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1. Well, there goes my theory that you can’t get a speeding ticket in a Prius.

2. I brought three (3) pieces of kit that deserved use (In order from Bottom to Top, In to Out) :

– The Twin Six Standard Bib Short (Black, Large)

– The Search And State S1-A Riding Jersey (Black, Large)

The Rapha Classic Wind Jacket* (Chartreuse, Large)

*Did not receive use during July 31st through August the 3rd, 2014

3. Omaha Bicycle Co. : A true community bike shop. Having never been in before (much less never been in Benson), it felt as comfortable as your favorite pair of shoes. I imagine it would not be very difficult to set up base-camp and stop in every morning for a wonderful shot of espresso before heading out into the gravel hills which surround the community. Sarah and Vince have created a shop I think anyone would be proud to call their own.

4. Come Get It Bae – Pharrell

5. Dario’s Brasserie has a ‘Beer Float’ which consists of Indeman’s framboise raspberry lambic with vanilla ice cream. Failing to notice this is possibly the worst part of my trip.

6. Being in an elevator with three Golden Retrievers who were pretty much the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen.

7. Archetype Coffee in Midtown produced a darn fine espresso shot. It was bright, nutty and welcome at 8 AM post-#Fleche. The decor was sparse, but well thought out. Possessed the feeling of a fresh notebook.

8. Speaking of the #Fleche : August 2nd, 2014 the #Fleche took place in two locations for the first time. One took place in Minneapolis/St. Paul as it is apt to do, the other in and around Midtown and was led by Mr. Jonathan Neve. It was through Jonathan’s photos that I first was captivated by the Omaha area and I’m certain if you do yourself a solid and follow him on Instagram he’ll do the same for his new home. Thanks for the ride, sir.

9. The Wabash Trace Nature Trail heads from Council Bluffs, IA to Blanchard, IA. It is maintained by individuals who donate their time and private property (as opposed to many other trail projects). This wonderful trail that can be enjoyed for only $1 per day. After setting out from the trail head, Doug and Kim Scherlie accompanied us and informed us of the trail’s history, ‘Margharitaville’ and the infamous ‘Taco Ride’. Truly, there are no better guides to the world of Nebraskan cycling. We rode down to dinner and then started back just as the sun was setting over the hills of southwest Iowa.

The sound of gravel beneath tires, laughter of friends and slow descent into the evening made it familiar. The amount of fireflies was impressive and awe-inspiring as we made our way back until, they too, decided to pack it up and call it a night.

10.

‘Why should we fly off to Paris or Rome?

When we have long Summer nights right here at home.’

– G. Keillor, Midwest

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.

SAMSUNG

This is an obligatory post.

This is an obligatory post about making plans with a riding buddy to force yourself up in the morning when the alcohol you had last night is trying it’s best to keep you in bed.

This is an obligatory post that brings up tire pressure. Questioning it. Testing it. Just letting the damn stuff out of the tire and pressing your palm against it until you can almost hit that rim. There. That’ll do.

This is an obligatory post which considers Serendipity and where it applies to the creation of a Ride’s members. Sometimes the person you did not think to invite was just the person you should have.

This is an obligatory post about riding in that first big snow in Minnesota. Feeling it out again. Testing your limits again. Falling again. Watching as your bicycle becomes a collector of the heavy, wet flakes.

This is an obligatory post about that place with the really great breakfast burrito that you forgot about. And then found again. And then ate again. You know, that one. The really good one.

But this is just an obligatory post.

Nothing of worth here.

‘Alright! Spin em up!’

It’s like walking into school after a long Summer Break. You still have your tan lines and aren’t quite ready for barrage of new knowledge that’s heading your way; but you’ve got your new gear, and it’s shiny and nice to look at so that helps. Plus – there’s the friends that you remember, and new people to meet. It’s a net positive in the end. I’ve always loved September for that reason, a month removed it still retains it’s potency.

The learning here is a bit different, however. We teach our minds as much as our bodies, stressing them just a bit beyond our reach. Right now it’s all Threshold work, Over/Unders – that sort of thing. Keep it at that 100% and not too much higher. Soon we’ll have the first quiz and then you’ll know where you stand, and just how much you lost goofing off those last few months. 30 Minutes as hard as you can go over a pre-determined course.

You’ll never work yourself harder than you will at The Fix – even in the heat of racing other’s will falter and give you a second’s rest. No – at Larry’s you squeeze out every last ounce. Every last watt is driven from your legs like a broom against a rug until you’re laying flat on the floor, wondering how the hell you’ll do this again.

Drink your chocolate milk and wipe that sweat off your face; Class is in session.

I took off before I even realize what I was doing.

‘I’m not going to go for it, I’ll just lead em out’

Downshift. Then again. I jumped as hard as I could, just to catch them off their guard. See if anyone was awake. They weren’t.

Just about ten seconds into the thing and I sneak a peek. There’s been some reaction. The burning hasn’t registered yet. The cells screaming out for oxygen as watts are forced out of their unwilling forms. It’s too early for this. But maybe that’s why it will work.

Twenty seconds in and another downshift. Nowhere to go anymore but forward. I’ve spun out going downhill and hit the corner as fast as I’ve ever dared before. A question forms in the chaos that is my thought process.

‘Why?’

No one will remember this. ‘Luck’ they’ll say. ‘We weren’t going for this one’ or ‘Too early in the season’ they’ll rationalize. Maybe even a ‘Liar’ will grace their lips. I hope so. Because I am. A God Dammed one at that.

They’ll remember the cracked form barely turning the pedals earlier. They’ll remember how easily they walked away on the climbs. It’s just a downhill sprint. Like proving you’re the fastest one down a slide. Gravity Assisted Glory.

One last look and I see the headlights scrambling. It’s too late now and with my last push I let myself coast the last twenty or so feet. We’re back at it. Back in the thick of things. We pat each other’s backs and split off on our own ways. Our garage doors open and close. We click/clack across our kitchen floors. The world never knew of the violent race in it’s midst.

A Quick, Ten-Step Process:

Step 1 – Ride your bike

Step 2 – Ride your bike with people

Step 3 – Ride your bike with people who tell you that non-shaved legs are not ‘PRO’

Step 4 – Get off your bike

Step 5 – Get into the shower

Step 6 – Clean bike in the shower

Step 7 – Shave your legs

Step 8 – Ride your bike with people who tell you how ‘PRO’ you are

Step 9 -Grow back hair

Step 10 – Repeat


Spent some time this Sunday getting to know the ride I’ll be leading/enjoying for the foreseeable future. Come join up some time. If you know how to ride two up, you’ll fit in just fine.

You probably should enjoy the odd pickle or two as well. Wouldn’t want you to feel left out.

-MM

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We racing types sure do a lot for the honor of ‘bragging rights’. 

I’ve seen men dig deeper to get to the top of a hill first than they would to open a pickle jar for their beloved. The pickles aren’t important – it’s the right to go on and on about beating your friends that is. Phrases like: ‘Just a tire’s width!‘ and ‘I almost had him!’ pepper our pre and post ride conversations. Legends are made and reputations are put on the line for something as simple as a town sign. It’s madness to outsiders, but for the select few who know the route better than the back of their hand, it may as well be a matter of life or death. My prized possession is a tiny bottle of hot sauce with the words ‘Summit KOM’ inscribed with a blue ball point pen. That Tobasco Sauce will never flavor any omelet of mine – that task is for lesser vessels.

That tiny, red and green bottle was given to me by Mike – a former teammate of mine on Birchwood. Every Wednesday from when it’s prudent till when it’s not we take part in the finest hills St. Paul has to offer. I couldn’t mark it down on a map (well, maybe with some hard thinking on my part) but I know every turn and crack that ride has to offer. From the kick-off up Edgecomb to the insidious Snelling, I’ve felt every inch of pain those elevations have to offer. And I continue to do it, without any sort of physical incentive. Then one day, Mike changed the game.

He brought the bottles. I don’t know where he got so many, or why they were so tiny, but on each one in ball point were the names of the Hills we all knew and loved. Now it was no longer about the pat on the back at the top. No longer about getting to rest longer than all the others. Now it was about those little bottles. That night I rode harder than I had any other. Summit was never my forte, but that’s where I finally pushed hard enough to get that little bottle. When Mike took it out of his back pocket and handed it to me I made sure to put it in my wallet, not just the pocket. If it were to fall out on a descent before it had a chance to grace my mantle I would be crushed. The little guy made it home in one piece.

And maybe that’s all it takes to liven things up a little bit. Tradition is awesome, it is the fabric we base so many of our activities as cyclists on. But sometimes throwing a monkey wrench into things lets people look at themselves in a whole new way.

Sure, it’s kinda stupid, but that’s what makes it fun. The stupid parts, that is.

So we’re here to help.

I’ve designed kits for a couple of local squads starting with UMCT in 2009. Figured it was about time to design one for all the crazy shit I plan on doing in 2012. Maybe you’re doing some pretty crazy shit this next year too? Wearing clothes that work on a bicycle is probably a good idea. Gotcha covered, brah.

The kit will be made by Champion System. The jersey will be sixty dollars and the bibs will be eighty. S&H is included in that price, but if you’re local I’ll most likely just bring them to you myself. I’m going to stop taking orders at the end of February, or when we hit thirty orders. Whichever comes first.

Spandex not your scene?

 BAM.

Heather grey with white, blue and red logo. Puppy soft American Apparel. Twenty dollars. Once I reach twenty preorders this goes to the printers and I hand deliver this bad boy to your front door (or ship it, if you live far far away).

I’m pretty stoked. Hope you are too.

– MM

UPDATE: As PayPal has decided not to play nice with my page and allow me the pretty buttons, I will instead work with email/physical monetary transactions. If you’re interested in a Kit/T-Shirt send me an email at mplsmusette@gmail.com with item you want, size information and whatnot. I’ll send you an invoice *or* you can just give me the cash in person if you happen to see me often. Thanks!