Sunday, August 31, 2014

August

I keep hearing the "end of summer" marketing rumblings... Apparently summer is ending early this year with. Labor Day falling on September 1. A sad thought. August hasn't exactly been the best month for me to soak it up though: closed on a house and moved a few weeks ago. When not unpacking boxes, shopping for new appliances, and doing all the chores and administrative odds and ends that come with homeownership, I have really enjoyed exploring on my bike, especially pulling the twins around.


We stopped to watch a train; the sound was a bit much for Anders.

The commute has been great too. Landed in a northern suburb, and mornings by the quiet lake feel like north woods territory. I miss a lot about  Minneapolis, but I am getting used to the nice sliver of wilderness here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Epic of Epic

The TDF is epic, and this year was particularly epic from start to finish. When other great riders faltered with bad luck, Vincenzo Nibali was flawless and fun to watch. 


























Monday, July 21, 2014

TDF Rest Day Catch Up

Between my day job and my dad job, plus wanting to spend my own time in the saddle, it is had to keep up with the daily awesomeness that is the Tour de France. So I relish the rest days almost as much as the riders... Well probably not close, but it is a good time to catch up because I am usually a stage behind - and avoiding the internet spoilers like the plague. So if you don't mind my sharing, I am going to list some memorable moments (to me at least) - as soon as I have the time. 



Andrew Talansky holding on just inside the elimination time after  a massive crash - and being plagued with crashes this Tour - was one of those heroic feats of drama that makes the Tour so much fun to watch.


I had a feeling that it was the Bulldog's pride that kept him from climbing into that Broom Wagon behind him. I would have been surprised by the look of things if he had continued the next day. Chapeau all the same!











Friday, July 18, 2014

Storming the Bastille



France’s “La Fête Nationale” seems like a good day to summarize my view of the TDF – my favorite or notable moments – for week one. 

Stage 1: Leeds - Harrogate  190.5km
Marcel Kittle riding to glory and a second time winning the Maillot Jaune in an opening stage sprint was pretty awesome. I had to feel for Mark Cavendish who for the past couple of years has found the opening stage Yellow Jersey elusive… I especially feel for him after crashing out in the bunch sprint this year. He obviously took a risk to try to put himself in a better position for the stage win and collided with Simon Gerrans.

Stage 2: York - Sheffield  201km
Chris Froome testing the legs of his primary competitors with an attack and seeing the top GC contenders respond and ride together to the finish. Expecting Peter Sagan to take the stage in a sprint, it was fantastic to watch Vincenso Nibali surprise attack in the last few hundred meters and take yellow with a 2 sec advantage.

Stage 3: Cambridge - London  155km
Kittle Wins in London.

Stage 4: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage - Lille Métropole  163.5km
Now at the Métropole, Kittle makes it three.

Stage 5: Ypres - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut  155.5km
The cobbles in the wet. Mud. Awesome. There has been some controversy about the inclusion of the pave in the TDF, but from a spectator’s perspective this made for one of the most memorable stages that I have ever seen. There was so much anticipation of this stage leading into this year’s TDF – and for me it didn’t disappoint. Watching Vincenso Nibali float over the cobbles to maintain his lead was phenomenal. Lars Boom willing himself to the front and taking the stage was fantastic too. 


















Chris Froome abandoning the race was the biggest disappointment. Although I have been rooting for Americans  TJ Van Garderen and Andrew Talanski to usher in a new era of American cycling with a TDF win, it was hard to see the defending champion struggle with a couple of crashes and abandon before he hit the pave sections.














Stage 6: Arras - Reims 194km
Andre Greipel wins the stage in a sprint finish.

Stage 7: Épernay - Nancy 234.5km
Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) photo-finish win over Peter Sagan (Cannondale).










Stage 8: Tomblaine - Gérardmer La Mauselaine  161km
Breakaway success – at one point 11+ minutes and Frenchman Blel Kadri holding on and winning the stage on Bastille Day-Weekend was pretty special to watch. I was rooting for Sylvain Chavanel (I AM Cycling) because he showed such spirit in the breakaway but I was equally pleased for his fellow countryman from AG2R La Mondial.  


Stage 9: Gérardmer - Mulhouse 170km
Tony Martin killing it and surviving solo on the breakaway, time-trial style, almost 8 minutes over the peleton. 















 Tony Gallopin leading chase and snatching the Yellow Jersey for France on the eve of Bastille Day.
















Stage 10: Mulhouse - La Planche des Belles Filles  161.5km
Alberto Contador abandoning after a crash and knee injury was so disappointing.  I love how he rides, attacks, and makes the race interesting. Hope he is back in form for the Vuelta. 













Vincenzo Nibali proved again that he is a force to be reckoned with, putting the pressure on throughout and ending the stage with a superhuman attack on a 20% grade. Made his stage truly memorable as he took back the Maillot Jaune. Also nice to see TJ Van Garderen move up to 7th overall in the GC. 

















Some really great riding again by Tony Martin and others as well.





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hexed


Lucky 7

It has been eventful spring/early summer in terms of flat tires and mechanical issues with my bike. This week I had my 6th and 7th flats of the season (on new tires). One might say I got junk tires when trying to save a little money because of the other maintenance on a bike that is a couple years old with 4K miles - and I wouldn't disagree with them. Time to shell out the dough for better tires. (If you are wondering, I think Mavik makes great wheels but their tires are sheet).

Another theory is the appearance of a Voodoo brand bike that has taken up residence next to me at work. It creeps me out when I see and things haven't been the same since I passed the person riding it a few weeks ago and within 100 meters one of my crank arms fell off - just one in a series of other issues. I must be hexed - or at least my bike is...


Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Burbs


Took the day off for an ultra extended weekend -- and headed to the burbs to explore some of the trails out there. Shoreview is especially great because there are lots of lakes and wooded trails. The twins love getting out in the Burley and they have been so much easier, in some respects, and will go on longer rides. They are starting to ask a lot more questions and enjoy pointing things out that they recognize along the path. We did 12 miles today... Not the longest we have done together, but the easiest I think. Perhaps because I wasn't pulling today:)