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"Everybody's Dirty" is NOT a Valid Argument against Armstrong

I talk to a lot of cyclists these days who are convinced that Lance Armstrong is guilty of doping.  The principal argument they have is the repeated confessions of everyone else.

"Well, if Landis and Hamilton and Andreau and Virenque were all doping, then Armstrong MUST have been doping to have been able to beat them!"


That argument is absolutely stupid and lazy and it's the type of thing that you have to expel from your mind.  In fact, that argument is similar to the lazy, terrible mentality that seems to pervade the UCI (which for my money is the biggest criminal in this whole affair).

Look, if you believe an athlete is guilty then get hard, scientific, indisputable evidence!  Don't sit around and gossip behind your hand in the bathroom because that's just a waste of time and it makes you look like an idiot.

Seriously, everything is out of whack here. The issue isn't whether Armstrong is guilty. The issue is how are the UCI's tests so amazingly incompetent that riders are able to have ten or fifteen year careers while doping the whole time? Who is getting rich off this?

Look at the NFL, they just suspended a guy for steroids. He took it, they caught it, done deal! Why can't the UCI follow that model? Aren't they adults? Don't they get paid millions of dollars to do their JOB? Well, why can't they come up with a functional model for athletic testing?

I'll tell you why, because somebody's getting their hand greased to keep the system terrible.

Doping in cycling is a serious issue. I quit watching the Tour after the Landis win and I only watched a couple stages last year (only because it featured Armstrong). Sure, this whole payoff thing is all fun and games, but when the payoff threatens to completely destroy the sport, somebody's gotta stand up and get smart (you're about to kill the meal ticket idiots).

Who's the marketing genius who managed to get everybody talking about the riders instead of the governing body that's mind-bogglingly incompetent? Comments like, "Armstrong must be guilty since everyone else is guilty" completely sidestep the real issue.

And by the way, there's no amount of EPO that I could take that would allow me to beat Lance Armstrong. Heck, I doubt there's enough EPO out there for me to take so that I could even make Lance Armstrong breathe hard. If I took EPO and Armstrong beat me and I admitted to cheating later, all that proves is that I'm not very good (which was probably the motivation for cheating in the first place). To assume that Armstrong must be guilty because others in the peloton have admitted so makes no logical sense.

But if you want to persist in believing Armstrong is a doper, fine. Just make your argument with scientific proof not with lazy pseudo-logical arguments.  And put a little pressure on the UCI while you're at it, they aren't weathermen...they can't AFFORD to be wrong all the time.  If cycling is destroyed by doping it will be the governing bodies and not the riders who are to blame.

You Should be Riding With Us In Chippewa Falls Right Now!

Today is the day of the Chippewa Falls Century ride, so you should all be loading up your car and on your way to Chippewa Falls to do a CASUAL ride.  I have to stress the word casual there because it seems like every time I do this Chippewa Falls ride people get all excited and want to turn it into a 100 mile race.  I don't know what the deal is (well, I guess on the few occasions that I've actually been in shape to do this event I've wanted to put the hurt to other people as well...so maybe I DO understand...but the fact is that I'm NOT in shape this year so no monkey business).

The above image is Frank and Isaac riding past the Chippewa Falls international airport.  Although Chippewa Falls only has 12,000 people, it has a surprisingly big airport which is only one of the magnificent attractions you'll see as you pedal through the Chippewa valley (the other being my house which is twice as big as the above complex).

Actually, I'm pulling your leg.  That airport in the above picture is from MSP which is your gateway to Peru among other world destinations.

You know, as we rode past the MSP airport (Lima is LIM by the way), I couldn't help but think that the chain link fence seemed like pretty weak security. But that's the kind of thinking that gets you in trouble. Heck, the whole Eastern and Western seaboard of the US are completely open and unprotected so who am I to worry?

Getting back to the Chippewa Falls ride.  Be there!  I mean, seriously, what BETTER thing do you have to do? It's going to be awesome, trust me (right up until Frank makes us ride the whole 100 miles in under 4 hours...I'm just not doing it!!!!)!

Nice Rack!

You know, just because I titled this story "Nice Rack!" and I gave the same name to the above image, this particular post is bound to receive like 50,000 hits. Sigh...it's a sad commentary that the pinnacle achievement in human communication (the internet) is essentially a vessel for pornography...I guess we're not so far removed from the jungle after all.

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about was my bike rack (booooring!!!!).  Well, if this article can't be about sex, then why not wanton violence?  Just LOOK at that picture of my rusted out bike rack.  I mean, does that look SAFE to you?  Just imagine my bike and/or ski box rattling free at 87 mph to go flying through the air only to crash into the windshield of an oncoming semi truck causing it to Jackknife into an oncoming school bus filled with...wait...imagine if it hit one of those trucks with those wire cages filled with CHICKENS!  Imagine the CARNAGE of thousands of feathers exploding into the air at the heart of a massive collision between two destructive, out of control semi trailers!  Wouldn't that be fantastic!!!

Er...I mean...terrible?

I don't know, maybe my rack isn't really all that big a danger.  I think it just looks worse than it is.  You see, there's a long and sad story about my bike rack.  When I moved down to Peru (awesome time, you all should quit your jobs and move to Peru for 10 years too, seriously, no excuses) I sold my car to my brother.  For some reason, my brother decided to rip the bike rack off my (well, I guess it was his) car.  If you know my brother, you know that when he decides that metal must bend to his will, he doesn't reason with it.  It turns into this huge Herculean battle that usually ends up with the metal resigning in quivering fear and my brother running into his house to get some gauze for his bleeding knuckles.

When I bought my car back from him upon my triumphant return to the US (he was moving to Pittsburgh because he thought it sounded like fun to go and party with Ben Roethlisberger), he gave me a dirty shopping bag filled with the bike rack parts. He also gave me back the bars which were all crusted and wrinkled as you see in the above picture.

You know, there's probably a whole group of furious parents out there who have formed a coalition that "informs" people that they should change their bike rack bars every 3 months for maximum safety or some other nonsense like that. Seriously, isn't there a coalition for EVERYTHING these days! Somebody does a study that shows that 3 lives are lost over a 10 year period because of faulty o-rings on kitchen blenders...and suddenly there's a coalition that has a wild new year's day celebration when they drop that number down by 33% at the end of the following decade (they always neglect to mention that six people got killed at the party).

Well, those darn racks are made of STEEL, and a little superficial rust doesn't make it any less weak in my opinion. Besides, if you're driving behind me, you should be worrying about the rust on the chassis and not on the rack.

Frankly...I think I've got a pretty nice rack, even if I do say so myself.

Cyclova XC Team Rides

Last weekend, we had the first Cyclova XC Team ride where we were all in our spiffy new team kits. This is certainly cause for celebration. We usually make the most of an opportunity to celebrate.

Many Cyclova XC members aren't your typical Midwesterners, and get down and party. Following is a video of the team getting warmed up for the last team ride. Notice all of the people that started to gather around to see what we were up to. Why Minneapolis was never the same after this! It's amazing to see the fanfare that Cyclova XC has generated in it's relatively short existance thus far!

A few of my favorite parts of this video include Andrew J up at the front picking the good lines, Tommy K, Mikey L, Greg, & Kathi tapping out a rhythm on the pedals, Dave G rockin' the guitar, Ben J getting in some dirty dancing, Alan L taking it easy with the ladies on the couch, and my trying to figure out what to do with the barrel at the end.

In all seriousness (and obviously this post up until now wasn't), come join us for a group ride or run this summer! Check out our Facebook Group page, cyclovaxc.com, or the events calendar for the full scoop. We are all about having fun and we think you'll find it refreshing to not be shunned if you're not an elite athlete!

And if you're wondering where this clip was taken, it was from the May Day Parade in the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis. This was one of many "floats" which blew my mind. Bicycle were certainly a common theme throughout the parade. Check it out for yourself next year!

Get out there and ride or run (or ski if you're in the southern hemisphere)!

-Frank L

The CyclovaXC Archive Page

Well, last weekend I decided to get all ambitious and make an archive page for CyclovaXC. As with everything I do, I decided to use the most inexpensive possible tactics (which basically amount to me running round the internet and stealing code...and then attempting to pump it into blogger somehow while it coughs and sputters and chokes like a fussy baby).

My efforts were aided greatly by the fact that all blogger labels (they're called "tags" on other, more advanced web pages) have their own RSS feeds. So I found a feed reader and kept adjusting it until it would automatically publish all the links with the labels Cyclops, Birkie, Ski, and RUN (I'm stuck with all caps on "RUN" since apparently I typed it in that way the first time I did it and I haven't figured out how to change it back yet....sigh....computers are annoying).

Anyway, the archive page can be found here. You can also get to it by clicking on "Archive" in the nav bar up above, or by clicking on the big CyclovaXC shield at the bottom of this post. To get back, click on the big CyclovaXC shield on the upper left of the Archive page, or click "Home" in the nav bar (all of this should be fairly obvious...but you never know).

I think the best way to navigate this page is to click through the various issues of "The Cyclops" since those have a list of all the articles from the previous two weeks.

So...yes...there are probably other fancier ways to make this page more navigable...but the only people who KNOW what those ways are have gotten some kind of degree in computer science and they aren't about to just give them away to me for free now are they? So, until the money starts rolling in...you're stuck with my duct tape solutions (which are actually pretty good I have to admit).

CyclovaXC Baby Shower!

Hello All!!!!

Zulma and I are doing a baby shower on Saturday June 26th. It's the weekend after Grandma's Marathon, so you should be ready for a little R & R. The actual baby shower (which amounts to grilling out and relaxing as far as I'm concerned...while you guys bring some diapers so I can stock up) takes place at Noon. However, if some of you want to come around 9 or 10 and do a bit of a bike ride that would be cool too. Chippewa Falls is a nice place for pushing the pedals (you'll know after you do the Chippewa Falls ride this weekend).

Soooo, if you do decide to come out on the 26th and do a bike ride, you can rest assured that there will be a grilled hamburger or two waiting for you when you roll into Irvine Park at 12 or 1 or 2 (depending on how far you want to ride...however, I can't guarantee burgers if you get there super late).

I've sent this baby shower information out to a few of you already, but if you haven't gotten it don't be offended, it's probably because I don't have any way to contact you either by phone, or facebook, or email, or twitter (and if that's the case it's probably because you've made a decided effort to avoid me), so please just assume you're invited and come (unless you're a member of my immediate family...if I haven't sent you an invitation it's because you're NOT invited [however, just try to keep the family at home right, hahaha!]).

Anyway, here's the baby shower invite I've been sending out...it's another example of awesome writing, which is why I've included it here:

Zulma and Ben Jonjak would like to invite you to Zulma's Baby Shower at noon on Saturday June 26th. We'll have food there but knowing me it probably won't be enough so feel free to bring some more. Our plan is to do some grilling at Irvine Park and then maybe set the bear and cougar free and watch the carnage that ensues (or maybe just play volleyball...definitely grilling though). As you all know, people have baby showers because they're about to have babies (well, I'm not going to have a baby...that would be physically impossible [that movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger was pure fiction...sadly] but you know what I mean). With a baby on the way, we're trying to stockpile up some diapers, etc., so you can bring some of those or check out the baby list at Target and Walmart if you want to bring something (ask for Zulma and Ben Jonjak and I'm sure they'll point you in the right direction). The most important thing, however, is that you bring yourselves!

So let me recap:
What: Zulma's Baby Shower (and Ben's)
When: Saturday June 26th at noon (and going to whenever, probably dark)
Where: Irvine Park
(come in on the 70th street entrance, there's a ice cream shop that looks like a Dairy Queen called "Grammy B's" right before the entrance...there's also the Leinenkugel brewery about a block away and that's no accident) If you get lost, just give me a call. Hope to see you!

Frank Changes a Tire in the Rain

The first flat of the season always arrives when it's raining. That's just the way of things. However, if you're riding with Frank Lundeen, you'll be back on the road again in 2:38. Actually, he could probably even change a tire a little faster, but he was kind of lollygagging around with this one (plus I was there to heckle him which never helps your concentration).

Look out for the Allan Lindsley reference (he was going to come with us and then he cancelled...thus the never ending abuse...it's all done out of love though :).

Riding with Frank and Isaac in the Rain

This weekend, Frank, Isaac and I went for a little spin about the Twin Cities.  We had a whole slew of people who were going to come along...but after taking one look at the forecast they all bailed.  Apparently they were all afraid of an 8% chance of rain (which I look at as a 92% chance of no rain).

Well, Frank, Isaac and I intrepidly began our ride, and exactly 8 minutes into it, it started pouring like crazy.  We had to give Isaac a hard time since he wasn't donning the CyclovaXC colors (they were being washed...however, the rain was such that the was was taken care of during the ride...which is the ONLY way I wash my gear by the way).

I was taking pictures with my crappy old Olympus which are famous for their 5f08 5e02 errors.  Fortunately I'd gotten mine fixed in a bodega in Peru for $10 (Olympus said they could do it for $112 and a six month delay), so it is now my "go on bike rides in the rain" camera.

I took about 20 pictures...but found it dangerous to try to hold onto my camera as it rained and cars went whizzing past so I eventually gave up.  Still, I got the above image, which was one of the few decent pictures of the lot and was actually the very first picture of the day (I should have packed it in right there).

Actually, for those of you who don't know, the Twin Cities is a great place to ride.  Sure, you're occasionally on busy roads, but for the most part you are riding on trails, or park pathways with very little traffic. For much of the ride it doesn't even feel like you're in a big city.

So we finished up, and true to the will of the Bicycle gods, the second we pulled into the house it became a bright sunshiny day. No regrets however, since it was time for watermelon and beer (not to mention hamburgers).

Hopefully we'll be able to scrounge up a few more people for next weekend's Chippewa Valley Century ride (I'm planning on doing about 60 that day...let's not get too excited about 100 mile bike rides yet). See you there!

Is Allan Lindsley Macgruber?

I just got back from watching "Macgruber" (which is my pick for the move of the millennium by the way since it's totally awesome) and both my wife and I agree that Allan Lindsley of CyclovaXC looks exactly like Macgruber.  Seriously...it's uncanny.

However, this resemblance is also ironic since my trek to the movie theater to see Macgruber was delayed by waiting for Allan to try on like 50 different pairs of CyclovaXC cycling shorts until he finally found one that fit him right (don't worry, I washed them all out with gasoline and lye afterwards so they're still "like new").

At the theater, I kept looking at my wife and saying, "Is that Allan?"  And she was like, "noooo."  But then later, "YES...I think it IS Allan!"

Meanwhile, of the other 6 people that went to the 5 PM showing of Macgruber at the Micon Cinema at Chippewa Falls, 2 of them left midway through the extended love scene (it involves a lot of Macgruber grunting...and is followed by another love scene in a cemetery...which is awesome), then 3 of them walked out during the soon to be infamous celery scene (a husband, wife and about a 12 year old boy and even HE was disgusted by the film...at least he wasn't protesting getting dragged out of the theater), the last guy made it to the end of the film, but I think he was dead. 

But seriously folks, Macgruber is awesome, and if Allan Lindsley wasn't already a member, I'd make Macgruber an honorary member (but like I already said, I think he's already on the team).

You get 'em MACGRUBER!!!!!!!

Landis "Confession" Only Provokes More Questions

Most of you have probably read an article or two dealing with Floyd Landis's admission that he doped as a professional cyclist (here's a link to one article and here's another, although I don't like putting links like this because the stories tend to disappear and then the links go nowhere).

The "confession" is strange, however, because in none of the articles I looked at is there anything reported about Floyd taking testosterone at the 2006 Tour de France.  Part of me wants to just blame the ever-present specter of shoddy American journalism (what...didn't they think to ASK Floyd about the 2006 Tour?), but since most of this story seems to be based on a series of emails that Landis sent out, I guess I can't go after the media (but I'm going to anyway because they are TERRIBLE at their jobs).

According to Landis, the purpose of writing his "confession" emails was to "clear his conscience."  But by failing to include any information about the 2006 TDF, he pretty much fails to do that.  Actually, if he had said,  "Yes, I doped prior to the 2006 TDF, but I didn't dope AT the 2006 TDF," then we'd have something to work with.  However, he completely fails to mention it which is bizarre.  How do you state your intention is to "clear your conscience" and then not mention the single biggest doping scandal to ever mar the sport?

And you know, I like Floyd Landis.  I always have and I will continue to like him.  To this day I thought the case against him was really sloppily handled.  Sure, he might have been guilty (or WAS guilty as I guess his confession more or less indicates), but that doesn't give the authorities in charge of persecuting him an excuse to be frivolous in how they handle the collection of evidence.  There were reports that one of the condemning urine samples didn't even have Floyd's identification number on it (it had been mislabeled in a French lab...UNACCEPTABLE!!!!

Honestly, I've long been suspicious of the whole doping culture in cycling.  There are people who will swear up and down that Armstrong is dirty (and now you can add Landis's name to that list) however the guy has never failed a control.

Now, if the controls are completely worthless, it casts doubt both on who HAS been proven guilty (because they're essentially admitting they're incompetent) and those who HAVEN'T.

It's pretty hard to tell what's going through Floyd Landis's head these days.  Imagine going from the pinnacle of your profession to the absolute bottom rung all within the course of a year.  His world has gone topsy turvy and I know that I would have reacted a lot worse than Floyd had I been in his shoes.  I hope he gets it together soon and manages to put all this behind him, but until he offers a "confession" that includes a few words about the Tour de France, this issue isn't going to stop dogging him (or his conscience if that's what he's really worried about).

2010 Tour of California -- Bay Area Stages

Living in San Jose, I was able to catch Stages 3 & 4 of the Tour of California as the ride rolled through the Bay Area. Luckily, the weather improved from the heavy rains that plagued Stage 2 up North.

Stage 3

Stage 3 went from San Francisco down to Santa Cruz, mostly along Hwy. 1 with two climbs jutting inland. I rode along Hwy. 9 from Saratoga to Santa Cruz to catch the finish, rocking my sleek CyclovaXC kit (shameless plug)!

There was a mass of humanity down by the boardwalk, even though we arrived over an hour before the finish. To get some good pics, we settled down near the 200m-to-go marker.

David Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer (local favorite from Sonoma), and Michael Rogers succeeded in the breakaway, pictured right before the final turn. David ended up winning the stage.

Shortly after, Lance and Levi did a (for lack of a better term) victory lap, going backwards around the last turn & pumping up the crowd.

Stage 4

Stage 4 started in downtown San Jose, weaving its way through the East Bay mountains towards Modesto. The most difficult climb was up Sierra Road, which must've been tough considering they hit in on mile 8. I decided to watch further into the route, halfway up the Calaveras wall. Although it's a short climb, it's right after a sharp turn making it all but impossible to keep your momentum.

Four riders broke away by two and a half minutes from the main group, one each from Teams Rabobank, JellyBelly, QuickStep, and Bissell.

A chase group with three riders came by about a minute later.

The peloton rolled through about a minute after that, headed by Teams Garmin-Slipstream, RadioShack, and Columbia-HTC.

Francesso Chicchi from Team LiquiGas ended up winning the stage.

All in all, it was really cool to see pro riders in person for the first time and the turnout from fans was impressive. The rainfall we're having this late in the year is rare, and adds some irony to Amgen moving the race from February to May.

Full-res versions of my pictures from both stages can be downloaded here.

Notes for Contributors to CyclovaXC

If you're reading this article it's because: 1. You want to contribute some articles to CyclovaXC (in which case you need to send me your email so I can send you a permission to access the dashboard) or 2.  You've already received a posting permission and you're wondering how to get started.  Either one is great!  We need the help.  We have been successful up until now in putting up one article a day, but it seems like you can't have breakfast without somebody deciding you should be doing something else for them...so sometimes time gets scarce.

Our purpose with CyclovaXC is to just have some sort of Run/Bike/Ski article up every day with a picture.  We figure most people read us either in the morning when they flip on their computer, or when they need a "cycle" break at work (and a quick laugh).  So we keep our articles pretty casual, but feel free to write some serious stuff too (like a 12 month training program over a week or something).  I've found that since we started this page I've been walking around with a camera wherever I go (especially on runs/bike rides).  Once you start thinking about things to write about, the possible topics are endless (training stories, jerks in cars, race stories, race reviews, "brilliant" inventions, forming a men with shaved legs support group, etc.).

We also started this up because most cycling magazines are really dry and boring as hell (with the exception of MY articles which have appeared [infrequently] in these magazines).  Go ahead and submit your stuff to Silent Sports and Bicycling or whatever, but if you do make sure you let us know so we can go to those pages and "like" them (so you get more articles sold there and become a billionaire).

The basic format we use is easy.  Here are the important things to remember:

1.  We publish one article per day, so if there is already an article up on the day you are writing, check to see what day is empty by clicking the "edit posts" tab.  The articles that have been published will have a date behind them in black, and the articles that are scheduled to be published will have "scheduled" written in orange.  When you discover what the next free date is that doesn't have anything scheduled to be published, simply schedule your article for that date (we always schedule things to publish at 6:00 AM).  Here's an article about how to schedule for the future:

2.  Try to find an image to put up at the top.  I like to make it as big as possible.  Our publishing space for images is 640 pixels wide.  However, even if you have an image that is that big, it won't display that big unless you do a couple tricks with HTML.  I'll write an article about that in the future (so keep your eyes peeled for it).

3.  Justify your article (I just think that looks better).

4.  Minimal profanity or XXX stuff (I hate to say zero just because it's always nice to have hope, but by and large cyclists/runners/skiers are fairly conservative...so no pictures of you naked...or video...not even audio of you naked [you can always tell somehow]...typing naked is fine [I'm doing it right now in fact]).

5.  Put your name or a small thumbnail picture of yourself right after the title picture (give credit where credit is due).  Feel free to put your email, etc., if you want as well.  Also, you can put a link to your web page or your business, but if you start writing too many things that sound like blatant ads, I might pull your permission (and nobody wants that).

That's pretty much it.  Feel free to post as much as you want on days that aren't accounted for.  Happy to have you aboard!

Comparing the Bike Jersey and the Ski Jersey

Well, there they are!  And seriously, what you're looking at is the product of a ton of hours of phone calls, design work, etc.  Even with great software like photoshop (where you can scrap up an image that looks more or less exactly what you want the final product to look like), you still have to help the professionals convert your idea into their format...and there are always a couple hiccups along the way.

Well, all that's done now and we're pretty happy with our bike and ski kit.  I would have liked to throw in a picture of the "Lime" style suit as well, but I don't have one of those laying around my house (they sell quickly...as do all things of beauty).

Anyway, in my ever present quest to find something to write an article about, I thought it might be fun to do a side by side comparison of our marvelous ski and bike suits.  Although they're inherently similar, I really do have to admit that the bike kit has some advances that really make it stand out.  One thing that's great is that V cut that tapers towards the waist (it's slimming, even on a fat guy like me).  Also, the two little CyclovaXC shields on the back are good because they suggest eyes (just like the camouflage of certain jungle frogs) so predators are much less likely to sneak up from behind and pounce on you.

The lighter green up in the shoulder area was a good call too.  You notice it as you're out riding or whatever (you glance over at your shoulder and, seeing the cheery green, you accelerate!).

Amazingly, this is actually the 4th suit that Frank and I have collaborated on and the 1st bike kit.  Hopefully we can take a break for a little while (although I know that people want vests...so we'll see what we can do about that).  For now, I just want to think about riding for a little while.

Bike Kits are In--Cyclops 2.10

Ahhh...it finally feels like summer. The sun is shining, it's like 70 some degrees, and when you get the chance you can just get out on your bike and bake for vast numbers of untold hours. Even better, you can now go out and bake in the CyclovaXC bike kit which has just arrived from Mt. Borah and is everything we hoped it would be. Those of you that have pre-ordered can expect to get your kits in the mail soon (Frank sent them out recently), and those of you who haven't gotten your checks in yet...well, just have them in hand when you come to get your kit (I've got a pregnant wife to feed remember).

In celebration of our new spectacular bike kit, Frank and I have decided to do a small group ride from Frank's house this Saturday May 22nd. Neither of us feel like we're in great shape right now (although that means less coming from Frank than it does from me since he's always fit), so look to do something like 45 miles or less at a moderate pace. The idea isn't to go out and thrash ourselves, we just want to ride and be social and enjoy the nice summer day (unless it's raining...but let's keep our fingers crossed).

For those of you who don't remember, Frank's house is at:

4417 30th Ave South
Minneapolis MN 55406

Come at 10 AM. See you there!

Here are the other pieces of spectacular news published in the last two weeks:

That's it! See you this Saturday and bike it like you like it!

The Bike Kits are in!

Hey Everyone! We just wanted to do a quick post and let you all know that the CyclovaXC bike shorts are in and they look even better than we had hoped. Frank and I met up at Rice Lake (it was a convenient place to meet for a plethora of reasons that I'm not going to get into) and did our first official team ride in our new CyclovaXC kits. Everything is as Mt. Borah promised it was going to be. The Chamois are very comfortable and the micro-grid (or whatever the heck the fancy fabric is called) is really nice. Also, the full length zipper zips ALL the way down (and back up again) making it a two-way high tech ultra-zipper with a carbon fiber inner core which is guaranteed never to rust or relent.

There will most assuredly be more posts about our cyclists doing vast and unimaginable things in the upcoming months.  And now I know who to look out for at Bike races so the next ones I go to I'll be sure to take some great action photos.

So, if you're fired up to get a CyclovaXC bike kit, click here for details (we ordered a couple extra because there are always a couple of stragglers...it doesn't matter WHAT you're doing...there are ALWAYS stragglers).

As of right now, the first CyclovaXC ride will probably be at the Chippewa Valley Century Ride (you don't have to ride a Century, I believe there are lengths of 30, 60, 75 and 100).  That's a good one because you can sit around and drink beer and eat brats afterward.  I'm also working with Frank to get something super casual set up for next weekend, but we don't know if it's happening yet (I'll keep you posted).

Mountain Bike Trail Profile: Minnesota River Bottoms, Twin Cities, MN

If you're looking for a bit of nature in the middle of "the cities" (Minneapolis / St. Paul) on a mountain bike, there are a couple of options for you. One of the best options is the Minnesota River Bottoms trail.

The Minnesota River meanders across the southern portion of the Twin Cities metro, intersecting with the Mississippi in the Fort Snelling area and then going west through Bloomington, down toward Shakopee, and on.

Nearly this entire area is covered in trails for varying user groups, on both sides of the river.

The south side of the river has a nice "jeep road" going along the river all the way from the Hwy 55 bridge to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. This is a nice cruise on a mountain bike.

The north side of the river however is where most people take their mountain bikes out. Officially, the trail stretches from the Indian Mound Park in Bloomington to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, also in Bloomington. This is about 11 miles of trail and a nice mix of fast single track, double track, a bit of gravel roads, and a few moderately technical sections as well. There are a number of access points to the trail, to view them, click HERE.

Katie, Frank, and Joe riding on the gravel section of the River Bottoms Trail. Photo Credit: Ryan Horkey

As this trail is relatively flat with a couple of longer gradual climbs, I personally find it to be ideal training for the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. It is definitely a trail where if you're feeling good, you can fly along in your big chain ring and get some high speed off road riding in.

If you find yourself riding through the middle section of the trail during the late summer months, you'll notice the itching nettles encroaching over the single track. When riding through this on a hot sweaty day, the nettles really burn. Once when riding with a friend through here, he commented that if you ride fast through this section and get some wind going, the nettles don't itch/burn as bad. Ever since, we call that section "wind on chins".

A major highlight and break from riding that I always enjoy is crossing Nine Mile Creek on the raft. The old raft pictured below was replaced last year after someone cut the ropes and the raft floated away. In any case, be careful walking down the slippery steps with your slippery bike shoes and use the ropes to pull yourself across.

A couple of riders crossing Nine Mile Creek on the old raft. Photo Credit: MORC, click on the photo to link back to their page.

Dust off that mountain bike and enjoy this great weather and all of the fantastic trails!

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Floyd Landis the Beer Man?

I hadn't been to a baseball game in about 7 years until last week, when ironically I went to two games at the new Twins stadium, known as Cyclova XC Field (whoops, I mean Target Field).

Anyway, new Cyclova XC team member Dan Knoblauch and I were there along with our ladies and cycling was the last thing on our minds as we had just gotten done with a long ride. Our focus was on eating as many $1 hot dogs as possible (Mondays are dollar dog nights at the stadium). Naturally, we got thirsty.

At first he appeared to be a mirage, but then we saw he was real. A handsome figure carrying many beers approached us whom looked like "Floyd Landis, the Beer Man". Being a man of good taste, "Floyd" was selling Grain Belt Premium along with some other swine water. We got ourselves a couple of Premiums, gave the man a tip, and he was off to sell more sustenance to the rest of the crowd.

Were we hallucinating, or just imagining this? We weren't certain, so we tipped back a few more brews while contemplating whether the 2006 Tour de France champion had just served us beer while watching the Twins crush the Detroit Tigers.

Why don't you be the judge? Does this beer man look like Floyd Landis?

The image to the below left was taken at the Twins Game last week while the image to the right I took at the 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race here in the Twin Cities.

Is Floyd moonlighting as a beer man at Target Field?

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The Nike 10K in Lima, Peru

Here's a picture of my wife and I warming up before the Nike 10K in Lima, Peru.  As you can see, we have vastly different styles of preparing for a race.  My wife is doing some sort of aerobic workout/warm-up, and I'm sitting down and staring at my feet angrilly.  Actually, this photo pretty accurately represents the different way we approach just about EVERY task or conflict in our life (they're complimentary methods).

In Peru, when people do races, EVERYBODY in the race wears the race shirt that is handed out with your entry fee.  It's not like here where everybody wears their favorite race singlet thus causing a rainbow spectrum of color to go sprinting off into history at the start of the event.  Nope, in Lima, everybody is dressed exactly the same (which makes it hard to spot people since nobody's wearing fantastic CyclovaXC gear).

However, all of this makes me think that Lima would be a great place to put on an event.  We could make up a bunch of CyclovaXC singlets and then have our runners go right through the center of town where we'd be sure to irritate the motorists and stop traffic and cause a bunch of accidents (any one of these plus the race would ensure that we'd end up in the local paper and wouldn't that be some great free advertising for the club?).

Well, that will be in a year or two.

For now, my wife and I are busy bringing a little baby into the world, so the focus is a little splayed out at the moment...but rest assured, soon there will be THREE little runners in my household (so imagine a third that's a cross between the two in the above picture and you'll have a pretty good idea of what the world's in for).

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When Are Landlords Going To See Bikes as Art?

I was glancing at Facebook the other day and I noticed a complaint from Dave Gabrys (of Cycleture) about how his landlord was springing him with some idiotic claim that he couldn't have his bikes in his appartment.

Now, I'm sure we've all been there.

Back when I was going to college at the vastly superior University of Wisconsin Eau Claire (that's where Einstein and Jesus went to name a few), I ran into the same problem with my landlady.

Now, I have to say that my landlady wasn't all that terrible, as long as you paid the rent on time, and didn't look at her sideways.  But when the day came for me to move out, she started having people over to look at the place at a horrendous rate (I mean shesh...the body hadn't even cooled yet).

Well, one of the things that drover her nuts was my marvelous and elegant bike rack that I had in the middle of the living room.  For some reason, some people take one look at a pristine and beautiful item like that and think only of pestilence and decay.  I wonder where they're coming from?  Sure, there might be a couple granules of dirt on the tires, but no more than you'd track in on your boots...and probably less in most cases...unless it's a mountain bike, but still!

I guess people can't recognize the beauty of a carbon fiber frame from 1997 or so.  My bike's a frickin' antique these days!  But it still propells me along at faster than I deserve to go considering how out of shape I am!  That thing is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

But I suppose it's a hard sell for some people.  Even my wife's initial idea was that the bikes would "go in the garage" (GASP!!!).

I guess other people have worse problems than this, but I can't imagine what they are.

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Check From Andrew (where's yours?)

I was just perusing through my photos looking for something to write an article on (so I wouldn't have to go out in the miserable, god awful weather of the day...I know some of you like it when it's just above freezing and raining...but those are hot tub and donuts days for me) when I came across this image of a check that I got from Andrew Johnson.

First of all, let me just note that Andrew's check really isn't as colorful as that in the image depicted above.  I inserted all those color blocks to hide the plethora of relevant information that's plastered all over the check (it's almost as bad as a Facebook page, you can get ANYTHING you want to assist you in identity theft on Facebook...note...don't put in your real birthday, even if it makes you feel guilty when 1,000 random people that you don't even really know [like everybody on Facebook] writes you and says "happy birthday" on a day that isn't even your birthday...don't feel bad.  Your "real" friends know what day your birthday is).

The reason I included this check (which was what Andrew still owed on his bike kit...where's YOUR payment by the way?) is because he put "To Feed Your Pregnant Wife" in the subject line.

Let me just say Andrew...THANKS!

Andrew is referring to this article in which I mentioned that all the proceeds from the sale of these bike kits
will go to the feeding of my pregnant wife.  However, that only inspired about HALF of you to send in your checks...which is a pretty poor reflection of character I might add...I mean, seriously, I guess I'll have to threaten a young puppy in my next article to get you guys to send your checks in.

But speaking of Andrew, the dude hasn't been writing any articles lately...What's up with that?  Hopefully he's out there dominating all the running races in a world all his own, and in a few more months he'll awake as if from a dream and start pounding away at the blog entry keys...we'll just have to cross our fingers and hope!

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