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2012 Como Championships Race Report

Photo courtesy of skinnyski.com
Hey Folks! 
Happy New Year! I cracked open my CyclovaXC inbox and found this wonderful write-up from Ben Mullin about the 2012 Como Championships! This is EXACTLY the type of stuff I love to read (and post on CyclovaXC)! It's great to hear about how people's races went! I'm looking forward to a tremendous 2013 racing season (Ben's already got the jump on us), and hopefully I'll have at least 2 people doing their write-ups from the Sisu race. I have to say that Ben Mullin might be the favorite among the CyclovaXC guys who are competing there, it's either going to be him or Dallas (I'll be a half hour behind these two). Again, have a happy new year, and please turn in your car keys before you begin any celebrating this evening! Here's Ben's write up:

By Ben Mullin

My last ski race was 363 days ago. I have been skiing quite a bit, but have only included a few threshold level efforts. Nothing like a little 10+km race to blow out the cobwebs. Yup, that hurts.

After the big snow and then the big rain Como was a disaster and the City of St. Paul declared they were not going to groom again until we got more snow. We did get a few dustings and with the help of a few industrious folks with shovels and tarps and the city groomers the trails turned out pretty good. The new snow was mixed in with the old ice and turned into a nice wide skate deck that was reasonably firm. There were a few soft spots from the shoveling, but that is much better than bare ice or cart paths.

Being winter break for many collegiate skiers the field was pretty stacked with a bunch of fast kids. St. Scholastic had six guys there and there were a handful of other schools represented as well. In the end 18 of the top 21 spots came out of the 18-29 age group. I had no intention of competing with them anyway. My goal was to see some solid improvement over the past few years. I’m still dreaming of the glory days of high school, but in reality I’m happy with improvement and a step towards competitiveness.

The mass start free style race started with a field of about 80 men. I managed to skirt around the one cartwheeler I saw. Man I felt great the first 2km. And then I didn’t. I said blowing up with 7km to go sucks. Ben Jonjak countered with what he claims is a Bjorn Daehlie quote, “The problem isn’t the early pace, the problem is the blowing up.” Well said.

Well needless to say, I wasn’t used to skiing hard and fast. I started hemorrhaging time pretty quickly. Someone would come up behind me, rest for a minute and then go around and gap me. A short ways into the second lap when I was passed by someone who looked in less skier shape than I did I decided it was time to toughen up and actually catch a draft. About 2 km later after a few of the leading women  passed us I was recovering better and decided to catch a draft off of a young lady from St. Scholastica and left my initial inspiration behind. With a little over a km to go I decided it was now or never and passed her back. I actually managed to close the gap down on the three guys in front of us to just a few seconds but ran out of race to catch them. I’d like to say I threw down a Northug like finishing sprint, but honestly the finishing straight was the softest part of the course and I was happy I kept on my skis.

Racing hurts like hell, but it is so much fun. Some number crunching and fancy spreadsheet macros later and it was definitely my best race of the last few years. I’m still not competitive yet, but I’m heading the right direction. I’m signed up for another 69km of racing in the next 14 days so I’m hoping to race myself into, well race shape.

See you on the trails.

Zulma Rocking Her Cyclova Gear!

Here's a photo of Zulma out skiing! My wife is an excellent dancer, but she's still finding skis on her feet to be a little "slippery." She's taking to it very well though, and I think she might be ready to tackle a Kortelopet in a year or two.

We had another great weekend at the shop. I got to do a couple of skis with Jeff Wolf (he won a Birkie entry so we're giving him the crash course on technique...fitness he has). I watched Premium Rush with Jeff and Ben (it didn't have enough axe twirling for Jeff), and I got to talk skis with a ton of people who came in to the store.

I had been planning on skiing today, but I think a scratchy throat is going to keep me in bed until the Packer game. I've been fending off this cold with Zinc for a week, but I think the combination of exercise and lack of sleep is finally catching up with me. I need to gather my forces for upcoming New Year's celebrations!

All the best to everyone! We'll talk to you soon!

A Good Flick for Cyclists: Premium Rush

Have any of you heard about this film? Probably not because movies about bicycle couriers in New York tend to fly under the radar only to magically appear in Redbox.

Well...as cyclists you pretty much have to watch EVERY movie ever made about cycling, just because we're the market, and if we don't watch movies like this, they aren't going to keep making them.

Besides, how many times can you watch Breaking Away or American Flyers or the terrible Quicksilver (with Kevin Bacon no less...I remember it being terrible, but maybe it's secretly awesome).

For my money, Breaking Away remains the best cycling film, but Premium Rush is actually pretty fun. However, I don't want any CyclovaXC people to go out and attempt any of the tricks this guy pulls on his steel frame, fixed wheel which he likes to ride the wrong way through traffic without any breaks (he keeps saying something like "brakes mean death"...which is the type of thing I used to say when I was 19 too, but I've hit a lot of walls since then and the one remaining brain cell I have left is now more inclined to say something like "going slow means I can survive long enough to drink a beer later").

I would like some of you younger guys on our club to watch this film and tell me whether or not the tricks this guy does are even possible.  But don't get me wrong, this isn't a "trick biker" film, there's a plot and a corrupt cop and a love triangle and everything a modern movie needs. The bicycle trick stuff is just thrown in there to show what a reckless and talented dude Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character is. I especially like how he comes to a halt just by throwing his fixed gear into a sideways skid.  Again I ask, is that even feasible on a paved road at like 25 mph?

There's plenty of "steel fixed gear" versus "18 speed carbon fiber" nonsense, which even includes a mini "race" where one character cackles at the other one because he actually has gears (yeah...that sequence is kind of lame as they zoom in dramatically to show the guy shifting...LOOK, I think if you've rented this film you know about shifting gears on a bicycle and how that helps you going up or down hill). They also blow by a bunch of fat old guys in fancy uniforms which made me think of myself of course...but even that didn't totally destroy my enjoyment of the film.

As an added bonus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks a whole lot like a guy on CyclovaXC, but I'm not telling you who (should that be 'whom,' there's only like four modern usages for 'whom' and I think it's optional).

Oh...and not to be left out, there's even a pretty rockin' scene when JG-L (that's "cool" for Joseph Gordon-Levitt--you know him from the last Batman movie and from Inception by the way) gets on a Mt. Bike that he steals from the police impound lot and bounces up a couple of walls, over a couple corrupt police detectives, and out of a building.

Look, it's not the greatest movie ever made, but for a dollar one night it's fun, especially for those of you who don't like to ski yet and are craving a bike fix.

But seriously folks...don't fall into the Quicksilver trap (and this is from a guy who actually RECOMMENDED American Flyers..."Enough of this Sunday stroll...Let's HURT a little bit"...by the way, the bad guy in that looks like Tommy K!).

Who's Doing the Fat Wax Race Series?

Hello Folks,

Ben Mullin asked me to post something about the Fast Wax race series. He'll be doing numbers 2 and 3 on this list (provided there is snow...which looks pretty good). All these races are part of a series, but you can, of course, just jump in and do one or two should you choose.

If you are thinking of heading out and racing with Ben, look for him on our Facebook page here (you should have liked that page by now by the way!), or just show up and look for him in his awesome CyclovaXC suit!

See you on the trails!

Merry Christmas From CyclovaXC!

Big Steve at Balsam Branch

Love to see all that Cyclova green! Also, love to see all that beautiful snow. The skiing is great right now, enjoy it!

Love that Christmas feeling!

What Does an Entry Level Skate Ski Package Cost?

A lot of people have been asking me what an entry level skate ski package costs, so I thought I would throw up an article on the blog and let you know.

We recommend the Rossignol Zymax skate ski for starters (seen above). This is an unbelievable, high performance ski which retails at $234.95 (as opposed to $599.95 for the X-ium). The major difference is that the Zymax has a wooden core construction that makes it a little bit heavier than the X-ium, but it's not as if it's a major downgrade. We've been selling a lot of these skis to high school teams, and they absolutely love them. Plus they have some great decals!

For boots we recommend the Madshus Hyper U Combi boot. This is a great boot which can be used for both skating and classical technique. Don't be put off by the fact that this is a "combi" boot, there are now world cup races that involve using both techniques in the same race, and boots like this are the choice of world cup skiers.  This boot is a very affordable $185.

If you'd prefer to have a skate specific boot (the main difference is a skate boot has a hard sole), you could go with the Madshus RPS which looks almost identical to the Hyper U Combi boot and retails at $229.95

The entry level binding is the Exercise Skate binding which retails at $70.

The total price is:
Skis: $234.95
Boots: $185
Bindings: $70
Subtotal: $489.95 + Tax

Additionally, we have a wide variety of poles to choose from. Come on down and talk to us and we'll put together a package deal for you for an additional discount!

The Wert Preserve Ski Trails

Jeff sent me this image this morning showcasing a CyclovaXC hat plus our touring ski, the Rossignol Evo! Come check out the new ski trails we helped to establish in St. Croix Falls! The world could always use some more ski trails!

Randy Sabien at the Festival Theater In St. Croix Falls, Tonight!

Doug Berg wrote to tell me that Randy Sabien is playing this weekend at St. Croix Falls.  Here are his words:

"I want to call to your attention that Randy Sabien is giving a concert at the Festival Theater in S.C. Falls Friday evening, 12/21, 210 N Washington St. at 7:30--tickets are $7.00, ph. 715-483-3387.

Randy is, without question, the finest musician I have ever heard.  He's out of Hayward these days and doesn't perform too often (records and teaches mostly these days).  He is an absolute virtuoso---plays violin, mandolin, guitar and piano---mostly jazz but is comfortable in nearly any musical genre.  He founded and was chairman of the string dept. at Berklee School of Music in Boston, arguably the most prestigious music school in the U.S.  If you get a chance to catch his show you shouldn't miss it."

This sounds great, please let me know if you make it up there and what you thought of the show!

CyclovaXC Team Warm-Up Pants

Hey Folks,
Here's a shot of Frank modeling the new CyclovaXC warm-up pants by Bjorn Daehlie. As you can see from the image, they have a small, CyclovaXC decal on the left leg (you have to check it out, it's this awesome, washable decal that Bjorn Daehlie has just made available).

What's fun about this is that it opens Bjorn Daehlie up as just another product line we can use to get our (CyclovaXC) brand name out there.

The space on the leg is actually quite a bit bigger than the decal graphic I sent. Perhaps in the future, I'll do a warm-up pant with a 4 inch by 20 inch logo, which would look pretty cool.

I also like these warm-ups because Bjorn Daehlie stuff is the best in the business.  Here's a close up of the logo:
Looks sweet!

Also, the Bjorn Daehlie line makes me remember the old blue Riverbrook warm-ups that Frank and I did all those years ago. I still go in a run in that stuff from time to time. It's awesome!

We did these warm-up pants as special order only, but I can always put in a new order. They retail at $140, so if you want them, let me know at bj@cyclovaxc.com!

Happy skiing!

St. Croix Sasquatch at CyclovaXC Party (Better than the Hobbit)

Hey Folks!
We had a fantastic time Saturday hiking out to the old Wert Preserve ski lodge and enjoying a few hot dogs with Sasquatch. The lights are courtesy of Jeff Wolf who brought us lights, food, Christmas music, and a general state of awesomeness. If there is one thing I've learned in the past year it's that you should always bring Jeff Wolf along wherever you go.

The winter is upon us and the snow is still good despite the rain! Hope to see you all on the trail soon!

The Mukluk Demo Is On The Road

Riders take to the road at the Mukluk Demo at CyclovaXC! Come and check out these awesome fat tire bikes anytime you want!

The Salsa Mukluk Fleet Is Here

Aren't they beautiful!

The Rain Is Killing Our Trails!

Man....just when we were getting some awesome ski trails all set up too!  Sigh, the worst of this is that if it were a couple degrees colder this would be another foot or so of awesome snow! Let's just cross our fingers and pray for a temperature drop!

Don't Forget! Tomorrow is Awesome Cyclova Mukluk Adventure Day!

Hey Everyone!

We hope you all manage to swing by CyclovaXC tomorrow because the 15th is finally here! It should be a great day with a lot of fun activities planned. Check here for a full schedule!

I've personally talked with a lot of you who have already told me you're coming, so I'll be looking forward to seeing you all. Don't hesitate to bring a friend along, kicking and screaming if need be, they'll thank you afterwards.

On Sunday, it sounds like we'll have a pretty solid group of skiers hitting the Troll in the morning, so be up for that as well. See you tomorrow folks! I can't wait!

(Oh, I can guarantee a Sasquatch siting on the hike...if that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will).

Exclusive Drawing for 2 Birkie Entries At Cyclova XC!

This Saturday at Cyclova XC will likely be the last chance that anyone has to get entry into the 2013 Birkie - be a part of it!

Drawing For 2 American Birkiebeiner Guaranteed Entries:  That's right, come to Cyclova XC to win entry to the 2013 Birkie - which filled up some time ago and is impossible to get in to (unless you win one of these entries).  Thanks to Cyclova XC's newest vendor Seger - an amazing new high performance Swedish xc ski sock that we are thrilled to be carrying!  Rick Thompson of Seger Socks will  draw 2 lucky winners from a hat, for two 2013 Birkie Entries!  Drop your name into the hat anytime on Saturday, December 15.  One entry per person, must be present to win.  

On Saturday, December 15, there will be a full afternoon and evening of great snowy events at Cyclova XC - all part of our "Winter Opener" celebration.  Click HERE for the full scoop!  Free Salsa Fat Bike demos, Fat Biking presentations, Winter Cycling presentations, Birkie Entry drawing, and a candlelight hike / snowshoe, or ski - could it get any better?!?  See you on Saturday!

Let it SNOW!


There was actually so much snow today that I started to get nervous about driving around with my two infant daughters in the car. Then again, it's not like this is my first time dealing with snow...although I have to admit that only one out of 10 of the idiots I flashed my lights at on the highway figured out I was telling them to TURN THEIR LIGHTS ON in response (it's always somebody else's first time isn't it?).

Anyway we're quite obviously PSYCHED about this massive snow dump! Hopefully this will signify a change in skiing fortunes!

As you can see in the above photo, Sofia was pretty excited about the snow. I had to hold her back as she wanted to go tearing into it!  Incidentally, that little puppy in her hand caused quite a scandal the previous night at the Edling Christmas party. The girls were kind enough to allow us two hours of socializing before they decided it was time to go to bed. Right about then, Sofia revealed that she had hidden her puppy somewhere on the premises, and she gave us exactly ZERO seconds to find it to avoid meltdown.

Thankfully, Mary and Steve marshaled the troops and the puppy was recovered, I think the only casualty was a glass of wine.

Is this the kind of thing that has to happen to everybody? It seems like I remember being the guy who lost his puppy or his Luke Skywalker action hero or whatever and being the cause of the disruption that forced everyone to stop what they were doing and start searching madly. My question, however, is...are there people out there who have NEVER (themselves nor their children) lost a toy at a social gathering and freaked out? Are they standing around going, "MAN...I HATE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS!!!"  My assumption is that losing things happens to everyone, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, lots of new fun news, the Bjorn Daehlie pants are in and I'll post a picture of them tomorrow. Also, you'll see the background image is officially back at the perfectly groomed tracks image...I love that thing.

We're SKIING now my friends! See you on the trails!

Ski Like Landgraf! Hats Tour Holland

Steve Swanson of St. Croix Falls and Mike Clay of Cumberland toured Holland in May, 2012 with their Cyclova “Ski Like Landgraf” hats.  The hats were perfect for the cool and damp Dutch mornings.  

Nice to see these hats continue to travel the world!  Keep it up folks, and keep sending me your pictures (even when I'm slow to post them :)

2012 Inca Trail Presentation On Thursday, Dec. 6 (6PM) at CyclovaXC

Hey everyone!

If you're free tomorrow and within about 200 miles of CyclovaXC, you should swing by for my presentation on the 2012 Inca Runners/CyclovaXC trip to Peru! You may have read about this trip on Faster Skier (the link to the Faster Skier article appears in this article).

I've gone through the 2012 trip briefly on a couple other occasions, but I'm going to put together a completely new presentation with different photos (mainly because I get bored talking about the same thing all the time).

The presentation starts at 6 PM, and afterwards, Frank will be saying a few words about waxless classical skis, specifically the Atomic Skintec skis you've heard so much about. This will be a great presentation for all of you out there who are runners and Mt. Bikers, but not yet skiers. We feel the Atomic Skintec is the quickest way for a non-skier to get race ready...that and reading "Beyond Birkie Fever" like six hundred consecutive times!

So, if the calendar is free, swing on by for what's sure to be a fun and festive evening!

Cyclova XC Winter Opener Event - December 15, 2012

Join us on December 15 for a celebration of Winter!  Events to include presentations on Winter Cycling Adventures & Technology, Snow Bike riding, and a hike (or xc ski / snowshoe - conditions permitting) into the new St. Croix Falls XC Ski Trails in the Wert Nature Preserve.  Photo Credit:  David Gabrys of Cycleture.com.

Winter holds a special place in our hearts, and is our favorite time of year - and so you're invited to join us in celebrating the coming of Winter at Cyclova XC on Saturday, December 15!  RSVP and keep up to date on the event EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE.

Join us for the afternoon / evening on Saturday, December 15 to celebrate the splendor of winter - and some of the greatest ways to get out and enjoy the season!  We have a spectacular line-up of events for the evening including Salsa Fat Bike Demos, guided tours of the Woolly MTB Trails, Winter Cycling adventure presentations, Winter cycling tech presentations by 45NRTH, and a spectacular night time hike to the little known ruins of the original St. Croix River Valley Ski Lodge - in the Wert Nature Preserve (right next to St. Croix Falls' new ski trails).

Following is the full schedule for the afternoon:
2PM - 5PM:  Snow / Fat bike DEMO & RideJohn Gaddo of Salsa Cycles will be at Cyclova XC with a demo fleet of 2013 Salsa Mukluk (and perhaps Beargrease) fat bikes which will be availbe for free demo rides.  Bring your mountain bike / fat bike (or use a demo) and join us for a ride on the Woolly Trails here in St. Croix Falls.  Once you go Fat (bike), you'll never go back!  A guided group tour / ride of the Woolly trails will roll from Cyclova XC at 2:30PM. 

2PM - 5PM:  Northern Lites Snowshoe DemoMike Lundeen of Northern Lites Snowshoes will be at Cyclova XC with a demo fleet of 2013 Northern Lites Snowshoes - the lightest snowshoes made (!AND MANUFACTURED IN WISCONSIN!) which will be available for free demo.  Pick up the snowshoes at Cyclova XC and take them out on your favorite hiking trail - or the Woolly Trails here in St. Croix Falls!

4:30PM - 5PM:  Snow Biking Basics and Q & A: - by John Gaddo of Salsa Cycles:  John will talk about the roots of Fat Biking, why, how, and answer any questions from the audience.  Fat Biking is one of the fastest growing segments of the bicycle industry for very good reason.  Come and learn much more about the true all terrain bicycle!

5PM - 6PM:  Winter cycling stories & tips - by David Gabrys, Brand Manager of Winter cycling accessory brand 45NRTH:  Renowned bicycle adventurer & racer - as well as bicycle industry veteran David Gabrys will open up his presentation by sharing some of his favorite Winter Cycling photos (as seen on his photography website Cycleture.com).  These photos will likely include images from Winter Bicycle adventures on Lake Superior, in Alaska, and other epic places.  You're sure to pick up valuable tips while enjoying his tales of Winter Adventure!  At 5:30PM, David will present several new products that will help you to be comfortable, warm, and safe while out on your bicycle in the Winter.  You DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!  Quality beverages will be provided.

6PM:  Drawing For 2 American Birkiebeiner Guaranteed Entries:  That's right, come to Cyclova XC to win entry to the 2013 Birkie - which filled up some time ago and is impossible to get in to (unless you win one of these entries).  Thanks to Cyclova XC's newest vendor Seger - an amazing new high performance Swedish xc ski sock that we are thrilled to be carrying!  Rick Thompson of Seger Socks will  draw 2 lucky winners from a hat, for two 2013 Birkie Entries!  Drop your name into the hat anytime on Saturday, December 15.  One entry per person, must be present to win.  

6:30PMNight xc ski / snowshoe / hike to the Hike to little known Wert Nature Preserve Ski Lodge.  This will be a wonderful excursion on the Midwest's newest XC Ski Trail!  The destination will be the remains of the original St. Croix Valley ski lodge on the Wert Nature Preserve in St. Croix Falls.  This is a magical place and piece of river valley history that very few people know exists!  Meet at the NEW St. Croix Falls XC Ski Trailhead at 6:30PM at the north end of Day Road.  Depending on snow conditions, participants will have options of xc skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking to this little known lodge and piece of skiing history.  We will light up a blazing warm fire in the old lodge fireplace - which hasn't been used in many decades.  Bring with your headlight, cozy clothes, and a favorite warming beverage - we will provide fire & makings for SMORES! 

7:30PM:  It's a Wonderful Life (live theater show) at Festival Theater in downtown St. Croix Falls
The night time hike out to the historic ski lodge in the Wert Nature Preserve - off of the new XC Ski Trails / Ice Age trail is sure to be a highlight of the evening!  Be a part of the first few people to re-discover this major historic piece of skiing history in the St. Croix Valley!  Photo Credit:  Keith Velaski

CyclovaXC Wool Jerseys are IN!

Hey Folks,

Just wanted to let you know that the order of CyclovaXC custom wool jerseys are in. If you ordered one of these, you can come and pick it up at the shop anytime!

I found it just a touch difficult to work with the supplier of these jerseys because they didn't communicate well about what sizes they had in stock. First they would tell me they had certain sizes in certain styles, then they would call and admit they had run out. At first, I attempted to contact people who had done pre-orders and tell them that the jersey style they wanted wasn't available in their size, and give them an alternative. But it was happening so much I ended up just filling the order with the brown jersey you see to the right. Therefore, if you pre-ordered a jersey, but I ended up having to fill it with the brown jersey, you're, of course, not obligated to buy it.

Still, come by and check them out. They're pretty cool and we have a couple extras for people who didn't pre-order. Cost is $100 (those of you who pre-ordered received a special discount depending on quantity).