to trail" and local 30 mile city loop Green Circle Trail.
I toss on my  Big Fat Larry tires for maximum flotation and minimal lugs/tread so as to not cut up the soft trail in the spring and fall.
There are always sections of trail that are snow and ice covered due to shade and some that are the opposite, muddy from the melting snow and late frost coming out of the ground. These sections are where the fatty really shines. If there is too much ice or mud, moving off to the shoulder of the trail or even off into the grass that is still short from last falls last trimming the fatty rolls on through.

The Salsa is my, town, rail to trails, back roads, gravel grinder and "road" bike.
As we were going to be spending Easter in Minneapolis I decided to head out a couple days early and ride to The Cities, 250 miles.
Strong head winds (13-20 mph gusts to 30) the first day and quartering winds the second day. (11-15 mph with gusts to 20). I knew it was going to be a ball buster, but that's fine. Along with the softish gravel roads I got in some good training.

The first day the Upper Midwest IMBARegional Director contacted me to discuss some trail funding issues in WI. It worked out to meet 45 miles out from my start. It cost me some time but it was worth it and was glad to have met the new Director.

Photo Credit, Michelle Barker
I got 90 miles or so in the first day and found a nice local motel to spend the night. The Heritage Court Motel in Thorp, WI. Got an early start and went down the road for great breakfast in Stanley, WI at Alberta May's. 
Somewhere along the way the hose from my camelback froze. 30 degree drop in temp from the day before.
Put in another 85 miles or so before my wife caught me on her way to Minneapolis.
Got into some nice hill country the further west I went. Just the start.
Locals were gathering maple sap for syrup and the slower speeds due to the wind gave me plenty of time to scour the ditches for antler sheds, none spotted, though.

The next day I rode 25 miles in Minneapolis on a bike path just to top the weekend off.
Lake Minnetonka LRT Trail.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fat Bike Birkie, 2015

3rd year. Good time racing, spending time with Lynn and with friends. From 200 races in year 1 to 400 in year 2 to 850 in year 3. Goal is 5,000?? YIKES!
The trail held up well, until the last 10k where the short race made it's turn to go back. Then there was a single groove in the snow and the rest of the trail was pretty soft.

16th out of 85 in the 50-59 year age bracket. I switch age divisions next year......I was the fastest 59 year old with my time faster than the winner of the 60 and above bracket....a guys gotta have a goal!

 Won some swag.

The Start.
Photo Credit, Fat Bike Birkie.

8.5k into the race, 1st aid station.
Photo credit, Craig Smith.

Double "OO" turn to head back.
Photo credit, Fat Bike Birkie.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jason's first Fat Bike race. Sweaty Yeti 2015

Exposed grandson to his first fat bike race. The Sweaty Yeti at Levis-Trow.

Jason was watched over by friends while I raced. My original plans was to be on a team to be able to take time off the trail, but at the last minute our team went all solo. Was then planning on just doing a few laps and hanging out with Jason but every time around the 20-25 minute laps, plus we pass the start/finish during the race, so I got to see Jason every 10 minutes or so and as he was doing fine, I went more and more and got deeper into race mode.

After the race we got to try out a kids 24" fat bike a friend brought.

Gotta do s-mores.


Gramps out on the race.
We had matching furry helmets.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Birkie 2015

I signed up in early Fall for the Birkie, before it filled up, but was concerned about skiing at all much less racing with my shoulder/clavical healing. I'd spent a lot of time on the fat bike this winter, 4 ultras in 6 weeks (1-2-25 to 2-14-15) 485 miles....did well I think, placing 3rd, 4th, 15th and 18th place. 
Plus finished 5th at the Badger State Games 21 mile race so that was 506 miles in 6 weeks not counting any training miles. None of these races have age divisions. 
That said I believe only one guy within 10-12 years of my age beat me and he was within 9 years. He did that at the Arrowhead135.  He was 50 and finished 4th.
So, didn't roller ski or snow ski once this fall/winter and decided not to do the birkie but then Doug, my buddy from Appleton, WI contacted me about flying up again so I said yeah, pick me up. Figured it would be a fun flight up and I'd just ski around the lake some until the race was over.....well, the more I thought about it the more I figured they won't want me on the trail so was thinking where to ski late friday night as I drifted off to sleep.

My alarm was set for 5AM to get the Stevens Point airport and I woke up at 4AM thinking, what the heck, go registor and pickup your race bag/bib and just start the race. If the shoulder bothers, pull out, so that's what I did. 
I didn't have my best skis and didn't bother doing a great wax job but just stepped off the plane basically, got dressed and took off...kind of slow and easy for the first few miles feeling things out as Doug and I stuck together, then just started skiing like normal.
The shoulder never bothered me....took me 4:18 but felt that was fine, had a good time and finished feeling good. A little slower than average, but not bad.

This was my 10th Birkie. Conditions were very good as for temps. Snow was a bit soft and deep in a few spots but over all I think it was very good.

 3/4 of the way there. Near my hunting land, Catawba, WI.

Coming in for the landing, Telemark Lodge. Which is just about ready to be razed. 

Loading up after the race.

Lifting up over the now vacant start line. 10,000 skiers started from here.

 Homeward Bound.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Anyone that has been thinking about a Fat Bike or upgrading, now might be the time to do it.
Ask for Scott and tell him Mark sent you. They ship!
Lots to choose from: Salsa, Surly, 616 and Specialized.