Monday, December 27, 2010


Photo: 7-mile outdoor run, 20-mile indoor ride, 6:00 am, 9 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 42,900 yds.)
Bike: 118 miles (ytd 5,783 mi.)
Run: 34 miles (ytd 1,455 mi.)

Christmas Day road trip... to the farmhouse and back.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Photo: 11-mile outdoor run, 20-mile indoor ride, 7:00 am, -6 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 42,900 yds.)
Bike: 106 miles (ytd 5,665 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 1,421 mi.)

Christmas Lights

Photo: 5-mile outdoor run, 20-mile indoor ride, 6:00 am, 0 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,200 yds (ytd 42,900 yds.)
Bike: 107 miles (ytd 5,559 mi.)
Run: 31 miles (ytd 1,391 mi.)

Blizzard run #1 of the winter.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Photo: 7-mile outdoor run, 20-mile indoor ride, 8:00 am, 6 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 107 miles (ytd 5,452 mi.)
Run: 29 miles (ytd 1,360 mi.)

Looking back on a good year of gravel with great company.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Photo: 3-mile run, 8:30 am, -10 degree windchill, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 79 miles (ytd 5,345 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 1,331 mi.)

Brrrrrific pre-dinner run with the next generation.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Photo: 7-mile run, 8:00 am, 40 degrees, Ames, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 85 miles (ytd 5,266 mi.)
Run: 31 miles (ytd 1,301 mi.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BONUS POST!


Like 'em, fer cryin' out loud!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Photo: 10-mile trail run, 20-mile ride, 9:00 am, 34 degrees, Pleasant Creek State Park, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 105 miles (ytd 5,181 mi.)
Run: 32 miles (ytd 1,270 mi.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Photo: 28-mile single-speed ride, 1:00 pm, 65 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 117 miles (ytd 5,076 mi.)
Run: 33 miles (ytd 1,238 mi.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Photo: 7-mile run, 24-mile fixie ride, 9:00 am, 40 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 41,700 yds.)
Bike: 107 miles (ytd 4,959 mi.)
Run: 28 miles (ytd 1,205 mi.)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Photo: 7-mile run, 24-mile fixie ride, 10:00 am, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 40,700 yds.)
Bike: 101 miles (ytd 4,852 mi.)
Run: 24 miles (ytd 1,177 mi.)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Photo: 25-mile fixie ride, 2:00 pm, 70 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 39,700 yds.)
Bike: 111 miles (ytd 4,751 mi.)
Run: 15 miles (ytd 1,153 mi.)

Failed farm, fall fields, fixie fun...falliteration.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Photo: 60-mile single-speed ride, 9:00 am, 70 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 38,700 yds.)
Bike: 133 miles (ytd 4,640 mi.)
Run: 9 miles (ytd 1,138 mi.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Inaugural American Gothic Gravel Invitational presented by PowerBar® won by international cycling upstart


Marion, Iowa – October 9, 2010 - Mario Czarnomski of Poland won the inaugural American Gothic Gravel Invitational presented by PowerBar. From its start/finish line near Marion’s Linn-Mar High School, the 60-mile bike race took riders into the countryside utilizing only the gravel byways and B-roads of Linn County in the heart of Iowa’s Grant Wood country.



Unique in today’s environment of high entry fees, large prize purses and extensive promotion, the American Gothic Gravel Invitational was non-sanctioned and free of charge to all participants, with all supplies, prizes and giveaways (including Goodness Jam) provided by sponsors PowerBar and The Crucible Gym.


“There’s an overriding opinion that quality events need to be priced high,” said race organizer and PowerBar Team Elite athlete and Free Fitness Movement proponent , Peter Ylvisaker. “We opted to put on an event without all the hype, fees and nonsense, while still maintaining the highest level of competition. We brought together some of the area’s best athletes in an underground format, athlete’s who compete at very high levels both nationally and internationally, to race for bragging rights and nothing more.”

Race participants included former members of Team USA in their chosen sports, veterans of the Ironman Hawaii World Championships, finishers of the Double and Triple Ironman Championships, qualifiers for and racers in the Boston Marathon and RAAM (Race Across America), and finishers of hundreds of other local, national and international events.



“All I can say is ‘Awesome!’ And I thought Ironman Wisconsin was going to be my ‘A’ race of the season,” said second-place finisher, Barry Breffle of Marion, who recently re-qualified for the Ironman® World Championships. Third place went to Chris Lintecum, also of Marion.

The women’s division went to steeplechaser-turned-cyclist Tiffany Czarnomski, who hails from the cowboy state of Wyoming, sealing the double for the Czarnomski family (and you should see them polish off calzones!).



In the event of a tie, race leaders were to participate in a 1-mile run-off at the Linn-Mar track adjacent to the finish line. Czarnomski, however, with his strong push to the finish, left no doubt as to the identity of the day’s champion. With his victory in a time of 3:49:52, Czarnomski rode home (after a stop at the local garage to pick up his ailing Honda) with a prize package courtesy of PowerBar, The Crucible and Hamm’s Beer (from the land of sky blue waters), and the right to gloat for another year.

In an act of solidarity, Czarnomski accepted his awards and then turned around to share his Hamm’s with his fellow racers. Then the contingent moved on to celebrate the day at Zoey’s pizzeria in downtown Marion, Iowa.

Until next year…





Monday, October 04, 2010


Photo: 26.2-mile run, 7:30 am, 38 degrees, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 38,700 yds.)
Bike: 60 miles (ytd 4,507 mi.)
Run: 43 miles (ytd 1,129 mi.)

Taking care of business before taking care of business.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


BONUS POST!

In response to a recent athletic endeavor, an acquaintance remarked, “You’ve got to be pretty brave to do that.”

My thinking is that it doesn’t take bravery or courage to do something you love. It’s what I’m wired to do. Ask my parents. They watched me as a child wandering off into the woods for hours and then days at a time; let me disappear on my bicycle as long as I agreed to return before dark; sent me running the length of my paper route because walking was boring. I hiked to and from school because taking the short-cut via cattle trail was more fun than grabbing a car ride. You get the picture. Brave? No. Fun? In my mind, yes.

This past weekend I had the good, no great, fortune to spend some time with a family friend, a very courageous, brave family friend. A young woman who was dealt a bad hand from birth and decided to step up and have life-altering surgery performed on her spine.

When I paid her a visit, the surgery was complete; a resounding success according to medical staff. She will realize the extent of that success in the months and years to come. She’ll be back on the soccer field, cross-country trail and walking her dogs down the street soon enough. For now, she has months of rehab and recovery. And she’ll do it with a smile. That’s what courage is… smiling at adversity, smiling when it hurts like hell, smiling because she knows that long-term benefits outweigh the short-term ass-kicking she’s taking right now.

The next time someone tells me how brave I am, how courageous I am, or how tough I am for toeing the line at a race, I’ll return a smile and say, ‘Nah,’ because I know what courage is, and her name’s Maggie.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CONSIDER YOURSELF INVITED!

PowerBar(R) and the Iowa Gravel Society(TM)

present

The American Gothic Gravel Invitational(TM)
Saturday, 9 October 2010, 9:00 am


A 60-mile, balls-to-the wall, dust-in-yo-teeth, winner-take-all, free-of-charge bike race across the gravel roads of Linn County, Iowa. Yes, IOWA!

Everyone gets: Dirty, satisfaction, camaraderie, the attached cue-sheet keepsake and BONUS! poster (suitable for framing, fun for the whole family), and a get-together of some sort afterwards (but only if you stick around for the last finisher. Bring a few bucks to chip in if you're hungry. Zoey's or Tomaso's pizza is sounding good).

One person gets: The grand prize (but only if you stick around for the last finisher).

Rules: Sign the notebook before the start. We roll out as a group at 9 a.m. Once we hit gravel, the race is on. Follow the cue sheets ‘til you hit the finish. Sign the notebook with your name and finish time (there’ll be a stopwatch by the notebook). No aid stations. No outside help. Don’t be stupid. Don’t cheat. Ride safe. Stop, look and listen. When you cross the highway(s), look and then look again. Don’t be a tool. And don't, don't, don't litter. The roads are open and the farmers are working harder than any of us. Stay to the right and outta their way. Wave and they’ll wave back.


Cue sheets: Click on the image. These are the only directions you’ll receive. Print ‘em. Bring ‘em. Lose ‘em and you'd better find someone to ride with. If you bring a buddy, then make a copy or make sure your pal doesn’t get lost.

Start/Finish line: Indian Creek Elementary School parking lot (by the football field), Marion, IA

Fine print: You’re receiving this because you’re one of a select group… or someone we thought really had nothing better to do. This is an invitation-only race because we’ve seen what happens when FREE events are opened to the inconsiderate masses. That said; if you want to bring along a kindred spirit, that’s cool, too. In fact, we encourage it.

In the event of a tie, the 1-Mile Grant Wood Tiebreaker will be held at the adjacent track to determine the winner. Frankly, we’re REALLY hoping for a tie. Bring your running shoes… just in case.

Finer print: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. There is no sag wagon (though Crazy Pete will ride DFL and pick up the pieces)... so choose your weapon wisely. If you get a flat, fix it; if you break down, wing it or start walking... no one is coming to save you. You got into it, you get out of it. That said, offer a helping hand if someone needs it. As mentioned above, don't be a tool... but feel free to lend one.

Photo: 3-mile run, 27-mile fixie ride, 9:00 am, 50 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 700 yds (ytd 37,700 yds.)
Bike: 126 miles (ytd 4,447 mi.)
Run: 41 miles (ytd 1,086 mi.)

...and just like that, the seasons change.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Photo: 15-mile run, 10-mile trainer ride, 10:00 am, 50 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 37,700 yds.)
Bike: 91 miles (ytd 4,447 mi.)
Run: 45 miles (ytd 1,086 mi.)

...and two laps around the basement on the unicycle.

Photo: 36-mile gravel ride, 3-mile run, 7:00 am, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 37,700 yds.)
Bike: 129 miles (ytd 4,356 mi.)
Run: 52 miles (ytd 1,041 mi.)

Sometimes 'Road Closed' means road closed.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Photo: 35-mile gravel ride, 2-mile run, 8:00 am, 48 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,100 yds (ytd 37,700 yds.)
Bike: 106 miles (ytd 4,227 mi.)
Run: 49 miles (ytd 989 mi.)

The
Patterson Bigfoot siting? Loch Ness? Pffft... I've got never-before-seen footage from Easter Island! Wait for it.

video

Photo: 51-mile road ride, 2-mile run, o-dark thirty, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 800 yds (ytd 36,600 yds.)
Bike: 147 miles (ytd 4,121 mi.)
Run: 44 miles (ytd 940 mi.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BONUS POST!

"Awe-inspiring!" -Canned Film Festival

video

Photo: 63-mile gravel ride on the single speed, 2-mile run, 8:00 am, 75 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 800 yds (ytd 35,800 yds.)
Bike: 129 miles (ytd 3,974 mi.)
Run: 36 miles (ytd 896 mi.)

Big Al discovering that the
"B" in B-Road is for "Bloody"... again.

Photo: 37-mile gravel ride on the single speed, 9:00 am, 75 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,100 yds (ytd 35,000 yds.)
Bike: 116 miles (ytd 3,845 mi.)
Run: 36 miles (ytd 860 mi.)

Iowa? Duh.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Photo: 4-hour night ride on the single speed, 7:00 pm, 80 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,900 yds (ytd 33,900 yds.)
Bike: 151 miles (ytd 3,729 mi.)
Run: 32 miles (ytd 824 mi.)

The Reverend discovering that the "B" in B-Road is for "BAS#$RDS!"

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Photo: 1,500-meter swim, 16-mile bike, 6-mile run, 10:00 am, 80 degrees, Sugar Bottom, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 4,600 yds (ytd 31,000 yds.)
Bike: 100 miles (ytd 3,578 mi.)
Run: 28 miles (ytd 792 mi.)

A single speed is all you need for a slow turn in the right direction.

Photo: 35-mile urban excursion on the fixie, 8:00 am, 70 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,800 yds (ytd 26,400 yds.)
Bike: 127 miles (ytd 3,478 mi.)
Run: 24 miles (ytd 764 mi.)

2+ years later

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo: 3-hour gravel ride, 8:00 am, 75 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 5,800 yds (ytd 26,400 yds.)
Bike: 133 miles (ytd 3,351 mi.)
Run: 22 miles (ytd 740 mi.)

Iowa... America's breadbasket

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Video: 3-hour hike-a-bike, 8:00 am, 41 degrees, Ptarmigan Pass, Summit County, Colorado

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 20,600 yds.)
Bike: 101 miles (ytd 3,218 mi.)
Run: 19 miles (ytd 718 mi.)

2009 was a good year for me. Multiple age-group wins, a couple overall podium finishes, healthy from beginning to end…

Then 2010 arrived, and I was injured during the first triathlon of a very young season (thank you, IT band); at a race I have done every year, 19 years running. That nagging ache I should have listened to months before was now screaming loud and clear, “You are screwed!”

Weeks later, and thanks to a newfound appreciation for massage therapy (thanks, CJ), stretching, rest and ice, I am ready to start 2010 all over again. I could have tossed the season away (I had already missed one scheduled race), chalked it up to increasing age or bad luck, and looked straight to 2011.

Or, I could have “stayed small,” racing little local events and impressing my kids by, potentially, adding to the hardware hanging in the closet. It would have looked good and I would have felt…

…empty.

Instead I opted to get stronger by losing. Yes, losing. I write this after having my butt handed to me this week.

Days ago, I loaded up the car, racked a bike on top and made my way up beyond 10,000 feet in Colorado, far, far out of my comfort zone, to run the La Sportiva Vail Hill Climb. I knew before leaving my Midwest home that I had no chance at victory or even placing anywhere near the top of my division, much less overall. Would I even finish? The pack of athletes I was used to running with would be out of sight before I took one step.

I was okay with that. This was about me trying something different in somewhere unfamiliar; racing against my personal clock instead of against familiar competitors on the roads I know inside and out. I intentionally stacked the cards against myself. I wasn’t used to the terrain; I was far from acclimated; I knew no one at the race…

…and I loved every minute. I was a beginner all over again. I loved the views, the smells and sounds, and even the burning in my lungs. The thousands of vertical feet were killing me and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I didn’t have the stamina or even the right shoes for the run, and I couldn’t have cared less. I was working hard and feeling very alive for the first time in weeks.

In the final standings of the event, I got destroyed. Look for my name and you’ll need to keep scrolling. But in my psyche, I won big. The year had started over. This was how I felt a quarter century ago when I first began this lifestyle.

In the few days since that event, I've trained far above the treeline; running, hiking, riding my mountain bike, pushing my bicycle - and my limits. It hasn't been easy, but it's been simple to walk out the door every morning and afternoon. Comfort zone? Hardly.

I’m healthy again (though not quite in race shape), happy and set to step it up for the rest of 2010. Next up? The Xterra Sugar Bottom Triathlon back in corn country. It's a well-established series in a first-time location. I’ve never raced Xterra, but you know what? I have a pretty good feeling I’m gonna like it.

video

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Photo: 3-hour hike-a-bike, 7:00 am, 38 degrees, Colorado Trail

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 800 yds (ytd 20,600 yds.)
Bike: 75 miles (ytd 3,117 mi.)
Run: 21 miles (ytd 699 mi.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Photo: 11-mile test ride, 7:00 am, 65 degrees, Marion, IA

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 3,400 yds (ytd 19,800 yds.)
Bike: 142 miles (ytd 3,042 mi.)
Run: 10 miles (ytd 678 mi.)

The knee in question.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Photo: One-hour walk around the lake, 8:00 am, 65 degrees, Eagan, MN

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 400 yds (ytd 16,400 yds.)
Bike: 107 miles (ytd 2,900 mi.)
Run: 0 miles (ytd 668 mi.)

Monday, June 14, 2010


Photo: Longboarding with the boy, 5:00 pm, 75 degrees, Marion, IA

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 600 yds (ytd 16,000 yds.)
Bike: 71 miles (ytd 2,793 mi.)
Run: 0 miles (ytd 668 mi.)

Early Happy Father's Day to me.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Photo: 550-yard swim, 16-mile ride, 3-mile run, 9:00 am, 70 degrees, Palo, IA

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,500 yds (ytd 16,000 yds.)
Bike: 116 miles (ytd 2,722 mi.)
Run: 20 miles (ytd 668 mi.)

Worst race in years. Bad Day? Bad Body? Bad Luck? All of the above.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Photo: 30-mile ride, 3-mile run, 6:00 am, 70 degrees, Linn County, IA
Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 13,500 yds.)
Bike: 131 miles (ytd 2,606 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 648 mi.)

Monday, May 24, 2010


Photo: 16-mile fixie ride, 9-mile run, 5:30 am, 70 degrees, Linn County, IA

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,400 yds (ytd 13,500 yds.)
Bike: 139 miles (ytd 2,475 mi.)
Run: 26 miles (ytd 618 mi.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photo: 100-mile single-speed ride, 12:00 pm, 70 degrees, Out There, Minnesota

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 12,100 yds.)
Bike: 154 miles (ytd 2,336 mi.)
Run: 16 miles (ytd 592 mi.)

Chris Skogen is THE MAN

Photo: 10-mile fixie commute, 7:00 am, 45 degrees, Marion, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 12,100 yds.)
Bike: 95 miles (ytd 2,182 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 576 mi.)

Sunday, May 02, 2010




Photo: 5-hour single-speed sludge ride, 9:00 am, 60 degrees, Whoknowswhere, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,100 yds (ytd 12,100 yds.)
Bike: 150 miles (ytd 2,087 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 546 mi.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Burrito Union, and ...

Burrito Project

Burrito Project from Jon Chou on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Photo: 40-mile ride, 10-mile run, 10:00 am, 50 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,000 yds (ytd 11,000 yds.)
Bike: 148 miles (ytd 1,937 mi.)
Run: 36 miles (ytd 516 mi.)

Soggy

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Photo: 13-mile run, 8:00 am, 40 degrees, Decorah, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,400 yds (ytd 10,000 yds.)
Bike: 131 miles (ytd 1,789 mi.)
Run: 36 miles (ytd 480 mi.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Photo: 69-mile ride, 2-mile run, 11:00 am, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,500 yds (ytd 8,600 yds.)
Bike: 162 miles (ytd 1,658 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 444 mi.)

Spring cleaning, anyone?

Monday, April 05, 2010


Photo: 29-mile ride, 6:00 pm, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 7,100 yds.)
Bike: 150 miles (ytd 1,496 mi.)
Run: 33 miles (ytd 414 mi.)

29 on the 29'r

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Photo: 15-mile run, 15-mile ride, 8:00am, 35 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,400 yds (ytd 7,100 yds.)
Bike: 151 miles (ytd 1,346 mi.)
Run: 30 miles (ytd 381 mi.)

Just me... and the deer... and the turkeys... and the turkey vultures.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Photo: 25-mile gravel ride, 6:00pm, 60 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 2,400 yds (ytd 5,700 yds.)
Bike: 139 miles (ytd 1,195 mi.)
Run: 35 miles (ytd 351 mi.)

Confused by the signs, baffled by the weather.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Photo: 38-mile gravel ride, 8-mile run, 9:00am, 45 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 1,200 yds (ytd 3,300 yds.)
Bike: 128 miles (ytd 1,056 mi.)
Run: 33 miles (ytd 316 mi.)

Oh deer.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Photo: 37-mile gravel ride, 6-mile run, 10:00am, 30 degrees, Linn County, Iowa

Weekly activity log:
Swim: 0 yds (ytd 2,100 yds.)
Bike: 104 miles (ytd 928 mi.)
Run: 28 miles (ytd 287 mi.)

A much-needed breath of fresh air.