Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Flying

The weather was finally nice enough today to do a little flying! I don't have that much to say, so I'll just illustrate the pictures.

Our 1956 Cessna 180 in the hanger at Airlake Airport. Notice the 1941 Piper Cub we (dad, grandpa, and brother as I don't live close enought to help right now) are restoring in the background.

Yours truly at the controls after shooting a number of fairly decent landings at the Fairbault airport. I actually suprised myself as I haven't flown the plane on wheels for quite a while.
Final approach into Airlake.
It was a fun flight. Hopefully I can make it out again in the next week.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Have a great Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter Wonderland

It was a beautiful morning here, with a couple inches of fresh snow, something I haven't seen the past couple of Christmas's. The temp was right about freezing, so the snow stuck to the trees, making for a picturesque view out my back yard.

I then met Morgan (friend from Caltech, from MN) for a couple hours of XC Skiing. This was my first time on skate skis, and while I was hoping to look like this,
I got used to this view pretty quickly. Actually, I only fell a couple times right off the bat, and then sort of figured out how to do it.

It was a good time, and I can tell that I used muscles I don't normally use, like my arms. Tomorrow, more skiing at Battle Creek Park in St. Paul.
Now, more sitting by the fireplace.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fireplaces and cookies

I'm now back in MN. The traffic from the airport to home reminded me of being stuck on the 10 freeway between 3pm and 2pm (yes, I do mean that). But there is snow on the ground, and I'm pretty exicted about that, as the past couple Christmas's have been pretty brown. Anyway, after getting home, I slept by the fire and really didn't want to move. The cookie eating has also commenced. This is going to be bad. XC skiing tomorrow morning. Should be fun. Here are some pics from today.

I fell asleep in the chair on the right side.

Here are my parents enjoying popcorn by the fireplace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Storm the Beach

I did my last cyclocross race of the season two weekend ago, and I must say, it's been a great season. Thanks to Jason and the whole Bearclaw team for introducing me to cross and a great season!

The course was truly different than any of the other courses this season with a few long straight aways that reminded my of why I love road racing. Get in the drops and lay down the power (if I had any, that is). The race oppened with maybe a K of mostly flat fireroad and there was definitely some fighting for position going into the first muddy section. I participated in said fighting and was happy with where I was going into the ridable lane through the mud. Unfortunaly, a couple of the riders in front of me slowed and I couldn't save my line, riding off the trail. At this point everyone passed me and I was left to fight my way as far up as I could get. It was particularly difficult to catch people as drafting was important, but I had a good time chasing and doing all I could to stay in front of Jason Siegel for the entire race (I was ultimately successful in this goal). After the muddy section, there was a section of deep sand leading to the straight away along the beach, and I full on crashed twice going into it. (over the bars, superman style). While it knocked the wind out of me the first time, the sand was soft and neither time really hurt.

I finished 10th overall and 8th in the P/1/2. Fritz finished 2nd, Lyle finished 4th ahead of Tony Criz and Jason finished a couple spots ahead of me.

Now, enjoy some pics and a video of me looking smooth over the barriers. Thanks to Brooke and Lyle for some of the footage!

I should also mention that I grew (or rather attempted to grow) a mustache for the race as all my team mates had also done so. Two weeks and what you see is all I got!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cyclocross and such

Well, since I haven't written anything here in over three months, you've probably all stopped checking my blog (and rightfully so). But, with some cyclocross pictures finally in hand, I though I would throw some up. The pics are from the Convert Cross outside of Ventura. The course was really fun, and my fitness is finally starting to come back up. Wow, how I miss being fast.

I unfortunately didn't race this past weekend due to illness (I can't seem to kick this cold....f'in crappy green phlem) but will be back in action in two weeks at the Turkey Trot Cross in Glendale.

For now, enjoy the pics. Props to Fritz for a great finish, and Jason for flatting, running over half the course to the pits, and still catching me by the end of the race. Right on!

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm back

So, let's get a beer! Give me a call or shoot me an email if anyone is interested.

Some Excellent Riding

As I sit in my hotel room in my last night in France, (which has already happened as I’m not willing to pay the 10 Euro price for internet access to publish this post) I figured that I should (and wanted to) write about my last few days in Grenoble as the experience and sights of this past Sunday will stay in my mind for a long time to come. As I didn’t have any more experiments I wanted to do, I decided to make Thursday my last day at work to do some epic rides on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Well, I actually only intended Friday and Sunday to be epic, but Saturday turned out to be longer than I planned. Friday morning I got up a little after 8am, had a good breakfast, stuffed my pockets with energy bars and a banana and set out for Les deux Alpes. First, let me back up for a moment. In one of my first blog posts I wrote about how great one of the local bike shops looked from the outside. Well, I finally decided to check it out, and while I can’t say the bike selection was outstanding, the selection of accessories was excellent! I even got to check out a new pair of Mavic wheels with the R-sys technology (carbon spokes and a reported sub 1400g weight). I’m not sure if they were for sale, but they were cool. Needless to say, I walked out with more than a bunch of energy bars. I finally ditched my SLR for a Flite Gel flow, and it was the best 80 g I’ve ever added to my bike. The thing is so comfortable, and, and orders of magnitude better than the minimalist SLR. And, as my Crank Brothers pedals have come apart (the pedal body actually came off the spindal while I was riding twice nearly causing me to go over the bars and crash), and the cleats have come loose three times on each mounting plate, I bought a pair of Look KEO Carbon Cro-Mo pedals, and for $125, none the less. Yes, that is over $100 less than I would have paid in the states. Finally, I have a solid set of road pedals, and what a difference! (and a but lighter than the Crank Brothers pedals, so I’m about weight neutral) Ok, back to my Friday. The ride to Les deux Alpes heads out of Grenoble as if you were going to Alpe d’Huez and goes through Bourge d’Osians, which is where you would turn to start the climb up to Alpe d’Huez. Rather than making the left, however, I continued down the road and started the climb up to Les deux Alpes. I won’t belabor you with the details, but the climb was great! Not as steep as Alpe d’Huez, but still long enough to be challenging and scenic. The I alluded to in my previous post, the town of Les deux Alpes was very cool! It definitely was a ski town, and the whole place reminded me of any of the base villages you might find at any Colorado ski resort. Lots of outdoor café’s, bars, and plenty of places to rent gear and sleep slopeside. I would love to go back in the winter and see what it’s like. I didn’t expect the town to be what it was, but what surprised me the most was the fact that there were people in ski gear! Jackets, bibs, goggles, gloves, etc. and carrying skis or snowboards. I did see one glacier, but I didn’t see a way to get there. According to Quentin (friend from lab) there is a skiable glacier open all summer. At the top, I had a coke and croissant, and headed back down for a total ride time of 6 hours, 4000 calories. Saturday, my plan was to ride a little shorter (4 hours) as I didn’t want to be tired for my truly epic ride on Sunday. Alas, fate had a different plan. The Vercors mountains and park lie to the west of Grenoble and have stunning gorges and tunnels cut through the cliffs. I’ve ridden through part of them before, but there were still some places I wanted to see, namely the Col du Rommereye and the Grand Goulets. I figured the ride would take 4.5 to 5 hours with a decent amount of climbing. I set out a couple hours earlier than on Friday as I wanted to have time to eat lunch and then head to lab to catch the final time trial of the tour (I didn’t get TV reception in my dorm). The climb up the R*** was, as most of the other climbs I have done here, was quite steep, but well paved. After hitting the summit, I decided to keep climbing up to the Col du Mont Noix, which was only a few more clicks and set me up to descend to where I needed to be to get to the Grand Goulets. The descent was excellent, with great views of the valley below. I’ll try to post some pics I took. I then headed out to the Grand Goulets with the intent of eventually climbing Herboully (another mountain) and then descending back to Grenoble. But, when I arrived to the entrance of the Goulets, they were closed! Damnit! I unfortunately had to backtrack at this point as there wasn’t any way around. This cost me 45 minutes. Oh, I should have mentioned, I had stopped for a crossiant and coke in one of the towns on my way to the Goulets. Man, I love those croissants, all flakey and buttery..mmmm. After backtracking, I was forced to repeat the route I had done on a previous ride, which I wasn’t really pleased with. On top of that, I was running out of bars, and my sunburn from the previous day was starting to hurt again, as I had now been in the saddle for 4.5 hours on the day and was very exposed to the sun. Well, I climbed for another hour and a half or so, and finally ran across a café where I bought a pecan tart…perhaps the most delicious of my life. The descent into Grenoble was fun, and while I didn’t see the whole tour stage, I did get to watch Levi and Evans. In summary, 6.5 hours and 4200 calories. I was a little worried that I was going to be tired on Sunday after these two long rides, but I actually felt good and set out on a ride I had really been looking forward to. Cyclists and non cyclists alike, if you are in France, you must go up the Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Glandon! Absolutely amazing! Truly Tour worthy, and above the tree line at the top! Incredible! I’lll post some pics below. The ride, again, start by going almost all the way to Bourg d’Osains, and then turns north as you begin to climb. I can’t even describe the glory of this climb. It’s stunning, and definitely challenging. Quite steep at the bottom (7% or so), but eases off a little more near the top. There was one section in the middle where you descend basically down the side of a cliff at 12% and then climb at roughly the same gradient for a click or so. As with Alpe d’Huez, there were lots of other cyclists on this legendary ascent and it was nice to have company. As you climb above the tree line, you can almost see the end of the climb 8 or so k’s in the distance, and there were some pretty waterfalls flowing from the surrounding mountains. The Glandon and the Croix de Fer are actually only 2 k’s apart, so if you climb one, you can easily do both. I rode the climb from the south west, but you could also climb the Glandon from the North East or the Croix de Fer from the South East. More on that in a minute. There is a nice little café at the top of the Croix de Fer and I stopped and had a coke and a Mars bar (no croissants). I then descended the back side (heading north east) of the Glandon. There was tons of Tour “memorabilia” painted on the rode, but on the way up, and down the backside. It was pretty cool to see, and got excited just thinking about how cool it would be to see the pros coming up the final few kilometers. I think it actually gave me goose bumps, and made me think that being a pro would be fun for that climb alone. In any case, I think that the ascent took me about 2 hours, and I went over the top having been in the saddle for about 4 hours. The first few k’s down the back side would be a truly epic climb, and I can’t imagine racing up them. The grade was probably 12 or so percent, and I’ll try to post some pics to show how challenging it would be to race up. I descended for quite a while and then rode an hour to the base of the Col du Grand Cucheron, again steep, but nothing special. It took me about an hour, and I went over the top at 6:15 in the saddle, finally arriving back in grenoble after 8:15 ride time. 5200 calories and 125 miles. The views up the Glandon/Croix de Fer were worth every pedal stroke and I don’t think I have ever felt so good after such a long ride. It was awesome! Again, if you are in the area, the summit is a must see!

Ok, that’s enough for now. I’m going to go do some sit ups before I go to bed. Tomorrow morning I’m going to spend my last 5 euros on coffee and pastries, and then catch my flight back to the states. I’m looking forward to being home and seeing and talking with many of you soon! Until then…..

Looking up the last 8k or so of the Col de la Croix de Fer

Me at the top

Down the backside of the Col du Glandon

Self Explanatory