Asthma Medication Not Worth the Cost


After I found myself completely unable to breathe at last year's City of Lakes Loppet, I decided to just suck it up and head in to see the doctor.  I'd just got some insurance, but I was pretty convinced that it wasn't going to do me any good since American insurance companies are the most corrupt, horrible institutions on the face of the planet (seriously, I think we should tattoo a big red "I" on the foreheads of people who work for insurance companies so we know how to treat them if we see them walking down the street on a casual Sunday afternoon or something [it's been brought to my attention that this is an unfair thing to say...I suppose that's true, and once I thought about it I actually have friends in insurance.  I suppose I have to reserve my scorn for insurance executives with their own private islands off the coast of Florida...no more free refills at Perkins for THEM!]).


Well, the doctor I went in to see was nice enough (heck, I'd be nice too if somebody paid me $175 for a 15 minute visit).  We chatted for a while and I asked him if there was anything I could take besides Advair, since I knew that Advair was like 300 for a month's supply of medication.  The doctor immediately threw out like five different options that, according to him, worked just as well as Advair but cost around $15 per month.  However, when he called up the pharmacist to see if they still actually sold any of these medications, it turns out none of them were available.  You see, apparently Advair bought up all these equally effective but far less expensive medications so that they can continue to sell THEIR bullshit product at 50 or 100 times the cost.  The end result is that you're only allowed to BREATHE in America if you've got the cash.

Well, I had the guy give me a prescription for Advair anyway (not really intending to use it) but lo and behold when I went into Shopko to fill it out, my insurance actually worked and I only ended up paying about $50 for each Advair inhaler.  I felt good about this for a little while, until I realized that nobody on earth really pays $300 for the inhaler, that's just the bogus price they slap on those things to make you not complain about paying $50.  It's not like your insurance makes up the difference between the $300 on the sticker and the $50 you pay, so don't think you're getting some sort of special deal, it's all a LIE!  Furthermore, Advair itself probably only pays $.001 to PRODUCE their product, so it's all profit anyway.

Well, I used the Advair until the Birkie and felt better.  However, after a few more weeks the Advair started to weaken my immune system and I got this nasty infection in the back of my throat that kept me up all night coughing (yes, I gargled after every Advair use like it tells you to do...the problem is the stuff is POISON and you shouldn't use it).

So I've been off the Advair since then and I hope to stay off it as long as I can.  The problem is, I don't breathe all that well without some kind of medication...which sucks!

Sigh...

Seriously, the point these days isn't to aspire to reach the Olympics or anything, I'm just biking/running/skiing for basic fun and fitness.  Still, I just want to mention this to all the CyclovaXC athletes out there:

Be thankful if you can breathe.  It's the type of thing you don't realize how great it is until somebody takes it away!

It's Snowing Down Under!

This may come as a surprise, but there is snow on the ground, with more on the way - in the high mountains of Australia that is! All of you summer loving cyclists and runners here in the US can breathe a sigh of relief, it won't be snowing for a while here. However, for you hard core snow chasers (there is a few of us out there), there is snow and skiing to be had in Australia at the moment.


An early season snow storm brewing at Falls Creek Resort, Austraila (photo taken May 20, 2002)

World class XC destinations like Falls Creek, Perisher, and Mt Hotham currently have some snow on the ground and certainly a whole lot more on the way! Contrary to what many people think, some of the best xc skiing in the world is in the high mountains of Australia!

In a typical winter, several meters of snow fall in these area, with warm transitional temperatures that make for amazing fast yet firm snow! Think about it, south east Australia (the province of Victoria) is a bit closer to the equator than say, Wisconsin, so it is a warmer than the Midwest. However, once the winter storms get cranking, the weather systems come straight from Antarctica - one after another. In 2002, when I was down there, we got weekly blizzards with up to a full meter of snow falling per storm! Usually, there were several perfect blue sky days between the blizzards with warm temps during the day and freezing temps at night which makes for perfect crust skiing - but that is a whole different story! Keep an eye on the Aussies' winter weather forecasts here and enjoy.

Oh, by the way, if any Cyclova XC readers are planning a trip down under, perhaps I could fit into your ski bag - I'd love to get back down there sometime soon!


MEMBER PROFILE: Dan Knoblauch

A connoisseur of life's finer pleasures, things such as (but not limited to) fine beer, mixing (tunes), dollar dogs at pro baseball games, wicked fast video cards, and of course bicycles - Dan fits right in at Cyclova XC.

At this point, Dan wins the prize for being the Cyclova XC member who abides farthest from the Midwest, currently calling northern California home.


Dan fixin' to kick some ass on the bike!

Living in Nor Cal of course has its pro's and con's. A few cons would include a lack of cheese, sausage, cheap beer, and -30'F temps during the winter (that's right, without cold temps, you get soft :)). Pro's would include the fact that you can ride year round, mountains are near by, and you're never far from the sea breeze.

Back in college, Dan got into cycling simply as a means to get around town. Over the past several years, cycling has turned into a major passion - which he clearly eats, breathes, and sleeps. No surprise, Dan is now a man of several bikes, bangs out century road rides, and is a force on the bike.

Dan has been training hard this year the single day Seattle to Portland Bike ride. This is a 200+ mile single day epic from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR.

If you're lucky, you'll catch Dan around the Midwest on his visits back here a couple times per year. Welcome to the squad Dan and watch for more posts like this one right here on CyclovaXC.com from him!


Playing the Biathlon Ski Game


This weekend I got the chance to visit with Mike Lundeen who had just returned from his Honeymoon in Aruba.  As we were sitting around in his house waiting for Frank to show up, we started playing the biathlon game that I'd written about here (actually, now that I look at Amazon, there appear to be several biathlon video games available...so I don't know for sure which one Mike had).


So there we were, playing away, when Frank finally turned up, looked at what we were up to, sneered dismissively, and said, "so are we going for a bike ride or what?" (we did eventually go...and it rained on us like it has 3 out of the 4 bike rides I've done with Frank this year).
But anyway, this Biathlon game is...well...it was fun, but it's mainly just hitting the button "X" (which is fine with me because I'm freely willing to admit that video games have passed me by...I mean...I remember when there was just one big control stick with only ONE button in the upper right hand corner...these new games have like 20 buttons, and when people tell me "hit 'R-1'" I don't know what the hell they're talking about...all of this speculation makes me wonder if some 7 year old kid from today could beat me at the old Atari 7800 version of Ms. Pac Man or Joust or any other of the REAL video games that they used to make before they started hiring second rate voice actors to produce some virtual movie/action-adventure/"game").

Anyway, on Ski and Shoot or Biathlon (throughout the course of writing these articles, I've finally figured out how to spell that...I always wanted to put an extra "a" between the "h" and "l") you hit "X" to go forward constantly juggling the amount of "stamina" you use up to produce the right amount of "power."  If you go too hard, the skier becomes exhausted and you slow down to a crawl.  This whole "stamina" and "power" balance is shown by a ridiculously complicated control panel that looks like a bunch of floating arrows (Frank took one look at it and said, "What're all those arrows?" and we were like "we don't know" and Frank was like "Let's go biking").

So...anyway...I highly suggest you go out and buy every single wii or playstation biathlon video game right now just to encourage big budged video game manufacturers to continue making these games (eventually they'll probably make a good one).  In the meantime, I'll try to write some more bicycling articles.

A Malicious Insect


So there I am, innocently (as always) trying to ratchet my bike in place on my bike rack, and what do I encounter? A malicious bee which had lodged itself right into the thumb tab of my Thule rack!


Fortunately I spotted this little beast before I casually brushed up against the still potent back end (the front end is presumably rotting on some country highway somewhere).  Actually...is it even true that a bee can sting you even when it's dead?  Doesn't it take even a single neuron or something to trigger the sting...or is it all reflexive?  Well...I suppose if somebody really wants to find out they can come over to my house and test things with the back end of this bee that I've got stored on my car rack.

But the bigger question is: If I HAD brushed up against that bee, and subsequently been stung...and subsequently died of anaphylactic shock...WHO WOULD MY FAMILY SUE?

The only logical response is Thule...although I suppose you could have had a counter suit against Subaru, and maybe a lesser counter suit against Trek because they all shared a little bit of responsibility for luring me (through their ads and my subsequent purchases) into attempting to lift a bike onto a booby-trapped bike rack.

That's the great thing about America...somebody's always guilty, somebody always owes a bunch of money...and that person is NEVER you!

What to do with Slow Skis!

Shoot THEM! Obviously!!!

Ok, Ok, I realize that this is a little bit out of season, but I just started playing around with photoshop today (instead of doing any other of the approximately million things that I should be doing) and I figured out a way to make what I think is a pretty good enhanced cartoon.

Of course, the thing you have to remember with me is that I deal with photoshop the same way I play videogames (I crunch buttons at random and see what happens and then try to remember what I did). 

Oh, and the inspiration for this picture is Greg (I'm not even going to attempt to spell his last name...and it's probably better that I don't anyway because then this article won't appear the next time some potential employer...or current employer...types his name into a search engine just to make sure he's not doing anything scandalous).  Greg has been complaining about how his skis were slow last year, and it's Frank and my mission to make sure that never happens again.

However...in the meantime...this image hopefully will provide a little catharsis (I'm currently selling higher quality versions of the original for $2,000).

Think Snow!!!  (yeah, I know it was the first day of summer like two days ago...but whatever).

Oh, and one more thing...I couldn't get a "metallic" effect for the barrel of the gun...and since pretty much EVERYTHING I like to draw has a gun or a sword in it, I was wondering if anyone had any tactics they'd like to share?

Dave is the Terminator!


Yesterday I wrote an article about how Tommy looks a bit like William Wallace and I suggested that I might do some more CyclovaXC member/movie mock-ups. Well, my thoughts immediately turned to Dave, who I have to say, kind of reminds me of the Terminator!


Now, before I go any further, let me just say that Dave is the nicest guy on the planet (don't hurt me Mr. Terminator)...but if you ever happen to go skiing with him you'll probably end up vomiting blood within five or six seconds (actually, it's pretty brutal skiing or biking or running with ANYONE in the whole family...at least in my experience).

Actually, those of you who are TRUE XC-ski fans will recognize that the nickname "Terminator" has been applied to a skier before.  And that skier is the great Vegard Ulvang who cleaned house at the Albertville Olympics and even taught old Bjorn Daehlie a thing or two (again...it's perfectly respectful to call a skier "Terminator" I just want to emphasize that fact again and again and again...).

Tommy Looks Like William

Has anybody else ever noticed how much Tommy looks like William Wallace? Notice that I didn't say Mel Gibson...because Tommy doesn't look like Mel. He looks like William Wallce!

And not just ANY William Wallace, he looks like William Wallace in the middle of a ravenous horde with his face painted blue and white while holding a massive sword and screaming at the top of his lungs!

The thing is...he's not even TRYING!  He just LOOKS like the guy (maybe it's just the craziness in his eyes). Imagine if we could get Tommy to grow his hair shoulder length and then tease it and braid it and then paint his face blue and white and wear a kilt with an accompanying shield!  He'd be EXACTLY like William!

Anyway...some of you might have noticed that I like to find actors that our CyclovaXC people look like.  I matched Frank up with Clint Eastwood here (you have to scroll down to the bottom to see it).  And even Allan Lindsley got some treatment (check this out...it's like a 90% match...best movie of the summer by the way)!  Perhaps I'll have to make this a regular feature once new dudes/dudettes sign up for team kits (watch our numbers plummet).

Tommy Krenz Joins CyclovaXC!


We knew it would happen eventually! Tommy's been kind of holding out on us (for reasons which are still not entirely clear...but that's OK...he's more or less redeemed himself) for a while, but we knew he'd be getting a bike kit sooner or later. The fact is that we look frickin' awesome in our team gear...and anyone who knows Tommy knows that the guy loves to look awesome.


He finally caved at Mike and Lindsey's wedding thanks to a general sense of euphoria (you tend to get those at weddings) and an arm-bar that I applied to him in the parking lot (I snuck up unawares because I can't ever frickin' catch the guy when he knows I'm coming...luckily I'm SNEAKY).

For those of you who don't know, Mike is Frank's brother so we were all pretty pumped to attend his beautiful wedding (which came off without a hitch), and entailed great times, great food, great dancing (I was largely responsible for the great dancing...along with my wife...seriously...we were awesome), and great memories.  So good luck to MIKE AND LINDSEY, and congratulations to Tommy Krenz for his purchase and involvement with the best run/bike/ski team in the known or unknown universe!

I've got some good Tommy Krenz stories to tell, so stay tuned!  Should we have the week of Tommy Krenz now that he's on-board?  Perhaps....perhaps...

EVENT REPORT: Grandma's Marathon

On Saturday, my daughter and I had a great morning of spectating at Grandma's Marathon, not to mention my wife Abby running a fantastic half marathon!

As we were camping a a state park along Lake Superior's "north shore", the day started very early with the runners waking up at 4AM and on the road shortly after for the very early 6:30 AM start time. While this is early, in hindsight, it was nice for Abby to be done with her race and showered with coffee in hand by 9:00!

The winner of the ladies marathon, Deba Buzunesh of Ethiopia in the final mile

With the race generally heading southwest along the shore of Lake Superior, the strong west wind slowed the pace a bit for all runners. Still the winning times were relatively fast, including the lead lady at 2:31:35 and the lead man coming in with a time of 2:15:44 (as a point of comparison, Dick Beardsley's record setting time was 2:09:37).

Kenyans took the top 5 places in the men's marathon, including the above 3rd and 4th place

After spectating Grandma's, I'm again reminded at what a world class event this is. From the organization, to the great volunteers, to the amazing course, it is without question one of the top running events globally - one that you should be a part of!


My parting image: The final mile of the course on the cobble Superior Street in downtown Duluth is a spectacular finish to a world class race!



BIKE TECH: Locking Up Your Bike

The blink of an eye... That's how quickly your precious steed (bike) can disappear at the hands of a bike thief. While we've all stopped off at a cafe for lunch and leaned our bikes up against the building trusting that your bike would be fine, we really should always lock up our bikes.

I know of many people who have had bikes stolen from places they thought were safe and didn't have them locked. Heck, I even know a number of people who had their bikes (or parts of their bikes) stolen even though they were locked.


A bunch of bikes locked up to a fence in Minneapolis


Now that we've established the importance of locking up your ride, following are a few tips on how to most securely lock your bike:
  1. Simply having you bike locked is likely the biggest theft deterrent, even if you don't have it locked up properly. A bike locked up at all is infinitely more difficult to steal than a bike not locked up at all!
  2. When locking your bike, try to use a good quality U-Lock or thick cable lock by a reputable manufacturer such as Kryptonite or On Guard. Try to lock as much of your bike as possible to the street post or bike rack you're locking up to. A frame locked up is good, a frame and a wheel is better, and a frame and both wheels locked up is best!
  3. While it is very practical and easy to lock up your frame and rear wheel, it is difficult to lock both wheels and your frame with a single lock. With this said, having the front wheel on your bike as a bolt up wheel or using a locking skewer will greatly discourage wheel theft from your locked frame.
  4. If you do need to leave your bike unlocked, be sneaky and do things to make it difficult to steal. For example, I usually strap my helmet to the back side of my front wheel. This way, if someone tries to ride of with the bike, the helmet strap will get stuck in the fork and the wheel won't roll (hopefully they'll crash).
  5. It goes without saying, that when you have your bike on an auto rack, the bike should be locked to the rack and the rack should be locked to the car. If you park your car with bikes on it for any period of time, it may even be a good idea to loop a cable lock through wheels and frames as well, as wheels aren't locked to auto racks.
The author's bike locked up and also demonstrating the "helmet trick" (see number 4 above)



Don't Forget Breakfast Before you Run Grandma's Marathon

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If you're heading out to do Grandma's marathon today (like I'm not...sniff...sniff...because I have to go to a class so I can get my teacher's license and maybe teach YOUR children someday), you should make sure you have a big, massive breakfast. Running 42 KM burns a lot of calories, so you should pack your stomach full of bacon, eggs, and toast with big, greasy gobs of butter.


I believe this little shot of breakfast was from the restaurant up at Hayward (Coopers I think, I know it's not Coops which is right across the street...is every restaurant in Hayward some variation of the word Coop?).  Let me tell you that Coopers serves the best breakfast in the entire universe.  There are days when I wake up in the morning and I can taste the butter and the homemade jam (they serve you homemade jam there which is the best thing ever).

This is about the same sort of breakfast that I witnessed Frank Lundeen consume before he ran his first Whistlestop marathon.  I giggled the whole time, and then I grabbed the car and drove around trying to get a picture of Frank retching his guts out (he actually ate a whole barnbuster breakfast with sausage links and everything).  However, I was disappointed each time to just find Frank with a big grin plastered on his face, running along with perfect ease.  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Frank sick once ever...

...hmmm....

Genetically engineered anyone?

Well, I know that I at least can't eat a big egg breakfast like the one pictured above before running.  But I wish I could...only super humans like Frank Lundeen are allowed that little joy of life apparently...

Lance Armstrong partners with Honey Stinger

Lance Armstrong is great at grabbing headlines, including the headlines of CyclovaXC.com! Recently, it became public knowledge that he has joined the "ownership team" of Colorado based Honey Stinger.

Apparently, Lance first bumped into Honey Stinger founder Len Zanni at the 12 Hours of Snowmass mountain bike race in Snowmass, CO last year. From there, the wheels started turning and now it's official.



Lance takes a break from riding with the Honey Stinger crew. Photo Credit: Stephen Regenold


While the conditions of his partnership aren't fully known, Lance will be working with the Honey Stinger team on product development and will likely be featured in their advertising and promotional materials. After the Snowmass 12 Hour race last year, Lance was quoted as saying, "I was impressed with the great taste and energy they (honey stinger energy gels) provided. Honey Stinger works for me in training and racing because you want to eat them and they work. I’m excited to be part of the Stinger team and work with them on expanding the products and business."

On a personal note, I used to work as a Sales Rep for Honey Stinger and must say from experience that it's a fantastic product. Honey Stinger gels are pure honey with some flavoring, sodium, and B vitamins. In the end, though, it is 99.999 percent honey - you can put it on your toast in the morning and fuel up with it during a race. Check it out, it's great stuff and a company ran by a great group of folks!


Good Luck Grandma's Marathoners!--Cyclops 2.12


Wow! Isn't it amazing how fast Grandma's marathon creeps up on us every year? I always like to put Grandma's on my calendar so I can truly suffer for four or five or six hours. The way I see it, once you've utterly destroyed yourself the way you only can at a marathon, you're ready for the Birkie.


However, much to my utter disgust, I'm not going to be able to run Grandma's this year. You see, the prospect of my wife being pregnant caused me to freak out and decide that I couldn't just hustle for money anymore. So I signed up for a fast track teacher licensure program (because everybody who has ever met me says, "man...THAT guy should be molding the minds of our next generation"). Well, this program only meets like four times in the summer, but OF COURSE one of the days had to be on Grandma's Marathon (at least it wasn't on the day of Mike Lundeen's wedding)! I went up to the teacher and asked if I could skip the class and make up for it later somehow...but of course she couldn't conceive of that happening so I'm stuck not doing the marathon.

But you know...it's a totally lame excuse and I know I'm just going to be sick to my stomach all day Saturday. The worst part is that once I found out I wasn't going to be able to do Grandma's I pretty much stopped training for it (and in all reality, the training is far more important than the actual event). You NEED something like Grandma's marathon sitting and staring at you from a distance like some angry, fire breathing beast to motivate you. You have to be TERRIFIED of the prospect of HOURS of HORRIBLE pain to get you to not eat that last donut, or to run an extra 10 K that evening before settling down to watch some reruns of Jeopardy.

So here I am...NOT in shape and NOT about to go up and do Grandma's. I'm not going to be able to drive up there the night before and enjoy the expo and get all jittery as I pick up my number. I'm not going to be able to scrounge around for some place to sleep, or suffer through a wet night at Pattison state park (I should tell you about that some time). I'm not going to have to decide at 6 AM whether I should take the buses or the train to the starting line (pssst...take the buses). And I'm not going to be able to suffer through 26.2 miles with a bunch of other wackos and experience that finishing euphoria at the end as I stand in waist deep Lake Superior freezing water.

Man...NOT doing Grandma's SUCKS! So for all of you out there who ARE doing it, congratulations! Make sure you send me plenty of photos and plenty of race stories about your day (I want to hear EVERYBODY'S race adventure, from first place to last)!

But, since Grandma's is still a few days away, here are some other marvelous events you can read about:

Mountain Bike Trail Profile: Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis, MN

Bike Tech Video: How to Install Handlebar Tape

Ski Tech: The NEW Salomon Pro Pulse Classic Binding

Bike, Run, and Rollerski Trail Profile: Gandy Dancer Trail

Blogger's Back Up and Running!

More CyclovaXC Team rides in the Rain

Allan Shows me Where He Put His Foot Through His Rear Wheel

What Does the Name CyclovaXC mean?

Please! No Games of "Grab-Ass" on Team Rides

Member Profile: David Landgraf

Track Stand Frank

How To Clean Your Bike Jersey

Watermelon, Nectar of the Cycling Gods

Bike Doping?

That's it! Remember to drink a beer at about mile 20 at Grandma's. The carbos take you home and the alcohol dulls the pain! Good luck!

Bike Doping?

Last week, news broke on several European road racing websites that accused World Champion Fabian Cancellera of "bike doping". If you haven't heard about this, you're probably wondering the same thing I did when I read the headline, what the heck is "bike doping"?

Well, it turns out that Cancellera is accused of having a small electric motor in the down tube of his bike at the Tour of Flanders and that he used it in the decisive attack that won him the prestigious
Spring Classic event.

The first known accusation of bike doping occurred during the 2009 Giro d'Italia by the Italian newspaper
Il Giornale. The newspaper claimed that the motor could give a racer a boost of 50 watts of power for a short period of time. Additional European TV commentators (imagine if your average TV news reporter in the US was so focused on cycling) have reported accusations of various pro racers bike doping since, however, most of those accusations have been unnoticed until they turned to World Time Trial Champion Cancellera.

Last week, a video surfaced on You Tube "explaining" how bike doping works and specifically shows the equipment involved. Check it out below:




I feel compelled to say that I don't believe there is a harder working or more fit cyclist in the Pro Peleton than Cancellera and I believe it when he denies using any sort of hidden bike motor in his recent Tour of Flanders win. He is simply that good!

Finally, one man's problem is another man's opportunity. Look for advertising campaigns from bike industry companies claiming that riding their bikes is like "bike doping" such as the below mock ad which is all over the blog world.


This ad making a mockery of bike doping may be seen in the coming issues of cycling mags.


Watermelon: Nectar of the Cycling Gods!


I tell ya...nothing's better than finishing a ride and then just destroying a watermelon.  The first part of watermelon awesomeness is that they're so similar in size and weight to a human head.


Seriously, I think chopping watermelon up is a perfectly legitimate reason to own a Samurai sword.  You can just HAVE AT that thing with little bits and pieces flying into the air in all directions (it's cathartic).  But make sure there is a "safety zone" because...well, you know.

But you don't even have to limit yourself to edged weapons when destroying a watermelon.  It's GOOD for you to just smash one up with guns, or with a mallet, or with your bare hands.  Heck, you could grab the watermelon off the table and wrestle it to the ground and gnaw on it and try to spark some subliminal memory of when you were a caveman or something (subliminal memories like that are extremely soothing and healthy to release).

The best part of all this is that it's CHEAP and it's LEGAL!  If Michael Vick had discovered watermelon abuse, he would have never gone to jail for dog fighting.  If Jessie James and Tiger Woods had discovered it, they'd still be happily married now.

And the absolute best part about this is after you're done taking out all the left-over repressed anger (that you didn't burn up on the bike ride) out on the watermelon, you can EAT it.  Yeah!  You can crawl around the yard and pick up all the little bits and pieces and mangled, dangling bits of red flesh and you can STUFF them all into your face!

Watermelon is AWESOME because it's exactly what you need after a bike ride.  I don't know about you, but I get BORED with drinking all that darn water.  It seems like I gulp down gallons of that stuff, and you just have to keep drinking and keep drinking and keep drinking it.

However, if you hydrate in the form of eating watermelon, you can consume several gallons of water without hardly even noticing it because it's so darn entertaining.

Until now, the only drawback that I've perceived in watermelon is that it doesn't go real good with beer (well...that's what Frank says...but I haven't experienced that problem).

Watermelon ROCKS!

How To Clean Your Bike Jersey!


After you get done with a long and terrible ride and the forces of nature are beating you down and the pillars of the universe are tumbling down about you...you might be faced with the problem of jersey-soiledness.


This was the issue I was confronted with a few weeks back after completing a crazy ride in the rain at Frank's house (we were dive-bombed by commercial airliners the whole frickin' time...which gets me to thinking that we really do need our own CyclovaXC personal jet).

Anyway, at home I just jump in the shower with all my bike stuff on and slowly kind of peel out of it as I wash myself off (it's quite a sight as you can imagine...thank god we've got a full-length zip or I'd probably have tied myself into a knot months ago).

Well, at the aforementioned ride at Frank's house, I became disconcerted by all the speckles of grease and bits of worms that my jersey had accumulated (that's the worst part of riding in the rain...the worms swim up to the surface and then they just lay there dumbly on the asphalt for you to crush them and split them in two.  Your tires then TOSS them up into the air where the tiny chunks are embedded into your clothing [as I write this...I'm imagining a slow-mo special effects scene a la CSI or something]).

So there I was, covered in water, dirt and worm bits, when I decided that my salvation was at hand in the form of an industrial strength home and garden water spray head attachment.  So I peeled myself out of my jersey and propped it up over a nearby chair and hosed the sucker down!  Within seconds, all the worm bits were gone and my jersey was better than ever.

It was a moment of pure celebration...right up until I realized I was standing in the back yard of the wrong house and the cops were pulling into the driveway.

Sigh...

Let me just mention that jail's not a good place to go when dressed in your CyclovaXC garb.  I'm going to leave it at that...

Track Stand Frank

If you ever go riding with Frank, you'll notice that he never unclips from his pedals at stop lights.  Nope, he just stands there calmly defying the laws of physics while everybody else just stands and stares (this picture doesn't do it justice).

In fact, half the time Frank will be continuing with a casual conversation as he rocks gently back and forth keeping the tension in his chain as he awaits the changing of the light (so he can sprint off like a madman while the rest of us waste precious time attempting to get that tiny little cleat into that always-difficult-to-find pedal sweet spot).

As you're standing there with Frank, a part of your mind might peep up and say, "that looks a little dangerous, like he's going to topple over right into me."  However, the logical part of your mind responds by saying, "are you crazy?  That's FRANK we're talking about...he'd never do anything to put another human life in danger...he's got it TOTALLY under control."

So you are put at ease as Frank continues to perch there miraculously with his perfect track stand form, and as beautiful, voluptuous women run up to him and tell him how he's the biggest stud they've ever seen and they want to bear his children.  He just brushes them away of course with a slightly annoyed expression of supreme superiority.

You know...as I write this...I'm starting to hate that guy...

MEMBER PROFILE: Dave Landgraf

The name Dave Landgraf is well known among many XC Skiing circles, where to even start...

Perhaps Dave is most known in the ski community as a "Founder of the American Birkiebeiner". Dave is one of only 4 people that have skied every single Birkie (the first one being in 1973), which is a super human feat! Not only has Dave completed each Birkie, he literally seems to get faster each year. He always finishes in the top 200 men, with his 2009 finish being in a speedy 2:21:52, good for 192nd place!


Log on to the Birkie hompage, you'll see Dave on the upper right corner every day!

In addition to skiing the Birkie, Dave can be found at many other ski races, across the Midwest and beyond. This past January, he traveled to Sweden for the World Master's Championships with fellow Cyclova XC team member Alan Lindsley. With many US Master's National Championship Titles to his credit, he gave the world's best Master Skiers a true run for their money!


Cyclova XC Team members Dave Landgraf and Alan Lindsley at the 2010 World Master's XC Ski Championships

In addition to being a passionate skier, Dave gives much back to the XC Ski Community. For many years, Dave has been instrumental in the development of the Hickory Ridge Ski Trails, near Bloomer, WI.

During the off season, Dave can be found enjoying the outdoors and frequently is out training usually focusing on roller skiing, hill bounding, and cycling. While not focused on training, Dave enjoys spending time with his great family, whom all also enjoy XC Skiing.

Watch out, Dave is only getting faster as he now perhaps has more time to train due to his recent retirement from teaching!

Get to know Dave, he's a true gentleman of the sport, has a wealth of experience, and likely can out ski you any day of the week :)

Dave, we're thrilled to have you!