Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Real Thing is Actually Gross

Pugsley or no Puglsey riding in the rain when it's 33 degrees is no fun. While I have no first-hand experience in pulling a sailboat while swimming I'm thinking that it may rate similar on the Fun-o-meter. Actually that's not true - riding in the rain (which was more of a light mist, to tell the truth) on a Pugsley is less un-fun than a skinny-tired bike. The trails were a little mushy/punchy and there is no question that if I had been on a regular bike it would have been a looonnggg 5 hours as I would have been pushing virtually the whole time.

To get back to the swimming with a sailboat:

A couple of days ago I went for a good fairly lengthy ride on snowmobile trails near Jenny's parents' place. It was the first time I had had the Pugsley out on longer ride. OK so the ride was only five hours which, if I'm lucky, will get me to the first checkpoint in Arrowhead which is about a quarter of the way into the race. The new bike is awesome!!! So awesome in fact that I felt a need to end that last sentence with no less than three exclamation points!!!

Speaking of the checkpoints in Arrowhead makes me think of how the race is going to go. I was reading one account to Arrowhead and the competitor said something about starting slow and getting slower. While in reality this is probably what will happen I kinda hope that things go better. “Better” as in “faster.”

As seems to be some sort of tradition I plan on eating a nice healthy, fat-filled omelette such as this:

at the Chocolate Moose where I've eaten on a couple of other occasions:

Then head over to the start line:

where maybe I can get Lance Andre to strike a Heisman pose for me.

I mentioned eating at the Chocolate Moose for breakfast before the race and I also mentioned that I had eaten there before. I ate there before the race in '09 (when I did the race) and last year also (when I spectated). So I knew it was there. And so when I took a canoe trip this September I had the other guys stop and eat there. And it turns out that Jenny knows the place too.

Before the canoe trip is where I saw the "Destroyer" picture above. And I also saw this:

Haagen-Dazs' ad directly targeting people who have lost their teeth and just had semi-circular sheet metal installed in their gums.

and this:

There are many dumb things with this ad but one stuck out: in the small blurry writing in the picture it says "Tickle her fancy with the real thing." That is actually kind of a disgusting thing to claim considering what a "french tickler" is

And speaking of the nether regions reminds me of this. I'll leave you with that for today - it really has nothing to do with biking but I just thought it was funny.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


We were opening presents and Jenny excused herself to go to the bathroom...and when she came back she had a Pugsley with her! This is true love now!

Of course the first thing I did was set up a close-up video shot of the tire deformation as I rode over an obstacle. After all the main reason I wanted the bike in the first place was for the cool-factor of such big tires - not because I actually wanted to ride the thing.

Yeah right.

Here's several pictures of me heading out for a ride:

Friday, December 24, 2010

There and back again

The day before yesterday I went for a little ride from here to there with a little foray in between when I thought I was going north but was really going south. (Hey it was overcast cut me some slack). So I got there a little late and had to eat soup and bread all by myself. And I had a headwind. And it was cold. And my mommy wasn't there. And I can't beat Ed at Perplexus.

Speaking of cold I happened across this flyer the other day:

I have never heard of the quality of service being judged by temperature before though I may be missing some sort of deeper meaning. They seem pretty excited by it though. Being excited by small stuff reminds me of this picture I took of Glinden at his request. He was pumped to find the toilet during a camping trip we were on.

But while I can complain about bike rides and Perplexus I realized after I saw this video that, according to this commercial, I can't complain about the strength of Bounty P.T.

Another thing I can't complain about is how the last year has gone. It's been pretty great. Especially meeting Jenny and her fam. If you need proof of how well it's going between her and I then here it is:

Back to bike riding I got precisely one picture during my bike ride the day before last. It had been raining on me a bit (yeah, I was complaining about the cold...and it wasn't really very cold) and it froze on me and so I snapped off this picture hoping that I would look all tough and icy kinda like this or this (I especially enjoyed his claim of the suit being night proof. No darkness when you're in this suit! It is worth noting that this suit is brought to you by Troy Hurtubise who made the bear suit that he tested by jumping down a hill and getting hit by swinging logs and I've linked to before and will again here)

In the spirit of the season in which we celebrate the birth of Christ (or just celebrate life) I thought I'd throw into the hat my halloween costume from a few years back just before I cut off my hair:

I hope you've learned by now that I don't want to be taken all that seriously

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I'm trying to justify not riding much in the last week as using this as an R&R week. But that wouldn't be totally true as I'm spending the next two weeks with family and could have used the time off to hang out with them more. I think the truth is more that I'm just a slacker and as such I don't always want to ride my bike for 6 hours in the cold.

And as most slackers I have worked hard at not working. For example I built something much like this to save myself time mowing the lawn:

Actually as a true slacker I simply don't mow the lawn.

It has been brought to my attention that Vosges Chocolate offers a bacon/chocolate bar. Now, I have no inherant problem with that flavor. If you like it that fine with me. What my beef is is with the picture of the creator of this bar - and her little chocolate-based autobiography on the back of the bar. Here is a picture of her:

In the little autobiography on the back of the bar she confesses to being "obsessed" with both bacon and chocolate. Really? I would think that someone truly obsessed with both bacon and chocolate couldn't really go for a long time without eating some. I don't mean to be superficial but I would think that someone truly obsessed with bacon and chocolate would look more like this.

Speaking of obsessed I happened across this video in which the star tells how to pick out a laptop for your dog and seems to be obsessed with with several things, computer and idiocy being two.
And he reminds me of the creepy MC of the pageant in Little Miss Sunsine.

But to get back to yesterdays ride: it was about 5 hours long and at about hour 3.5 I ran across this gate:

I'm guessing the person responsible for locking this gate is totally badass...or else is related to this dentist.

Here is a pictures of me being totally badass (I think that the slippers help):

I was looking at youtube just now looking for funny videos to post on this blog and came across this which reminded me of this video that I put up on here a few posts back. It really has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it was funny.

Now back to Arrowhead. It's generally a race done by yourself with almost no fanfare through out or even at the finish line. Or at least that's what it was like when I did it before in '09. This year there are more than twice as many starters and I'm expecting the finish to be like a mountain-top finish in the Tour de France.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go knit something for my cat

(Another thing I found in the ridiculous knitting book I was looking at in the craft show awhile back. I put a few of the pictures I found on the last post)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Last night I went for the first (and - barring mishap - not last) bike ride that was almost totally moonlit. Except for fast downhills and when I was being passed by cars I had the light shut off.

I must admit that I've been doing almost all my riding lately on plowed roads. See, the snowmobile trails aren't hard enough for my skinny bike and the snow is deep enough that trucks aren't out driving on unplowed roads anymore. Frankly this is a little boring and I intend to ride the snowmobile trails as soon as they are rideable (they would be right now if I had a Pugsley or some kind of antigravity device.)

The only picture I've got is this one:

This I managed to snap just as I finished my ride a couple of night ago

And this one was taken of me at 3D (triple D) after I got to Dyersville (mostly on foot which probably explains the slightly dazed look)

Speaking of dazed I've always thought this picture of me taken after I finished Arrowhead in '09 embodies that adjective:

It actually doesn't show up too well in this picture, but one of my eyes is open wider, I'm smiling out of the side of my face, and if you look closely you can see the red on my face from the cold.

Another example of dazed and confused. This is my nephew and I had given him the remote to my camera and he was a bit confused how it worked but still managed to get this picture of himself.

Just for fun I Googled "dazed and confused" and got this. I must say I'm a little confused by the title of the magazine unless they are referring to the cover models being dazed and confused and so just put on whatever is laying around for the photo shoot.

And now that I'm off and running talking about fashionable stuff: the other weekend at the craft show I typed about in the "Macho Man" post and was basically bored out of my head and started looking through a book Not Your Mama's Crochet (or something like that) and stumbled across this:

I can't believe my mom made me model for this stupid book. At least her Daisy Chain Neck Warmer is tightly knit and keeping any drafts away from her neck.

And I came across this picture of the amazing purse that doubles as an MRE (by the way, notice the narrator's name at the end):

I'll leave you today with a picture of me impersonating Gollum (from Lord of the Rings) doing carpentery

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Riding into my Shadow

I had been keeping track of my ride time with my wristwatch and had been riding for four hours already and still I was riding directly into my shadow (it was early afternoon so that means I was heading north which is away from home). Frankly I was getting kinda nervous. Not because it was going to be a long ride – I wanted that – but because I didn't bring my headlamp along on the ride thinking I'd be back well before dark.

Going back to my preparation for the ride: I have a thing for maps. I could look at one for hours (an argument could be made with simple mind, simple pleasures as its basis). And so before going on each ride I gaze at maps of the roads I'll be riding on – in part because I've never remembered to make an actual copy the map so I can take it along. This particular brand of doofus-ness results in me making extensive grocery store lists and then forgetting them when I actually go grocery store - and have to use my memory to buy the groceries. This gets a little ironic as it was my knowledge of a bad memory that led me to make the list in the first place and so usually just end up buying a bunch of Powerball tickets. Anyway how this all relates to my ride is that I had looked at the map before I left, didn't take a map with me, and so I had a kind of vague idea of where I was and which roads connect up with other roads.

So there I am riding along a forest road into my shadow after four hours of riding. It was getting to the point where I had to make a decision about whether to turn around or keep going the way I was going - I was pretty sure that the road I was on intersected a road that would take me home more directly than turning around (let's call this intersection “B”). I had been going up a slight grade for the better part of an hour and I had a tailwind (more on this in a bit) and told myself that if I didn't intersect the road I wanted by the time I had been riding 4 hrs 30 mins then I would turn back and it would be easy to make it home with tailwind and downhill for the first bit. At 4:23 I stopped because I wanted to take a picture of an intersecting forest road so when I got back home I could find exactly where I was on the map. I noticed when I stopped that I had been riding with a stiff tailwind for a while now. Now I have been biking seriously now for about 16 years and this kind of rookie mistake of not noticing which way the wind is blowing is something I would have expected myself to make something like 15 years ago. At this point in my biking “rookie mistake” = “idiotic mistake”. I immediately dropped an F-bomb and turned around and started biking back against the wind – after all I wasn't sure if I was going to come out where I thought I was going to (at “B”) fact I wasn't really even sure where I was. After biking a while it became clear that as long as I could keep my pace up I would easily get home before dark. When I got back I checked the map. I had been less than ¼ mile from “B” when I turned around.

We had a snowstorm here on Saturday and then was nice on Sunday so the snowmobile trails are now open. I tried riding a bit on a trail right near our place. They were way too soft for my setup (a skinny-tired single speed) and so I turned around after maybe twenty feet. But they'll be hard soon. I think it's really weird: I never thought I'd be looking forward to hearing whiny, loud, irritating things (snowmobiles) but I've been looking forward to hearing them each winter for several years now. Poor Jenny has heard me whine about the wussy snowmobilers for a while now and why aren't they out on the trails yet? (knowing full well that the snowmobilers aren't “wussy,” the trails were closed until Saturday) enough times that if she even had a little asshole in her I'd probably be sleeping in the chicken coop.

Speaking of snowmobiles makes me think of how Ashland is probably the biggest town I have been in that has a snowmobile route running through the middle of town – and also has an ATV route on a fairly major street. Reminds of of this picture:

This is the classic picture I took (“classic” in this case means “very common to see in rural settings but perpetuates stereotypes of rednecks everywhere”) I took this picture while out on a bike ride that I was on while trying to get in shape for the bike tour I was about to take. It was taken in the tiny town of Glen Haven, Wisconsin. This picture is of the downtown

Also in the town of Glen Haven I stopped at a pavilion there to have a snack and stare into the distance with an intense look on my face like Lance Armstrong.

The pavilion was in a little park and it had a little bathroom type thing. This is where I learned that if you have a bunch of urine produced by males it can be be contained and drained by a simple roof gutter:

This gets me thinking about how “redneck” is sometimes a condescending way of saying “practical.” Though I stop short of thinking that this guy is practical in a good way, I think that we should look for redneck solutions to problems as well as the city slicker solutions to problems using higher thought. And then there's this guy. I'm not sure where he's coming from because I fell asleep almost instantaneously when I started watching the video.

Speaking of bike tour training and perpetuating redneck stereotypes, on the same ride that the last two pictures came from I happened to take a picture of what happens when gun crazy country boys (or girls, I don't like to be sexist but chances are they were male) with high-powered rifles meet propane tanks:

Upon reviewing the pictures I took during my ride Friday (the one in which I was within ¼ mile of “B”) really the only one worth putting up is one I took when I was riding off on a sideroad that had been plowed before the most recent snowfall but had had no trucks/Subarus on it since:

There is a strange satisfaction in making the first tracks. And it doesn't happen too often on a bike.

That picture reminds me of this one:

My ego would like me to point out that there are no footprints beside my bike tracks indicating that I rode all the way to where my bike is “parked.” My humble side would like to say that my ego is an idiotic braggart and that there was a clear stretch of trail before this and that the trail in the picture is going downhill – and so this isn't really very impressive.

Remember to try before you buy:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Irony

Well I went for a ride yesterday and things went well enough that I have nothing to type about so I'll have to link to this video about having nothing to talk about.

I went for a ride yesterday starting when the sun was low in the east and finished up when it was low in the west. This reminded me of Rush Hour (the fastest hands in the east meet the biggest mouth in the west) and so I immediately started to look for a funny clip from that movie. In my search I found this video of a bizarre boxing match. But to keep things bike related I'll put this one up here too.

Back around the turn of the century my brother and I raced in something called the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) and I remember one race where a rider being lapped was being over taken by a fast rider and instead and asking for the trail just pushed him aside. I heard the guy talking about it after the race and he was understandably pissed. But a spectator getting all riled up? And then being like "I'll teach you not to hit by hitting you and then throwing you off a bridge!" Makes about as much sense as this (and here's a spoof of that).

I just happened across this video and it reminded me of Iron Dogs. Now I'm not saying that either of these feats (the video and Iron Dogs) are not tough but really how tough can something be when you are running an engine? Or in a heated truck? Or having a video crew follow you around? The purported toughness of either of these events rings a little hollow for me as does almost anything that relies solely on fossil fuels and big, expensive vehicles for progress.

But this talk of motors reminds me of this picture:

Madeline Island residents began racing cars on Lake Superior in 1980 - a year the ice was good and there was little snow. The racing became known as the Madeline Island School of Defensive Driving Taught though Practical Application Methods.

This strikes me as clever (though I probably wouldn't have thought it too clever if I had been living within hearing distance of a race). And it also strikes me as odd that they say the races started in 1980 but the picture (there was a picture about this caption but I didn't get that in) and from 1978.

So my ride yesterday went well, and I even rode by where the shit-eating took place. Here is a picture of the scene as of yesterday:

In case you can't see: it's a gut pile from a deer and the snow is all packed down around it from tracks of scavengers. Oh sweet irony!

And here are some more pictures taken during the ride:

I was actually able to keep up what I thought was good pace throughout the ride. While out on the ride I was looking forward to getting back to look up how long my route was so I could figure out my average speed so I can be somewhat realistic about my expectations for Arrowhead. I got back and the beginning of the ride had been so long ago that I couldn't remember my route so I could figure out my average speed. It's probably for the best though, the number probably would've been so low as to be depressing anyway.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Macho Man

I must confess I voluntarily attended a craft show a couple of days back.

This makes ones body parts brought about by a the Y chromosome shrink. (I feel a need to explain that I am – of course – joking which you probably already know since most of what I say in this blog is some attempt at humor. The key word being “attempt.”) I was there in a mostly vain attempt to sell some of my photography. I didn't sell much (or maybe I should say that I haven't yet as we still have more than an hour and a half left until we can go. If I was getting paid by the hour and I figured in time spent out taking the photographs then I would be making well under a dollar an hour today. Still pays better than biking I guess) and have pretty much given up hope of selling much of anything else – which is why I am typing in this blog and not paying attention to potential customers (of which there are very few anyway).

So I went to the craft show, felt my manliness under attack and in a desperate bid to reacquire said manliness I started to knit a mitten and do Randy "the Macho Man" Savage impersonations. There should be a good joke that I could crack here using the subject matter of boredom, masculinity, desperation, and knitting....but I can't really think of how to tie that together.

Speaking of the Macho Man and listening to him talk he reminds me of Harry from Dumb and Dumber, only Harry is skinnier and doesn't have a phony rasp in his voice.

Just as I was whining about not selling stuff a woman with a sweatshirt on that read “Bad Girls of the North” bought some cards bringing my total sales for the day up to $16.

So this blog is supposed to have to do with bicycles and riding them in preparation for Arrowhead. Well, I suppose that this has precious little to do with Arrowhead and is only obliquely related to bicycles (listen carefully to what he says 27 seconds into the video). I took this picture from astraddle my bike and that is about as far as the bike relations go. But I thought it was funny and also a pathetically tragic example of substituting a “K” in place of a “C.”:

Speaking of pathetically tragic I watched Battlefield Earth last night. I had seen it before but it had been a while and since I just made reference to it in one of yesterday's posts I thought I'd better refresh my memory. I was shocked all over by how bad it was. Jenny and I watched some of the special features and The Making of Battlefield Earth was one. They interviewed several of the people that were involved in the making of the movie and it was unbelievable that none of them seemed to be aware that they were, in part, responsible for making one the worst movies in that history of mankind. . Even worse than Ghost Rider.

I think that one of the reason's I tend not to sell much at craft shows is my refusal to be persnickety and cutesy and neat as can be proven by the state of my “white” bar tape that is more of a medium grey at this point:

If more proof is needed then I'll submit this:

This was taken of my feet just before a ride in the chilly air and had forgotten my booties at home.

At this craft show I could have bought this:

and the table where I could have bought the Microwave Potato Bag was being overseen by this woman:

If you think, based on what I have written so far, that I am really bored and am just filling my time by writing random stuff in this blog to attempt to stave off this boredom, you'd be right.

So yesterday I went for a ride (this blog entry is being written over two days). And am pleased to announce that so far training for Arrowhead is going well. Yesterday's ride wasn't that long as far as Arrowhead goes (5 ½ hours or so) but I was able to hold a medium/medium-high level of output throughout.

I finished yesterday's ride at a neighbor's place where a group was gathering and was meeting Jenny and Glinden there. I admit to having visions of showing up on a bike and having people ooh and aahh over that and feel all cool. Well I got a flat about 100 yards from their place and ended up walking my bike into their yard. Real cool. Almost as cool as this guy (me):

I did happen to pass a dog sled out there which was pretty cool. I like dog sledding a lot and even took a 3 day trip to the White Mountains (same place where the White Mountains 100 [see photos here. This is kinda cool for me to look at because I have actually been to some of these places]) is held. Too bad they didn't have that race when I lived there or maybe I would have done that one too) of Alaska back when I lived near Fairbanks. But I've never had any sled dogs of my own. I hope to someday to do some bike-joring – maybe next winter when I have a Pugsley (if you don't know what a Pugsley is then click here for an extremely disjointed video - especially aurally - of them in their preferred habitat) and perhaps some gears to go with it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Eating Seahorses

It's rare indeed when when someone thinks it a good idea to play their highest card at first. I will now.

I saw a bear today. Not really. But I saw it's tracks. They were left frozen in the slush from when it was slushy a few days back. Now, it's been snowy here for a while – several weeks at least – and I have been laboring under the idea that bears were hibernating and were not to be worried with. Now I am living in fear again...mainly of scritching fabric.

The bear tracks I saw today

Today I rode right by the scene of my shit eating (this blog entry still has more pageviews than any other single one. This leaves me wondering if my audience is really just a middle school class assigned to read this blog?) and I wanted to stop and take a picture of me eating something edible thinking that this would be ironic. But things look different now that there is snow on the ground and I rode right by. So in honor of the memory of my past scat-sampling:

and this:

some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving that I took out with me today thinking that I could just eat the meat and then throw the bone in the trees when I was done eating it. This didn't come to pass as I put it back and carried it with me so that if I bonked I could crack the bone and suck out the marrow.

Today I was thinking about what kind of food I should take on Arrowhead. Last time I did it I took a bunch of things to eat but the majority of it was summer sausage – which I heartily recommend: it has lots of calories, salt, protein, and nitrates; it also won't freeze up on you. And I think it tastes good....within reason. The “within reason” part ran out well before I was done and so at hour 40 suffice it to say that I was truly sick of summer sausage. You know how some people say, “I love pizza. I could eat it for every meal!” I doubt many have done extensive, below zero, field testing of this theory. So this year I've been thinking I'll just take a bunch of jerky cut into cute shapes. Kinda like this:

After all – one never gets sick of eating seahorses

So this talk of food and not exactly chomping at the bit to down yet another slice of -10 degree summer sausage reminds me of a camping trip I took. On said trip we had remembered food and cookware and would have been set if we had remembered to bring any utensils at all. Eating food scraped into your mouth with a stick does not do wonders for increasing the appetite. Jenny made chopsticks out of tent stakes. She's smarter than I...but then again what do you expect?

We had had spiral pasta and some of it got eaten with tweezers as well as the chopsticks. We had also forgotten a potholder but inexplicably had a Vise-Grips along.

Anyway, back to biking. I took this self portrait of myself out on the ride today (by the way I know that's redundant but it's the first thing that came into my head so I typed it and I thought it was cute in a way that only an author could love, so I kept it. Now it's clever and ironic...right? Almost makes up for my failure to be clever when we were camping and forgot silverware...right?). Red face caused by wind and also by me upping the color saturation of the picture digitally. You see, I am desperate to include as many clever and ironic things as I can and if I didn't alter this one, the other one would in no way relate to it and I couldn't put it in at all without looking like I was desperate for approval...which, obviously, I'm not...right?

And here's my scalp with sunburn in the shape of the pattern of the vents in my helmet.

If this doesn't make me look clever I don't know what will.