Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still Here

There's no better way to kill a readership than to stop posting for 5 months, but I'm here and I've got some interesting stuff to post.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tour de Lincoln

Due to rain the last couple days, riding has been confined to the city limits. Not the best or most interesting riding, but there are lots of new trails that I haven't seen and others that I haven't ridden for a long time, so it wasn't all bad.

Saturday dawned early with the Havelock Charity run (no I didn't run)...

Afterward Ryan and I met up with no real plan except to explore the city trails and get some miles in. MapMyRide uses way out of date Lincoln maps, so my mileage estimate is rather rough, but I figured 32 miles round trip. Most exciting moment involved a mud induced slide of both wheels through a under-street tunnel....still learning how to ride that Lemond.

Where now? A decision point at Holmes Lake.

Is this Colorado, or southeast Lincoln?

Photo op...

Today, I headed back out, on the El Mariachi this time. Compared to the cross bike, I felt like a monster truck on the mtb. Stable, comfy, and slow... Hoping that the rain would hold off I headed toward Pioneer's Park. Ended up with 30 miles and an even 100 for the weekend. Next goal is consecutive 50 mile days. 55 days till the Laramie Enduro...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Branched Oak Loop

On Friday evening, I headed out for what I had planned as an extended gravel loop. Based on so many race reports from Dirty Kanza and others, I was convinced that the cross bike was the best tool for the job. I quickly realized that I either need to have different tires or a lot more confidence because I was rather skittish any time the gravel got deep or when I had any speed heading down hills.

When I came to Highway 79 and its nice wide shoulder, I changed plans and decided to head up toward Raymond. The touring tires on the cross bike liked this surface much better. Once I reached Raymond Road, I thought I would ride over to the lake. Upon reaching the lake, I took a lap around. As I rode across the dam it became obvious I was losing the light so I headed home as quick as possible since I was without lights. 36 miles...2 hours 25 minutes...a great post-work relaxer.

Looking into the valley from near my house.
It's rare to meet a friendly dog on your bike...
Rolling countryside north of the lake.
Sunset over Branched Oak

Here's a map of the route.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Road Bikes and Cross Bikes

Saturday was supposed to be a race day for me, but when I woke up, I just wasn't feeling the long drive. Most of the guys I hang out with at the races were also out for one reason for another, including Harp and Ryan, who were supporting the criterium race in downtown Lincoln. Jason was one of the few to man up and head out to Lewis and Clark.

Instead, Laura and I ran some errands, including picking up a new point and shoot camera that would be small and light enough to easily carry on bike rides. Eager to try out the new camera, a couple friends and I headed downtown to check out the the Capital City Criterium and say hi to the guys that had to be at the race. Pretty cool scene and what a beautiful day! Here's a short video I shot during the second lap of the Pro/1/2/3 race using the new camera.

After hanging out at the race for awhile, Mitchell and I took off to explore Wilderness Park. Mitchell rides a Surly Crosscheck and had never ridden offroad with it, so we planned to take it pretty slowly, but I was really impressed with his skills. Nice job man! I was riding a cyclocross bike too, a Lemond Poprad, that Robb let me borrow. I was surprised by the way the cross bikes handled on the trails, even with roadish tires on the Lemond...

Near the end of our trip through the park, I got the bright idea to take out the camera and shoot some video. I've seen enough examples (including the master) where it is made to seem so easy to shoot video on almost any terrain, so I thought I could handle it. Lets count the factors that led to the video that follows: first real ride on a borrowed bike, first offroad ride on a cyclocross bike, and first time attempting to shoot video while riding...sounds like a recipe for awesome.

Bike, camera and idiot all escaped without injury. I'll get this ride documentation thing down with a little practice and hopefully my blog posts about riding will be little more interesting.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


As a person becomes embedded into the culture of cycling, people on the outside looking in will tell you that you're crazy when you tell them you did a 50 mile gravel-road ride, or a 70 mile mountain bike race. You, the person on the inside, know that this isn't really crazy; it just takes the desire to do it, and a little bit of training. However, there are people out there in the world that are doing things on bicycles that are truly amazing and deserving of great respect and admiration.

To my surprise, one of these people is from Lincoln and was featured in a Journal Star article and video (the video is better than the article) last week. Matt Baumeister took a journey that began in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (on the Arctic Ocean) and finished in Ushuaia, Argentina (the claimed southernmost city in the world). The trip began in June 2007 and finished in February of 2009, covering 14,328 miles on bicycle. He kept a pretty detailed account of his travels on his blog, Pan Am Bike Ride. It's cool to read about each country and the differences in terrain, climate and culture as experienced on two wheels.

Particularly interesting to me was Matt's account of his time in Huanaco, Peru and the following trip from Huanaco to Lima Peru. In August of 2007, my wife and I were in Huanaco helping some missionaries from our church build a house. The trip from Huanaco to Lima took 9 hours on a bus and tops out at 16,000 feet elevation. I can't comprehend doing that on a bicycle, especially after being over 10,000 miles into the journey.

Me, taking a break on a roof in Huanaco. Pretty sweet terrain...

Here's another interesting post about searching for the headwater's of the Amazon River near Arequipa, Peru.

It's well worth the time it takes to read the whole story. Check it out here. Be inspired, even for the "little" adventures in your own life.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Great Weekend

My uncles Scott and Junior were in from Pennsylvania along with a bunch of other family to celebrate my sister's wedding last weekend. One of the things I was really looking forward to was riding on my home trails with them. We have ridden together several times in PA before, but this would be the first time in Nebraska.

Friday, we awoke to the threat of rain and severe weather. I was quickly goaded into loading up the gear; "If it isn't raining, we're riding" was the cry. Due to uncertainty about the weather, we decided to head out to Branched Oak as it is considerably closer to home than Platte River State Park. The 12 hour race at Branched Oak was held that weekend, so we found some newly added trail and some new detours at Area 7. After two laps of the race course (minus the pasture section at the end of the lap), we decided to head over to Area 1 for a lap. In both locations, the trail was perfectly tacky and the sandy corners were nicely packed. On the negative side, it appears that the log crossings at Area 1 have been taken out.

After church on Sunday, we hit up Platte River State Park. I had been talking up these trails as the best that eastern Nebraska had to offer, so I was excited to show it off. We parked near the horse stables, and shot a quick picture using the self-timer.

As we were about to head into the trails, we noticed a "No Bikes 9Am-4PM" sign. This was a restriction that I had thought didn't start until Memorial Day, and yet, here the sign said differently. A Ranger was nearby and he explained that the horses needed to get onto the trails before the official opening to get reacclimated with being ridden on trails. After explaining the circumstances (uncles from out of town, etc) and giving assurances that we would yield to any horses, the Ranger let us ride. Thanks Greg (I think that was his name)! Two laps later and we were ready to call it a day. The trail was in perfect condition and because this wasn't a race situation, I actually had opportunity to enjoy what I was riding. I haven't posted about it for awhile, but the more I ride my El Mariachi, the happier I am with it. My uncles both remarked throughout the weekend that my bike seemed to be the perfect bike for our terrain. I completely agree!

Overall it was a great weekend for bike riding. In fact, it was the most fun I have had on a bike for quite a while. Races are cool, but the real fun of mountain biking comes when you are enjoying a good trail with great people, something we did a lot of this weekend.

So in that spirit, who wants to go for a ride this extended weekend? Robb and I are heading up to Branched Oak on Saturday morning....any other takers? Anyone want to head to Platte or Lewis and Clark on Sunday or Monday?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Platte River on Sunday

Heading out to Platte River State Park around 1 pm on Sunday. Minor changes to the schedule are possible if there are others who would like to meet up... Let me know.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ride this Weekend

Two of my uncles are coming in from Pennsylvania this weekend for my sister's wedding, and I'm hoping to get out for some riding. The plan is to head to Platte River State Park on Friday, early enough to be back for an evening rehearsal dinner (as long as weather cooperates). And then head out again on Sunday, maybe to Platte again, maybe somewhere else.

Any of you who read this blog are welcome to come out, and help me show my guests around. Leave me a comment and let me know what your schedules are and we'll see if we can't work something out.

* I forgot to mention that my uncles do a lot of serious riding out on the east coast. I'm looking forward to showing them the best of what we have here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Be Inspired

This isn't right.

I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many times I have watched that video in the past couple days. Great song too. Don't miss that he is doing this on a mountain bike and not on BMX.

Two more awesome videos of Danny MacAskill in action here and here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pepe's Bistro

Pepe's (6220 Havelock Avenue; 11-8 Tues.-Sat., Closed Sun. & Mon.) is a place that I was very excited to check out since the first time I heard about it in the Journal Star. It took me a while to make it there, but now that I've eaten there three times, I can say it is one of my favorite places in Lincoln.

The restaurant features mexican vegetarian fare, an idea that at first seems odd when considering the majority of mexican restaurants in Lincoln. The menu is small and ever changing, utilizing fresh local produce as much as possible (its helpful that there is a farmer market just around the corner for much of the year).

My buddy Aaron and I headed there last Thursday and were not disappointed. Aaron had Spinach Enchiladas, and I had a Sweet Potato Quesadilla. We both had Cucumber Lemonade and some chips and salsa. All of it very good, and noticeably lighter and healthier than typical mexican.

Spinach Enchiladas and a Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Pepe, himself, seems to be a cyclist as the restaurant features some cool bicycle related decor and promotions. The first Tuesday of every month is Bicycle Commuter Appreciation Day featuring free breakfast from 7 am - 9 am. Also, every Saturday is Barter Day, where Pepe accepts bike parts, bikes, and business services in exchange for food.

Check this place out and support a local restaurateur and cyclist.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I popped a seam on my nicest pair of shorts and now I am really bummed out. Anybody know a good seamstress? Any chance I could fix them myself? I have no experience with this...

Friday, April 3, 2009

2008 Ethics Arts Festival

This is part of a series of posts intended to catch up on events from last year that I failed to blog about.

Last fall, my company held its annual Ethics Film Festival, and my co-worker and I (and our talent) threw our hat into the ring yet again. This was the second year we had entered, after winning the trophy in 2007 (our winning entry can be seen here and here). We wanted to do something drastically different, and but still tell a good story.

We were chosen as finalists, and we headed out to the company headquarters in Charlotte, NC. The prize package for finalists was similar to 2007, except instead of a football game in the company suite, we were going to a NASCAR race.

At the awards ceremony we ended up not being chosen as the winner, but hey, with a free trip, a weekend at a nice hotel and tickets to watch the NASCAR race in the company suite, we were all winners that day my friend. Here is our entry:

I am not really a NASCAR fan per se, but it was a lot of fun to experience in person. Kathryn's husband, Shawn, put together a video from the race with some sweet shots near the wall.

The time is approaching to do another video and try to reclaim the trophy. Ideas?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Under Thirty Seconds!

Yesterday Harp posted about a new personal record for an out-and-back ride through Wilderness Park. This immediately made me think of one of my favorite Seinfeld moments:

Sounds pretty good to me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Panama Enduro

If you have followed this blog at all, you will not be surprised that I let the first "race" of the year pass with nary a mention. That's right, Sunday, March 15th, was the Panama MTB Enduro, a approximately 30 mile gravel race south and east of Lincoln. To be clear, I didn't put race in quotation marks to disparage the event in any way; it was simply a comment on my approach to it.

I showed up way too close to the start time and was rushed to get registered and ready. Hooked up with Ryan and Harp (both looking sharp in their new Flatwater Cycling Team kits) and shortly thereafter we were off on a 1 mile controlled start. There were 93 total racers and I (stupidly it turns out) was in the back half at the start. Things managed to stay together pretty well and I was able to move up a bit on the leadout. However, after we turned off the pavement things got hectic fast. The wind was strong out of the south and we were heading right into it. I pulled away from some people and noticed a group of maybe 20 riders forming in front of me. I spent the next couple miles trying my hardest to catch that group but I just couldn't make up the gap floundering by myself in the wind.

Soon afterward we turned to the west and there was the first checkpoint. This race is similar to the local adventure races in that each racer has a card that must be punched with a special punch at several checkpoints distributed throughout the course. On this day, CP#1 was very early in the race, and served to spread everybody out as we all had to wait our turn to punch the card. It was at this point, just 5 miles or so into the race, that I ended up around the people I would ride with all day.

The rest of the race would take us on a big loop to Stagecoach Lake, thru Hickman, to the singletrack at Wagon Train (muddy and horsey), and then back to Panama. It was a grand old time. I ended up finishing about ten minutes behind the people I wanted to be able to keep up with. Overall, I was pretty pleased with my performance, and I know if I had started in better position I could have finished higher in the order.

Afterward there was food, drink and prizes at the Panama Fire Station. My name was called in the raffle and took home some Hammer Gel. Organizer extraordinaire Jim Craig gave us the lowdown on all the upcoming events, and talked about some of the new trails that were getting built. Biggest news: Wagon Train will feature a 15 mile loop when it is complete; that's unheard of around here!!


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Psycowpath #1 Postponed

First XC race of the year was supposed to be this weekend, but due to the crazy weather we are having in Nebraska it has been postponed to a later date. Better to dominate playing volleyball on Saturday, which would have been tough had I raced in the morning. Also gives me more time to finish writing up all of last years' race reports...

Update: Race rescheduled for June 14.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Capital City MTB Challenge; 9/20/08

This is part of a series of posts intended to catch up on events from last year that I failed to blog about.

The Capital City MTB Challenge was held at Branched Oak State Park Area 7, and was the first Psycowpath race held near Lincoln in several years. I had ridden this trail many times, and enjoyed it, but always felt it paled a little in comparison to Area 1. However, in the weeks preceding the race, the promoters had done a lot of work and made it a very fast, fun race course.

The course was very different from most in the series in that the lap was very short. This meant that the race was 4 laps instead of 2 laps like all the others. My training had been very lax since the previous race and I really didn't know what to expect from my body.

This tells you all you need to know about my day...
Picture by Adrian O. Argyle by T6.

I shouldn't have expected much. Either as a concession to the relatively short lap, or perhaps to spread the field, there was a mile long gravel lead out before hitting the singletrack. Right after the gun Dan turned on the jets and I knew I was in trouble.
It wasn't long before I was in third, then fourth, and then shortly after that I went over the handlebars on a section I had ridden a dozen times. All this in the first 10 minutes of Lap 1. By the time Lap 4 and the race concluded, I was solidly in 6th and worst of all never felt like I was in any way competitive finishing 6 minutes back from 1st place in a hour long race.

On the bright side, it was a beautiful morning riding my bike, my wife came out and watched, and I met some new people. What do I have to complain about?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Road Rage! Bicycle Style!!!

I know it seems like this post (and, really, the one before too) is just me being lazy and not taking the time to write anything else...

At least there is *some* bicycling content.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Kit?

Who wouldn't wear an anatomical skinless skin-suit?
Me I guess. You, Reader, on the other hand, would look great cruising the bike paths in this.

Look out Twin Six, I think you have some competition. It would be wise not to miss out on this key market segment.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2009 Laramie Enduro

The Laramie Enduro reached their registration limit this week after only 9 days. Last year it took 3 months to reach the 400 entry limit. I made it into the race from the waiting list last year, but I am a little less optimistic this year due to the apparent increased interest. May have to consider a new option...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2008, Albums, Top 10

Last week I summarized my Top Ten albums of last year (here and here). The man behind the curtain performed some magic on many lists, and came up with a final list of ten, summarized in the video below, in which, as per usual, the game was stepped up.

(If you didn't know, you can watch YouTube clips in HD (button in bottom right corner of video frame) and full screen (second button in bottom right), its totally worth it in this case (although I should mention there is some exposed human anatomy on one of the album covers that some may want to skip (time 2:45 thru 3:07)))

Almost as fun to watch as it was to make!

If you dislike funny videos (or don't have 9 minutes), here is the final list in text form:

10 Of Montreal Skeletal Lamping
9 Cut Copy In Ghost Colours
8 Beck Modern Guilt
7 Sigur Ros Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
6 The Dodos Visiter
5 Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
4 Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
3 TV on the Radio Dear Science
2 Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
1 MGMT Oracular Spectacular

What were your favorite albums of last year?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tranquility Tire Tantrum XC; 8/16/08

This is part of a series of posts intended to catch up on events from last year that I failed to blog about.

The Tranquility Tire Tantrum XC race was only the second XC race I made it to last year due to scheduling and weather and was the first race post-Laramie. Tranquility Park is located in northwest Omaha and is a relatively new trail system. I had never ridden there before so Ryan and I headed up on Thursday to check it out. This proved to be very valuable as there were a couple really tight corners that I would have blown had I not pre-ridden the course.

Putting out the vibes with Robb and Harp

Beginner Open class awaiting the start
There was three hour enduro at the same time as the XC race so they started first and then it was our turn. At the gun, Dan took off in a typical fashion and I was able to stay with him through the first section. I looked back and was surprised not to see Ryan right on my tail, although it wasn't too long until he was. In what would become a pattern all year, Dan started to pull away and I wasn't able to go with him. I held second for the first half of lap one before Jason and then Ryan passed by.

To my mind, Tranquility's main feature is the somewhat out-of-place in Nebraska descent to the finish; fast, dusty, switchbacks almost all the way to the line. I knew from my preride that this was a section where most people would take time from me and this was no exception. I watched as Ryan and Jason pulled even further away. First lap went into the books with me in fourth about a minute off the lead pace (Dan) and 15 seconds off third (Jason).

I rode most of the second lap all by myself, except for the occasional three hour racer either passing or being passed. During the last part of the lap, before the long descent, there is a long series of switchbacks up to the top of the hill. This section is very wide open, and as I started the climb, I noticed that there was a string of riders coming up behind me. Since I had no way of knowing who was racing in my class and who wasn't, I knew I needed to make sure none of that group passed me. Considering my problems with descending fast, I really had to work hard on the climb. Mission accomplished as I was able to hold off the fifth place rider by 10 seconds. The order in front of me held, with Dan getting the win followed by Ryan and then Jason.

I love this picture. Taken by Ryan's wife Jackie, right after I about fell over.

All in all, I was pleased with how I raced, and as an added bonus, my good buddy David came out to watch the race and hang out a bit afterward.

Now about the Laramie Enduro...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2008; Part Two

10 Why? Alopecia
9 She & Him Volume One
8 The Walkmen You & Me
7 Department of Eagles In Ear Park
6 Plants and Animals Parc Avenue

Without further adieu...

5 The Dodos Visiter

4 TV on the Radio Dear Science

3 Beach House Devotion

2 Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes

1 Deerhunter Microcastles

These lists are always an effort in futility, just because it is impossible to hear everything. Since I submitted my list, I've heard several albums that I'm pretty sure would have made my Top Ten. I feel really good about my Top Four this year, but the rest of the list was pretty difficult to put together.

The aggregate list should be out soon. I know I'm excited...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2008; Part One

Shortly after I started this blog last year, I posted about the aggregate Top Ten list that a group of friends puts together. This has been going on for several years now and is a source of great fun that also serves as an introduction to unheard music. For those who don't like to click links, the basic idea is that a bunch of people submit their ten favorite albums and then those individual lists are combined into an overall top fifteen.

Last year we had three promotional videos to entice people into submitting their lists and this year we had one.

Since I am not so good with words like some of my other friends (you know who you are), I will present my list with only a youtube clip of one of my favorites from each album. In my opinion, this wasn't a year with many standout albums, but lots of solid ones. The list below is pretty varied, so if one band/song doesn't strike your fancy, click on and maybe something else will.

Also please note that I didn't pick any of these bands for their ability to make good videos (or videos at all).

10 Why? Alopecia

9 She & Him Volume One

8 The Walkmen You & Me

7 Department of Eagles In Ear Park

6 Plants and Animals Parc Avenue

Check back tomorrow for the top five.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Things Left Unsaid: An Introduction

Man, its been a long time since I have posted anything, particularly on any sort of regular basis. One of my big obstacles to starting anew with the blog has been the weight of all the things that I failed to post about last year; that six week Google-imposed shut down, followed by the Laramie Enduro debacle really messed up my game.

So, I will now start posting semi-regularly again, mostly about current happenings, interspersed in no particular order and with no particular forethought, with posts about last years big events. I'm sure by now no one will be paying attention, but I'll feel alot better about it.