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Processed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with e1 presetThe Almanzo 100 : 10 Thoughts, Observations, Recollections

1. There were four (4) great dogs on this year’s jaunt around Spring Vally, MN. They are as follows :

A(1) – The yellow lab named after an Alaskan peninsula. This dog enjoyed licking legs, head scratches and general crotch sniffing.

B(2) – The black mutt that accompanied the yellow lab named after an Alaskan peninsula. This dog enjoyed occasionally scolding the yellow lab named after an Alaskan peninsula for gluttonous crotch sniffing.

C(3) – The dog known as Seamus. This dog is the unofficial official team dog of the best unofficial official team in the business – Team Radish. Seamus enjoys ear scritches and the occasional howl.

D(4) – The black lab hanging out in the middle of a gravel turn off. This dog enjoys sitting in a regal position and judging those who are stupid enough to be trying to ride a bike in this god forsaken land.

2. The worst vanilla malt in my life was had the evening before the 2014 edition of the Almanzo 100.

3. Acts of Kindness (In no particular order) :

A – Megan Barr provided a lovely yellow banana at the start line. I owe her at least five (5) bananas for this most generous act.

B- Michael Mason for providing a draft out of Forestville State Park, some of the best high fives ever and tunes like this one (or this one) blasting out of his back right pocket.

C – Jeffrey Zaayer and the MORBID Meat-Up for one (1) hotdog and one (1) MORBID sticker (to be applied to the top-tube and the top-tube ONLY)

D – David Bucklin for providing a steady wheel and levity to an altogether grave situation.

E – Trevor Murphy for providing a welcome draft and sexy to an altogether grave situation.

F – David Peterson for providing a lift, introducing me to the Wu-Tang Clan and waiting around while my broken ass made it’s way back to the parked car.

4. No bike computer. It was nice this way.

5. Salt-N-Pepa – Push It

6. What does it mean when a professional cyclocross team shows up at a free gravel race in the middle of nowhere?

7. The feeling of both tires losing traction. Repeatedly. And having it all under control. I love you, Panaracer.

8. The feeling of not knowing where everyone fit in the cycling spectrum. Please circle the descriptor below which most accurately describes your reason for attendance –

A – Roadie/Cyclocrossist

B – Enduro/Rad Masochist

C – Alternate Terrain Enthusiast

D – 32c Nihilist

9. Swedish Fish once again played a prominent role in my efforts. Trevor Murphy stated (accurately) that red was the best flavor. Then we mulled over the creation of the others and decided it was madness.

10. The climb out of the creek crossing was magnificent. Having missed this last year, it was a treat for the senses and an experience that will stay with me for a long time. I will return to better my time, as is necessitated by my limited definition of growth, but that moment made the ride alone. A glimpse of another reason to ride my bicycle, perhaps.

But for now, I will still be the guy sprinting for 764th place.

Mr. Skogen, as always, I thank you for a wonderful event.

Viva El Manzo!

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The Stay Classy Classic : 10 Thoughts, Observations, Recollections

1. Four teams of approximately four individuals gathered at the top of Mounds View Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota around the hour of 9 AM. These individuals came by choice, coercion or because there was nothing better to do with their Saturday.

2. Late August in Minnesota. (See : Uffda)

3. The four members of #TeamMusette were as follows :

1(a) : David Peterson

1(b) : David Bucklin

1(c) : Jeff Christenson 

1(d) : Myself

4. There’s just something about a Cue Sheet soaked through that is both terribly disgusting and endearing.

5. To the Wedding Party taking photos in scenic Vermillion Falls Park, we are forever in your debt for the three bottles of Ice Mountain Bottled Water. We also apologize for perhaps ruining a few shots with our sweaty, disgusting, worn-out bodies.

6*. Never pass up a well-placed Public Water Access.

*Bib Shorts can, in a pinch, double as swimming trunks.

7. That time when David Bucklin’s water bottle decided to release itself from its cage and land perfectly on junction of his bottom bracket, seattube and downtube.

8. Summer Home – Typhoon

9. Jeff Christenson’s gift of a Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll right around mile 86. On the Pearson’s Quality Confections Website it is described as follows : “In an ever-changing confectionery marketplace, Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll continues to represent the highest standards of quality and excellence.” in addition – “Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll is a good source of protein and carbohydrate energy.”

10. Rolling up to the finish at the Black Dog Cafe with the official time of 08:44:58 and only one other member of #TeamMusette left. This arrival was met with mostly heckles, a lot of sitting down and some well and truly deserved pizza.

Bravo, Spencer Haugh! Bravo, Stay Classy! Till next year, say we, the members of #TeamMusette. Till next year, indeed.

Photo 2013-06-23 08.56.35 PM Photo 2013-06-23 08.56.45 PM

All Photos Courtesy of Thomas Smith

My good bud Greg asked me last year if I’d be willing to help his shop put on an event that had fallen rather unceremoniously in their lap. The Brompton US Championship had lost it’s home and needed a new one – and where better than good old Minneapolis, Minnesota?

Where better, indeed. Last year with a shoestring budget and the smallest of acceptable timeframes, Greg, Martha, Kat, Luke and the whole gang at Calhoun put on an amazing event. This year, with a little bit more notice than the last, they managed to put together an event that was truly spectacular. With participants from around the Country vying for the opportunity to represent the U.S. of A in the Brompton World Championships, the racing was top notch. Think NVGP, but put it in a suit jacket and confine it to a few city blocks.

Well done, Calhoun Cycle.

Well done, Brompton.

Well done, This Guy.

I have a feeling the World Striped Garter Socks might be making their way across the pond sometime this year.

See you next time, Folding Bicycle Racers.

– MM

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The Almanzo 100 : 10 Thoughts, Observations, Recollections

1. It is important to ‘Roll with a Good Crew’.

1(a) – See Birchwood Bike Team

1(b) – See Omnium Bike Shop

1(c) – See the Banjo Brothers

1(d) – See Greg Neis and Brianna Lane

2.  The Almanzo 100 is now large enough that saying ‘Howdy’ or giving high fives to all of those I should is highly improbable without a large amount of planning. To those of you I missed, consider this your ‘Howdy’, your ‘Good Luck’, your highest of fives.

3. If you see flowing water, there is a climb up ahead.

4. Chris Skogen is Saving Cycling

5. Cycling never needed saving.

6. The Banjo Brothers Frame Pack, Medium (Item # 01064 – MSRP $34.99 – 102 Cu In.) has made it incredibly easy for a person to stuff their face while riding their bike.  This, along with the invention of the Swedish Fish candy, has made long distance riding on a bicycle finally possible.

7. Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC

8. 11 hours, 18 minutes and 48 seconds into the 2013 edition of the Almanzo 100 my GPS cycling computer died.

9. The spirit of the Oregon Trail (the computer game) is alive and well in Minnesotan cyclists.

10. 161.95 km into the ride, I unclipped, used my top tube as a seat and waited. The Sun made her last grasp at the fields, roads and forests surrounding me. The birds called out to their loved ones, bringing them home for the night. The wind calmed itself, tired of pushing back the hordes that had challenged it. So there I sat, listening, waiting. It was in this moment that I realized I had everything I ever wanted. It was in this moment I found my contentment. It was in this moment I felt the whole of what cycling could be.

It is this moment that will bring me back for years to come.

Thank you, Mr. Skogen. With your two hands, friends and family you have created something much larger than yourself. You have left your mark on this world  and it is a positive one.

Chapeau, sir.

mm_al_1 mm_al_11 mm_al_14What a night! It was great to be able to give-back to the Almanzo and volunteer for the first Fundraiser event. In-between yelling, hiding my french fries from hungry hordes and trying to track down Chris, I managed to grab a few shots (the rest you can find here).

It was a spectacular success, but there’s still so much more you can do to support your favorite sufferfest. Go out and buy some kit from Twin Six (they do make the raddest kits). Donate on the new Almanzo Website created by local guru’s Space 2 Burn. Watch the Almanzo Film courtesy of the amazing group that is Royal Antler. Tell your friends – the more the better! Support the people that support the Almanzo. There’s a long list, but the folks at Banjo Brothers are a great start. I hear that CRC guy does a lot for them too.

The Almanzo 100 is one of those things that I feel exemplify MN Cycling Culture. Chris has killed himself to bring it to this point – let’s take a little of that weight off of him and keep it moving into the future.

I want to live in the world where my kids get to do this with me. Let’s keep it around (at least until there’s no gravel left).

-MM

mm_few_15 mm_few_4mm_few_21Spending my last few hours of 2012 riding my bicycle in below zero wind-chill wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it wasn’t incredibly out of the ordinary.

I first heard about A Few Gears Eve last year through friends. It’s been put on every year by Dan Jacobsen, now owner of Omnium Bike Shop, in hopes of celebrating what seems to be a strangely Minnesotan trait; The desire to combine alcohol, riding bicycles and deathly cold weather (as evidenced by Stuporbowl).

This year I decided to throw some schwag in the pile (along with Omnium and Trash Messenger Bags) and sponsor the event. Along with the giveaways, I also biked along and took photos of the event. Unfortunately, Lobster Gloves make horrible gloves for DSLR shooting, and so most of the shots you see are either indoors, or close to a place where I could find warmth shortly after taking the shot. You can find the rest here – 

As we climbed out of downtown Saint Paul and headed to the after party all I could think was how much better the day was because I got out on my bike. I imagined most of the other people behind me were feeling much the same, and as we shot up Ramsey Hill the pain didn’t matter, all that mattered was getting to the top first.

Happy New Year, and may your 2013 be full of bike time, in whatever form that might take.