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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!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIt’s been awhile, so let’s see if I remember how to do this.

seven cycles : 10 Thoughts, Observations, Recollections

1. There is one ‘Dunkin’ for every ten Bostonians. This is based on intense scientific research(1a) backed up by visual confirmation(1b).

2. The proliferation of affordable and tasty doughnuts seems to have little to no effect on the local riding populous. This is evidenced by velocb’s ability to ride me into the ground. Thankfully, he took pity on my ghostly white frame and flabby legs and allowed me a generous draft for the majority of our tour.

3. There exists not one straight road in all of Massachusetts.

4. For the urban bicyclist – a recalibration of expectations is important. For instance :

a – ‘Safe’ Passing distance is around 1 to 4 inches

b – The car’s horn is not a fancy ornament that is never used (except in grave circumstances), but instead something to be hit constantly and without warning for little or no observable reason

c – Any vehicle that isn’t an actual school bus but has a large sign declaring that it is – indeed – a ‘School Bus’, is to be avoided at all costs

d. It will be ‘hella’ fun

6. Seven Cycles is based in Watertown, MA – just to the North West of Boston proper. It is made up of a large group of cyclists who care about where the Industry is going and work their hardest to not only make an amazing product, but also take care of the people who sell them. Also they have the nicest shop dog ever.

7. The Ride Studio Cafe is based in Lexington, MA. It is a lovely Cafe/Bike Shop that sells some of the best products available to today’s riders. Furthermore – the folks who work there are incredibly friendly and offer up their expertise freely to anyone who walks in. So you know, they have that going for them.

8. Honey Bikes is based in Watertown, MA. The aforementioned velocb takes point for their marketing/relations and does a fine job of it. Their lovely production steel bikes are made by none other than the folks at Seven.

9. John Lewis tried to expand my culinary horizons and almost succeeded. He also wrote this before I got a chance to meet him I thought ‘There’s a dude I’d like to meet’ and what do you know. So anyways, read this – Winter Moths

10. Read this, also.

There is more to say, and it will be said, but for now this will have to do. Thank you to my new friends on the eastern seaboard. You’ve done some amazing things and I’m glad I got to see them first hand.

It’s enough to make a guy want to blog about it.

1(a) – No science was harmed in the making of that incredibly inaccurate statement

2 (b) – I tried photographing them all and quit at number sixteen

And thanks to Honey for writing up about our little excursion. If you want to see photos of me pretending to be a famous statue, here you go – Minneapolis Musette.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetI’m for having fun at bike races. Taking yourself too seriously, although great for others, tends to ruin it for myself. Fortunately for me – and others like me – there’s cyclocross.

Cyclocross involves three things : Bikes, Fun and Beers. Lucid Racing fulfills these obligations and then some, making a formidable ‘cross force that can only be dealt with by high-fives, hand-ups and heckles. As you can see from the photos above, the ‘Team Photo Shoot’ turned out a bit more fun than other’s I’ve taken part in. Of course, having it done at the Sponsor’s Brewery didn’t hurt.

For the 2013/14 Season we’ll be sponsoring these fine Gentlemen and keeping you up to date on all their shenanigans. We’re proud to say that the livery they sport was designed by us and made right here in MN by another one of our favorites – Podiumwear. In addition, Stellar Bags and Omnium Bike Shop have come forth to make sure these guys get the very best in cycle-sport equipment available.

Be sure to watch for the Orange n’ Blue at this weekend’s ‘cross races and if they’re riding past you, heckle the shit out of em.

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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.

You may remember that I wrote this (the Heckler’s Creed) awhile back. If you have read that, you’ll have an understanding about where I was coming from. You might even get a glimpse as to where my thoughts were while Mattio and I were heading up on that lovely morning of Daylight Savings. Bikes in tow, chocolate milk recently purchased from a Holiday somewhere in the vicinity of the NSC Velodrome.

Perhaps they were not as full of hope as say, other’s thoughts may have been.

So we pulled up and I began to take photos. I ran around the course in a stupid fashion, trying to get a little warm-up before my own race. Thankfully, due to Little Guy Racing’s official stance of ‘Cat 4’s probably like Brunch too’, my own event would not take place until the very end. This allowed me plenty of time behind the shutter. And for a little heckling. Okay, a lot of heckling.

And to the Gentleman who had set up at the Dos 180’s, beer in hand, hatred in heart – you sir, are the King. Using such personal information to cater to the individual nature of the Racer; Piercing their hardened, embrocated legs to get the soft, vulnerable core of their inner most fears – Well done. I only wish you’d have been present at my own race.

Other Hat Tips would include the Waffle Van, for providing excellent, cocaine topped waffles (do not laugh while eating or USADA’s gonna be all up on your ass). Matt ‘Little Guy’ Allen, for providing what would be the best announcing of this, or any, CX day. Well done, sirs.

Got ready at the Omnium tent and while putting my Mad Alchemy on, advice was given from many sources. When you know you’re in over your head, when you have no idea what to expect, and your community comes around you and throws every tip and trick in the book at you. Fortunately, I’ve surrounded myself with good people, so there was much to glean out of it. The one that I think should have stood out the most was Smither’s tip – ‘Stopping is faster than crashing.’

He’s right about that one.

So we started, like any other race. Whistle blown and the front row took off. Thankfully, I know enough from Crits that when this happens, slot in and draft – don’t lose a ton of ground or it’s already over. I stayed behind people I felt comfortable with (Hairy Gary and his SICK Moots) and we made our way through the holeshot and into the first barriers. I lost a handful of spaces, but kept up, my dismounting having the grace of a Donald Trump tweet. My remount was only a little worse, but it got me over the barriers in one piece.

First lap finished I had that moment that you tend to in races where you feel good, the one where you take a breath and realize you need to figure out a plan. With my (extremely) limited knowledge, I was duped into thinking that every lap would go so smoothly. Hearing that I was in the top 10 helped that along, eventually convincing me I could make it to the top 5. I got low and started working away, attempting to catch Gary who had now moved three to four people in front of me.

This is when I hit the mini barriers and was told to bunny hop them. I thought I’d be alright, I can bunny hop okay, and they’re just like three inches or something stupid like that. I cleared the first and moved to the second. Unfortunately, my momentum had forsaken me entirely and when my front tire cleared, my rear did not. This bounced me into a front wheelie (which I have been informed lasted for a good few feet) and then when I decided to stop it, I hit my front brake (you know where this is going). I got up in a huff, saw all the spaces I was losing and hopped back on. My chain wouldn’t go, so I had to dig it out from my crank and push my left shifter back into place (thank you Ultegra 6600 for working smoothly after this).

And so that explains how those photos got on Facebook (maybe video too? woe to those who have good friends)

But that wasn’t the worst, amped up on adrenaline at this point, I hit the small gravel section and wiped out almost immediately after. Now a little more bloodied, bruised and sober, I got on a bit more carefully and started to work away at the spaces I had now lost.

None of the locations on the course I thought would be difficult, were. I was lucky enough that the little amount of skill I possessed seemed tailored for them, and could follow some really nice lines laid out by the Cat 1/2’s. That said, the ones I thought would not present an issue, were the ones that did, and now I have a fairly large sized bruise to show for it.

But at the end of the day – even with the embro burning into my leg while I scraped out small rocks from fresh wounds in a hot shower (really not the best) – it was all worth it. I had discovered a love for a new style of race, and participated in one of the more prestigious events Minnesota has to offer.

And next time I’ll remember that sage advice – ‘Stopping is faster than crashing’

A big thanks to Spencer and LGR for putting on such a great event. Also to Dan from Omnium for helping me get set up and taking off my bottle cages ten minutes before the start. And to Birchwood Bike Team, my brothers/sisters in arms, you are the best. If you’re looking for more photos of the event, you can find them on the Musette’s Facebook. See you next Sunday, CX Racers.

-MM