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Showing posts from June, 2010

Final stint

Wrapped up our tour across wisconsin with a 59 mile segment to praire du chien. conditions were windy with rolling hills; a hard pull that i rode solo at around 15 mph average. made a great stop in the city of muscoda, at john the baptist church. a huge feed was waiting and when i asked where i could pay, i was told a donation jar was near the door.these fine people were raising funds for riverway communities of hope, which helps area youth with counseling and life skills training. it struck me as noble, as if to say "we're giving you our best, please let us know how much it's worth." the rhubarb and coconut pie was excellent (i had a piece of each) and i made my contribution to the fund. it was at that moment i realized this was the heart of the tour and the essence of wisconsin. it's small towns with good folks, those who don't claim the media spotlight but do what's right nonetheless.master competitor wrapped the tour and as usual, thanked the l…

Pedal and ponder

Had plenty of time to think while pushing into headwinds during today's 83 mile leg from baraboo to richland. i rode with my high school buddy jeff and his friend allan. it was their last day, as they have other obligations for the weekend.some friends come and go in one's life; a rare few will remain for the duration. so it goes with jeff. we became friends during our motorcycle phase in the early 70's. we both left wisconsin that decade but kept the channels of communication open the past 35 years. many events and changes have impacted both of our lives. one commonality has been endurance sport. jeff is talented on mountain bikes and now road cycling (and also still goes fast on off road motorcycles). but true friendship isn't based on bikes. it's the lunch talks and phone calls over the years, the voice of reason from another perspective. jeff has been all of that and more to me. he challenges me with his common sense approach to life and i'm bett…


Made our day 5 journey to baraboo this morning...about 55 miles after two wrong turns. the fun part was that my brother richard challenged me to leave early, so we rolled at 6:20 am and "won" the stage...were top 5 into the finish at the baraboo community college at 10 am. the benefits of that performance are:1) first arrival for bathroom event - clean surfaces everywhere2) first into shower...i was #1 to hit the locker room and experienced dry shower floors...a sure sign of a master competitor-worthy effort3) first into school cafeteria. no lines and ample time to inhale two servings of soft serve ice cream (only $1 each!) before bags were off transport truck4) #3 into gym. claimed priority floor space between to emergency doors with power outlet over my head5) best pick of area to hang shower towel and shower washed riding clothes..went to the goal tender's net on the soccer fieldlife is good, i'm on the mat blogging while eating string cheese and animal cracke…

Old men going fast

Spent the second half of the day sharing 19-20 mph pulls with my friend jeff. at one point i was doing an ascent and vowed not to come off the big chainring. ground over the crest at 18.5...took a peek down at my blackburn rear view mirror and saw about 15 riders drafting the master competitor doesn't get much better. have to give a shout out to my buddy jeff - who pulled most the day - and my brother richard. he was showered, rested and in laid back mode by the time we arrived in friendship-adams. i run with a high performance crew.----------
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Grind and ride

Capped a 67 mile day. overcast skies turned to rain showers early in the day, then clear, breezy weather prevailed.----------
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Pace to win

I judge my touring performance by two benchmarks:1) ranking for claiming gym floor space - i was about 15th2) ranking for getting into shower - approximately 12thnot bad stats for old windbag master competitor.----------
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72 miles to the point

I'm reclining on my mat, bag of vanilla wafers and peanut m&m's at my side. showered' shaved and clothes drying on the softball field fence. in every regard the 72 miles on day 3, from merrill to stevens point, was outstanding.high points included fresh baked rhubard pie at a rest station. my buddy jeff tried to play mx and jumped a railroad track, which led to a flat rear tired. we fixed it and he flatted again. fixed that one and started tp grind. made one exceptional stop at jeff's sisters' house on lake dubay.----------
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I might be able to live this life forever:1) all of life's possessions in a gear bag
2) "home" is a small piece of real estate on gym floor
3) pack up, gear bag on transport truck, ride
4) race to next city to retrieve gear bag, claim floor space, be one of first in shower, take nap
5) forage for cheap food
6) sleep with ear plugs jammed in tight
7) repeat ----------
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58 mile day

Smooth ride from rhinelander to merrill. beat the rain. stopped in tomahawk for a church-offered lunch...a very irate motorist pulled up and chewed us all a new one for riding 2-3 wide. it was clear we had to respect her opinion. we're headed to ballyhoo's for dinner...all you can eat pizza and drink for $5. small towns do have adcantages. smashed the end of my thumb pumping up my tires...had to type this with meticulous effort.----------
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Heavy pedal

Talking to a retired nurse...seemed normal until she mentioned she nailed 10,322 miles during the 2006 cycling season...she did the 100 mile option today...and it gets better...her husband rode 146 miles to the start of the tour yesterday, then he banged out another 100 today. master competitor is deeply humbled by these oldie hammer heads.----------
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Weird news from the north

Here's an addendum: was almost asleep last night, protecting my floor soace at the eagle river high school field house. it was 9:33 pm and i was startled awake; some event organizer dude was tickling my bare feet with his cap! turns out he was enamored with my kellogg's all-bran eyeshades (don't ask) and wanted to alert me that the lights would be turned down at 10 pm. they do it a bit different up here...----------
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Northwoods on two wheels

First day of the bike tour was excellent. a short 48 mile burst from eagle river to rhinelander. weather conditions perfect. got stung on the lip by what i believe was a horsefly. drat. now it's time to enjoy the scenery told the ride organizer that the ride fee was $300 so i needed to eat 300 clif bars (event sponsor). always a wise guy in the crowd.----------
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Ready to ride!

we're at the rider's meeting for the 25th annual grabraw (great american bicycle ride across wisconsin). looking ay about 500 miles, riding northeast to southwest across the state. so stay tuned for more excitement; we're headed out of eagle river for 56 glorious miles tomorrow morning. wisconsin: i may have moved away in 1978 but i still love you!----------
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Dork running

Was out in Wausau this morning shuffling along on my 90 minute loop. The sun was hitting me from the east, throwing a fine shadow on the gravel road I was traversing.

It wasn't pretty.

Check out master competitor in the photo above, from the start of the Anchorage 1/2 marathon. I'm the character in black, look of terror etched on my face, terrible stance with upper body jacked forward...just what is the problem here?

I have advocated the use of chi stance on many occasions. But with a tender back and aging frame, this is what running is sometimes reduced to. Or, can I really call that running? Maybe someone should have shot me with a tranq dart and put me out of my misery.

Please refer to the previous post: I'm not going to let the bear eat me. So I'll pick up the pieces and try to regain whatever form still exists within this battered old body.

On another note, I'll be participating in the bike tour across Wisconsin with my brother Richard next week. I was prep…

Tom and the bear

Spotted this new version of Smoky Bear in Alaska. Thought it appropriate to position a slightly pudgy master competitor next to an abominably-ripped Mr. Bear. Guess if he could talk, I'd ask a bit more about his core workout.

Made me chuckle a bit. Thought of the old saying "either you eat the bear, or the bear eats you."

Maybe I'm eating like a bear. Sure have been pushing the junk into the old pie-hole. I train and I eat. I should train more and eat less. To that end, I am working on a plan.

I've been charging into some literature and trying to formulate a new paradigm on food consumption. But formulate is the operative word as it's not yet coming together. I start each day all piss-and-vinegar but somewhere around the third ice cream hunt, I throw in the towel and regroup for the next session.

When ever I get back to my roots in Wisconsin, it's time for deep thinking. What has been and what will come. I think we all periodically reassess and thi…

Bear bait

There's no false advertising allowed on the master competitor blog site, so I'll let you know up front this is a composite photo, and the sharp tooth visitor in the background has been superimposed on the image.

That said there's no falsification in stating I was really on that footbridge, so was the bear, and we were about that far apart.

Some of you may be pondering, "what's Tommy's ongoing beef with the bear? What can't he let it go?"

Just as I came to terms with my fears, I stumbled upon the show "Bear Attack!" on the Discovery Channel. Not hard to determine that much of the show was based on Alaska, much in the Anchorage area.

As one bear expert stated "some of those hikers go into the woods with a bell and a walking stick. Most of them are still out there somewhere. The bears got 'em."

Well, I think that was most of the quote, it was something close to that.

I'm an advocate of getting out and doing it hard, but this pas…

Power up and go

Here's another shot of master competitor sucking wind and attempting to draft off his ultra compatriots at the Anchorage half marathon. The strongest part of my body seems to be my jaw, because that's were all the BS comes from.

We're about ready to pack out of Alaska. Last night was a remote overnight camping experience in a Yurt. We had to hike in about 2 miles and had to share space on a bridge across a marsh with a huge brown bear. You can give me hours of prep talk about how to handle a bear encounter and I'm still not comfortable with it. Seems like sending an untrained individual into a burning house and asking them to put out the fire. Just not trained for the situation.

So we're regrouping and packing for tomorrow's flight outta here. Life is good and I have a head full of the 49th state. More to come as photos are downloaded and filed.

The journey may slow, but it does continue.

Time to pick back up on the running miles and prep for bike tour acro…