Monday, March 31, 2008

The Distance

We cyclists are always measuring ourselves. It's either miles pedaled, average speed, or time.
However, it's not very often we measure distance in feet. Let me explain. For those of you not familiar with the Chequamegon 40 mile mountain bike race, the only way to get into it is by lottery. Your applications along with a check have to be mailed in by a specific date in February. Sometime in March you find out if you made it into the race, which is held in mid-Sept.

The last few years, Bob, Matt, myself, and now, Bill have put our entries into one envelope. This way we are either all in or all out. The Chequamegon race committee does allow an essay contest for people whose names are not drawn. Last year, our envelope was not drawn. Matt wrote a great letter and the 3 of us got into the race! Got all that? So now, we're trying to get into the 2008 race. I dropped my app off at Bob's house to give to Matt at spin class. (Matt is the envelope master) Bob, being the capable man that he is, remembered to bring my app, but, he forgot to bring his! He told Matt he would drop it off in the door of his house. He did. Matt couldn't find it. Matt called his neighbors, nope, they hadn't seen any envelope. Reluctantly, Matt mailed in the envelope with his, mine, and Bill's applications. A day later, one of the neighbors calls and says they found Bob's app. He got it mailed in on time to meet the deadline.

A month goes by. We all start checking to see if our checks have cashed, if they have, you're in the race. If they aren't you didn't get drawn. One by one, Matt's, mine, and Bill's checks all were cashed. Bob's wasn't.

The photo above shows the distance from Matt's house to his neighbors. I suppose it's about 50 feet. The distance that Bob missed getting into the Chequamegon by!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Solo Sunday

Woke up Sunday, no rain or snow like predicted, and it was 40 degrees! Headed out to the usual North loop on Territorial Rd. After 15 years of going through Elm Creek Park, there were changes made that I hadn't seen completed from last fall. First, the pedestrian bridge over Hwy 81 is open. I took a ride across and took a photo of Old Glory. I can't access Territorial the old familiar way, at least until all the snow is gone.

Here's a view of the bridge from the bike path.

The next two signs are familiar to all the Loons. The 55 MPH sign is the beginning of the "Fletcher Time Trial."

The Fletcher "city limits" sign is the end of the TT, a distance of about 9 miles. It was only my 2nd ride of the season, but I thought I'd give it a try. Last year I did it in 29:50 in the spring and around 25:00 in the summer. I was shooting for 30 minutes or less. 30:45 was my time, I guess there's lots of room for improvement....!

East French Lake Rd. I wonder how much longer we'll have working farms 6 miles from home?

A couple of pooches enjoying the sun on E. French Lake Rd.

This one threw me. I always figured anyone that drank Fat Tire would have enough class not to throw the bottles out the car window onto the roadside. Guess I was wrong.
All in all, it was a great day to ride, and I felt good. Finished up with 34 miles.
As I write this, outside I see snow falling, AGAIN!
Last I heard it was to be 6-8" by this evening.


Finally! The temperature was where FWK (interesting acronym, isn't it?) decided it was warm enough to get his butt on back on a bike. First time for 2008. Usually we get a teaser day in January or February to get out, but not this year.

It was the original 3 Amigos, Matt, Bob, and myself. You can see that Matt is pumped! If you look close, he has brand new Bontrager carbon rims on his Orca. I think the bike, with Matt on it, weighs about 112 lbs. It was the first road ride for all 3 of us.

This is my view when I ride with Matt and Bob. They weren't this close to me, but thanks to zoom, it appears that way! Bob is wearing his "E Street Band" black kit.
We're tooling up the hill past Lake Independence, and we spot another rider up ahead. Looks like Loon colors. It is, with a pony tail! A rare breed, the female Loon. Sure enough, it's Madonna getting her saddle time in. Great to see her lovely face out on a bike again. We also saw another group of Loons, maybe 8-9, riding loops. We were heading in opposite directions so we didn't get a chance to chat.

A fitting way to end our inaugural ride of the season! We didn't go far, only 26 miles. The usual first time ride emotions. The exhilaration of being out again, the heavy breathing of climbing hills and cursing the wind. It never changes, no matter how hard you've worked all winter, it's not the same as getting on that bike and pushing those pedals. You always get humbled and know that there are a lot of miles ahead. Come June or so, we'll start to feel like cyclists again. What a great sport.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Fair weather Kenny requires dry pavement!! Every freaking day I wake up and there's more snow on the ground! WTF?? The picture above is Sat morning, but, it could as well have been Friday or Sunday morning too. Charlie likes it, cuz he's a snowhound. Usually on Easter Sunday (yeah I know Easter is early this year, but still) I ride to the in-laws in Excelsior. Not this year, not even close!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Anguilla 2008

I hope the two girls in bikinis got your attention!! This is Debbie and Angie. We met them for the first time 2 years ago in Anguilla. It was a nice surprise to see them again this year. They are from MN and are alot of fun. They are also dangerous. I don't remember the last time (if ever), I did a shot of Tequila at 1:30 in the afternoon! Bad, bad girls!!!!!

Yes, the sand and water are really that beautiful.

This is Jimmy. He's from Boston and we've known him and his wife for several years. His wife just looked at me and said, "Jimmy must be drunk if he's taking his drink in the water!" That can happen in Anguilla at 2:00 in the afternoon.

This is a beach bar called Elvis's. Diane is talking to an old friend of ours named Rollin. He owns a catamaran called Chocolat. He makes his living taking people out for cruises.

My beer of choice on the island. Almost all the Heineken bottles are 9 ounces.

Running on the beach.
I think Diane has it figured out for the day!

The Pumphouse: Diane, Sarah, me, Deb, and Shani. I didn't know that Debbie was grabbing Sarah's boob until after I downloaded the pictures onto the computer!Diane, Mary Ann, myself and Mike. Mike and I are having our traditional shot of Patron.

Diane, Shani, Donna, and Debbie. Donna used to work at the Pumphouse years ago.

The lady in white and the guy in the back are from London. Angie and Deb found them on the beach and brought them down to the Pumphouse! Very nice people. That's Deb next to me.

Dangerous group: George, Diane, me, and Laurie. Laurie owns the Pumphouse. George is Armenian and has lived on the island since the 70's. He builds houses and drinks Johnny Walker Black on the rocks with a bottle of Perrier on the side.

This is Logan. We met him our 2nd night on the island. He's 24 and from North Carolina. He's been sailing since he got out of high school, literally left home at 17 and sailed his own boat to the Bahamas. He's been working on sailboats ever since, crewing and doing charters. He is currently on a boat called the Blue Whale. They were laying over in Anguilla and he came into the Pumphouse to have a couple beers. He said this was going to be his last cruise, and that he was going to start college so he could get a "real job." He was a lot of fun to talk to. Here is the link to the Blue Whale website that he operates:

Shani is a new employee at the Pumphouse. She is a very sweet girl and always gave Diane and I hugs when we came in at night! Terrific smile!

And then of course, this is Sarah, manager of the Pumphouse. You can see that she has a whole row of glasses set up that she is pouring into. This is one of my favorite photos. I take so many while I'm down there, always hoping to get that one good one. Our new camera has both a sepia and B&W settings. The sepia was nice for indoor shooting and gives a softer effect.This is Lyn. We've known him for many years, as he eats at the Pumphouse several nights per week. He's a Canadian who has lived in Anguilla for over 20 years. He's telling the ladies a joke about being an OB/GYN preparing for an exam.

Diane at the Dune Preserve, owned by Bankie Banx. Bankie is a musician from Anguilla. It used to be a bunch of driftwood made into a bar. It's a lot more formal now, and he has a concert there every year in March under a full moon, called Moonsplash. His music is reggae influenced, but not in the traditional sense. It's very nice music to listen to. Here's a link to his site:

These are ribs and chicken at Gwen's Reggae Grill near where we stay. Look good, don't they? I sat down after this shot and ordered up a plate.

This is Charlie. Charlie and his wife Trudy have been coming to Anguilla for many, many years. We used to see them on the beach. Several years ago, we saw them laying over at an airport on the way to Anguilla. We'd never spoke to them, so I went up and introduced myself. Found out they are from Lake City, MN. This is an unusual picture of Charlie, he usually has a beer in the hand that's not holding his cigar! He's now retired from 3M, and they spend 3 months a year on the island.

This is my bride of nearly 25 years, enjoying her daily walk on the beach! Can't wait till next year. Unfortunatly, we will no longer be able to stay on the beach itself. It has gotten too expensive. We'll be about 8 minutes away by car. It's too bad, but we knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Our place next year is twice as big with a great view.