Monday, October 8, 2012

Fat and Single

My Pugsley has seen some neglect this year.  It has been sitting idle since the Almanzo.  I borrowed some parts from it creating A-No's build.  Last week I took some time and put it back together.  Saturday I rode the horse trail for 3 hours with it and had a blast.

Keeping it simple on the back end.

Bars are on loan from Tri.  I have never tried anything with a sweep before, but I am liking it so far.

Not much else is new.  Trying to finish up some projects in the yard before the weather gets cold.

Have a good week.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Poster: Introducing A-No

I'd like to take a minute to introduce my ten year old offspring, A-No.  He will be giving a ride report of his latest ride down in Mason city Iowa.

This is A-No. I did a 22 mile bike ride with Bompa (Duane) last weekend. We left Friday night. It was funny when we stopped at Kwik Trip and I went to the bathroom and a lady walked into the boy’s bathroom!  We got there at 9:30 and went to bed right away.

The start:

 The next morning we left for the ride and temperature was around 30 degrees. All I had on was shorts, leg warmers, a long sleeve shirt, a jersey, ear warmers under a hat, and two pairs of gloves. The ride was cold and windy the entire time and my feet and hands were freezing.  We ended up not turning around when we were supposed to and did 34 miles. That is the most I have done by myself so felt good about that.  I did hit a rock on the last two mile stretch and did face plant to the ground. Luckily I only got a busted lip rather than a broken tooth.

I spent the rest of the day hauling wood at the lake house. We went to Denny’s for dinner that night and we thought it was really funny that a lady there was picking her nose! The next day we hung out and watched football. Then later we left for home.

            It was a fun ride though and I for sure will be doing the 50 next year. Bompa and I  had a great time.

 Thanks for reading.


Thanks for the words A-No and strong work on the ride.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2013 Almanzo Gentleman's Ride

The Gentleman's ride is the same 100 course as the Almanzo, just more "gentlemanly".  Billed as a large group ride we intended to ride it as advertised.  My team consisted of Rosane, Pieper, and Sam F(a former coworker who now lives in St Cloud), and yours truly.

 Sam F

The start was cold and windy, temps were probably in the high 30's. There were several familiar faces at the start.  Had a chance to chat with Mark Skarpohl, a former teammate and long time road stud here in MN.  We rolled out and Pieper was soon in trouble stopping to throw up within the first ten miles.  The theme would continue for him all day.  Some kind of bug that is apparently going around. 

We made it to Preston in pretty good time and fueled up for the next leg. The climb out of Preston and the never ending wind made the going tough.  Pieper continued to feel under the weather but bravely chose to march on.  There were several climbs that I did not remember.  It was a different than the 90deg+ day in May.  

Top of Jay Rd climb:

We pushed on and stopped to refill at our drop spot.  A bit later we stopped again at the Almanzo tent and were able to chat with Almanzo himself. (+ me with a mouthful of cookies)

Mile 75 saw us hit the busy city of Cherry Grove.  After 6.5 hours the wheels on the Pieper bus fell off.  He hands down won the hardman award of the day.  After making sure he had adequate provisions,  we developed a plan of riding back on the gravel/road the 15 miles to Spring Valley. We would then come back for him(this was a gentleman's ride after all).  The wind had picked up and was in our face all the way to SV.  I was short of breath most of the way back, partly due to trading monster pulls with Sam F and partly from laughing at Rosane.  We agreed to ride into town in the "missing man" formation and give our fallen comrade the honorary town sign sprint.

It was unfortunate that one of us fell ill, but I still had a great time riding (I hope the others did as well).  Thanks to my team for a good ride.  Congrats to Pieper for toughing it out as long as he did.  I would have turned back right away.

Sunday we went to Eau Claire to see some good friends.  Z-Flo did a kid's tri.  A good time was had by all.


Later this week I will have a guest poster.  A-No will share his ride report from the weekend.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Divide and Conquer

Three generations of Novak's riding this weekend.

The Novak crew is dividing forces this weekend.  I am going to ride the Almanzo Gentleman's ride with some friends/coworkers.
The generations on either side of me (Andrew and my Dad) will be doing the St John's Classic down in Mason City.  Good luck to them.

Looks to be a bit chilly at the start, but warming up nicely.  Plans on Sunday to visit some friends in Eau Claire.  There is a kid's tri that Zoei may enter.  Twins and Mom will be cheerleaders.



Not much riding this week.  Rode 4 hrs with Rosane/Peiper last weekend.  My bike was pretty beat up after the Conspiracy.  Garmin is still not working.

Have a good weekend.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gravel Conspiracy

(This post was written last week, but blogspot keeps locking my computer)

This past weekend I headed to the North Shore to ride the 3 day Gravel Conspiracy.  The ride started in Grand Marais on Friday afternoon with about a 50 mile ride to East Bearskin Lake.  Saturday's stage was 125miles to Ely, followed by a 115 mile ride back to Grand Marais on Sunday.

There were around 50? starters on Friday and I was able to see some old friends as well as make some new ones.  The ride started off pretty fast with a 24mph jaunt up hwy 61 for a half hour or so.  We then took a left and hit the gravel.  I popped off the group at this point and rode my own pace.  I was able to hook up with Robin Bennett of Benett's cycle in Mason City, Iowa as well as Frank from CyclovaXC for a while.  I eventually tagged on to another group with Tri and a few others and finished the stage.  At Bearskin Lake we stayed in the lodge via a late invite from JoshP.  Josh, Ted Loosen, Tri, Grelk, Wilson, and myself became roomates for the night.  A soak in the hot tub, grilling out (shortened by rain), and some interesting conversation followed before calling it a night.

Sat was overcast and rainy with temps in the 50's.  Started off my with new roomates until about mile 35.  Ted, Grelk and Drew rolled off the front just as I was rolling off the back.  Ted soon had a flat and we were all together again minus Drew, who was forging on ahead.  We picked up Robin and Aaron and had a lot of fun riding together. Just after mile 100 there was a mix up on the directions. GPS route was off and we spent some quality time riding/hiking though the bush.  We ended up in Ely at dusk.  A lengthy meal at the Ely Steakhouse and we found our gear and were in the hotel by 10pm.

Some pics:

One of the many cool roads we were on:


No riding pics of Drew/Grelk as I was trying too hard to keep up at that point!!

Day 3 started with a waffle at the hotel and then a slight delay getting going.  Tri and I ended up having an extra cup of coffee with new friend Casey Martin of Clear Lake, IA.  I look forward to riding with the Cleak Lake peeps in the future. 

The usual crew took off with the addition of Eddie Karow (see pic), a beast of a man riding a single speed.  We were in awe of his biceps and the choice of a single speed.  Word around the campfire is that he does not own a shirt with sleeves.  115 miles of beautiful weather, rolling gravel, and sketchy ATV trail.  My poor bike handling skills were showcased on the ATV trail.  My mtn biking bretheren were kind enough to wait for me, thanks guys.  A couple of large climbs around miles 70-90 tested our weary legs.  One of them was called Heartbreak Hill and we were again in awe of Eddie who was the first one at the top.  He celebrated his climb by whipping out his toothbrush and giving his choppers a good brushing.  I see a Colgate/Crest sponsorship in his future.  A quick tethter ball game broke out at a romote watering hole called the Trestle Inn.  The rest of the ride went quickly.  We caught a few early starters on the way back into town.  The last several miles were downhill and we covered them in a paceline at over 30mph.

It was a great weekend.  Thanks to Josh Stamper and all of the sponsors.  It was one of the cooler rides I have done.  Kind of like transiowa meets Ragbrai on the north shore.  I have to give a shout out to my roomates/riding partners, thanks for not dropping me and making me laugh.  Also to the people from my adopted home town, Clear Lake, IA.  Frank from CyclovaXC, and a few guys I rode with from from Grand Rapids--Coach, Kid, and Aaron (poopy pants).

I rode my Van Dessel CX Gin and Trombones with 32c tires.  The tires were too narrow, but no flats.  The 28T cog in the back was a bit steep, but with Eddie riding a 44x17 SS I will not complain.  No mechanicals, although I did lose 2 chainring bolts at some point.  There is a creaking in my BB that was not there before as well.  My Garmin started acting up (and I lost all of my data), but a quick phone call hopefully resolved everything.

Thanks for reading.  Next up is the Almanzo Gent's ride with some friends/coworkers.  Should be another good ride.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Set Point Theory

In medicine, the term set point refers to any one of a number of quantities (e.g. body weight, body temperature) which the body tries to keep at a particular value. This concept is relevant to practices of physiology and psychology, among others. Example quantities with set points are body weight and happiness, both believed to have values that are difficult to change.  (Wikipedia)

My frequency of posting seems to have a set point of about every 2 months.  I wish I had something cool to blog about.

I recently purchased a Garmin 800.  I did not get cadence, HR, or power as I never use those anyway.  It has been interesting to see some of the data that it spits out.  The mapping feature is nice.  It really works well when I an traveling on strange roads.  I do not have a  mount for every bike, so sometimes it goes into my pocket and I just use to log the ride.  I never keep a training log, but this keeps track of it for me.  No surprise, but my set point for training happens to be riding 3 days per week. Each session has been about and hour and a half, although I have been able to do a 100 mile ride every month since March. That is a change from years past.

We just got back from a week in Clear Lake, Iowa.  I had intentions to ride every day, but ended up with 3 times (my set point again).  We had a great time and spent a lot of time on the water.  A few pics...



Andrew and Zoei

Little Girls

A friend was getting married down there as well, so we did not have to travel far.  I'm convinced that wedding dances are for little kids and young single adults.

Back to real life on Mon.  As far as events coming up, I am thinking about doing the Dairyland Dare, and I'm signed up for the Gravel Conspiracy and Almanzo Gentleman's ride.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Almanzo 100

2012 marks the 4th time I have done the Almanzo 100.  Chris puts on an A+ event and each has been memorable.  2009 was the last year it staged out of Rochester and was known for the killer winds out of the north.  I did it on my Cross Check fixed (42x16) and it was one of the hardest things I had done.  2010 was perfect weather wise and I did it with my father, me on my Pugsley and he on a mtn bike.  2011 was the year of the cold and rain.  My Cross Check again served me and I added 9 gears.  2012 turned out to be memorable as well.  Here is the story...

I originally planned to do the event with my 10 year old on a tandem.  I soon realized that this would be way too long for the boy (and dangerous).  A month out I talked to my Dad (referred to as Dewey for the rest of this post) who was up for doing it again.  I had recently acquired a new Fatback, and he wanted to do it on my Pugsley.  A plan was made, bikes adjusted/tuned up and I continued my usual 3 days/week training schedule.

--Brief History--
Dewey and I have been riding/racing together for the last 25-27 years.  I took a 10 year break around 1995, but was drawn back in 2005.  20 years ago was my last season of sanctioned racing (then USCF).  Dewey was no stranger to racing, having been a Cat 2 Master's racer who placed 5th in the Master's National time trial when he was my age now (40K in the low 50 minute range).  Back to the story...

We showed up in Spring Valley with plenty to time to get ready.  As mentioned we did this together in 2010, so we knew what to expect.  We planned on a long day in the saddle and started near the back.  Many familiar faces were there, and we were able to chat with Dave "The Legend" Pramann at the start.  Dewey, Dave and I all raced for the Gopher Wheelmen back in 1988 (Dirk Rettig, winner of the 2012 Almanzo 100, was also a teammate in 1988).

The first 40 miles were uneventful and took about 3 hours.  A stop in Preston to refill the tank (previously stashed cooler) and we started off again.  A few miles out we ran into the Legend heading the opposite direction.  He was not feeling well, but turned and continued with us in a fatbike paceline.  At mile 43 we turned onto Jay Road and started climbing.  All momentum was lost.  The wind and heat continued to take the toll.  There was a 13 mile stretch that took us 2 hours.  Dewey was having foot problems, but occasional stops and Tylenol/Ibu allowed him to push on.  The miles kept ticking off.
A stop in Forrestville to refill the camelbak and we set in for the last 35 miles.  The clouds came out and provided some relief.  Oriole road  at mile 90 was the last major climb.  By this time it had cooled off some, but we were both running low on water.  We finished about 7pm and shook hands with Chris at the finish. 

A few pics...these were emailed to me so I apologize for not giving credit to the photographer.  Leave a comment if they are your photos and I will be happy to credit you.

That was then...(2010 Almanzo)

This is now...(2012 Almanzo)

60 year old Dewey (2012)

Near 40 year old J-No (2012)

10 year old A-No (2012) training for future Almanzo

Thanks to Chris for once again putting on a stellar event.  Everything was top notch.  I hope to one day have 3 generations of Novaks' riding in the Almanzo.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Long time No Blog--a confession

Forgive me father, for I have sinned.  It's been two and a half months since my last post.  Since then I have been riding my usual 3 days a week with a few long rides.  I rode down to Clear Lake, IA, I did a couple of 4+hr gravel rides.  I did a mtn bike race.  4.5 laps of the Sandwich 50 race and had a blast.  I could see a time when a mtn bike may make it's way into the stable.

Speaking of stable, there have been some changes.  The tri bike and wheels are gone (I feel more manly now that they have left).  The 1x1 has found a home with my 10 year old.  My Pugsley has found temporary refuge with my father.  To fill the void I have been spending time with a purple Fatback, a bike that has seen the Sandwich 50 and more recently the Almanzo 100 (report to follow in a few days, I promise).

It is the end of May and my road bike has yet to leave the garage.  I hope to be renewing that relationship soon.

Summer is here and at our house that means weekends in Clear Lake, IA.  A new ship has been commissioned specifically for this purpose.  The former one was purchased when we were a family of 3.  Now that our family size has doubled, a new craft was needed.  The old was traded in, and this was the result.

Andrew and I had a chance to take it out this past weekend while recovering from the Almanzo.  More later.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Gravel Road Rocket

I finally found the time to put together a project that I started last fall.  The frameset is a Van Dessel Gin and Trombones.  I bought it off the 'net for $350.  The seller told me that he was sponsored by another company, and had this (his personal bike) repainted and kept in the pits.   I had all of the parts minus a front der ($45).  It has a carbon fork/seat stays, BB30 and tapered headset.  I personally dig the color. 19.5 lbs as shown:

I guess the saddle is new as well.  After my recent plumbing problems I wondered if I should be sitting "on" the saddle rather than "in" the saddle.  I went back to the drawing board and measured myself with both the Specialized and Bontrager seat measuring thing.  My ischial tuberosity measurement said I need a 155mm saddle.  Aside from my Brooks, the other saddles I was riding were 134mm.  Not supporting my "sit bones" may have been forcing me to put pressure on the soft parts and causing me problems.

The first thing I noticed is that I needed to lower my saddle 2cm.  Definitely less pressure as well.  I've only ridden it a couple of times, but I am optimistic.  Hopefully I will ride long this weekend and test it further.

This bike will not see any mid to back of pack finishes on the gravel events this spring.  I was one of the unlucky ones who missed the lottery drawing of the Ragnorak.  I will miss transiowa due to a conference in New Orleans.  The Almazno 100 will be ridden with the man child on a tandem.

A recent sale of some TT wheels has made the thought of a new fatbike a workable idea. 

More things to sell:

Offset 29'er wheels

Cannondale Slice Framset (54cm):

Have a good weekend.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life after the Arrowhead

The last week and a half has been up and down around our house.

The Bad:

-My uncle died while I was up north.  He was 63 and had Leukemia.  Although we knew he was not doing well, it was still kind of a shock.  RIP Lester.

-My parents had to put their 12 year old Samoyed down.  He had bad hips and could hardly walk.  He also had some sort of autoimmune disease.  My parents had 3 dogs, we have 3 dogs, so we are a canine oriented family.  RIP Aspen

My 10 year old and 5 year old knew what was going on.  My 3 year old twins had no clue.  Lots of tears at our house.

-My 3 year old twins got their tonsils and adenoids out.  They did pretty well, but two at once is much harder than when Andrew had his out.  Still getting up a couple of times a night for pain meds.  Daily trips to McDonalds for ice cream.  Bonus that it is Shamrock Shake season.

The Good:

-My plumbing issues have resolved.  Not sure why it happened, but ibuprofen for several days and no riding cleared it up.  A couple of the Urology MD's are cyclists so I hope to chat with them this week.  I'm still bummed about AH, but it could be worse.  I'm sure I'll be back next year. 

-I have ran twice, lifted weights, and learned to snowboard (took a lesson).

-Home projects are getting done.  I made Andrew this bed out of pallets:

Closet organizer in his room went up today:

Zoei wants a new bed next, I think Lori has some ideas--she is addicted to pinterest

The basement is finished except for the sound system.  We are very happy with it.  (I did not do any of it myself.)  I'll try to get some pics up soon.

Not much on the bike front.  A look around the shop saw several projects to do, my goal this spring is to get everything running and maybe clean house a bit.  I have a couple of old frames (15-20 year old) that I have the parts for.  Andrew will probably fit into them.  I'd like a new snow bike, but I'll have to put the pug on the auction block (although Josh makes multiple fatbikes look pretty nice).

Next event will be the Almanzo on a tandem with the eldest offspring.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

AH recap

This year up north things did not go as planned, here is the story...

Tri and I arrived without fanfare as we had in previous years.  Check in went smoothly and we were soon squared away.  Race morning soon came and all cylinders seemed to be firing.  I ignored the fast fellas up front and rode my own pace.  I felt better about my training this year compared to last, but not as good as my first year.  Gateway came and I was within 15 minutes of my previous times.  I decided to top off on fluids and shed my jacket as the temps had warmed up.  Chatted with Criego and Zylstra while I was there.

I made a point to stay on top of hydration during the second leg.  I soon met up with Eric Peterson and we rode together for a while.  Eric is a super nice guy and was way stronger than I was.  I started to get pretty tired, but I remember feeling this way last year at this point and knew I could recharge at Melgeorge's.  I never remember the hills before the lake crossing, and they were bigger than I remember.  At some point we were passed by a skiier!?!  Eric and I walked the big ones and I told him to go ahead.  I ended up several minutes behind him at Melgeorges.  I had to turn on my lights just before crossing the lake, missing my goal of a daylight crossing.  About the same times as the last couple of years.  The last hour before Melgeorge's I was having some trouble peeing.  I assumed I was behind of fluids and drank more.  No relief, and I began to dread stopping due to the pain from attempting to relieve myself.

Once at Melgeorge's I grabbed a grilled cheese and started to refill my bags.  I was mentally preparing for a night on the trail. The temps were going to be mild and I had a solid plan to staying awake.  My male plumbing issues were continuing to get worse (I'll spare the details, but Farrow's man diaper started to sound like a good idea).  I took some Tyelenol and drank some water.  I had a quick talk with Kershaw, RN, and asked his advice.  We developed a plan to drink water, maybe a little caffeine to get things working, and wait for an hour. 

I settled in and chatted with Eric (who looked really fresh). Criego and Zylstra were there, Maxwell and Wethington, and also met Tsai and Bekke.  I also met Dr Mark Seaburg, who was conquering his demons from last year.  He was kind enough to do a "curbside consult" with me and let me know that my problems were not likely to get better through the night.  I waited for a while and as things got worse instead of better, decided to pull the plug.  The possibility of being stuck out there and needing some medical attention was not something I wanted to deal with.  I hitched a ride with Rob Treuer back to IF and we had a nice talk.  Turns out we had crossed paths at Tuscobia and his wife did a residency at the same place I work at.  Small world.

Congrats to all the racers.  Strong finishes by Eric Peterson (keep an eye of this guy), Seaburg, Tsai, Bekke, Zylstra, Creigo and all the others I saw at Melgeorge's.

I followed up the next day (no change in symptoms) with my Dr here at home.  After a THROUGH exam, I was diagnosed with prostitis, (inflammation of my prostate).  I was able to avoid a catheter, and things slowly cleared up with Motrin over the next few days.  A couple of weeks off the bike and no long rides for a month.  The default reson would be from riding, but I have not changed anything on the bike in a couple of years.  There are a few urology guys here that are also cyclists, so I will follow up with them.

Things have been busy since.  I'll write more later, but for now my 3 year old twins are getting their tonsils out today.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heading north

Today we leave for the Arrowhead.  The bike and bags are packed.  This is my third time up there.  The pugs weighs 55 pounds fully loaded--about 10-12 pounds less than last year.

Random thoughts:

Weather looks to be mild, but I will pack for everything.

It is fun hanging out for a couple of days with like minded individuls.

It is stressful leaving the wife, 4 kids and three dogs at home.

Major goals for the race:
1.) Finish
2.) Make it through without sleeping (have not done that yet)

Minor goals for the race:
1.) Make it Melgeorges (halfway) before dark.
2.)Make it to Crescent bar when it is still dark out

Steady pace, keep moving, keep eating, keep stops to a minimum.

Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cold Feet

Cold Feet--to suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do, especially something important

I always have thoughts of self doubt.  Did I train enough?  Is my set up correct?  The thoughts always go away to replaced by excitement, but they are always there.

Last week I went out in below zero temps for only the second time this year.  After an hour and a half, my feet started to get cold.  This summer a mouse decided to build a nest in one of my winter boots.  I found a bunch of shredded paper in it this fall.  Not a big deal, except I found some of the insulation is missing this week.  New boots came today.  Same brand/size-Cabela's.  Warmer than my old ones.  I'll ride them this weekend, but I'm sure they will be fine.

Training has been going okay the last couple of weeks.  7-9 hours/week, usually spread out among 3 rides.  Last Sun I was able to meet up with Tri for 4 hours.  Long rides are more fun with others.  I look forward to group riding at AH and in training for trans-iowa.

Have a good week.