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Event Recap

  • Aug 25 2018

    DaMN 2018

    Me on The DaMN 2018

    The Day Across Minnesota (DaMN) is an amazing 240 mile gravel race that starts in South Dakota and ends in Wisconsin. Riders of the race are given 24 hours to complete the 240 miles. You have to make 3 time cutoffs throughout the day in order to receive the needed cue sheets to complete the race. The checkpoints that you get the next set of cue sheets are at 60 miles, 120 miles and 186 miles. The time cutoffs (including the finish), are based on a 10 mph pace. I cannot tell you how much fun I had crushing gravel all night and all day last Saturday. The event is extremely well organized by the amazing Trenton, who somehow does it all side by side with his family and friends with big smiles and much cheer throughout the entire race. Trenton also is the Race Organizer for the Filthy Fifty Gravel Race.
    DaMN starts at midnight. 170+ racers rode out of Gary, SD in pitch darkness due to overcast skies.

    Here are some random thoughts I had during the race:
    - Did I hear that guy say he's carrying a spare tire? Crap! I only have one tube, which I knew was risky, but now it seems preposterous... I'm doomed
    - Was I thinking straight signing up for this knowing that I was doing it alone... unsupported?
    - I wish I had worked out something so that I wasn't leaving a borrowed car out here.
    - Do I have time for one more sandwich? They taste great!
    - I'm pretty sure I'll be good with just the short sleeved Norsk shirt and a pair of shorts... I'll probably be a bit chilled at the start
    - It's go-time. I am sooo ready for this
    - Fireworks start the race. That's so fun.
    - Hey, there's Linda and Val
    - Wow, I've fallen back from the line of racers. I think I'll try and catch them
    - Whoa! sandy road conditions. What the hell was I so over confident about? This might turn out to be a nightmare. Last year the first 60 miles were smooth and fast. Yikes, that guy nearly sideswiped me.
    - Can you believe how we go from night chilled air to steamy hot air in an instant?
    - The fog and heat variances has my glasses way messed up with condensation, though they look more like I'm riding in rain
    - Hey, wait, this might be our turn. Yes, it IS our turn. Hey! Stop... Bummer, those 2 guys just missed the turn. I gotta be super careful not to screw up on the cue sheets
    - One things for sure, the cue sheets are not to be doubted.
    - My lights are solid... OMG, that muskrat is in my way and I don't have great control in this loose gravel. Whew! Just missed it. I guess it wasn't moving because my light blinded it.
    - Why are these guys hanging behind me? I know they're faster than me? "you having a good ride?" Oh, got it, your lights are out of power and you need an escort. All good
    - I can taste The Baker's Wife Doughnuts now. There's The Banjo Brother's Checkpoint one!
    - Wow! That owl hooting was amazing. I want to catch those two in front of me and see if they heard it. It was magical... Oh, I can't really catch them. I hope they heard it...so awesome!
    - I'm 80 miles in and feel like I'm still running on adrenaline. 80, that's 1/3 of the way. No, don't think like that. This event is 4 races that are about 60 miles each. Stay focused on the 4 races...
    - Gas station! Nice time refuel... Wow, a day old raspberry scone, this is exactly what I'd be eating if I was at work.
    - Hey, just finished my first century of the year. That's nice... My pace is still feeling speedy.
    - I hope they have those awesome crepes at the HED (checkpoint 2) again.
    - Yes, there's the 120 checkpoint. Hey, Chris Skogen, great seeing you again. oops, I bet that hug was pretty stinky for him... Can you send me that pic you just took? Crepes! Savory please... any chance I can have two? HED is so awesome
    - I'm starting to bog down now.Looks like that guy's struggling with the route... yep, we're going straight here. How's your ride?
    - Henry, from the Hub. Nice too meet you. I can lead for a bit. I need a quick break as well. My feet are starting to get a bit sore... or rather numb actually...
    - I'm really guzzling the water now. I think it's hotter than I realize... These hills are really starting to slow me down... This road has some frickin' fast traffic. I need to make a safe left turn ahead.
    - Holy Crap! That's a huge hill. It goes on forever. So much for my bank. I think I'm falling back from my 5 hour/60 miles mark.
    - If there's not water at Checkpoint 3 (mile 186), I'm going to be knocking on a farmhouse...That's no problem... Crap... I'm struggling
    - Hey, there's The Hub's Checkpoint 3. OMG, wasn't sure I'd make it...Wow! There cheering me on. This is amazing. Hi Craig, oh, you're filming me, yeah, I'm really bogging down..OMG! Licorice and the water is COLD. Eric, mind if I sit down. Really, I'm doing well? I thought I lost all my momentum. This is such a nice Checkpoint. I can't believe how nice everyone is. A cold root beer, that's amazing! yes, please...
    - One quick tweet and I'm gonna hit the road. Totally gonna kill it on the last section. 54 miles to go
    - Hills, lots of them. This starting to wear me down
    - No way am I ever going to do this crazy race again. 240 is barely possible for a human with a job...
    - Wow! This is going great. I don't think I'm going to be hallucinating this year. That's kind of my final hurdle. If I start losing it I don't have anyone to pull me back to reality... you got this Luke
    - I need to get the most out of the downhills at this point because I'm not able to hammer the uphills at all. Straight up struggle at this point.
    - I'm pretty sure those are the trees that I thought were 25 foot tall bunnies last year.
    - Everyone I see is passing me, but I'm only competing with myself, so all good.
    - I'm pretty sure I'm going to beat sunset... that would be so amazing
    - I hope the construction at the bridge is finished... crossing the bridge was stupid scary last year
    - The bridge is still under construction. Yikes, that truck is pulling a huge boat... do they know how wide they are...OK, they got past me...let's pick up the pace and get off this bridge...I'd be OK with ending in a park in Red Wing and dipping my tire in the river as the Wisconsin ending...I wonder if there's a park with water access...
    - I'm glad they put that DaMN route sign there, I would have missed this road for sure. Well, actually it's not really really a road, but a construction project. That's kind of cool.
    - I did it, just have to find the finish... there's the tent...I know I dreamed of doing some cool no handed wave and smile thing at the end...I'm just not capable...There's that amazing Trenton...How amazing is he that he came up with this? He's smiling... yeah John, you can take my pic. Where do you want me?
    - I wonder if there will be another DaMN...I'd be into trying this again...

    Completing the Day Across Minnesota was definitely a highlight of my summer. 240 miles of gravel roads that cross the entire state of Minnesota turned out to be a surreal experience that I loved training for and I loved riding in.


    Training: For 6 weeks before the race I committed to riding super hard every single day for at least 25 miles (1-1/2 hours). This regimen got me in decent shape within a couple of weeks and it got easier and easier for me to knock off 30-40 miles at a fast pace. Whenever possible I jumped the rides to 35-40 miles. I got in several rides in the evening as a way to get comfortable riding at speed, in the dark. By the end I was able to do my typical loops as fast in darkness as in the light. I rode many of these miles with Derek, who typically is riding these events with me (though the DaMN weekend he was unable to race). My only 2 somewhat lengthened rides were a 70 mile and an 80 mile rides.

    Gear: I rode my beloved Curt Goodrich all-road bike. This bike is setup with a 1x11 drive train, Jones Bars, SON Dynamo front hub that ran my lights at night and charged my phone during the day. I used 700x38 Schwalbe G One tires (setup tubeless). My Banjo Brothers Frame Pack was loaded with snacks and a jacket and my Carradice Twiston had my tube and repair kit. The Tubus Rack and SKS fenders were not needed for the ride, but I felt it was a bit safer just leaving them on the bike rather than doing a lot of work to the bike right before the race.

  • Jul 18 2014

    My Race on a Brompton [@ BUSC 2014]

    IMG_0199

    Perennial Cycle has been the host of the Brompton US Championship for the past two years. Meeting all of the racers has made me want to participate, despite the fact that I'm not a racer (I must be a competitive commuter). This year BicycleSpace, a shop in Washington DC, hosted the event which gave me the opportunity to do this. Perennial Cycle has a lightweight, speedy demo Brompton that I rode quite a bit last summer. I felt this S2L-X would be a great choice for the event, so a few weeks before the race I started putting some miles on the bike with my sights set on losing a few pounds as well as getting in shape (I was taking my cues from Spencer Morse who is one of the strongest Brompton racers I've seen).

    busc7out on an extended morning ride to work before heading to DC

    I got in the best shape I can muster (I'm a 51 year old realist) and did in fact lose the 5 pounds I was aiming for. I made some tweaks to the bike, but didn't bother up'ing the gearing as the 7% reduced gears were pretty much all I could handle. Race day brought on a sickening mix of heat and humidity. This was certainly an edge up for me having been raised by two South Dakotans that were raised during the depression. They happened to be Norwegians as well, which meant that until it hit 100° the temperature was never mentioned and then only in a neighborly fashion ("I sure hope it´s not so hot that the day lilies droop..."). I happened to be standing with my bike near Jordan as he called out for the racers to start lining up their bikes, so I went right up and set my folded bike in the front row.

    DSC_9469f turning on my camera before the race

    I envisioned myself running up and quickly unfolding my bike and heading out first, but running up the lanes with a lot of people was challenging to do without crashing. I patiently worked up to my bike and methodically unfolded it and hit the road with probably less than 20 people in front of me. All good.... Up and riding, feeling good on the bike with the seat height correct and even straight : )

    busc5Racing to my bike at the start

    The first half lap was a big loop through and around a couple of RFK Stadium parking lots. By the time I finished this section I was past almost all but the speed demons. The next section was cobblestone that wove through Congressional Cemetery. This started with a fairly steep climb and by the time I got to the top of this I could see a group of four racers that were in the lead. At this point I passed the last person other than the lead group and saw a big strong rider pulling up behind me. It was Peter of NYCE Wheels and I smiled and mumbled something incoherent. He drafted me for a moment, but was quickly moving past me nodding for me to grasp his draft. I managed it for all of about 10 seconds and then yelled "good luck" to him and in a flash he was gone. With the first of my 3-1/2 laps completed the race was feeling pretty lonely. Not a great feeling being that I had envisioned working with someone to break the wind with, but before the second lap was completed I had a lone rider ahead. I caught and passed him (Alex) for a while and then he caught and passed me, and this back and forth went on. At about lap 2-1/2 Alex and I caught a rider that had been holding with the lead pack, but now the heat was getting the best of him and he was dragging a bit. Alex and I passed him and continued our cat and mouse past lap 3. With about a mile left in the race I passed Alex for the last time. The heat must have worked him down, so I crossed the finish line in fourth place thinking I was done, but got no signs from anyone and I just wasn't 100% sure if I had done all the laps (duh). So without even thinking it over I went on to do one more lap. I feel pretty silly about that, but it just points out is how unseasoned a racer I am.

    busc6these are all the BUSC 2014 racers that were at last year's BUSC in Minneapolis

    The weekend was super fun and while I loved being part of the actual race, I have to say that all the weekend's events were an absolute blast. Being with a group of Brompton superfans is a ball : ) Friday night at the British Embassy, Saturday's Brompton Urban Challenge, and Sunday's Championship race were all great fun to be a part of. If you have a chance to participate in the Brompton US Championship in the future, I'd highly recommend it. While my post talks about the race in a competitive tone, the majority of participants are out to ride with a large group of politely paced racers that are all connected by there lovely Brompton Folding Bicycles.

    Here are some links regarding the weekend: -my pictures on Flickr -gallery by Amy Ta -BicycleSpace's recap (with event video) -Washington Post article and video about BUSC 2014 -Brompton US Championship website

    busc55

  • Jul 23 2013

    Brompton Riders are Truly Awesome Racers!

    busc2013_ 1 - Version 2 As the organizer of the Brompton US Championship (BUSC) 2012 & 2013 I can tell you that Brompton Riders and racers are extremely good natured individuals able to go with the flow. This year's event was truly spectacular in every way. The representation of participants created a map with dots from throughout the country. Thanks for that! Multi-Modal Ride: Saturdays 30 mile spin led us through a wide variety of obstacles due to a major storm, but we all wore smiles throughout the cyclo-cross-like obstacles. Lunch alongside the great Mississippi with a group of Brompton riders was a lovely experience followed by a ride to the Northstar commuter train that easily held out folded Brommies and brought us back to Minneapolis just in time for the next ride. Multi Modal Ride - BUSC • 2013     Urban Explorer Ride: This 10 mile urban loop was designed to give the out-of-towners a chance to ride a wide variety of paths and shared roads with a few sights fit into the mix. Thanks to being shut out at the Guthrie (touristy stop) due to an anniversary party we had enough time to ride to one of Beez Kneez urban hive's and being that Kristy (the Queen Bee @ Beez Kneez) was on our ride she gave a tour of the hive and had some Q & A about bees. busc2013b_ 14 We headed back to the shop for a powerless party (power got knocked out for the entire weekend due to Friday's storm) and being that the sandwiches were to arrive from a place that also was without power, we had to come up with a plan B. Pizza is the answer! busc11 Dewi Sant is a fabulous band that we had scheduled for a show. Being that they knew we were without power, Michael Morris (the lead of the band) decided to come up alone and give an unplugged performance for us. Without light in the shop, we had the entire party and Michael's performance out back. He put on an awesome acoustic show for us. Thank You Michael! Sunday's Race Day was filled with huge smiles, great looking people wearing their very best, fast folds and an amazingly spirited bike race. The competition was fiercely battled and in the end there were no fewer smiles than at the start. This event and all of the BUSC participants have touched my heart in a very special way and I am sure to never forget BUSC • 2013! Thank You fabulous employees, sponsors and especially to those of you who came out and participated in this wonderful event. Here are a few pics of the events: Brompton US Championship Details: BUSC•2013 Podium Folding Competition Champs BUSC•2013 Treble Honors BUSC•2013 Flickr Set (lots of fun pics!)
  • Oct 03 2012

    What Would You Carry?

    With Saturday set to end with the giveaway of a Yuba Boda Boda, the big question on everyone's mind started with a hypothetical: "If I were to win tonight..." Would my life change? What would I do with a cargo bike? Thus, we set up a photo booth in the shop with a racing-green Bullitt by Larry vs. Harry and asked you to share with us, "What would you carry?" An animated slideshow of Calhoun Cycle customers sharing what they'd carry if they had a cargo bike like the Larry vs. Harry Bullitt pictured. Some of you were inspired by your favorite food or drink. Others were led by love. Our younger shoppers offered that they might carry notebooks or books... even the family dog. Nick, from Rock-It Bicycle Delivery (and proud owner of a Clockwork Bullitt), responded with a question of his own: What wouldn't I carry? Click here to view these photos at your own pace in our Flickr gallery. Thanks to all who stopped in our What would you carry? photo booth.

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