Monday, December 3, 2012

MN CX State Championships - a few photos

The stairs get rowdy for the Men's 1/2:
2012 MN CX Championships - Men's 1/2
Sand pit action:
2012 MN CX Championships - Men's 1/2

The off camber corner:
2012 MN CX State Champs - Singlespeed race

The barriers:
2012 MN CX Championships - Men's 1/2

2012 MN CX Championships - Women's 1/2 & 3 race

The straightaways:
2012 MN CX Championships - Women's 1/2 & 3 race

And the victory:
2012 MN CX Championships - Men's 1/2

See you all next year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mary Gibney & Noah Harmon

Opening night this Saturday, December 1 at One On One Bicycle Shop / Studio / CafĂ© (map.)  Mary's shows always bring out the best in the MPLS community, make sure to get there early if you're expecting on purchasing any of the works.

Bottle Cap Blues?

There's nothing more pathetic than seeing a grown man standing around with a fresh bottle of beer in his hand, completely helpless when there isn't a "bottle opener" around.  I've long felt that just about any object can be used to open bottles, from when I was a child and used the kitchen drawer handles to open bottles of soda pop, to using a flip-flop in my twenties to open a bottle for a cute damsel in distress, to a smartphone case for home-brew in my forties, just about any old object will do.  People almost always bring up the teeth method when I bring this subject up, but that's just plain stupid.

Bottle Cap Blues from chris sumers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Street life in Faridabad, India.

Just sit back and take it in for a minute.  Forward to 5:30 for an uncontrolled intersection crossing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday in Delhi

Took a few shots with my camera phone, my SLR isn't getting too much use here.

Cargo bikes abound, seemingly countless:
Hauling three compressed gas tanks

Another rickshaw

One of countless riskshaws in Delhi

Bonus shot of a commuter near the capitol city:

Rashtrapati Bhaven, the Presidential Palace.

These wild monkeys running around the palace grounds, according to my friend Dibyendu, know more about politics than any of the elected officials.

Had a day off due to a holiday, now it's back to work.

Edit: A brief story on the monkeys: it turns out they are smart enough to visit the Old Delhi zoo on busy days when people pour alcohol on a particular statue of a god.  The alcohol washes down into a drain, where the thirsty monkeys are waiting downstream, eager to lap up the wine and liquor cocktail.  Now that these wild monkeys are good and inebriated, they spend their time taunting the caged animals, stirring up mayhem but knowing they cannot be touched on the other side of the bars.  There are a few recent articles in the India Times discussing how there should be a stop to this, but nothing so far.

In other news, fourteen people seems to be towards the high end of the capacity limit on a three-wheeled auto rickshaw.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Martyn Ashton on a carbon road bike.

Watch this video.  Watch this video in its entirety.  Try not to shit your pants.  You're welcome.

There's an ad on this one, wait it out:

//saw these last night at Hollywood's.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 Dolce Vita Wine Ride

Another year for a wine ride leaving from Chaska.  It's casual, so wear and ride what's comfortable.  The after party gathering has always been at the Chaska wine shop, which is a visit to itself.  Do it.
We're GO for Saturday, October 6th. 10:00am departure from Firemens Park in Chaska.
There will be a little gravel involved, but it avoids traffic on Hwy 5 to the extent possible andshould offer either wide shoulders or little traffic.

Link to planned route.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

bicycles I've recently seen and/or rode

CVO's fatbike ride at the Dakota Five-Oh:
CVO's Dakota Five-Oh ride

Fat Chance spotted at the Five-Oh:
Fat Chance

The new Surly Krampus, I'll admit this is a fun bike to ride.  Not fast, but certainly fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Upcoming Events

Jeff Frayne has gone and organized another year of the All City Championship.  Events start tonight with Bandit Cross, continues Friday with the Track Bike Crit, Saturday is the All City race itself, followed by a Sunday Freeride (Boom Island at 1pm, ride out at 2.)

Next Thursday, August 23, is the showing of Reels X Wheels at the Parkway Theater, starting at 7pm.  Admission is free and the films will be looped four times, so no worries for you stragglers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

going down?

Anybody have any background stories to these two?  I came up with nothing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

four folks from March

Phil and Gene discussing whatever they discuss in the basement.

Roger and Trevor.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Powderhorn 24, 2012 edition

The second annual Powderhorn 24 urban race has come and gone.  Below are a few select shots with the rest all right here.  Good times, good memories, good friends.  Ride on.

Here's the group shot at the race end:
Post race at the 2012 Powderhorn 24

The course this year was similar to last, with the second checkpoint being manned and at a different location, and with an overall distance at just under 5-miles:

There were unicycles a-plenty, all of the 36-inch variety:
36x2.25 unicycle

Trevor getting his race card punched by France at the start/finish:
France and Trevor

Three riders cruising south down 21st Avenue on Saturday afternoon:
Powderhorn 24

Spanish coming in on her final lap, just prior to the 7pm cutoff:
Spanish comes in on the final lap

Team Spoke-Girl took first place overall with 88 laps (over 400 miles):
The winning all-sausage team: Spoke Girl

'Midway Wife' took the overall solo rider at 67 laps, which is over 300 miles!
Midway Midwife wins male solo at 67 laps! (That's over 300 miles.)

Lots of fun to race, lots of fun to spectate.  Huge props to all the riders.  See you next year!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Bike Comics Show

Featuring local artists Ken Avidor, Roger Lootine, and Andy Singer.  Opening party Friday, June 8, 2012 at Black Dog (map) in St. Paul.  Do it, you won't regret it, but if you do you get your money back.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yarn bombed bike under the Brooklyn Bridge

Big brother Rick, aka Mr. X, recently sent in this image of a yarn bombed bicycle under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.  While I've seen my fair share of yarned fences, public telephones (what few are left,) trees, and even a car, this is the first time I've seen a bicycle.  I've met a few yarners here in Minneapolis and while they are certainly a bit kooky, I support the idea and look forward to seeing more out and about in my travels.  Nice capture, and let's keep the guest shots coming in!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A quick visit to Boom Island Brewing

Stopped by Boom Island Brewery last night, as it was the first time Kevin and Qiuxia let visitors in, corresponding to the release of their Brimstone Tripel.  I've been looking forward to taking a peek inside the brewery since they opened a few months ago, especially after meeting the team at homebrew day several weeks ago at the Lyndale Ave. Northern Brewer, where Kevin gave a talk on Belgian beers while we sampled  Boom Island's available releases.

Boom Island is a simple setup with four conical fermenters and four Belgian-style beers offered.  I'm not quite sure how they manage the scheduling as the ratio of ageing vessels to beer styles seems low, but they were busy and I was already taking enough of their time from the other patrons to continue asking questions.  Not to mention I was anxious to get out of there to taste one of the two 75cl bottle conditioned Brimstone's I picked up.

Having made several trips to Belgium myself, even bicycle touring through Orval, Chimay, and Rochefort, I have a strong respect for what Kevin is doing with his Belgium yeasts.  While I do enjoy some of the hop bombs offered by many of the breweries right now, it's nice to sit back and enjoy a more subtle offering without pushing towards or past the three-digits of IBU's that is trending across this country.  Boom Island's Brimstone, while a tripel, is welcomely one of the lighter tasting ones I've had, gladly lacking the common alcohol bite on the taste buds, though still coming in at just under 10% alcohol by volume.

I'm looking forward to seeing Boom Island grow in the near future, hoping to see a few more conical fermenters on my next visit.  Seeing the operation certainly adds fuel to my desire to do something similar in the future, open a small neighborhood brewery to serve tasty local beer to the community, but for the time being I'll just keep on enjoying it myself.

Boom Island Brewing
Thanks to Emily for snapping this shot of myself, Jeff, Kevin, and Qiuxia.

Home brew geek alert:
I spent a minute talking to brewer Jeff about their conical fermenters and how I was researching building my own, he directed me towards Stout Tanks and Kettles in Portland, Oregon, you know, that other bicycling city.  It looks like they're currently out of stock on a few of the sizes I'd be interested in, but they're quite a bit less money than the Blichmann line, especially considering Stout builds with tri-fittings as standard equipment.  While the conical fermenter is a bit of an expense for the average home brewer, I think it pays for itself in time saved: going from primary to secondary only takes a few seconds compared to an hour or more racking from carboy to carboy, once you factor in cleaning and sanitation times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Age 3 and looking very good

Back in Quincy, Illinois with older brother Rick, who was 7 at the time and going to a school performance as a letter of the alphabet and was the center of attention, at least until mom went into labor a few hours after taking this photo.

Rick and Mark February 10, 1976

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012 Almanzo 100: the (long) view from a 40-year old

First of all, please donate to the Almanzo 100.  Chris Skogen puts on one hell of a race, and there is no way it would be this rad if you were forced to pay a registration fee for it.

It's 5am Saturday morning and I'm doing all my best to try and figure out why my alarm is going off.  About 6-seconds later I realize it's Almanzo morning and I've got to load the bikes on the rack, eat something, and get down to Spring Valley, which is two-hours and ten-minutes away.

Sleeping Kevin and I ended up taking the long way down due to my GPS locking up, but we managed to get to the Spring Valley Kwik Trip for a pit stop and drink load before getting to the well managed parking lot, even giving Skogen a high-five as we went through and got a spot on the edge of the corn field.

I was happy to see the pre-printed cue cards in the embossed race packet.  Chris Skogen and crew take no short cuts in getting the race together and the packets are no exception.  This time the cue sheet was a double sided single card, which I thought was a great idea, though turned out tough to read on the bike.

Kevin and I went back about 75-yards from the start, which at the time was about a third of the way back in the field of riders though growing steadily.  There was a lot of energy and anticipation brewing in this large crowd of riders with about 15-minutes to 9am, the start time.

Irina walked by and took a few photos of us while we talked about her husband Nick Oswald, who was doing the 100-km gravel footrace that started at 5am and would eventually win the race 12-hours later, being one of the two finishers from the four that started.  Props.

The birthday song was sung for Jack, Chris' son, a few minutes before go-time.  A few of the rules were relayed over the bullhorn, especially the one about not pissing in front of any locals - this happened last year followed up by some upset correspondence, and rightly so.

So the start goes off and the usual adrenaline is pushing everyone faster than they should be going, as it tends to do - a bit too fast and furious for me - so I slow it down and decide the first small portion of pavement should be spent spinning and warming up - damn if I didn't forget my pre-race rolleurs.  Bummer to the rider a bit behind me who got a ruptured tube rolling out of the start, by the way.

The turn onto gravel came at mile 1.1 on 250th Street.  The cross wind was there but not as bad as it will be later on in the day.  I kept it easy, finding my pace for the first several miles.  There were some steep rolling hills in the first 10-miles or so, but even with a tailwind I wasn't feeling too great, but it was still early:

I started feeling better about 15-miles in, rolling through the gravel riding solo.  I met up with a few people, either passing or being passed, but nothing felt right.  Riding solo uses more physical and mental energy, but I seem to get a sort of sadistic enjoyment riding alone on these rides.  I did come across a tandem couple and started a drafting line with them for about a mile, but the next time I looked back they were long off my wheel and so I kept on pushing alone.

The gravel was fresh and indeed squirly in many places throughout the day, most of the long and steep downhills being no exception.

Chewie worked as a volunteer and stood at a few intersections at county roads to ensure all was kept safe - the second time I saw him he was smiling and yelling something at me as I rode by 10-feet away - I was headed south and couldn't hear a single word coming out of his mouth due to the strong southerly wind.  I continued on into the southbound uphill while I found myself crawling along, at first not realizing why I couldn't go any faster until I noticed everybody was going the same pace - the wind was slowing us to about 7mph.  The day was going to be a struggle.  

The downhill and sharp left at mile 34.5 has always caught me by surprise.  This time I've got my eyes locked straight ahead while rolling at speed while the near 160-degree turn to the left is invisible until too late.  I was lucky this year in that photographer Craig Linder was at the bottom of the turn pointing up county road 11 after seeing that I had no intention of changing my vector.  I have to say the photo doesn't do this descent-to-sharp-corner-to-steep-climb enough justice:

The town of Preston comes up after crossing a bridge at around mile 39.  I was drinking a lot of water up to now as the heat was turning up.  I decided at the start to go overboard and loaded up a 1.5 liter bladder on my back and two large water bottles on the frame.  Knowing it got to the mid 90F's the day before had me a bit worried and I did not want to face the chance of running out of water.  

I stopped at the corner on the edge of town and stocked up on water from the house well.  This is when I remembered I had two PB&J's in my jersey pocket and ate one of those with enough water to get it down.  Rollin rolled up, a bit bloody and bandaged below his left knee.  I asked him what happened but only got a part of the story because it was evident he wasn't bad and my mind wanted my body back on the road.

Bidding farewell to Rollin, I took a right and began the remaining 60-miles.  The next stop was in Forestville state park at mile 66, but not without the struggle of headwinds to the south and crosswinds to the east and west on this winding route along southeastern Minnesota, at times a mere 5-miles from Iowa.  There was a house at mile 61, just before Kava road, that had a "free water" sign out front.  I slowed down but saw about twelve people standing in line to the well pump.  I kept on to the park, guessing for a shorter water line ahead and knowing soon there would be welcoming shade from the burning sun.  The final three-miles into the park were brutally harsh as there was nothing to break the headwind but tree-less farm fields and the occasional barn.

I stopped at the park, filled up on water, grabbed a banana, and sat down with Akimoto and Chris, the latter having been there for 45-minutes.  I was feeling alright at this point, knowing I had climbed every hill so far, but knowing the two hills out of the park were nothing to laugh at.  I rested for 5-10 minutes before the three of us rolled out together, Akimoto telling me Hurl had rolled through 15-minutes prior - that gave me a boost knowing I couldn't have been that far back from the real riders.

The first climb up Maple road is on a paved road and Chris was soon pedaling out of sight.  The second Maple climb is on gravel and this is where I was left alone once again.  I continued the climb in the biggest cog I had, wishing for one or two more teeth, but pushing turn after turn nonetheless.  This last climb is where the wind kicked back in, not relenting for the next 4-miles due south.  This point is where some of the strongest winds were measured during the day, hitting 31mph sustaining and 41mph gusts in the 2-4pm timeframe.

I hit a wall riding this stretch after the park.  There was a small town coming up, or was my head playing tricks on me?  Riding westward while leaning over into the wind, the wheels were skipping, without warning, 2-3 inches to the north due to the gusts; I couldn't believe these riding conditions.  

I don't remember seeing this before, but there is a community center with a Pepsi machine outfront in Cherry Grove at mile 76.  Two riders were already sitting outside on the covered picnic tables and I was eager to join them.  One of them tells me there is a bathroom and cold running water inside as I dig for my stowed money.  I've got nothing but a 20-dollar bill and I end up begging for a buck-fifty, but I'm soon downing a cold Mountain Dew - thank you to the riders who gave me the dollar and fifty-cents.  I soaked my riding hat under the cold tap before putting it back on and sitting for about five minutes.  I'm really not feeling well and it wouldn't take much to get me to jump in a van at this point.  I roll out solo, but not before shooting this photo of the snapping flag:

Heading west again I suddenly have the strength of fresh legs and a new eagerness to finish this thing strong.  I ride with nobody in sight in front of me or behind me - this is what it's about as I push harder and harder on my cranks.  Several minutes go by before I scan my cue card for the next turn, which I see is at 171st Avenue.  The intersection up ahead approaches and I see it's numbered 161st.  No worries, another quadrant over and I'll be turning right.  I keep pushing hard when I notice the house number on the left reads 150-something.  The sudden notion that I missed the turn, am going in the wrong direction, combined with the realization that there are no tire tracks on this section of gravel was like a punch to the chest.  With the backtracking, I just put on an extra four-miles.  Shit.

The turn onto 171st comes up and leads into a ten or more mile stretch of tailwind, which at this point is very welcome.  Craig caught me in the Day-Glo Di2 kit at around mile 78 or 79 down in the drops, where you can also see the grass bending towards the camera:

Of the two climbs I knew were ahead, the one I was hoping was deleted from the manifest was the one around mile 91, Oriole Road, which sounds about as innocent as a road can be.  The right turn on Oriole is met with a sloping grade with a dozen people walking their bikes as far as you can see up into the tree covered distance.  I quickly jumped into my second easiest gear, turning a few revolutions, knowing that the peer pressure of seeing the others walking up this steep grade was going to reach out and push me off my saddle, just as it did last year.  Not this time I kept telling myself.  I shifted one last time and kept pushing one half-turn after the next - left, right, left, right, don't stop pushing.  I'm going 4mph but faster than the people walking.  The hill turns, softens out a bit, but soon heads up some more.  By the time I was two-thirds of the way up I knew nothing could get me off the saddle.  Riding up Oriole hill was certainly a personal victory.

This years start bypassed the county road 38 downhill into the quarry, and by the end of the day I was telling myself there was a chance we would also avoid the return climb.  I was wrong, and soon was  passing up a group of riders at the base of the climb, just past the quarry, who were dismounting to take a dip in the stream - no way, I'm too close to not climb this last hill of the day, and the sooner the better.

The last hill is a long one, but not nearly as steep as Oriole.  It was a struggle, don't get me wrong, but after conquering Oriole I wasn't about to let this one get me.  The climb takes a while to level out, but once it does is the moment you know the rest is flat with only five miles to go.  The finish was in a new location, so as I got within view of the safety net of the water tower in the distance, I was rolling past it about two-miles to the north and was a bit turned around.  I passed the man who I later learned was about to take 2nd place in the 100km foot race with about 4-5 miles to go.  He was walking on the left as I merely gave him a gentle wave as I passed, only supposing what he had gone through by this point in the day.

The final three miles were straight into the wind and this stretch was nothing to laugh at.  I kept down in the drops to minimize my profile and pushed as hard as I could, passing up two others on the way to the left turn and the finish.  Volunteers directed me as they held up traffic as I made the left turn, but just as I was expecting the finish line within view is when there's the surprise of getting to ride east a bit before turning again into the wind for the final push to the line.  

As always, Chris Skogen is at the finish to shake your hand, which is a classy way to say thanks to everyone for coming out to his event.  Chris asked me how it was and I said to ask me tomorrow.  Giving him an answer right then and there is like hearing somebody tell you they aren't going to drink again after a night of binging.  

Was the ride incredibly challenging and brutally difficult?  Yes.  Was the wind unrelentless?  Yes.  Were the  hills too impossibly steep to even be located in the state of Minnesota?  Yes.  Will I do it again?  Hell yes.

Check out the starting video by Paul Krumrich:

To all the riders who started: nice job; to the 389 who finished, I bow and take a drink of homebrew in your honour.

To the 275 riders who didn't show up to the race start without a pre-communicated warning to the race director: not cool at all.

To the riders who break down and decide the best place to fix their bike is to stand on the only rideable line in the road: come on, man.

To the riders who did not donate yet: do it now!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bike Swap - May 20 - OOOBS

Holy crap.  It's been years since one of these went down in the alley.  I'll be there and so will you.  It's not December 4th, it's from noon to 4pm, so there you have it.  Go there on your way home from church, post-confession like.

Friday, April 27, 2012

dear diary

Lots of news regarding the Space Shuttle lately, especially the Discovery and Enterprise, so I thought I'd throw in my eyewitness account.

I was able to view the Space Shuttle Discovery launch, STS-56, back on April 8, 1993 at 1:29am.  I was living in Orlando at the time and got a ride out to the coast with a few others after having done the same trip a few days prior, with the original planned launch being scrubbed at T-11 seconds due to a computer error.  

This second trip resulted in a few thousand people standing on a 2-lane highway, which by then had become a parking lot, 4-cars wide.  They keep you a few miles away from the launch pad and it was dark enough that we didn't know which direction to look until the main engines and solid rocket boosters ignited, turning the black of night into the light of day.  The delayed thunderous roar of the rocket engines rumbled across the ground a short time later, and quickly faded as the shuttle arced northeast along the coast.

It was pretty damn cool for about a minute or two, and I can say I saw it, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.  I guess it will be some time before I'll have the chance to see something similar, but seeing something like this once is good enough that I don't have a strong desire to do it again.

Here's a video of STS-56 that starts off by showing the night launch:

The Shuttle Enterprise was flown over NYC today on its way to the Intrepid museum via JFK.  Here's a shot of the Enterprise flying over NYC, but taken in 1983:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Because It's Friday and You Deserve It, That's Why

A compilation of Bo and Luke Duke's 1969 Dodge Charger (aka The General Lee) jumps from seasons 1-6 of The Dukes of Hazzard:

An estimated 309 of these cars were used during the filming of the series.  There were also some 1968 Chargers used for stunt purposes; "[t]hese Chargers performed many record-breaking jumps throughout the show, almost all of them resulting in a completely destroyed car."  Yeah, no shit.

Watching this show as a kid, it never occurred to me how ludicrous the concept was; but now that I'm 40, I know better than to destroy a muscle car with a 2-bit stunt when I could have just gone around the schrub-disguised jump in the middle of the field.  I'll have to start paying attention to the next pile of shrubs I see though, perhaps I could get some wicked air with my fixie on the return trip.  Ah hell, wheelies are much cooler anyway.

By the way, I've done more mountain biking this year than I did all of last year, leading up to the Dakota 5-oh, anyway.

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Men's World Champion Chris Hoy

Watch the hail mary from Chris Hoy as he wedges between Levy and Velthooven coming out of the final turn of the men's world champship race in Melbourne. On the line!

BBC story here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

55cm Handsome Devil Frame & Fork - $250

Update - SOLD

55cm Handsome Devil frame and fork for sale, $300 $250 firm.  This thing will bring true happiness to your life.  Build it up single speed, fixed gear, or use the derailleur hanger to put all sorts of gears on it.  I bought this new from the first batch of frames made by Ben and Jesse.  

Here she was a while back while parked in front of the CRC, when Lyndale Avenue was torn up for a period lasting as long as they damn well felt like it.  Plenty of room for fenders, eyelets front and rear racks, cantilever brake stays, two bottle mounts, and a "666" in the serial number. 
Marks Handsome Devil

Fully equipped with stick-on head tube moustache:
Marks Handsome Devil

Same frame, in brighter light:
The Devil frame, by Handsome

Shoot me an email, it's over on the right ----------->