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Cross Country Skis For Sale on E-bay?

You can pretty much get everything you want and a few things you don't on ebay.  There is the occasional day in which I don't know what to do (or my eyes are bloodshot and watery from staring at the empty writing space of my CyclovaXC blog...sniff...), so I just jump on ebay and see what kind of trouble I can get into.

Aside from all the code words for buying contraband (I don't know any of them so don't ask), I decided to entertain myself by seeing what kind of XC ski equipment was available.  

My plan was to buy a pair of cheap Solomon boots so that I don't continue to destroy my good Solomon boots this rollerski season.  Now I know that a good percentage of all the Solomon boots that are sold every year do nothing but languish in a closet after one miserable failed attempt to go skiing, so I thought there might be a bargain or two. 

Sadly, the only pairs of Solomon boots that I found had either three ring bindings, or that single metal loop that stuck out of the toe like one of those rings you occasionally see on a bull's nose.

Not willing to give up so quickly, I did a search for XC skis and got a plethora of kind of interesting options.

Now, it's certainly fairly absurd to think that you're going to be able to find a pair of Birkie caliber skis on a website that you can buy and ski on without even standing upon them for a flex test...but if the price is right, why not take a flyer?  At the very least you'll have yourself a new pair of rock skis!  And heck, you might be able to turn around and unload these puppies for a profit!

Well, my various searches eventually led me here (I'm not sure if that link is going to last forever), and I think that if you were sitting at work bored some day, you might want to take a little spin around the Cross-country corner of ebay.  You never know when somebody decides to part with something that's accidentally worth a whole lot more than s/he has any right to imagine (word to the wise though...avoid looking at any of the close up shots of the bases since they're pretty much guaranteed to be an example of ski abuse).

The Definitive "Birkie" Image

I was digging through some ancient files the other day and I came across this Birch Scroll from 1998.  Now, although the box I was digging through was filled to the brim with a plethora of useless papers that did nothing but cause a fire hazard and take up space, I wasn't able to bring myself to throw this battered old Birkie summary away.

I mean...just LOOK at that cover!

This is just simply the definitive Birkie image.  At least for the American Birkebeiner which seems to have adopted it.  I can't help but wonder if the true, original, Norwegian Birkebeiner has the same affinity for this work of art by Knud Larsen Bergslien (1827-1908).

In case your curious to know what other things old Knud painted...here's his wiki page.

Here's some more of his work on artnet.

From the look of things, it appears that this painting (titled "The Flight of the Infant prince Hakon") was the dude's "Sgt. Pepper."

Well, I think having your work be the definitive image for the greatest ski race in the Western Hemisphere is a pretty good idea.  Here's too ya' Knud (you know...he seriously should have done a self-portrait of himself going down some stairs and titled it "Knud Descending a Staircase"...I mean...seriously, that's obvious!).

Another Cure for Road Rash

Image Courtesy of: 

Todd Rosvold just sent me these words in response to my article on curing road rash from a while ago.  Thanks for the good advice Todd!

I just read your blog on treating road rash. Good reading and it happens to everyone eventually. Sometimes repeatedly.

Hydrogen peroxide will get the area clean, but there’s a much better way to get it healing properly. Unfortunately I have a lot of experience with this. Road rash is similar to a second or third degree burn; the skin is badly damaged and the underlying tissue is exposed to the air. Allowing the wound to be exposed during healing causes scabbing and slows the process down. It also causes scarring and a higher risk of infection. If you can get it, Silvadene, or Thermazene – both the generic equivalent is silver sulfadiazine, heals the wounds much quicker and with much less scarring or risk of infection than other creams or exposing the wound to the air.

Silvadene is available by prescription only (I guard the jar in my equipment bag with my life), but I believe Thermazene is available over the counter. The wound needs to be covered with gauze bandages after careful cleaning and applying the medicine, and bandages need to be changed regularly.

A doctor who does a lot of riding and used to race very competitively gave me this tip, and it’s worked well for me and my kids. Have some handy for the next time rider meets the road. It really works.


Aaron James calls Bozeman, MT home and works for the legendary outdoor company known as Pacific Outdoor Equipment. He comes back to the Midwest from time to time to visit family, as both he and his wife grew up here.

Following is an interview I recently did with Aaron so CyclovaXC.com readers and team members can get to know him. If you're in the Bozeman area and see a Cyclova XC kit on the roads or trails, give that person a shout - it's likely Aaron!

Aaron grew up loving his bike as seen here in 1985!

Frank: What drew you to Cyclova XC?
Aaron: I was drawn to Cyclova XC because of my mutual interest in the sports that the group participates in, the connection back to my roots in the Midwest, and because I think that community organizations are much more interesting that large unseated groups. I look forward to sharing future stories, but for the time being, really enjoy the point of view and interesting articles posted on the feed as well as the company of the really genuine folks who are participating.

Frank: Why do you love the sports of cycling, xc skiing, and running?
Aaron: I love these endurance sports because of the places they take me, the way they make me feel (ie tired), and all of the fun folks that I have met participating in them. That’s not to say that you need a team of people to play, and that is another reason why I enjoy them. I can take off after work, wake up early in the morning, or plan on the weekend, grab the dogs or some minimal equipment and get out. There is just nothing like getting lost in the beauty of the environment around us for hours on end.

Frank: Do you plan on doing any events in the coming year?
Aaron: I just got into bike racing this last year, so that was new, and is leading into a season on Cyclocross this fall. I will be chasing my wife around a couple marathons in the fall, and I expect to work in some 24hr ski races over the winter. Next year I hope to participate in more cycling races and jump back into some long trail runs. We have an event called the Devils Backbone that I have raced a couple of times, and might work that into the plan for 2011. I would also like to look into some 24hr and long distance races on the bikes next year, both on and off road.

Frank: What do you ride/ski/run on (equipment)?
Aaron: Salsa Podio roadie with SRAM Rival components, conti tires.......Salsa chili con crosso cross bike with SRAM Rival and FSA components conti tires.....Diamondback DBR SL MTB with an XT setup, WTB tires… Most of my bikes have some carbon upgrades to reduce vibrations and lighten them up. I’m really digging the new Osprey Hydraulics packs for back country MTB. I am also riding a Fargo for adventure cycling which is a new activity for me, bridging my backpacking gear on to the bike and travelling light.
Run – Lightweight clothes, ipod shuffle, trucker hat, TNF Boa pack, and Brooks Cascadia shoes.
Ski – Skating skiing on a Salomon setup with Leki HS Shark poles and my Cyclova XC beanie..... Tele Skiing with a range of skis from BD and Atomic, BD Push boots, Leki poles, and a mix of clothing depending on the day and focus.

Frank: Maybe a funny story about you out on a workout?
Aaron: Funny Story..... hmmm, I think that I have more inspiring stories fueled by the places that I have been because of my endurance activities. I have run into bears, moose, coyotes, lynx, elk and many kinds of deer up here in Montana. They are always fun to see, but I think that a ride that we did earlier this year, with snow still on the mountains, was one of the more enjoyable ones. I was out on a training ride with my road team, and we headed our North of town. It was a bluebird day, not a cloud in the sky, perfectly 60 degrees, and sunny. We all swooped around a corner, side by side, 8 deep, and cruised by a field nestled at the base of the mountains here in the valley. The field was far and wide, and so was the large herd of elk that was grazing off in the distance, a pair of baldies was circling closer to the road, and several other raptors were in the distance. The majestic beauty of that occasion was awesome. We were not too far away from civilization, but well within the wilderness of Montana. It is those instances that make these endurance sports so much fun, gets me in the saddle or tying the laces of my trail runners. Getting out, away, and into the wild is just so much fun.

Guy Walks Across USA

Ok, this video is a little dated and you've probably already seen it, but I figured I'd just throw it up on here to give you something to look at.

Honestly, this reminds me of a half-dozen hair-brained road trips that I've done with various people...including Frank, to get out to the mountains to do some cycling or out to the Upper peninsula to find some snow.  Seriously, if you can't easily recall a half-dozen road trips, then you've been wasting your time!  Time to quit your job, buy some gas guzzling over sized car from the 60's and get your butt on the road!

Your experience will be something like this video...at least the flashes that you remember.

ATV Police at Grandma's

Image Courtesy of: 

In line with Frank's truly funny and semi-inappropriate post from yesterday (it's especially funny when Frank is inappropriate...after all, everybody expects it from ME...where'd I get this bad reputation from anyway?), I thought I'd share a little story from Grandma's marathon about 2 years ago.

I was running Grandma's that year with my friend Chris.  Anyway, we made the mistake of taking the train up to the starting line rather than the buses.  By "mistake" I don't mean to say that it's not a pleasant trip by train.  The problem is that the train takes FOREVER and you start getting a little anxious as the seconds continue to tick off.

Well, in addition to being anxious, you're probably also well hydrated, so you need a bathroom.  Now, there was a bathroom on the train, but the first guy to use it utterly destroyed it (no more details...just imagine the worst possible thing ever).  So we were all waiting in desperation for the train to stop.

Runners pretty much take this all in stride.  We've got BIGGER things on our mind that potty breaks (like running a frickin' marathon).  So the train stopped and we all jumped off and ran over to a little field with some bushes.  I'd just finished my business, when these two ATV policemen came along like they were breaking up a Village People tribute party at some men's public rest area (you might have to think about that one for a second to realize what I'm saying).  Anyway, these guys were just DEAD SET on us not taking a leak in the woods before Grandma's.

Even my friend Chris (who is in law enforcement) was like...seriously?  


Honestly, if you stand around witnessing a marathon, you're going to see a lot nastier stuff than somebody taking a quick potty break.  People come in from those events pretty destroyed...that's the whole point.

Wouldn't it be great if we someday lived in a society that wasn't so squeamish about bodily functions?

I"m never going to forget those short-wearing ATV cops manhandling their 4X4's and screaming at all of us to "get our pants up!" as we went scurrying away from them...but seriously, what were they going to do?  Arrest us?  We should have just stood right in front of them and intentionally peed our pants.  What could they have done...cool protest, sort of like a hunger strike or setting yourself on fire!

When Nature Calls While Training

Sometimes you just "gotta go"! Whether you're out cycling, running, or skiing - rain, snow, or shine - it needs to happen!

Living out in the country make finding relief easy, but it can be more tricky in populated areas.

Now, I pride myself in the manner which I conduct myself, and respecting others is a value I hold dear. However, people who say that you should just wait until you find a bathroom simply don't understand. They likely would understand if they were to walk outside, away from their television, and drink a couple bottles of water. To be clear, I'm not endorsing public urination here, I'm simply saying that relieving yourself while outdoors is a part of our sports!

Anonymous runners take a nature break on a chilly Autumn run.

In the interest of being respectful, following are a few endurance athlete tricks that can help you remain, shall we say, "cloak" yourself while doing the deed.
  • Get off the road/trail. Nobody wants to bike/run/ski through your urine. Skiing in yellow snow really sucks...
  • Look around to check for others. Try to hold it until no one is around.
  • Find a spot on the trail/road where you can see a significant distance in both directions to keep watch for approaching people/motorists.
  • If you're with a group, sometimes the group pee stop works. Everyone pees while someone watches for traffic
  • Never, ever pee uphill
  • Never, ever pee in to the wind
  • Peeing while in motion on a bicycle is possible, but requires much practice and has a high rate of error
  • All of the above rules apply to both males and females (maybe except for the peeing while on a bicycle one). If you're a female whom isn't comfortable urinating outdoors, you may want to check out Go Girl.

EVENT REPORT: Reforestation Ramble WORS MTB Race

This event report was submitted by Cyclova XC member Steve Peplinski:

It was 2 12 mile laps. Halfway through the second lap, my injudicious early hammering caught up with me. My legs were gone, and the riders in front of me were pulling away. It was no longer racing, only surviving.

The race consists of sections of single track linked together by ski trails and forest roads. It's nigh impossible to pass on the single track.

New Cyclova XC team member atop the podium at the WORS race in.

I was about to enter the last single track section when a rider in the 35-39 age group slipped past me. (in WORS races, they write your age group on your number). "Your my hero!" he shouted as he passed "Go over 60!" That did lift my spirits a bit, and maybe it even made me go a little faster. Still, he pulled away, and by the time I was a within sight the finish, I must have looked pretty bad, slogging along on wasted legs.

Then a 55-59 rider shot past me. He had opened a 15 yard before it dawned on me that I might still have some reserve power left. I hunched over the bars and started spinning for all I was worth. I closed the gap and passed him just before the finish. The finish line workers had to chase me to pull my race tag. I was too tired to grab the brakes for a timely stop. As I unclipped and tried to make my cramping quads allow me to stand, the guy came up to me and with a fist bump, "Nice race" he said. "You didn't look like you had anything left when I passed you." "I didn't think I did either, but I had to try." I said

Later, when I checked the results, I found that I had won my age group. I'm sure the new Cyclova XC kit made the difference.

HISTORY: 3VBC and Riverbrook Nordic Ski Team Connection

From time to time on CyclovaXC.com, 3VBC, Team Leinenkugel's, and the Riverbrook Nordic Ski Team have come up. We certainly elude to this connection at the bottom of our Mission Statement page to provide some background, but I thought I'd put this post out there to fill in the dots on some of the history and elements that have contributed to Cyclova XC.

Back in September of 1997, Ben and I were getting to know each other and beating up (literally, until one of us bled) each other while doing rollerski workouts. We both also spent a lot of time cycling and doing a lot of bike racing. Personally, I did most of the local WISPORT stuff as well as a lot of USCF Jr and Sr races. I had spent 2 seasons riding with a team based out of Hudson at Art Doyle's Spokes and Pedals and really enjoyed the camaraderie and teamwork aspect of riding on a team

So, we figured that we could create that same level of camaraderie and fun with a Nordic Ski Team. On a dreary fall day in 1998, I walked into Riverbrook to chat with Kevin and Dede (founders and owners until ?2003?) and they loved the concept. I also chatted with a number of my cyclist friends that were also skiers, folks like Tommy Krenz, Kevin Rogers, Marva Sahs, Neal Lundeen, and many others. We met a number of times at Riverbrook, got our feet on the ground as a club, had some great suits made up, and became a truly unique ski club. Our membership included skiers of all stripes from first time skiers to numerous national champions. Above all, it was FUN. Fun to ski and fun to hang out with your skiing friends!

Tommy Krenz coming on to the lake in the 2000 Birkie.

While this was happening, I was also working at the very rapidly growing Riverbrook Bike and Ski. We figured it would also be fun to get a bike team going. So, we printed up a first round of red colored Riverbrook jerseys (there was also an older white version from '96 or so). This first season, there was only a few of us out there, and I was the only person I ever recall seeing at Road Races in the Red Team Riverbrook Jersey.

The following summer, I was able to do some arm twisting with my former team mates from the Hudson based team and the "reincarnated Team Leinies", or 3VBC was born (note that Terry Baillargeon and company had an Osceola based team also sponsored by Leinies back in the early to mid 90's). This team was an instant success due to the same focus on having fun that the ski team had. People were also drawn to it because beer is popular, particularly because our 2 team kits were themed after the popular Leinies Honey-Weiss and Red Lager beers. In fact, our road team kit looked just like the Honey-Weiss bottle label of the time and the Mountain bike kit looked just like the Red Lager label of the time.

Frank Lundeen, David Gabrys, and Mike Lundeen sporting the Leinies kits, July of 2003.

These 2 teams had much to celebrate over their lifetime, most importantly getting people into the sports that may have never otherwise done so! There were many races with 40+ team members showing up, dominating the start line. There were also many races with finish lines and podiums dominated by our team kits. These clubs also put on many events ranging from races (like the Shell Lake Road Race, the Rodeo Stampede MTB Race, the Schwan Shuffle, etc), to tours, to clinics, to weekly rides.

This spirit lives on with Cyclova XC! Come ride with us and let the good times roll!

Riding on Gravel

I was mentioning my mom's house the other day.  It's a nice house up there in rustic Spooner where all the bugs and the moose and the black bears of Northern Wisconsin conglomerate and have their wild jamboree.  The one thing there's a distinct lack of is traffic (which is music to a cyclists ears...you know, one of the nice things about having a beat up old car is that you can just smash into things whenever you want to...I don't know about you but I'm just TIRED of being all "careful" whenever I drive out of fear of smashing up my car somehow...when your car is FULL of dents you don't have to WORRY about that any more and it's really LIBERATING...but I wouldn't hit a cyclist obviously...and I digress).

One of the problems, however, with visiting my mom's house is that it's about...oh...a half mile down a gravel road.

Actually this isn't a huge problem, all it means is that you have to get used to riding your bicycle on gravel, with your 700 X 23 tires pumped up to 110 lbs of pressure.  Simple!

At first, the whole thought of riding on gravel made us nervous.  Real, hard packed gravel is fine, but if you get into some of that sand stuff, you might lose velocity (and therefore balance) relatively quickly.  The other annoying thing is that if you're going UPhill, you might find your wheel spinning out on you thus causing you to instantaneously stop (and probably fall over).  The way to beat this is to climb all hills while sitting in your seat...easier said than done (it can become a kind of strength/power exercise).

It was Frank, I think, who made us all feel ridiculous about our concerns over riding on gravel...of course that guy just bounds over huge stretches of territory like the incredible Hulk (the wheel isn't even touching the road for fifty miles at a time).

Now, I'm not saying that you should seek out gravel...but if you're in a position where you're forced to ride over it, it will probably give you some good skills to have (just in case Joseba Beloki blows a tire in front of you some time and you have to go careening down a mountain).

Team Scheels Jersey Not as Good As Ours

Pardon the semi-dodgy picture but I was taking this image on the sly.  You see, I was in Scheels at the time, and I've found that stores sometimes object to your running around and taking pictures of all their inventory...probably because they suspect you might be about to write a smart-ass blog about said inventory...hehe!

I guess when I was in Scheels (and this was easily two or three months ago), I was still basking in the warm glow of how totally awesome our bike kits are.  It's a constant source of pride to know that just a couple of dudes like Frank and myself can consistently come up with jersey/ski suit concepts that are markedly better than the NATIONAL TEAM jersey/ski suits of...well...INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES!


Our little garage effort better than the entire group effort of all the people of Angola...mind boggling.

Take, for example, this Scheels jersey.  Now, it's a nice enough jersey...but come on!  Where is the PANACHE!  It's essentially only red, white and black.  These days screen printing technology is at a level that you can do some really cool things with colors and fades and...I just don't understand why people design their jerseys with just straight lines anymore.


I guess it's just because most of the world isn't run with the same reckless entrepreneurial spirit as that which is found within the electronic pages of CyclovaXC....In the immortal words of "Time Bandits:"

We risk ALL!
Waiter...more CHAMPAGNE!

Feed Bonkingstein

I was at my mom's house up in Spooner the other day and I noticed her huge barrel of treats.  I couldn't help but ask her about it and her response was pretty astute.

She proceeded to tell me that every time she sees some kind of power food or energy gel listed for sale in one of the various bicycling/skiing/running magazines, she immediately buys a couple boxes.  She then just throws all the stuff into a jar by the door for those times when the Bonk gets her while she's out riding (it also provides pocket fodder for when she's heading out for a ride).

A couple years ago I wrote a story about the Bonk for Silent Sports which detailed the time I was scavenging discarded GU packets from the road side in the hopes that I could squeeze out just a pellet of fuel (I was in a bad state...hey if anybody still has a copy of that article, could you copy it and send it to me, I can't find the original anywhere).  That darn Bonk gets us, and you don't want to be an innocent bystander between a bonking athlete and any kind of food.

The one thing I've found out is that in the midst of a Bonk binge...I'm capable of eating ANYTHING!!!!  I've eaten...forget it...I'm not getting into it...

The point of this story is that even though some nasty gel bar from bike nashbar looks like a texture and a flavor you'd NEVER want to put in your mouth (thus it being on sale presumably), well, chances are it'd still be a good idea to have a few of those discount bars around so that nobody looses any limbs when you start frothing at the mouth like Bonkingstein.

So get a big oaken barrel and fill it up with nasty power gel and leave it out where a Bonking athlete can find a bit of relief.

Riding 1000 miles in a Summer

Honestly, when I moved back to the states I was under the illusion that I would be able to just pick up where I left off ten years ago and resume doing 15-20 hour training weeks.  Back when I was at the peak of my personal fitness (around ages 25, 26) I got a little jumpy if I didn't get my 15 or so hours in a week.


When I moved back to Wisconsin after living in Peru for the last 10 years, my first effort at a 15 hour week put me out of commission for about a month.  I don't know if it was a matter of age, weight, or the fact that I'd been working as a gourmet food critic for a year (weight again...sigh), but it wasn't possible for me to train like the old days.

I was depressed about this for a while, but there's no point in being depressed, so I resigned myself to just starting over.  In short, I was going to train like a guy in year one of a program instead of year ten.  In hindsight, it was the only logical course to follow (but hindsight's always easy now isn't it?).

These days between the baby and the various dirty jobs I'm always called upon to do, it's hard to find those 15 hours anyway.  But even if I had them, I'd be content to just do my 6 or 7 hours of training.  Add that up and you've got a 350 hour year (you need about 500 to be elite in my experience), which is nothing to sneeze at.  I'm finding now that instead of getting a little disgruntled about going for a bike ride...bit by bit it's becoming a joy once again.

I remember that when I first started out riding back when I was ten or eleven, we used to talk about doing a 1,000 mile summer.  Now, I know all the real racers of the area will kind of scoff at the idea of a 1,000 mile summer (because they get that many miles in MAY, let alone THE WHOLE SUMMER).  When you're doing 20 hours a week, the miles tick by pretty quickly, but at 6 or 7 hours a week, it takes a longer time for them to build up.

You know, the humbling experience of doing last year's birkie (which I approached with minimal preparation) has really opened my eyes to the wonderful variety of experiences people have at our local races.  As much as it's fun to ski fast, it's also fun to just see improvement in your abilities over time.

Even this year when I hit about 500 miles on the bike, I really started to feel comfortable in the saddle (a big deal).  Now as I approach 1,000 miles (that photo is old), I remember how that used to be a milestone for me when I was younger, and I'm kind of tickled by the fact that my reality has rotated around so that 1,000 miles has become a novelty again (I got that computer the day before the Chippewa Falls ride incidentally, so I guess I didn't count about two months of riding).

It will be fun next year to see what my odometer says on August 19th and to compare the rider I am then to the rider I was a year before!  That's why we do this isn't it?

Marco Pantani Wins the L'Alpe d'Huez

Today my mom came and visited me from Spooner bringing with her a box of my old junk that...well, was probably cluttering up her house. So after she took off, I found myself digging through the box and finding all kinds of old, archived treasures like this page I'd ripped out of a magazine a thousand years ago of Marco Pantani setting the record on L'Alpe d'Huez.  As far as I know, his record still stands (Armstrong would have beaten it, but they decided to measure it from a different place when Armstrong did his supreme effort...politics).

I always liked Pantani mainly because he was CLEARLY the best climber in the tour for a few years, but also because of his complete disdain for the polka dot jersey.  He didn't even try to win that, and used to berate Richard Virenque for winning all his polka dot jerseys by sprinting for the category 3 climbs (which is a pretty funny thing to say when you think about it).

Pantani wanted stage wins...and he even stole an overall win from Jan Ulrich in 1998 (he won the Giro that year as well...that was his year I suppose...much like Roche in 1987 [he deserves an article too honestly]).

Watching the 1998 tour was surreal.  Pantani lost a ridiculous amount of time in the prologue and early time trials and it looked like he was just chillin'.  But then he exploded and just dominated in the mountains (you might remember 1998 as the year Bobby Julich was 3rd).

The Italian fans used to love Pantani and they gave him the nickname "The Little Elephant"--it sounds better in Italian, it's something like il'elphantino.  Well, Pantani didn't want to deal with a lame nickname that called him an elephant (probably because you could see where the fans were coming from...he does kind of look like a little elephant as he rides), and he changed his name to The Pirate and started wearing bandannas, Goatees and the occasional parrot and eye patch (Ok, he didn't do those last two).  I remember Lance sort of berated him for "making up" his own nickname and said something like, "well...what if I started calling myself 'Big Tex'."  Lance has a point, but the most important thing is that Pantani got The Pirate to stick, nobody calls lance Big Tex (maybe we're all just looking for an excuse to call someone The Pirate).

Sadly, Pantani died on Valentine's day in 2004 from what appeared to be a cocaine overdose.  He never rose as high again as he did in 1998...but heck, few people have a year like that now do they?

Pantani's another one of those old school riders with panache.  Seriously, there aren't too many guys like that in the peloton now...nor have there ever been.

It's Rollerski season (almost)!--Cyclops 2.16

Well, Sofia's asleep so I have two seconds to sit down and hash out...er, I mean studiously compose...another brilliant issue of "THE CYCLOPS!"

First of all, I don't know if any of you have seen Stallone's new film "The Expendables" but you really should (this doesn't have a lot to do with skiing except that if you ski in the completely wrong way...you get a body like Stallone). Anyway, I haven't seen the film yet, but I wrote a review of it here you might enjoy (make sure you check out the video at the end that my brother did):

I have to admit, I'm thinking snow already. The Packers are playing, I've got the ski box on my vehicle, it's like 97 degrees (actually it's been kind of chilly today)...man...it's getting to be ROLLERSKI SEASON!

I simply LOVE rollerski season. It always brings me back to the good old days when Frank and I used to race each other around Shell Lake. The sprints would go on until one or the other of us fell down and then we'd skate back to the splayed out body of the victim and try to say "are you OK?" and sound sincere. Seriously...we used to just DESTROY ourselves doing that, we should have just gone down to the hardware store and bought some sandpaper and ripped the skin off our legs that way.

Oh...the other good news is that we've had a couple new people buy ski kits. Let's welcome Stephen Peplinski and Todd Rosvold. Some of you might know them from back in the Riverbrook/3VBC days (if you don't know what I'm talking about with Riverbrook/3VBC, I guess I'll have to do some posts on that).

We've also had a feed link of ours put up at fasterskier.com which is awesome since it's driving us a whole bunch of traffic (those of us in the XC ski community have to stick together).

Anyway, I'm just sort of rambling, so here are the articles from the last few weeks (my god...my baby's already 3 weeks old...seriously, it's like I just got out of the hospital):

Vintage 1929 Cross Country Ski

The other day my friend Neal decided to show me the vintage 1929 Cross Country ski that somebody else in his family had recently found buried away in a garage or attic somewhere.  Apparently, half of the ski had been broken off to be used as firewood, but the distinctive tip with its tin base and its wire repair work was enough to identify the ski for Neal.

You see, this was his father's ski, and Neal had, on numerous occasions, heard the story of how his dad had repaired his ski with a piece of wire when the tip broke.

As Neal told me the stories he'd heard about this little piece of history, it was neat to come to understand just how intrinsic cross-country skiing is to people of this region, and what a heritage of skiing we all share.

You see, back in 1929, you didn't go down to Hoigaard's to buy your equipment.  In fact, the legend is that Neal's dad carved this ski himself when he was about 10 and used it along with its partner to get to school every morning.  As near as anyone can guess, they used to travel "old school" back then and only use one ski pole instead of two.  Apparently the ski had been damaged in a crash, so what you're looking at in the above image is the expert repair work of a 10 year old kid who didn't feel like going through the trouble of carving himself a new ski.

Another story Neal told was that the boys skied to school every day, but the girls preferred to walk.  Well, as you can guess, it took only a few trips to school for the boys to lay down a pretty nice set of tracks that would harden and become much more effective as the year went on.  They had a problem, however, in that the girls tended to like to walk down the middle of the tracks.  To a non-skier this makes perfect sense since walking on any kind of path is better than breaking trail for yourself.  But as you can probably imagine, the skiers took none too kindly to the girls destroying their track.  By the end of the year, they'd finally convinced the girl to break their own trail, so the spring thaw found two parallel paths through the wood, one a foot path and one a ski trail for 10 year old boys.

The last thing Neal mentioned is something that probably should resonate for all of us.  On the day before the Birkie, we are probably all guilty of hoisting up our 10 ounce pieces of carbon fiber miracles with their $100 wax job and wishing that we could just have something strapped to our feet that would go just a little bit faster.  Well, the next time you feel like that, just try to remember that vintage 1929 ski with the tin bottom and the wire repair job and just consider what it might be like to try to complete a Birkie on that.

It's a shame the other half got burned up in the wood stove, but somehow I think the practical people that would make an item such as this would understand the necessity of staying warm.


Todd Rosvold has been a friend of many who are now Cyclova XC'ers since the mid 90's. His reasons for being a silent sport enthusiast are simple; to maintain fitness & health, inspiration from measurable improvements (faster times, moving up a wave, etc), and meeting new people whom share a passion for silent sports.

I recall when Todd and his brother Steve walked into the original Riverbrook Bike and Ski, back when it was on the north end of Spooner during the Summer of 1998. They happened to be greeted and served by a 19 year old Frank Lundeen and 20 year old David Gabrys. They were in the market for new road bikes and both ended up buying new Fondriest Top Lite Road bikes, decked out with full 9 speed Dura Ace, hand built wheels, etc. Todd's Fondreist ended up having a warranty issues, so it was replaced with a DeRosa Merak, which he is still riding today.

Todd as seen at a recent team ride at the "In Competition" shop in Green Bay, WI.

After buying that original Fondriest, he joined the "3VBC", better known as "Team Leines" which was well known in the Midwest Road Racing scene through the early 2000's, along with many other current Cyclova XC folk.

One of Todd's most memorable cycling memories was while out on a road ride north of Spooner with Frank Lundeen. And so the story goes, "We were winding our way up a hill on a road outside of Spooner and we got into the middle of a group of bear hunters waiting for their hounds to push their quarry out to the road. As we passed a logging trail, two bears came running straight at us at a full gallop, stopped dead, stood on their hind legs towering over us (my insides turned to mush), then both whirled around and ran back the way they came into the woods just as fast. After I was able to push my heart back down my throat a few minutes later, I remember telling you that was pretty neat. You said you saw bears while biking all the time. I believed it."

Todd has spent a ton of time riding and road racing with his first race being the 1993 Cumberland Wisport Road Race - he commented that he recalled Darrin Homme winning. Currently, Todd lives in Pulaski, WI which is north east of Green Bay. He can be found road or mountain biking in the area and he frequents the group rides at In Competition, a premier bike and ski shop in Green Bay.

In addition to cycling, Todd get out on inline skates on occasion and also spends a lot of time on his XC Skis in the winter, usually at the Green Bay Reforestation Camp. You'll often see him at the Birkie or Badger State Games events during the winter.

Todd is a true gentleman of the Peloton and we couldn't be happier to have him sporting the kit. Welcome Todd!

BIKE TECH: No more funky helmet!

Perhaps one of the most common things about hard core cyclists is the phenomena known as "helmet funk". Yuck! Have you ever picked up your helmet to put it on your beautiful, freshly shampooed hair only to be disgusted by what you see? If you're "normal", your answer surely was yes!

Think about it, how many hundreds of hours have you spent wearing (
IE sweating in) your trusty bike helmet without washing it?

I like to say that with bikes, "A clean bike is a happy bike". The same can certainly apply to bike helmets!

Ben riding with confidence due to his fresh helmet - really!

Washing your helmet from time to time is simply a good thing to do. I like to hose mine off from time to time, often with the garden hose when I'm washing off my bike. Scrubbing it down with some dish detergent will go a long way toward reducing the funk factor and making it look like new again.
The helmet pads and straps are often where the real funk lives, so spend extra time washing these key areas. Note that most of the foam helmet pads are held in by Velcro, so don't be afraid to pull them out so you can wash them more thoroughly.

If your helmet pads are beyond cleaning, they most likely are replaceable. Most top helmet brands like Lazer, Giro, Bell, and others all sell replacement helmet pads, which can really breathe new life into a stinky old helmet!

Clean out your helmet, that way you won't be wondering if the grimace on the face of the person drafting you is due to the stench or the burn in their legs from the pace you're setting!

The Case of the Annoying .gif

You might have noticed an annoying flashing light at the top of this page as of yesterday. That's because I put in a .gif file advertisement thingy (you see how much I know about blogging...yet I still manage to make stuff work...amazing).

Anyway, from my understanding, a .gif file is one of those annoying flashing files.  I made the one above by searching for "how to make a .gif file" and I came to a web page that had me upload a bunch of pictures and...presto...got the .gif.

I put this up there because Frank told me the other day that people are STILL having trouble finding the link to the page that has the information about our bike kits.  Well...for the record it's right here.  You can also get to that page by clicking on the "gear" link in the nav bar (that will lead you to a page of links, and I believe the third one says "Bike Kit") or you can click on the box on the left hand side of the page that is a small picture of Frank wearing the bike kit with the words "buy our bike kit" written across it (is anybody else starting to wonder how ANYBODY could miss seeing the link for the information on the bike kit?).

Well, IN ADDITION to these two other methods for finding the bike kit, you can now also click on the flashing .gif that appears just below the phrase "To the guy who complained about not finding the bike kit link."

I always like to be the thoughtful one...you're welcome.

Oh, and please write me and tell me how crazy that .gif is making you.  Try staring at it for six hours and then go on a bike ride...it's awesome!

(The Expendables comes out today...best movie ever...)

SKI TECH: Swix Sport Buys Toko

Every morning I eagerly go to several ski and bike industry websites looking for the day's news, but I'll admit that what I found this morning took me by surprise! No, there isn't a ski tunnel being built in Minneapolis, and no, Harley Davidson isn't buying Trek... Swix is buying Toko!

While a move like this isn't unprecedented, it is unusual in the ski industry for the top brand in a category to buy their closest competitor.

According to a quote from Rolf Schmid, CEO of the Swiss Mammut Sports Group (owner of Toko since 2002), "MAMMUT's rapid growth over recent years and the challenges of its future worldwide expansion require all our efforts and these are the driving factors behind this transaction." Essentially, Mammut is turning its exclusive focus to the core outdoor and mountaineering side of its business.

Once the ownership change occurs on September 1, 2010, Toko will be moving its Swiss offices from Seon to Altst├Ątten (Switzerland), which was Toko's former home and where the brands main factory is.

Toko's factory in Altst├Ątten, Switzerland will once again be Toko's Global Headquarters. Photo taken by the author in April of 2000.

Toko will retain its own unique brand identity globally, as well as much of its own staff and unique products. Ian Harvey, long time US Toko Brand Manager, will remain in his position as will Toko Sales Reps, Toko Tech Team members, and sponsored athletes/teams.

The author (and his brother Mike Lundeen) providing neutral racing service for Toko at the 2005 Mora Vasaloppet

There is speculation that this change will be a positive thing for the brand from a cash perspective, particularly considering Swix's history in Nordic, which is also Toko's strength here in the US.

Best of luck to our friends at Toko and Swix in this new partnership!

TECH: Cleaning and Fog Proofing Your Glasses

Whether cycling, skiing, running, or even driving your car, there are few things more annoying than having dirty glasses or glasses that fog up. Endurance athletes not only have to deal with every day dirt on their lenses, but also with thick nasty coats of sweat.

This certainly can't be avoided, but there are a few tricks you can employ which will help you to clean your glasses more easily and reduce fogging of the lenses.

Sweaty glasses like this can be a challenge to clean.

  • When shopping for athletic eye wear, only consider models which have vented lenses specifically designed to reduce fogging.
  • Clean your glasses regularly, as dirt attracts more dirt, which will scratch and damage even the highest quality lense.
  • Only use a micro fiber cloth specifically designed for cleaning lenses to clean your glasses. If a micro fiber cloth isn't available, use cotton, but never wool or synthetic fiber garmets. Wool and synthetic fibers are hydrophobic and repel water, generally smearing dirt and water around on the lense - not removing the dirt.
  • There are numerous lense cleaner products on the market, some of which work well. However, I've found that non abrasive tooth paste works best as a cleaner and for preventing fogging.
Yes, believe it or not, tooth paste is the secret weapon located in everyone's bathroom vanity! I first learned of this trick while ski racing in Australia. Think about it, if anyone knows how to prevent lenses from fogging, it's Australian XC Skiers as they're constantly skiing in rainy, foggy sleet!

From a technical standpoint, tooth paste is a logical cleaner and fogging preventer for eyewear. It cleans well, leaves a hydrophobic coat on the surface it is applied to, and of course smells fresh!

Finally, specifically to clean your lenses with tooth paste, I recommend following these steps:
  1. Moisten your lenses with water, to help loosen and rinse your lenses.
  2. Using a tiny dab of non-abrasive tooth paste, use your thumb to lightly scrub your lenses clean.
  3. Rinse off your lenses using water and rubbing the lense surface with your thumb again.
  4. Inspect the lense to ensure it is free to sweat, dirt, and that the film of tooth paste is rinsed off.
  5. Dry the lenses with an eye wear specific cloth or a soft cotton cloth.