Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where did those muscles come from?

On Tuesday night I got my first chance to go cross country skiing. That's right, I went at night for my first time, and for some reason I didn't even think twice about it. After all I had a head lamp!

Anywho, Ronsta was kind enough to teach my some skills as I floundered around Minooka. I've never done any kind of snow sport, unless you count sledding. I noticed I was getting quite a different workout then he was, it was like trying to swim laps with someone when they can breath stroke and you can barely doggie paddle.

I crashed a few times, nothing horrific. However, I did manage to bend a pole crashing at slow speeds on a flat, and bust a ski going even slower on a flat. That was just weird. I didn't bust any of me though and I had a great time! I am sore in muscles that I apparently never use. I look forward to the snow coming back after this rain and warm weather so I can get out there again!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snow/Ice Ride

Tosa Trails 12.18
Photo courtesy of Ronsta
Great icy snow ride with some good guys for a couple of hours in the cool temps.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do we have the consumption?

I have recently heard from numerous people from both political sides and all kinds of beliefs that "they" want us to spend more to save the economy.

"They" in this instance are the government officials. What I find interesting is that in general these people tend to agree that spending, or rather consuming is not the answer. The only premise I can gather is that the practice of consuming is bad. The idea that consuming is bad I can go along with in most cases, but I am not sure I can write off the practice of consuming goods as evil in general.

One thing we need to remember is that we live in a capitalist society. Oooo, I said capitalism, we all know that is inherently evil! Or is it? Sure, it can be a breeding ground for greed, but that doesn't necessarily make the economic structure greedy in itself, it means the people using it can use it for purposes for which it was not intended. In a capitalist society buying and selling are needed to keep the structure going. Buying is consuming.

Where I think we often get caught up though is that we equate buying/consuming with greed. Surely it is when we buy things only for ourselves, for our own use, and especially when we do not have the money to do so. Such consuming is greed. Let me flip that now. How different is that from storing up our goods or money so that only we have access to it and no one else, especially when we have plenty for ourselves in the foreseeable near future, and calling it savings? To me it's two sides of the same coin. Both are greed and have numerous theological implications, perhaps I'll get into that later.

Consuming goods doesn't have to mean we have to use or keep goods for ourselves. What it can mean is that we use the resources we have been blessed with to help and bless others so that the society we have been blessed to be born into can continue, if that is what you want.

Every time we buy a meal for ourselves (or somebody else) and tip we are paying wages for numerous people. Just something to think about.

Thoughts? Comments?

Friday, December 10, 2010

WI Cheese, Sausage, and Beer

Don't forget the big fat soft Miller's Pretzels. No, I'm not talking about every family get together or work holiday party in WI. I'm talking about Saturday, January 15th at the Cheese Bar! 7pm-11pm on Old World 3rd in Downtown Milwaukee. Mark it down. Bring your friends!

More details to come, like some tasty things that you won't have to pay for and some other things on which you just might want to drop a dime.

P.S. the Tosa Trails were in great shape this week. Even if it rains on Saturday and they ice up good by Sunday, studded tires will have you leaning on corners on Monday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Uh, I think it is safe to say winter is here

The Cook-off was a blast, if you missed it, you need to make the next one. Along those lines, I should be finalizing the details with the Cheese Bar on Thursday for an event. At the Cheese Bar you can get various flights of Wisconsin cheese (my favorite thus far is a 12 year old cheddar) and they'll give you tips on which beer or wine to pair up with the flight. They also have the most extensive selection of Wisconsin beers available in one place that I have ever seen. Mark it down, Saturday, January 15th. For those so inclined, perhaps we could mix in a ride around the city after? More details to follow soon!

Training is back in full swing, well as much as it can be without spending much time on the bike. I'm in the gym 3 times a week and on the trainer once a week. I'm told in a few weeks there will be enough artificial snow to start cross country skiing if we don't get the natural type. I'm really looking forward to learning how to ski, and for some reason, falling down a lot. Is that second part weird?

Also, Reconcile just launched a micro-site called It is not the church website, but it does have a link to the church website. The point of the micro-site is to try and understand people better, from all walks of life, so that conversations can begin or be furthered. So if you would, take the time to check the site out and post something. It is completely anonymous. Just the few that are up already give an interesting look below the surface. It would be so cool to get people with all types of beliefs and backgrounds posting things! Also, go back after you have visited and posted once because A: you can post again; B: you can read all the new posts since last time you were there. There is a link at the bottom of my links to the right

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Here are the details: The Cook-off will take place on Saturday Dec 4th. People should arrive around 6:30pm and plan on eating about 7pm.

Here is how it works: We pick a theme dish, style,or ingredients and everyone brings their version to share. We call it a Cook-off but it isn't really a contest. You do not need to bring food, but it is more fun when more people do. The theme this time is....MAC N CHEESE!!!! Be creative. Let's get carbtastic!

If you are in the Milwaukee area and you want to come, shoot me an email for directions. marc.engelhardt at gmaildotcom

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Scandal of Particularity Part II

Last, we left the Scandal of Particularity with the Israelites. God chose them as the path through which to reveal himself and his plans. In the Scandal though, God does not end it there. In his revelation of himself to the descendants of Abraham (Israelites) he revealed that a Messiah was going to come and be king, and that the whole world would be subject to this king. Here enters Jesus.

Jesus the Christ isn't just the next step in the Scandal, Jesus is the scandal. Jesus is everything the Israelites were intended to be as God's chosen people. He is the Messiah and the Son of God. So, if he is everything the Israelites were supposed to be, then he is where God reveals himself and his plan. Take a second to think about that and how it fits into the scandal of particularity. Jesus is the revelation of God to the world.

Jesus is the fulcrum of the Scandal of Particularity.

Part of why this is called a Scandal is that if Jesus is the Son of God, that is, the revelation of God and his will, then other people or gods are not. Meaning that Jesus is not one of many ways to get to, or to know God, rather he is the only way. Jesus speaks of himself in that very manner when he calls himself the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

This brings up another facet of the Scandal of Particularity. That is, that there is no passiveness when it comes to understanding Jesus. What I mean by this is the popular notion today that many people like Jesus, but not his church or followers. However, when more questions are asked about the Jesus such people like, it is not the Jesus of history and scripture but rather one they created, a revolutionary nice guy who was misunderstood. The problem with this view is that one has to go to great lengths to create such a Jesus out of imagination. Such a figure just isn't there in history, what is there is a figure that forces the classic "Messiah or Lunatic" argument. Meaning Jesus is who he claims to be, the only Way, or he is a dangerous nut, but never just a "nice guy who was misunderstood."

According to the Scandal, all of history leads up to Jesus and his life. It makes a permanent visible line in the sand, one of exclusiveness and inclusiveness. With Jesus, the Scandal became more evidently Particular, as it were. What are the ramifications for us today then?

If you find this interesting or have strong opinions either way, come on down to Cafe Hollander on Downer Ave tonight, 7pmish. There will be some open discussion time and probably a game or two. Ask for the reservation under 'Marc', we are normally upstairs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

WI State CX Championship

Well, I didn't race it myself. It just didn't work out, but if there is one thing I learned about racing this year it's that it isn't necessarily about the racing that makes it fun. It is the atmosphere and community. I was able to steal away enough time to go watch the P, 1, 2 and the masters 35+ 1,2,3. It was a great day for cx racing.

Unfortunately, Lauren couldn't come, so I was left to take pictures myself. With my junkie camera and my junkie photo taking ability. I took lots of pictures but none turned out very good. So here is the one that still looked cool, plus videos of one of the chicanes.
P, 1, 2 race

The P,1,2

The Masters 35+ 1,2,3

Time learn how to cross country ski and start getting ready for next season!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scandal of Particularity

While the title of this article may not be familiar to you, the concept or the opposite of the concept probably is. There are many facets to this and I do not want to overburden any one article so I will take it in small chunks. I would also love some interaction with readers as I work through it. To set it up, have you ever heard someone, maybe even yourself say "God is too big for one religion." Or something close to that idea like, "Why would god only be known through Christianity?" Think about it a bit, what other things have you heard or you yourself believe that go along those same lines.

It is called the scandal of particularity for a reason. That is, God chose a particular path to reveal himself and his plan. Not that the existence, or aspects of, God's character cannot be known outside the particular path, but the specifics of God and his plan can only be known through the one path. This is often referred to as natural versus revealed knowledge of God.

The scandal begins with Noah. Noah is the first time in scripture where God chooses one route to carry on his promise of redemption from sin for all of creation. Noah's family is the only one to survive the world-wide flood. The second big time is Abraham. God makes a covenant with Abraham that creation will be redeemed through his ancestral line. This is eventually where the 12 tribes of Israel come into the picture. The 12 tribes eventually became the people of Jewish ancestry today. Which is why they refer to themselves as God's chosen people.

That is of course an oversimplification of the history but it gives a quick glance at the path of God's specific revelation and his plan. And that is why it is particular. While a relationship with God was available to all people during these parts of history, it was only available through the particular path. If one wanted to be right with God and know him, one had to believe what the chosen line said about God and know him the way they knew him. Sounds very exclusive doesn't it? Perhaps that is why it is referred to as a scandal.

That is enough to chew on for today. What thoughts does this first step in the conversation bring to mind?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend recap

Koz's was great again, especially now that it is smoke free. I think we will be back there again soon. There were 2, count 'em 2, 300's rolled! There may have been some help from the pinsetters, but they still got their names up on the wall!

Check out this weird picture were it looks like Ronsta was superimposed onto it.
Koz's Mini Bowl

As far as the Estabrook Cx race, I dnf'd. In the second lap I heard a noise that I thought was my fork, one that didn't sound good but I kept going. In the middle of the 6th lap I hit a pothole in the grass and my bars turned way down. They are what made the noise the first time too, I think. I still haven't pulled the bike apart to check. Somehow they got loose, maybe the cold? Anyways, that was it for me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Koz's Mini Bowl!

If you have never been mini bowling you need to make this a priority this weekend. If you have been, then you know how fun it is, and now it is smoke free! We have all 4 lanes reserved, so tell your friends. We cover the cost of the lanes, and everyone chips in to tip the pin-setters (that's right, real live pin-setters!) Let's crowd up the joint.

This is a bar so you need to be 21+.

When: This Saturday November 6th, lanes reserved 7-9pm

Where: Koz's Mini Bowl map

Everyone's welcome!

Questions? email me at: marc.engelhardt at

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Washington Halloween CX

I am still trying to get past the cold that kicked in last week and I woke up Saturday not feeling good at all. But I already lost too much fitness from my week of inactivity and if I don't want to get completely shelled in my last few races I had to try and race on Saturday. That and the Washington Park race is one of the best courses in Milwaukee so I wasn't going to miss it.

When I got there, Kate was kind enough to lend me her wings. They went well with the Seagal kit.
Halloween CX - Pro/1/2
Halloween CX - Pro/1/2

The first two laps my legs felt strong and I was moving up from the back. I had just about closed the gap to a large chase group when I went down in a dusty corner where I was pushing it too much. After that is was a race between me and two MyWifeInc guys.
I was trading blows until the last two laps when my cold caught up with me and I got a serious stomach ache (I had been fighting it all day). I finished on the lead lap, beating about 5 guys, which altogether was a small victory for the day. Super fun day.

Lauren got some more great pics and videos.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Double Double Deuces

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kletsch Park CX

Sick. Half a race and done. It's not heavily in my lungs like it is for Lauren, and hopefully it won't get there. Racing Washington park is questionable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Would you like that bag filled with sand?

I had a Blast this weekend in Beechwood. I had to do the 2 lapper because of commitments later in the day. One the best things was when Scott and I were watching part of the 3, 4 lap race at the rock garden and I ask a local 12 year old speedster how he did in his race and his reply was," Top ten I think, but I had some sandbaggers in my race."

I replied, "Uh, that was us, you make sure you knock off two places when you tell others your results."

At least we got to ride, plus I still got to put the screws to Scott. Ronsta killed it. Wish I could have stuck around longer. Thanks a ton Curtes brothers!

A very few pics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grafton Pumpkin Cross aka The Little Engine that Couldn't

Not much to say about the last race other than the engine wasn't there. I had no acceleration or power. To give you an idea, my average speed was only 1mph faster than last week's race and this was a much faster course with more flat straights to open up.
Pumpkin Cross - Category P/1/2
Rode most of the race by myself. It was a true mental test though and I made it to the end, up the big hill 12 times. The technical skills seemed on point, although that could have been attributed to the slow speeds!
Pumpkin Cross - Category P/1/2
Oh well, it happens. I plan on having a Blast this coming weekend. A short one because of my nephew's birthday party, but at least I'll get out there.

As per usual, race photos here, from my wife Lauren.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This past weekend was the WCA Cyclocross #2 "CrosstheDomes" by my wife inc. They put on one heck of a race, with a course that had everything. The weather was crosstastic--low 50's with intermittent rain showers.

This week I tried something new, actually warming up for the race, and I think it helped! Well, actually it is hard to tell. Less than a minute in there was a chain reaction of pile-ups coming down a hill into a 180 uphill turn. I was in it:
CrossTheDomes - Cat Pro/1/2
As the peleton sped away I tried to get going again but my shifter was turned in--so the cable was stretched--so my chain wouldn't sit in a gear-- so I had to stop and jam the shifter back into place. It took a long time and I actually had the thought that I was going to DNF after 1 minute of racing. But I hopped back on and played catch-up through the 35+ masters who started 30 seconds after us.
CrossTheDomes - Cat Pro/1/2
Then I crashed two more times in the first two laps. One pushed the shifter in again, the other was in the same place as the first where I was cooking the corner too hot and I did this fancy "front tire slip otb downhill into 2 akido roles back up grab the bike and remount" without losing much time. Although, I felt it all over Sunday morning.

In general I had no handling skills, partly front tire choice, partly lack of skills practice. So I was taking the techy stuff way too slow for most of the race, but I was much faster when I was upright!
CrossTheDomes - Cat Pro/1/2
I had one more mechanical with 2 laps to go. After the barriers I somehow got my chain jammed in my Paul chain guide. It took me a long time, well 30 seconds, to get it out. Which allowed this fellow to bridge the gap.
CrossTheDomes - Cat Pro/1/2
We played cat and mouse the last lap. I punched it up the big hill (that isn't him in the picture below, he was riding the hill too):
But I didn't attack enough once I had the small gap. We went back and forth, rather slowly, the rest of the lap. He came around the last corner with a 3/4 bike length lead and kept it through the uphill sprint.

I just need to put the pieces together and I think I could have some good races this year. Once again Lauren took a bunch of pictures, check them out if you like. She also took a video with her phone upon Ryan's request. The lens is a little dirty but it works. It also shows Cale's tremendous effort to ride both sides of the pit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Feel of Fall

There is just something about living in a climate that has distinct and extreme seasons that can affect your mood and tastes with each season. This can be a good thing, like "Yay, heat","Yay, crisp air!", "Yay,snow!", or "Yay, green stuff again!". Or it can be a bad thing such as in "seasonal affective disorder". Thankfully for me, it's the former.

Fall is here which means the colors are changing, cyclocross on the weekends, coffee or spiced cider in the afternoons, and The Bad Plus and Mr. Bojangles on the stereo. Who would want to live on the West Coast where it's always 75 degrees, ultimate Frisbee(see Jerry Town), Diet Rite, and Jack Johnson (at least that is what Ryan, Justin, and Chris taught me)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Color Festival

This picture doesn't do it justice, the entire parking lot and field to the driveway were packed with cars. The turn out for the FCF was great and the trails were in awesome shape. Last year I think it was closer to 27.5 miles and this year the Garmin said the loop was 31.5. The single track just keeps on growing, partially due to events like this!

Thanks to all the people like Ronsta, Wheel and Sprocket, and the Southern Kettles that put the work into making something like this happen!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No Good Double Cross

My first cx race as a 2 is in the books. It was great to see so many familiar faces again.
No Good Double Cross
If you look closely at the start you can see me taking my usual last place at the start. I just didn't have the aggression needed for the hole shot yet and it hurt me right away on the first hill because there was only one line. It's possible that if I would have been more in the mix from the start I might have done a little better, but then again, it is my first race of 8 or 9 this year so I shouldn't be going all out quite yet.
No Good Double Cross
The course was awesome--hilly, muddy, techy, and hard. It took place in a mock ol' West town/dude ranch.
No Good Double Cross
No Good Double Cross
No Good Double Cross
I was trying out new lines almost every lap and never really put a great lap together. In the end, I had a ton of fun and finished about the same I did in my first race last year (about bottom quarter). So hopefully I can keep moving up in the finishes like I did last year too. The season is looking good!

As usual my beautiful and talented wife, Lauren, took a ton of pics. Check some out here from the 3's, 35+, and p,1,2's.
No Good Double Cross

Friday, September 17, 2010

Local Yokel

Local Yokel
The Local Yokel at Comet Cafe. This is the first time I have been full all week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm so excited, I'm so excited...I'm so scared!

First off, a dollar and a hug to whomever first can identify from where the title of this article came.

Cross starts this weekend! I have no idea what to expect this season when it comes to finishes. This is the first time since I started racing in '07 that I have set out to do a bunch of races where there is no feasible possibility for me to podium or place top 5. I can't really imagine a scenario in a P,1,2 race in WI where it could occur. So I guess I will be trying to break top 10? Even then, it all depends on who shows up for each race, I've never raced cx against most of the guys I will be racing this year.

What I do know is that the bike is ready to go, I feel like I am ready to go, and Summer is giving way to Fall. My race season mentality is just starting to kick in, time to break out the cow bells!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Mail Mystery

I received this letter in the mail the other day. It was in this condition inside another envelope from the postal service that said something along the lines of 'we care, so we even send you damaged mail'.
A mail mystery
Now, I know that mistakes happen and I am not complaining about the condition of the letter per se, however could a damaged letter be more mysterious than this?
A mail mystery

Look at what is visible on the letter, something is a secret and I am suppose to know what it is.
A mail mystery
Furthermore, it looks as though I am to respond somehow. But to whom, to where? I do not know! This was too odd not to share.
A mail mystery
If anyone reading this received a similar, yet in tact letter, please let me know the scoop.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Breathing can make a difference?

Before my surgery a little over six weeks ago I was a mouth breather for a long time. I could not breath through my nose and get enough oxygen. The surgery opened up the airways and now (after some intentional practice!) I can breath through my nose. I'm not sure what the reasoning behind it is, because I still mainly keep my mouth open when I bike, but it has affected my heart rate during rides.

If I toss out my first 3 rides after the surgery, where I was still really healing, my max and average heart is around 8-10 beats lower for the last five weeks during rides than the two months before the surgery. Doing the same rides and even some that are more difficult. My distance and speed have also increased after the surgery. Of course, some of this makes sense with just getting more fit throughout the year, but I find that I am having difficulty even getting close to some of the heart rate maxes and averages that I could do before the surgery.

This is just weird to me. Anyone have any insights?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Goodbye Gun Show

With the close of August it is time to bid the Gun Show farewell for the year. It was humid and hard to breath but that didn't stop Joe from ripping off our legs for the majority of the ride. I found myself holding on to the back of the line often, just trying to stay with the group. But then we got into the hills.

I looked up through the pouring sweat only to see a painbow in the sky. So I hammered on the pedals and rode towards the ever distant arch, leaving what I had left for the Gun Show on the streets of Waukesha. Thinking "If I can just get to that painbow I can let up."And for once, because they all raced last weekend and I didn't, I was able to dish out a little pain to the other guys on some of the hills.

From there on out the painbow remained in my sight, taunting me to try and reach its destination, but it never got any closer. I guess that is the painbow's trick. Cx starts soon, where I am sure I will often see a double painbow all the way 'cross the sky:

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Human than a Human

The title of this article comes from a White Zombie song, however I doubt Rob Zombie was thinking of it the same way I am.

What does it mean for Jesus to be truly human? Or the perfect human? It is rare today to find someone who denies the existence of Jesus as human, they might argue over his divinity, but rarely debate his humanity. At the same time it is pretty easy to find people who believe in the divinity of Jesus, but have little idea what it meant for him to be human.

The first answer usually given about Jesus' perfection as a human is that he is sinless. Okay, I agree with that, but what does that mean?

Next answer, is something to the point of how he didn't break any rules or laws, or he loves everybody. That sounds good, but what rules didn't he break, what does it mean to love everybody? I know of a few accounts in scripture where Jesus broke laws, at least according to their interpretation at the time. So how is he perfect? Did he never get sick or bleed? Is that what it means to be the perfect human?

Here on out the answers to the questions become varied and garbled. Let me offer one idea I find rarely pondered. It starts with the creation of humans. God made Adam and Eve in the image of God and set them over the rest of creation. Humans, from the start were to be God's ambassadors to creation, reflecting God's will and his will alone. The first sin was to chose a human's will over that of God's will and ever since that has been humanity's default setting. Thus, a ton of consequences that I won't get into here, but the point is, to be a human creature as we were to created to be is to always follow God's will for his creation.

This is why Jesus was perfect and sinless. This is why even though it may have seemed that Jesus had broken laws, he in fact never went against the Father's will for his creation. Which happens to be his usual rebuttal to those who question him.

Jesus is more human than any other human because he lives the way humans were created to be. In an unbroken connection to the will of the Father.

What questions does this idea then raise?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ramping it up for CX

Today I got out for my first real cx practice. If you look close at my bike you see that it now has 9 more gears, which I believe translates into 9 times faster, right?
cx practice

It also means that I now have a barely used White Industries Eno Eccentric and 17/19 Dos freewheel that I hate to sell, but probably should. Let me know if you're interested. They have seen maybe 20 rides total. Marc dot Engelhardt at gmail dot com

The rest of these photos show where I am practicing cx. I think it would be a great venue for a real race--flats, lots of hills, off chamber and plenty of trees to dodge.
cx practice
cx practice
See my barriers way down there.
cx practice
cx practice
cx practice
cx practice
If the Miss n' Outs don't happen I will probably be out here every Tuesday night. Anyone is welcome to join me. Just let me know. I forgot them today, but I have flags to mark off corners and chicanes too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On the trails

Well, I feel as though I am back in the swing of things finally. I'll be giving the blog some more attention again with my usually mix of riding, race reports, and theology. So if you like any of that stuff stay tuned.

Scott and I rode the Southern Kettles today and the weather was great.
I have my old frame set up as my winter/single speed bike. It has been a while since I rode real trails for 2.5 hours on a rigid, and I can feel it in my hands tonight.
Little did we know that it was Giant dealer day today. Funny how I think we saw maybe 3 people on the trail on Giants, but there were like 25 cars in the parking lot.

Here is a bonus pic I found on my camera. This is me eating a cheeseburger on a Krispy Kreme doughnut after waiting 15 minutes in the heat to get one at the State Fair. It was delicious, I love the WI State Fair!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I can breath!

Today it has been two weeks since my surgery and I can breath through my nose! I haven't been able to do that for a very long time.

I've done two real rides since the surgery, some intervals on Sunday and the Gun Show last night. It is hard to gauge how much being able to breath is helping. First, I am still healing, my nose is tender and there is still some swelling. Second, I haven't ridden hard for almost 2 weeks so I obviously lost some fitness. After factoring both of those in though, I think being able to breath does help. While my heart rate was a bit high for both rides, the outcome of both rides was the same or better than before the rest. And last night there were only 3 of us at the Gun Show.

Time to crank it up for cx!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh no, I broke my mustache!

Okay, I didn't break my mustache. Rather I had surgery on my septum and turbinates. This picture is a fresh bandage from yesterday morning. I no longer have the bandage and I am off the oxycodone, which is good because it was giving me lucid dreams last night. And not fun flying ones either.

Even though there is a ton of nastiness going on in my nose right now, I can already breath better than before the surgery. Now, if the migraine meds work properly too with no side effects I'll be ready for action.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Levis Trow

Levis was a blast. Hot and painful, but a ton of fun. The STL representatives made their way up to MKE on Thursday. We proceeded to celebrate Scott's birthday and the smokefreeness of the MKE bars! It was a bit of a late night for a Thursday, we almost closed Wolski's.

Friday it took us forever to get to Levis, so by the time we got there I was really itching to go ride. On our pre-ride we saw that the tornado was not horrible, but also not great to the trail conditions. By the end of Friday night I was pretty sure I was going to do the 50 instead of the 25 because the lap had more fun parts and I wouldn't have to wait until 3pm to start. First thing Saturday morning I signed up for the 50.

Then I found out at the start of the 100 that the laps were now 15 miles long and everyone was doing the same lap. Suddenly, I was going from 25 to 60 miles. Game plan: feel out the first lap and try to get faster and faster.

Well, I did hold back more than normal, but I still got a little swept up in racing and went out faster than I had planned. After 30 minutes of that I back off just a bit and settled into a comfy pace at which I could really enjoy the trails. The trails and the route were awesome, except for the bog section--that part just stunk on a hardtail. All in all, I really enjoyed just riding the trails

The heat was rough and people were dropping left and right, the tortoise plan may have worked if I wanted to ride more than 6 hours. But I didn't. I hadn't planned on it and didn't really feel like getting beat up that long. So I only did 3 laps, knowing that a 4th lap would have sent me well beyond 6 hours.

A little stat action from the Garmin w/speed sensor: the laps were actually about 16.2 miles with 1,430 feet of elevation per lap(according to the elevation correction function). Which means that 3 laps was over 48 miles and much closer to the 50 mile race the organizers kept calling it. Big props to all the people that finished the full 64ish miles.

I think Eddie was feeling the late Thursday night during his 105 mile race but he seemed like he had fun. Scott and Matt did great, finishing 6 laps in their duo and taking 4th. I have no idea were I placed, and I am not too concerned about it. I had fun and more importantly, I felt better than I have in while. After Saturday's race and an hour trail run today I feel good. My legs are cashed but aerobically I feel good. I have realized for a while that my mtb races this year are just going to be training for cx--at least that is my hope.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Congestion a red herring?

Here is a health update for those who care to know. The appointment on Monday wasn't the revealing test read for which I was hoping. According to the CT scan my sinuses appear to be in good shape. Other than the eye muscle that got caught in my broken orbit 10 years ago, it looks like it is bulging into one passage and there isn't too much to do about that. What was apparent is that my septum is screwed up and while the there are no blocked passages, some of the openings are very tiny. So, I have surgery coming up in two weeks to fix that, and hopefully I come out of it no longer a mouth-breather.

What this means though is the other symptoms that I have been having are not accounted for, and the congestion that was pointing toward sinusitis was a bit of a blind alley. My GP has referred me to a neurologist two weeks from now(everything is always two weeks away!) to see if my brain is broken. Which many people who know me have suggested in the past! As I sit here and right while my eyes pulsate, I sure hope something gets figured out.

On the more positive side, I think the fluticasone that was given to me to help with the congestion was the culprit for the shortness of breath and racing heart at the past two races. It may be a rare side effect, but I am not the only one to have it. The symptoms coincide with use a week after I started, and it takes a while to build up in the system to work. Which means it also takes a while to get out of the system. Last night at the Gun Show I didn't have much top end speed because I was tired, but I was able to put out some good effort, getting the heart rate high. And here is the key, the heart rate dropped down after the bigger efforts and I was able to breath, something that was not happing in the past 3 weeks. I am praying it is a good sign for the weeks to come.

This weekend is Levis and I have some friends from MO coming up to race the 100 mile. I am looking forward to it. Friday afternoon we are going to explore the trails, then on Saturday I am probably just going to do the 25, unless Scott wants to do the 50 duo. Either way I have no big expectations and I plan on seeing how I feel and maybe going hard for the second half of the race. Race report to come early next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Ramifications of Faith

Faith is unavoidable. I understand that some would argue that faith is not necessary, and that they do not have faith. However, that is another discussion, one of which after some give and take, I think most people would actually agree with me.

But what does having faith mean? I argue that having faith means to live as though something is true. At least until something more plausible comes along at which point one could put their faith in something else, and in doing so denying what they thought to be true before. In the end though, having faith necessitates corresponding behaviors.

An example would be this: I have been told not to look into the sun because it will damage my eyes. I haven't done any research on the matter, I haven't tested it, I don't know what exactly the damage would be on a molecular level, or anyone who has eye damage from the sun. I sure there is someone out there who has done all of that and who has some explanation as to why it happens, though probably incomplete in itself, but I accept that looking into the sun will damage my eyes in faith. Not on knowledge, and certainly not on experience.

This faith has ramifications. My behavior reflects that I believe it to be true, by that I mean I do not look into the sun. In fact, I take great precaution not to look into the sun. To push it further, people create special apparatus to look at solar eclipses because they believe the sun to damage eyes. Some who use these apparatus have no idea that the sun can damage eyes, yet they have faith that the apparatus is the proper way to look at a solar eclipse. Which means that in some, if not many situations, this is faith based on faith once removed. A phenomenon that is prevalent in the world.

The point to all this is that faith in what we believe to be true has ramifications everyday of our lives. For Christians, this is a call for daily repentance for denying what we believe to be true by how we live our lives. For non-Christians is this a call to take a second look at being so quick with calling Christians "hypocritical" as if it is a special category for some people. Christians cannot follow the way of Christ perfectly, that is why we need him, but how often do many non-Christians deny what they have faith in (believe to be true) by their own actions? It is an idea that deserves thought.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thunderdown in Underdown

I feel like I keep making excuses for my races and I am pretty tired of it. Things haven't really gone all that well so far. I have been fighting some sort of illness for months that looks is though will hopefully be identified and treated soon (should get an update next Monday). And I think, after some trusty interwebs research, I have figured out the shortness of breath and racing heart beat at my last two races, causing me to go on cruise control. So there is hope that I can turn this year's racing around.

The Thunderown itself was a bit hectic, I had to drive up and back on Saturday. Which made for a long day. The race was very well run and I always appreciate when there are aid stations, even if I don't use them. They are a nice safety net. The 3hr course went like this for me:

We line up, I look around and see that it is a very small group. The junior(eventual winner) next to me was probably my best competition due to the 70lbs I had on him and the amount of climbing on the course. The race started really casual, like 15mph on double track casual, and I end up on the front, on a course I have never seen. Things are going alright, but my heart was not coming down at all on parts of the course where it should. After 15 minutes of shortness of breath and a racing (ironic word choice, no?) heart rate I let the top 3 go and decided to just enjoy the trails. Which up to this point were off the hook.

Eventually another guy catches me (who I caught later, but stayed about 100 ft behind until he mysteriously disappeared???) So I am jra and thinking to myself that I have to let the organizer know that this course is sweet. But then I get to, oh about mile 7 or 8, and the sweet singletrack becomes a rut-fest with little to no flow. Now, I like techy, but techy can still have flow and the next 8-10 miles of the course had glimpses and short bursts of techy flow that were great, but for the most part it was just back busting roughness with short steep climbs in between. Which is sad because for the most part, the last third of trail was sweet too, but I had little patience left in my back to enjoy it and I just wanted to be done.

So I finished, stood there for about 20 minutes stretching my back, cleaned up, said my good-byes and I was on the road headed home.

On a unrelated note, the Gun Show is awesome and I plan to get there whenever I can.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Subaru Cup

Well, my first WORS race didn't go as well as I had hoped. I ended up pulling the plug after one lap because I couldn't breath right and I figured I wasn't going to make the ever-looming cutoff time anyways. It's a good thing that the people in control imposed a cut-off time too, because the pros only had 1.5 hours of completely empty course before their race. But that is more part of my negative WORS experience, on which I do not desire to dwell. Despite racing like junk and some other annoying things, I still had a really good time.

The pro races were awesome and the venue was great for spectating. Here are a bunch of blurry pictures that give you the feel.

This was taken about 350 meters below the highest point of the race, at the bottom is the start/finish.

The Pro call-ups

The Pro Men start

An idea of the crowd in the woods along the trail.

A gnarly techy little drop. Nothing hard, but fun to watch.

The trail was awesome.

Ronko trying to force a beer on Ronsta while he suffers late in the race.

Next up the 3hr Thunderdown. I hope to just feel good the whole race, these past two races weren't priorities, but I would like to come away feeling like the time training will eventually pay-off.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WEMS Southern Kettles Race

Photo courtesy of Velogrrl
Yay! I finally got to race this year! And it still almost didn't happen. If the race wasn't only an hour away, I probably wouldn't have made it.

For those of you who have been to the Engelhardt household, you know Scooter our dachshund. You also know that he can get excited and pee everywhere. Well it turns out he had 6 bladder stones making it pretty much impossible for him to hold it. We found this out last Wednesday and had him in surgery Thursday. So Thursday I basically stayed up with him all night taking care of him. Not the best thing to do a day away from race. But like I said, it was a close race and I was itching to get out there.

I did the the 3 hour which was good because the trails got soaked the night before and the 3pm start of the 3 hour gave them some time to dry. I actually had a good start and was with the lead group until the guy in front of me started to fade and a gap formed. As he was letting me pass he came back into the trail early and we locked up. His handelbar went into me rear wheel (which I still need to check is alright) at the same time, another guy shot around us.

Eventually I caught the guy who passed us and we rode together for a mile or two and then he faded off. So there I was, by myself in 4th, picking off riders from other races. Then I caught up to Aristotle on the Orange climb. He had a puncture that just sealed and he needed CO2 and a cracker so as I kept my momentum going up the hill I dumped out supplies out of my pocket as he ran behind me. I told him I'd see him in a little bit, knowing that there was about a mile of flat double track coming up in the next mile and a half and he was on gears. He caught me right after the end of the all the double track which is also when I got my first twinge of cramps.

My 2nd lap was only 2 minutes longer than my first but I had to put it on cruise control for half of the 3rd lap in order to let my bottle hand-ups take effect (thanks to Earl and Colin). Right when I started to feel a bit better someone caught me and passed me pretty quick and I didn't want to push it too much yet and cramp again. So I ended up with 5th, which fit my goal of a top five finish. However, I just didn't feel great for half the race and the few times I glanced down at my heart rate whilst climbing I saw that it was low when it should have been high.

The graph read-out for my heart rate shows a steady decline for the whole race. In other words, my body wasn't up to it, hopefully because of the lack of sleep on Thursday. But at the same time I did pretty well for my first race of the year and the whole situation. The other Haymakers did great in the 4 man 12 hour (well 10 hour because of the rain) and took second after Scottie too Hottie made up about 2 minutes in the last lap of the race. Congrats to you guys. It was fun hanging out.

Next up, the Subaru Cup, my first WORS race and my first cat 1 mtb race. I'm praying for sleep this week and that Scooter starts feel better.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday night ride

Well, I finally got out to ride with someone on the Haymakers other than Scott. Last night Earl, Jim, Scott and I met up with some of Earl's Madison friends to night ride the Southern Kettles. It was a lot fun, except for the overgrown thorn bushes. My arms are tore up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Broken 2

Please the previous post "Broken down, about as simply as I can put it" before reading this one.

So, because of our sinful condition, we rebel against God's priorities and God himself, which leads to eternal separation from God. Jesus is the answer to this problem.

Jesus is the Son of God made man. Fully human and fully divine--a mystery. What is known though is that Jesus was always the plan of God to repair the rebellion. Jesus is the perfect human, in that God's priorities were always his first priority, thus Jesus was without sin. Jesus' most basic message was 'Repent, God is about to do a great thing, he will die and then rise three days later, all who believe and call on his name will be forgiven their sin.'

Allow me to paraphrase the previous statement into words we have been using thus far, 'Give up your rebellion, the plan is about to come to fruition, here it is, God pronounces you sinless if you have faith in his plan.'

That is it in a nutshell. That is how Jesus puts us into the proper relationship with God. Any questions? Comments?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Broken down, about as simply as I can put it.

I wrote an article a while ago called "Brain Spill" in which I was working out what it means to live life to the fullest. In that article I mentioned at the end that Jesus puts us in a right relationship God. I think that needs to be fleshed out a little further in order to understand what it means to live life to the fullest.

(Remember my initial premise is that Jesus is Lord, so everything cascades from that for me)

Most people have heard the term sin and thus have a idea of what sin "is". The problem is, many people define what sin is differently. I find it easier to start with the root of sin, instead of a list of sins. The root of sin is: drum roll please........Not placing God, the Creator of Universe, as God in a person's life every moment of the day. Another way to look at it would be to place the priorities of anyone or anything else other than the priorities of God, the Creator of the Universe, as one's first priority. Sin spirals out of that reality.

God, the Creator of the Universe, appalls sin and will not tolerate it forever. Eventually, God will separate himself from it completely. And here is the kicker, if you think about it, the root of sin is a condition, one of which we all have. So much so that we cannot fathom what life without it is like. Which means that when God separates himself from sin forever, we too will be cast out of his presence. God is present with us now albeit in a sin-filtered way, so if you think the world can suck now, you probably don't want to imagine what life completely separated from him will be like--much less experience it.

This is where Jesus enters the picture but this is getting long again, so I will finish it tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Challenge

Taking care of the poor and outcasts in society are clear ways to serve God. In fact, he tells us so to do. But what do you do when have no poor or outcasts among you. What if you live in a small town? What if you in a area where such people just aren’t readily available for you to serve? Well, you can seek them out. You can make special plans to help so and so, at such and such time. This is most definitely service, but I am not convinced it is the best or only way.

What about cutting a check? The money aspect of serving people. There is, and rightfully so, a consistent movement in the church for people to give their time and not just money. However, there are people in our world and society that need our money! There are whole agencies and programs set up in order to help people, but they need money in order to survive. But don’t just give, give like it isn’t your money anyway–trust me you won’t miss it.

So what about time? This is both harder an easier than we usually think. I am not talking about special group organized time. I am talking ways to serve weekly and daily. There are people in our lives that we don’t spend enough time with, whom have needs we may not even know about. I think that we often serve such people without thinking because many are close friends and family. However, here is the rub and the root of the challenge: how often do we not show our love for these people because we don’t have time or we are too tired, or don’t want to be bothered?

So here is challenge (I am going to try as well), every week think of someone in your life that you can serve by visiting, or by doing their chores, or anything basically putting them before yourself. As you plan your week, make that one of your top priorities, not the last. Such a way of life will take discipline. But come on, what are just a few hours out of your week? Just cut out some tele time.

Who’s with me?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday Night

Long Wong's to bowl and eat egg rolls

Bad Genie to hear some friends.

Good Times.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Southern Kettles in Spring

Yesterday, I got out to the Southern Kettles and it was beautiful and fast. It's amazing how much greener it has gotten in a week, it really changes the flow of the trail because it is harder to anticipate what is coming.

This post it has a dual purpose. First, I have to thank the folks at the Southern Kettle Moraine chapter of WORBA. The work they have done out there in the past year is awesome. The Emma is sure to become a destination for riding and the new stuff on the orange adds a level of difficulty that the Muir end was missing. I will at some point actually get out to help you guys one of these days.

Second, the Muir WEMS race is about a month off and the organizers released the course. I did a lap of it yesterday (yes, I did the short backwards on the orange, slowly and ready to walk if someone was coming the correct way) and the lap is sweet! Pretty much all the fun and climbing that Muir has to offer packed into one lap. Now, if there was just some way to cut out the half mile of fire road...

That is all, continue your day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pet Projects

I started playing music when I was 25, and went a little crazy with it. If you scroll down and look at the right you will see some music that I have written and recorded. I figure that I could share it after all the time I put into them. They are all quite different from each other.

I'll add songs here and there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting back at it

For the past month or so things have been hectic for me. Organizing and running a conference, having friends stay with us for 4 days (twice), trying to find a locale for worship for Reconcile, and trying to stay on top of training. Training has certainly taken a back seat, I was supposed to be racing already which would allow me fewer hours on the bike per week. But that has all changed and it looks like my first race won't be until late June. So now I have to stay motivated a month longer before the real fun starts.

I'm not complaining, it has been good, just not what I had planned. It is all just a part of life, which with every day I am more convinced to live one day at a time. People make plans and God laughs.

So no race reports yet, but if you like the theological side of this blog keep an eye out. I have more of that coming soon...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

High Wind Motivation

If you rode a bicycle in the Milwaukee area Wednesday you know that it was ridiculously windy out. Like blow you off your wheels windy, which is probably why I saw less roadies out than usual. As for me, I went to Crystal Ridge to check out the bike setup one last time before racing on Saturday. That and to see if it's allergies or the cold my wife brought back as a souvenir from the Brooklyn office. The jury is still out on that one.

It was an eventful ride for being Crystal Ridge. Scott got a pinch flat on the new single track. Word to the wise, there is a dip-down with some rocks as a bridge where the first rock you hit has a tube eating-rim-bending sharp front edge. We tried to buffer it with a few logs but the next lap they were already gone. Well, Scott didn't bring anything and I forgot my pump, so Scott had the long walk--at least it was nice out. I continued onward.

After popping out of the new section I started up a longish climb. No leg buster, but steep and long enough to get your attention. That is when I heard a horrible grinding pop and click sound. When I looked up to see what it was, I saw the tallest tree in the area was very dead and a burst of high wind was making it groan. I simultaneously had thoughts of the stories of people being killed by tree-fall in storms and sprinted as hard as I could up the hill (as the dead tree was already slightly downhill). I could feel that part, if not all of that dead tree, was coming down.

It was, I glanced back as the groaning got worse and saw a huge branch break off from the trunk. I mashed the pedals again, which doesn't do much in 2:1 uphill from a basic standstill. Thankfully, nothing fell my way, because it sounds pretty absurd to answer the question "What happened to you?" with "Oh, I was hit by a tree."

The rest of the ride was plagued by an annoying brake pad on the front, which fell completely out at some point on the car ride home. I have about 12 rides on these brakes and I am going from happy to not sure about them pretty quick.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Why Charles Bronson you ask? Well, while I really like the previous picture I had up, it was from last fall and I don't want to see any fall weather right now. Even in picture form. So until I get something from this year I am going with Charles.

Years ago, I got tired of being disappointed by movies that I was supposed to like. So, I started watching films that weren't supposed to be good, but were still entertaining. Enter Charles Bronson. The man has like 60 movies over 40 years. Some good, some bad, some horrible. But they almost always deliver some good lines or a poorly done explosion. He has great line delivery and don't even get me started on the stache. No mustache month is complete without someone donning the Bronson-stache.

I like the above picture from The Mechanic. It could say a few things. Like "You must have expensive tastes, this is fine wine." Or what is really going through his mind in this movie, "Oh geez, did I just drink posion!?!" And my favorite, "Here's to you Ministor, here's to you."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hater or Hatter?

This may be coming out of some "the cool kids wouldn't let me sit at their table" complex, because I didn't get into the ride, but it has bugged me from the start.

Why is it the h8tr and not the h8r? Now, I'm not sure how mixing characters and the whole texting language works, but isn't h8tr=hatter? So, h8r=hater?

Perhaps one of you cool kids can explain it to me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Brain Spill

The training for the race season goes well, although I wish we were into it already. Last week I actually felt strong at the trails, which has me guessing what gearing I should run for racing, but that will work itself out. That stuff has been on auto pilot, what I have been thinking about lately is living life to fullest.

This may get a bit too theological for some and I am working through it myself, which is partly why I write articles like this. The first thing anyone reading this has to remember is that I come from the foundation that Jesus is Lord, so where I end up may be quite different that you.

Like I said, I have been thinking about living life to the fullest, but perhaps not in the same way many people do. If you recall my article, "The problem with rules", you see my stance on Christianity is not one of maxims or moral code, rather it is Jesus healing the relationship between God and people. There may be a hiccup in that for many of you because A. all you know is the religious rules Christianity, or B. you have seen in scripture that it is clear that Jesus commands us to live certain ways.

It isn't a bait and switch and I still stand by what I said in the previous article, but "rules" do play a role in the Christian life. However, the "rules" are not a way for the church or even God to control people, instead the "rules" are guides in how to live life to the fullest. One act, whether it is doing or self-restriction, can open up facets of the human experience that we could not grasp otherwise.

I know, I know, that doesn't sound right in our culture of permission, but our culture isn't always right (no matter who you are, there are things you do not agree with that our culture perpetuates). This is getting really long, so I am going to put my reason for this conclusion as succinctly as possible and then perhaps unpack it at another time.

If Jesus can make our relationship right with God, we then need to know what that means for life. In other words, how do we interact with God and his creation(includes people) in a proper relationship with them? That is where the guides fill a role, they show us how to get the most out of life by living it the way it was intended.

I don't know, what do you think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A lot stronger than we used to be

Things have been busy but good. Had some old friends staying over for the last 3 or 4 days and a few of us got out for a ride to Pewaukee and back. I noticed that I had perma-grin most of the ride, I must have needed it.