Monday, May 25, 2009

Stillwater Marathon

We went to Stillwater on Saturday for the first Stillwater Marathon.

The gang at The Mad Capper in Stillwater sure knows how to make a guy feel welcome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 3 Speed Tour

Another 3 Speed Tour is in the books. And from my vantage point, it was one for the ages. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time last year. Lots of fun and interesting people, taking in the shops and the desserts and the pie and the ride. It was all so new, and there was a sense of discovery that can't be beat. But at the same time, Nancy wasn't feeling well and hadn't been for several months. I know it was a struggle for her at times to keep up, and even to stay on the bike. In retrospect, she was a lot sicker than I realized at the time. So I have some mixed emotions looking back, knowing that while she did have fun she was suffering as well.

Fast forward a year, and what a difference. Health wise, Nancy has been doing great. And the tour, while still the same, had a very different undercurrent for me. It was much more fun knowing that she was not just dragging along, but truly enjoying herself in all aspects. The route of the tour was familiar and comforting, but we still managed to find some newness to get that sense of adventure. We also stayed at a new hotel, The Bridgewaters, which was wonderful. We got to see some familiar faces from last year and some friends from the area, plus get to know new folks. What could be better that to hang out with a bunch of people who share your same brand of crazy?

Nancy has already blogged about most of our trip, and has shamelessly stolen the cream of the photo crop (from her camera and mine, the scoundrel!). So if you want a first rate recap of the tour, check out her blog post. Below are some additional photos that she didn't already use, with my comments.

Consider the lilies of the goddamn field!

The woman who rode this bike really does have a foot issue, and every time we dismounted (or at least, when I saw her) she took her shoe off and put this boot on. Pretty amazing that she could do the tour at all.

One of the better pictures of my bike. Last year we tried to go authentic, with original cheap Brooks saddle, vintage rack and a wicker basket to carry our belongings. It was cute, but not super functional. Toward the tail end of last year's tour my bike started to make a horrible grinding noise and had sprayed gear lube all over the rear rim. I was terrified that something within the Sturmey Archer hub was about to fail and leave us 10-15 miles outside of Red Wing. I gutted it out and more or less white knuckled it back in to town, thinking the whole rig was going to come apart. Later, when I got home I realized that the rack's attachment point had come loose and lodged itself into the rear brake. The brake was askew and rubbing against the rim. The gear lube was just incidental. So this year I used a modern seat post mount rack with modern panniers. I also swapped out the crappy old Brooks for my nice one. I also added a frame pump, since I'm pretty sure we went through last year's tour without.

After our hike-a-bike adventure in Maiden Rock. This pic is easily within my top 5 favorites of all the pictures we took this year. No idea why Nancy didn't poach it.

Isn't she cute?

The oldest bicycle on the tour, 94 years old.

A super fun trinket I got from Sallie Gurth, a beer mug valve stem cover! Sallie makes these, and she and her husband Ron have a website where they sell them along with other bike themed jewelry. So here's a shameless plug. Go visit them at Velo Amore' and buy some stuff!

It's a Robin Hood sandwich! Several of us were noting the particular shade of red our bikes shared. So we put two Robin Hoods on the outside and the Dunelt in the middle for a photo op.

Nancy looking fabulous from behind, with her scarf flapping in the breeze.

That pretty much sums it up. We will definitely be back next year, unless the popularity overtakes us and we don't get registered before the cutoff!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work day

Once again I set out on Bike to Work day to lead a rag tag group of cyclists through the mean streets of Minneapolis. Our goal: The downtown Bike to Work day celebration. I arrived at the park on time (last year I was the last one there) and waited. I snapped a few pictures while I waited.

Pretty soon, Kevin showed up. After that, nobody else showed up. This was the smallest group I've ever led. Which is ironic, because I think there are more bikes out on the streets this spring than there have been in the last several springs. After we realized nobody else was coming, we headed out. Made a pit stop at The Reuse Center where they had quite an impressive breakfast buffet going on.

We saw M.A. Rosko outside, but not while she was interviewing the Mayor. After our brief stop we headed to the Greenway to battle the fierce headwinds all the way to the Government Center. Once there, I availed myself of some free coffee and inadvertently got nabbed on film (pixels?) while doing so.

The crowd at the downtown celebration was thinner than in past years too. I think the chilly temp and blustery wind kept a lot of folks away. I managed to snag a new Civia water bottle with some Park Tire Irons inside and also a Bängo Brothers pocket messenger bag in addition to the previously mentioned coffee. A pretty good way to start the work day. Too bad I can't convince my boss to let me hang out, drink coffee and schmooze with other bikers for an hour and a half every time I bike to work.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bike to work, dammit!

Once again, it is bike to work week here in MN.  And once again, I'll be leading a group of cyclists from Minnehaha Park to Downtown Minneapolis on Bike to Work day.  This is my fifth year leading this group, and it might be on it's fourth name.  Commuter Convoy is the only old one I can remember, but I'm sure there were more.  This year they're calling it a "Bike Bus" which is a silly name, but that's just my opinion.  The details are pretty much the same, with some minor variations:

The biggest difference this year is the organizers want us to do a "bus stop" where we stop, midroute, and pick up additional bikers.  I decided to keep this minimal, since I don't think we'll pick many, if any, people up.  The last few years there have been less than 7 people on this route, and often several of them aren't biking to work but just joined to have an excuse to ride (Hi Jim and Kevin!).  So my idea was to stop at the Green Institute.  Last year, they were rumored to have the best food of all the Bike to Work celebrations, and I've always meant to stop and check them out.

So with that in mind, we'll convene at Minnehaha Park between the Falls and the Sea Salt restauraunt/shelter. I plan to be there around 6:30-6:40. Leaving at 6:45 should put us at the Green Institute around 7:15 or so.  We'll take a temperature check with the riders to see if we want to make it a quick stop or linger a bit.  If we don't linger we should be downtown around 7:30 or so, depending on red lights and the overall speed of the group.  If we do stop, it could be closer to 8.

A couple of quick points:
  • If you haven't already, register:  It sounds as if you will need a printed copy of your registration to be eligible for certain prizes.  So if you're into that kind of thing, register.
  • If you forget to register, they will have forms to fill out downtown.  But it's a hassle, and everything's more fun to do on the web.  And, as of this writing, my picture is still on the website.
  • Um, I can't think of anything else.  Oh, wait, the date!  It's this Thursday, May 14!  See you then!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Quite a weekend

We had a lovely spring weekend here in Eagan.  Friday night was rainy and we hunkered down in the basement with the girls, watching "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  I thought it held up very well over the years, and enjoyed it as did the kids.  Nancy was a little disgruntled by the ending.  But, you can't please everybody and in our house 3 out of 4 isn't bad.  Saturday morning was coffee, computer and futzing around the house until I was sufficiently caffinated and then housecleaning began.  As I cleaned I kept a weather eye out the window because it looked like rain.  When the house was presentable I decided to risk it and mow the lawn.  Normally decisions like that cause the rain to hit right when the half mowed lawn is at it's weirdest stage, but I was lucky and actually finished mowing with more sun than I'd began.
I cleaned myself up and cooked some bacon and sausage for an egg back for Sunday brunch.  Then after dinner we headed over to the neighbors' house for a little backyard fire.  We've lived there for 5 years and have always gotten along fine with the neighbors across the street.  A couple of times a summer one of us will say "We should get together for cocktails" but nothing ever comes of it.  So last week when that phrase rolled around I took decisive action and said, "Let's do it this weekend!"  We did, and had a good time.  Marshmallows were roasted, s'mores were eaten, adult beverages were consumed.  They put their kids down to bed, and I walked back to our house with ours.  While our kids got into jammies I popped them some popcorn and they picked out a DVD.  I told them that when the movie was over they should go to bed if we weren't home.  And a good thing too, since we weren't.  We were all shocked and horrified to realize it was 2am and we were still around the fire.
Sunday morning the dogs woke me around 7am.  I let them out, fed them and went back to bed until 9.  Nancy looked at me and the first thing out of her mouth was "The neighbors are dangerous."  We staggered out of bed and got brunch items started.  I ran to Byerly's for croissants, but they were out.  Horrors!  Instead, Nancy made some yummy cranberry scones.  Mom, Dad and Grandma came over for Mother's Day brunch and took off about 12:30.  I rototilled the garden and then spent the rest of the afternoon dusting off the 3 speeds in prep for next weekend's 3 Speed Tour.  While up to my elbows in 3 speed schmutz, Emma told me she needed cookies for school on Monday.  Which means we have to make them today, Dad.  I finished up and helped her with a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.  After the kids went to bed I collapsed on the couch.  Done, exhausted.

Monday, May 04, 2009


I don't follow basketball at all, so when I heard that Renardo Sidney was going to Mississippi State I had no context for why this was considered headline news.  I still don't, and don't really care to find out.  Sounds like there are some unresolved money issues, whatever.  What did catch my eye was the following:
...stepfather Renardo Sr. directed a club basketball team with financial backing that was unclear beyond a relatively modest shoe company sponsorship.
Stepfather Renardo Sr.  Other news stories list the son as Renardo Sidney Jr.  So, how the hell does a stepfather end up with a same name Jr./Sr. arrangement??  If he's a stepfather, he's not the kid's biological father and therefore theoretically wasn't around when Jr. was born and named.  Did the son change his name?  Did the stepfather change his name?  Does mom just really really like the name Renardo?  I could keep coming up with scenarios, but they just get stranger.  If anybody can answer this, please do.  I'm dying to know the story.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Rains, pours

Nothing for several weeks, then two posts in one day?  It's Friday afternoon, what can I say?  I had to quickly toot my own horn because my "commuter profile" is currently on the BikeWalkWeek website.  There doesn't seem to be a direct link, it's just on the main page, so I have no idea how long it will be up there.  But take a look, you can see me doing my best impression of Ambrose Burnside
And while you're there, register for Bike/Walk to Work Day, which is coming up in a couple weeks, May 14th to be precise.  I'll be leading a commuter convoy from Minnehaha Park again this year.  Details are pretty much the same as the last 4 years, but I'll put a little more about it on the blog next week in case you've misplaced last year's memo.

Bursitis? I got your bursitis right here!

I'm well on my way to being fully recovered from the bursitis that kept me off my bike for the majority of April.  Hell, it kept me from doing much of anything in April, other than sitting on the couch.  But I'd say I'm 95% bursitis free these days, which is good.  This week I managed to get 3 consecutive rides to work, which is the first time since I got hurt.  It was nice to be back.  I worked from home yesterday and today I overslept, but no sense rushing back into it.  After the first ride I took I was really amazed at how sore my butt and thighs were after just a couple weeks off.  But the soreness was temporary, and didn't last nearly as long as it would have if I didn't have the base so I haven't completely lost my fitness.  Good thing I don't generally worry about stuff like that.
My plans are to keep commuting, but take it easy at the same time.  The 3 Speed Tour is coming up in just a few weeks and I want to be in tip top shape for that.  Nancy's ridden her bike a bunch more this year than last year, plus she's feeling tons healthier, so we may even be able to attempt some pass storming!  Which reminds me, I need to get the trusty Robin Hood out and spiffed up so it's ready to roll.  Same for Nancy's bike.  There's always something keeping me busy and away from the internets!