Monday, December 19, 2011

Afterglow cx

Unfortunately, there isn't much to write about this past weekend's race in Chicago. I went down to race in order keep my fitness up and maybe improve my seeding at nationals. The course was great. It had snowed. There was mud, sand, and icy roots. In the 1,2,3 race there was a lot of pushing and shoving for position at and after the start, I think it was partly due to how slippery and technical the course was.

We had just about established a line when I heard a horrible noise. My rear brake was jammed into my wheel. I thought, that's weird and hopped off to pull it out and put the straddle cable back, but the arm where the cable engages was bent together. I spent about 3 minutes trying to pry it open and get the cable back in. It wasn't happening. By this time the 3's field had passed by me too. I made a lame attempt to ride with only the front brake and quickly found out that wasn't going to happen. All can I think of is that another guy must have rammed my brake in all the pushing.

I raced for a total of 3 minutes. Argh. With 3 weeks until nationals and no more races I can make, I am going to need some motivation to keep training to at least not lose any fitness.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Badger Cx Saturday

After three weeks off of racing and more ground beef in a week than I think I have eaten in month for a few years, I wasn't sure what the race in Madison was going to be like. I wanted to race and I have been riding, but I haven't been able to push myself like I can during races.

Lauren opted out of coming to this race because it was real cold. said it was 25 with a windchill in the teens at the start of our race. During the course preview and warm-up I felt pretty good though. The course was hilly and far from technical, although if we do get snow or ice for Nationals there are going to be some sweet crashes at the bottoms of the long hills with 90 degree right hand turns!

I knew I was dressed well for the race because I was freezing while waiting for the start. There were call-ups for this race according to registration and I got the last front row spot. Sweet! I had great start and by the time we hit the grass I was comfortably 5th wheel. They ran us with women 1,2,3 and for some reason started them first. This made no sense as we caught their entire field on the first big hill. That is where I lost contact with the lead group. I got pinched off on the steps by not one, but two ladies falling hard. As I dodged the first one to the left the other one went down in front of me. This allowed a 50 meter gap to open up to 4th wheel. I wasn't mentally in the race and let them go.

Half a lap later another rider caught me fast. I didn't even see him until he passed. I put some effort in to stay with him but settled back into my pace. Then another rider caught me half a lap later. I was starting to come around mentally so when he passed me I stayed on his wheel. We rode together for a lap and caught one of the lead riders who was falling back. When we passed him he hopped on too.

At this point two things happened. First, due to the routing of the internal housing of my front derailleur, after weekly bike washings enough water got into the housing to sit at the bend and freeze in the extreme temps. So I could shift into the big ring but not back down. I could kind of get it to work for the first few laps, but then it stopped. So once I got it back down, I left it down because of the hills. This made the loooong paved straight very hard when the two guys I was with were hammering in their big rings.

The second issue was in a super bumpy corner I got a little loose and started to go down. I couldn't get my foot out to stop the fall fast enough so I yanked my foot out of the pedal and slammed my knee into the end of my handlebar with the force. I had no power for a lap. So, due to the shifting and the knee both guys I was with took off for a lap. But mentally I was coming back around.

One guy smelled blood and hit it, so I never saw him again, but Chris wasn't feeling well. So after he got a gap he settled in again. I made solid contact with one to go. I had no choice but to throw it in the big ring on the flat to stay with him, and of course it wouldn't shift down again. After the flat I went around him and pulled him through the rest of the lap. At the finish I looked back with a little to go and Chris was about 50 meters back. So I pedaled hard, but I didn't sprint. Then I look back right before the line and he is right next to me! What a jump! He thought he had it and almost accidentally killed me with his celebration.

It was hard to say though if he did get me. He went through the line faster, but did he get there first? Well, the officials didn't think so and gave me the spot. I ended up 6th in a pretty good field of racers. My last lap I finally felt like was in it and racing. I still had some left too, I will have to adjust to the 45 minute races for the rest of the year after doing 60 minutes all season.

I'm still stoked to race this race year so maybe I can keep it going for Nationals. Next week, Afterglow cx in Chicago so I can keep the intensity up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Burger of the Day:
ground beef patty topped with fried mac n' cheese,bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, pickle, lettuce, and of course I got the world's best (and most underrated) condiment added to it: pulled pork!
Stubby's Burger of the day

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hales Corners, WI State Championship

Occasionally, I need to stop and remember what a blessing it is to be able to ride and race bikes. I don't take it for granted and I am always prepared for the current year to be the last year I have time to devote to the sport. I've been riding for about 6 years now and I have already had to take two interspersed years pretty much off from riding and racing much. Like last year, I had some annoying persistent health issues all year. I think I raced 7 times all year and ended up dropping out of the last month of cx.

Thinking about that makes this year all the better. Last year at this time I was barely riding and I weighed a 10 year high of 194 pounds. I am currently 178lbs and although I have been fighting allergies/cold/ or something for while, I am probably the fastest I have ever been. I may not be getting on the podium, but I am putting up a good fight, unlike last year when I was fighting for last.

So, on to the race report. I was hoping there were going to be call-ups like there have been in the past. I would have had a front position then, but there were no call ups. So I was second row of 3 and half.
I was behind the right guys but had my worst start of the year somehow, and was in about 15-18 place coming out of turn 2. That was a bad place to be because the next 400 meters of course was basically singletrack when it came to passing and I was stuck behind guys braking hard in every corner.

By the straightway the top 6 had a huge lead on me so I put down some power and got in front of about 5 more guys before the next technical section. Slow down. Then it was the greasy hill and I dug deep to get in front of 3 or 4 more guys. I was coming down the hill and the lead group was already heading back up again. I almost broke there mentally. But I had gotten in front of the corner-brakers, so things were smoother and faster (the tracer I had in front was like velcro, I wish I had 2).

After that I set my sights on what was apparently 5th and 6th place. Chris and Mike were a ways ahead of me but it seemed like if I sprinted out of every corner and stood up on the hills I was making up time. It took me about a lap to make contact with Chris. He was hacking up something awful and as I was pulling away he yelled something about me being 34 and being in the race on a technicality.

It took another lap or 2 to catch Mike. He slipped out in a corner and I finally bridged.
I rode his wheel for a lap but in doing so J.W. was able to start catching up to us, so I hopped in front and starting hitting it at the pace I was at when I caught Mike. After a lap I was really feeling it and asked Mike if he wanted to pull. He mumbled something to the effect of "No." So I kept at it.

Then with 2 or 3 to go (I think 2) either way it was a 1/3 lap after I asked Mike to pull, he jumps me! I think he was trying to bridge to Will, whom we were slowly catching. I didn't have the pop to hop on his wheel.

And when Will saw Mike coming he hit too. For the last couple of laps that is how it went. Will, Mike, and me pretty evenly spaced. I took the time for a nice beer hand-up after the uphill barriers on the last lap. Most of it ended up frozen in my beard. It was cold and windy.

It was a ton of fun. I loved the long course. And even though I was spewing mucous, I felt good once I was going. Now, because of scheduling, I only have 2 races left and they are spread out. The regional champs on Dec. 10th and Nationals on Jan. 7th. If things go the way they have so far with the race predictor for nationals, I should get a better start spot than I would have thought at the beginning of the season. Somewhere near the back of the top third. I'll take it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Concordia Cx and Sliver Lakes Border Battle:one crazy weekend

My first taste of cyclocross was in St. Louis 5 years ago. I had no idea what I was doing, it was also my first year racing bikes altogether. I think I carried a tube with me in my first cx race. After that first year, I missed a season of cx and pretty much a year of racing after that, but now I am in my 3rd year of cx in WI. So when I had the opportunity to race in STL this year on a course that takes place on my old Seminary's campus I made it happen.

Lauren and I made a little trip out of it and got down there Thursday night so we could spend some time with some friends. It was great to hang out and see them again. Then on Friday night we were able to see some more friends and discuss strategy/content of the book I am writing.

Saturday was supposed to be nice but it ended up being windy and cold. Scott switched work so he could race the single speed race.


In STL they have a women's race, single speed/C race, B race, and A race. I lined up for the A race.

I had a pretty good start and was 2nd wheel going into the first corner when a guy totally cut my line. I had to slam on the brakes and I still smacked the side of my front wheel into his rear wheel. After all the groans from the guys behind me I recovered and was 3rd wheel (slightly gapped though)heading into the woods.


I lost time in each corner because I had too much pressure in my tires, but I didn't want another tire issue. Whenever I pushed a corner too much I would drift a lot and three times I slid out, losing more time and letting a few more guys pass me. The Team Seagal super fans were witness to one beautiful slide I made, it was like I was stealing second.

The course was great and technical, but since I was losing time in the corners I needed to make it up on the straightaways, but they were too short to make up much time. So I was left to defend my position more than advance it.

Lauren has some more pictures of the race here.

I ended up 6th or 7th (I guess a guy was DQ'd in front of me). I showered quick and we headed home. By the end of the drive my glutes were killing me.

I have timed my racing pretty good this year and I want to race all I can right now, where as in the past I would be ready to done at this time of the year. So even though I had to work morning and night on Sunday, I made the hour drive down to Silver Lake for the Border Battle. It was windy but warm and the course was awesome.

I had another good start and was 4th wheel coming out of the sand pits. I was following Mike too close at the uphill log hop and cased my rear wheel hard. Thank goodness for tubulars! I didn't get a flat. I felt good once I settled into a pace, but I didn't have any pop. When a couple of guys passed me I didn't have the jump to go with them. I going to blame the tender glutes (which is just an excuse, but they still hurt today!).

Photo and video courtesy of Eric B.

The video was too funny not share. I took some beer pyramid hand-ups but just took a drink of each one. I had to work three hours later.

All in all though, I was happy with the race considering all the traveling I did this weekend. I finished, watched Joe beat Jeff in a great sprint finish for the win, said my goodbyes, changed, got in the car, and made it home in time to clean up, eat and make it to work with a half hour to spare.

It was a great weekend even though I made it pretty crazy on myself. Next week state.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Estabrook Cx

After being sick for the race last week I was looking forward to turning it around this week. I could finally take a deep breath again on Thursday so I thought I was in good shape. It was another beautiful WI day.

I had a good start. I was more aggressive than I have been in the past so when I was shouldered off my line into the tape I just returned the favor. I'm still not crazy about the idea of having to push so much for a spot, but I suppose that is just the way it is.

On the first lap Joe put in a huge attack and took one guy with him (I think the rest of us may have been blocked by the other guy's teammate) they immediately got a good gap and when I looked backed I found out that I was on the end of the 3 man chase group. For two or three laps that is how it went. I wasn't doing any help at the front and the guys called me out on it. I was going to hop in front after the barriers when this happened.

I dropped my chain. The other two guys took off then and I started to chase. It took me a full lap to finally make solid contact with them again. I had just settled in to breath for a second when in the one technical section I rolled my front tire. I couldn't believe it. Three separate tire issues in 4 weeks! I walked off the course, let my bike fall, and I thought I was done. After about ten seconds I knew I couldn't quit. So I pulled the tire back onto the rim and decided to test ride it to the pits. It seemed fine so I never got a new front wheel. But I had lost a lot of time and let a few guys pass me in the process.

I ended up dropping my chain two more times. Making it a total of four stops that were around ten seconds a piece. It's interesting looking at my Garmin data after this race. After the first chain drop my heart rate shoots up for five minutes. Then after the rolled tire my heart rate drops way down and stays a few beats lower than it was for the first twenty minutes of the race. Then after then next two chain drops, it falls a few beats more with each one. Until the final two laps when I started mixing it up with Ron K., then it shoots back up again. Apparently with every setback my motivation just slipped away.

I figured out my chain drop issue once the race was over and I didn't have cx brain. It was operator error. I was cross chaining so that coming out of the obstacles I could spin out fast. But the approach was so screwy for me that I was bouncing the bike a lot and my leg was hitting the pedal making it backspin. Of course the chain was falling off the ring! If only I could have figured that out during the race and either shifted to the smaller ring or just made sure to slow down a bit more and be smooth.

Last, I have to mention Ron's great move. We rode together for the last lap and a half. On the course there is a short steep hill with a twelve inch log at the bottom. In the past, guys would try to hop the log and ride up, but not many could do it consistently, so I have always ran it. This year, the log was broken down, making the approach a lot more easy, yet seeing how I have had so many tire issues I didn't want to increase my chances of something stupid happening there so I was still running it. Unlike most other guys who were riding it this year, Ron being one of them.
The last lap he timed it great. I ran up and as I was remounted he shot by with a burst of speed because he rode up. There were maybe 600 meters of twisty turns and a tight corner left in the race. By the time I closed the gap he made on the hill it was too late to come around him. Nice.

As usual, Lauren took more photos.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Washington Park Halloween CX

That's right, I am a lumber jack wearing jeggings. That was a surprisingly hot outfit to race in and the jeggings didn't slide onto the slide very well during remounts. But they looked good, right?

Last week I prefaced my race report by hoping it would be my worst race of the year. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Washington Park was worst(as in, I will not have a race that bad again this year!).

Cyclocross is as much mental as it is physical, so all of last week I kept telling myself I was just having bad allergies, and I can race through allergies. I kept telling myself that I had a really hard workout on Tuesday so it made sense that I was still achy and sore all over on Friday even though I had done everything I could to work the soreness out. It turns out that I cannot just psyche myself through being sick. And being sick was very evident on the first lap of the race.
I was having a hard time getting a deep breath since Thursday but I thought once I was racing I would be able to, as long as kept clearing the phlegm out of the way. It wasn't happening during the race. I had a bad start, but I was just off the first chase group, a group I should have been able to catch, but I couldn't close the gap. Instead, I felt like I moved backwards during most of the race. I couldn't drive my bike, no power, no leg speed.

I finished feeling pretty bad and it got worse as the night went on. All the plans changed for the weekend. Canceled Saturday night, and Sunday was just work and sleep instead of trying to make it to the Sheboygan race. One weird thing about not being able to produce anything on Saturday was that my legs weren't tired or sore at all on Sunday and usually they are the day after a cx race.

This week I need to keep resting and getting over this thing and start psyching up for Saturday. November is when I wanted to start getting some good results anyway, so maybe this forced rest will be a good thing.

Lauren got more great photos. The Doyne Park pics are up now too.

This picture of Mike is too awesome not to put up here!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Doyne Park Cx

Well, hopefully Doyne will be my worst cx race of the year. I had a decent start and was 5th of a five man lead group on the first lap. However, on the remount after the barriers my tubeless tire experiment officially failed and I burped a ton of air out of my rear. After that I couldn't take the corners as fast as the lead group anymore and slowly started to trail off.

I wasn't sure what to do about the tire, it was slowing me down, and in the off-chamber sections I was burping more air. I rode another lap on it and then on the trickiest off-chamber 180 turn it gave up the ghost. To this point I still hadn't lost any places. The My Wife Inc guys knew that section was a tire eater and so the pit was real close. I ran the 100 meters to the pit and got a new rear wheel.

My bike didn't cooperate though and the exchange was slow. My heart sank as groups of riders from my race as well as the P,1,2 passed by the pit while I was standing there. Two cx races in a row with flats. I knew when I got back on my bike that I was mentally out of the race. I kept riding, but I wasn't attacking until the last lap. And that was for practice more than anything else.

I went down in the same corner I flatted in 4 laps later and my leg locked up straight so I couldn't get out of the pedal. It was awkward to sort of limp-pull the bike up the hill. After that I had to watch for cramps when I got off the bike for the barriers. All in all, not a good race and a 7th place finish.

All of this is too bad because the course was sweet, the day was beautiful, and I was racing against a bunch of friends. Oh well, it just makes me more determined to get my tires figured out and race my butt off next weekend!

Lauren should have the pictures up soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The Flickr uploading app is not working very well for my phone. This the one pic that is somewhat visible from Beechwood and it isn't a very good picture to start with.

As always, it was super fun and I wish I could have spent more time there. Thanks to Mike and Joe and everyone else who helped put it together!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Grafton Pumpkin CX and Cam-Rock CX

At Reconcile (the church where I am pastor) we have two worship services on Sundays. 10:30am and 6:30pm. So normally Sunday races are out for me. However, every 6 weeks we only have one service in order to encourage everyone who can make it, to worship together. That fell this weekend, so I was able to hit both races.


Both days were unseasonable hot, like in the mid to upper 70's, but beautifully sunny. The Grafton course was the same as it has been with a few improvements making it a little more of a bike handlers course. Plus they found water somehow.

Our field was a little small which was most likely due to it being the last WORS weekend and a USGP weekend. Our start was smooth and I was sitting 3rd wheel when we caught the tail end of the p,1,2 group. I thought our start was slow, but theirs must have been very slow. I think it was the second lap where I made a move on the hill and passed a bunch of people, putting me on the front of my race and a train of P,1,2 guys.



I stayed on the front for almost a lap and when we caught up to another rider Mike went around us both. I didn't move fast enough to catch his wheel and it was too late. Mike doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he won the race.

I ended up battling it out and going back and forth with Nathan (who had already raced that day!). I had him on the hill and just when I thought I was going to get him he cleaned a chicane better then me and was able to create a gap I couldn't close. I took 3rd.


I had never been to Cam-Rock before so I wasn't sure what to expect. We didn't get there until ten to 2pm and my race started at 2:45pm, so I had just enough time to register and warm-up. I got one preview lap in before we lined up for the start and I told Ron I was going to flat during the race. Cam-Rock has lots of roots and rocks that when hit at low pressure are sure to cause a pinch flat. I flatted my front tubular at practice this past week so I was rocking a clincher in front at 35psi. Great pressure for Grafton, not so great for Cam-Rock. But it was too late to find a pump.

The field was better this time with about 20 guys. I had another good start and was 2nd into the hole shot behind Ron.
I was feeling good and not really working, content to being on Ron's wheel. Two fellows hopped in front of us but there was no gap created. I was in a great spot. Then coming around a corner my front tire nearly rolls off. I had a flat.

I pulled over to the side, shouldered the bike and starting running to the pit which was about 400 meters away. Everyone passed me.

Thankfully Sram was there with neutral support so I was able to get a new wheel. But this was on the first, which is usually the fastest, lap of the race. So it was basically like giving the group a half lap head start. And with how fast and flat this course was, being in a group and catching a draft would be a huge advantage. It was a dirt crit, my Garmin said it was a little over 17 mile race. Alas, that was not my fate though. I got my new wheel (which was a little sketchy not knowing in the turns for a few laps), put my head down, and started chasing.


It was the hardest fought 8th place I can remember getting. I would catch guys and then they would hop on my wheel for a lap or two, but I was doing the work and pulling 95% of the time. It was definitely good training for future races and I am happy I stayed in the race mentally.

As usual, Lauren got some great photos!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cross the Domes

The first race for the Wisconsin Cyclocross Series is in the books. The boys at my wife inc put on a great race at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee. The course was changed up from last year, rather than featuring a large hill as the decider, this year was a bike handler's course with some really crazy off-chamber turns.

After 7 days of rain we got a beautiful sunny day for the races. It was good to be back on the local scene and see faces that I haven't seen in a while. I lined up in the 35+ 1,2,3 with a few goals in mind, one of which is a better start. The p,1,2's took off and we rolled up to the line. I was near the outside in the second row. The whistle blew and I got clipped in and got a good start and this time I wasn't slowed down by anyone in the first corners.

I then worked my way up to Mike's wheel. I knew he would take fast lines and keep moving and I could learn from him.

I was on his wheel for a few laps and we worked our way into the p,1,2 field. Then I dove a corner a little better then he and I took the lead. I was going to pull for a while, but Mike dropped off a little. I worked my way up to a couple of guys and made a huge mistake.

Once I bridged, I stayed on their wheels too long. I should have been more aggressive and kept moving up by myself.

But I didn't. It was a lap or two later that Mike caught us again, and when he passed, it was just enough acceleration that I couldn't match it at the time. So he slowly pulled away.

The last couple of laps I spent racing against a p,1,2 racer. I made up some of the time on Mike and Joe, but I couldn't close it in the last two laps.

I ended up eighth for the day.

My fitness is coming around and the mental toughness is coming together too, but I still have a lot to learn about racing. Every time I race I learn something and it isn't just about being more fit.

Looking forward to next week!

Lauren got a ton of great photos. Right now it's just the p,1,2 and 35+ are up, but soon there will pics from 3's, the 45 and 55+ 1,2,3 and the women p,1,2.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

USGP Sun Prairie

No, I'm not whistling a little tune, I am trying to clear out the dust and phlegm.

I got my first cx race under my belt for the year and what better way to start than the USGP on Saturday. It started out cloudy and in the 50's; the course was dusty. I had no expectations for it because, well, really why should I? My lack of expectation was good because otherwise I would have been angry that the call up guy skipped a whole page and instead of starting in the third to last row of 80 riders I got to start in the last row.
This is us waiting to get called up.

I wanted to work on my starts and being aggressive the first lap at this race. Starting in the last row ruined the start for me, but it gave me opportunity to exercise my aggressiveness. I was passing guys on the flats and in the corners when I could. Until, in a 180 turn, one fellow laid his bike down right in front of me. I ran into his head set, stopped, then I hit the throttle again. In the first two laps my heart was in the high 180's bpm. It peaked on the run up on the first lap at 198bpm. My first lap was my slowest by 30 seconds.

I spent the rest of the race reeling people back in my own little race.

I was eyeing up guys I knew and trying to bring them back.


My laps got faster and my heart settled nicely (in between 175 and 180) once I wasn't hitting the brakes in many of the corners.

In the last two laps it started to drizzle. I had two guys I was trying to catch. The last lap, I just about closed the gap when I laid my bike out in a gravel corner. They got a few more seconds on me. My wife is starting to understand what motivates me at races and instead of saying "Good job, Marc!" she yelled "It's the last lap. Don't punk out now, Marc!" I couldn't catch the two riders, but I tried.

I finished 5 minutes down from the winner of the race, who was putting up lap times that would have made him a top ten contender in the pro race, so I'll take that kind of gap.

I am stoked and ready to start racing the local series next week!

Lauren took some great photos of the races.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Last week was our 11th anniversary so Lauren and I headed to Chicago on Tuesday night to see one of our favorite bands. The Swedish group Blindside hasn't toured in a long time in the states so we were stoked to see them. We were also stoked to see that the Bottom Lounge boasted this:

The show was great, the band played a good mix of all of their music. Obviously, a phone isn't going to record anything very well but here is a snip-it of "A Burning Fire".

All in all it was a nice little break for us.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wet Ramble

While some of the team did a gravel century on the South West side of the state, Ron, Adam, and I stayed on the East side of the state and did a 70 mile ramble on cx bikes.

Team Ramble 9.3
There were roads.

Team Ramble 9.3
There were "off the map"trails.

Team Ramble 9.3
There was gravel.

Team Ramble 9.3
There was wet gravel.

Team Ramble 9.3
There was a Ronsta snack.

Team Ramble 9.3
There was wet single track.

Team Ramble 9.3
Two flat tires.

Team Ramble 9.3
And a false flat uphill into the wind and rain 10 mile hustle back to Waukesha.

Good times, tired legs.

photos by Rontsa

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Give My Nose Back

When I was growing up I apparently had the tendency to make things worse for myself by having a bad attitude about things that didn't go my way. So may parents would tell me that I was "cutting my nose off despite my face".

Well, I'm not sure if it was that or "cutting my nose off to spite my face". So I am not sure if the idiom is cutting one's nose off to get back at his face or to cut one's nose off and to cut one's face off. Either way it's pretty gruesome to tell a child. However unclear I was/am about the exact idiom I know that which the sentiment behind the saying is referring. Stop making it worse for yourself, you’re not thinking things through!

I bring these childhood memories up because I see the same thing happening in popular culture today. In the past week I have run across the idea that religion and "god" are to blame for what is wrong with the world (specifically war) from two very separate sources. The sentiment isn't new to me, but it appears to me that it has trickled down from the likes of social commentainer (I think I created that word, commentator + entertainer) Bill Mahr to your local armchair intellectual. The answer to this problem for any good spawn of Modern thought, of course, is to get rid of "god" and religion. Then we can be free and everyone will get along.

Now, there is no doubt that religious fanatics have done their fair share of horrible things in history, but to blame God and try to remove him from the world because of the evil that people have done seems short sighted to me. People use math every day to do horrible things, from stealing from others to creating weapons with the only purpose of killing mass amounts of people. By the reasoning above, we should get rid of modern math and René Descartes, the father of modern math. Hey, maybe René Descartes didn't even exist (oaky maybe I went too far with that one)!

Perhaps rather than attempting to remove God from the world (which will never happen) the logical move is to seek God out and to learn his will so that when religious fanatics bent on destruction claim to be working for God we can reprove them and put them on the right track. That way, we can keep our noses, or our faces, or both. Uh, whatever that saying means we do the opposite.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Major Jake for Sale!

New cx ride
This is my new ride for cx. The Specialized Crux Expert. Once again, my bikes outclass me. And although I would love to keep the Kona Major Jake I really don't have the room. So I am selling it. See the photo below.

The Major's for sale

This will be a sweet bike for someone, I've really enjoyed it. It's a 2009 61cm.
Full scandium with a carbon Alpha Q cx fork.
The frame and fork have less than 800 miles on them (so say my computers).
The wheels are Velocity rims laced to Ultegra hubs.
It has a Sram Rival 1x10 with less than 500 miles on it.
FSA SL-K cranks and Kore cantilever brakes.
Salsa Bell-Lap bars and a new Specialized Phenom saddle.

Send me an email if your interested and I'll get you a price, marc.engelhardt at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christians in Community

Oooo, the exciting conclusion to a topic I started weeks ago! Can you feel the excitement?

To catch up on what has been said thus far see these two cleverly named articles: Christians without Community and Christians without Community pt 2.

What we have to understand in order to grasp the benefits of being in a ‘Kingdom Community’ is that we are created to be in community centered around our relationship with God. Read Genesis before the Fall, the book of Revelation after the restoration of the world, and listen to what Jesus says in the Gospels and it becomes pretty obvious (at least to me) that for us to jump into the ‘Kingdom Community’ with both feet is a swift kick into Satan’s crotch. Sin pulls this community apart while Jesus restores it, therefore we should be working to restore it through Christ.

So if Jesus is restoring the ‘Kingdom Community’ we should look no further than it for the gifts and blessing that God offers to the world. There are the gifts that have become most prominent in many churches, that is the Word and Sacraments, which are normally associated with times of corporate worship. Such gifts are fantastic blessings and marks of the church but from them should be a waterfall of gifts there are easily overlooked or not practiced. I am going to list a bunch, feel free to ask for clarity on any of them:

Are you praying for the direction of God’s will in your life? Then ask for clarity from your ‘Kingdom Community.’

Are you short on money for groceries, or rent, or babysitters, or to visit a sick or dying friend/relative? Then allow your ‘Kingdom Community’ to tend to your needs.

Do you have a dispute with another Christian? Go through the proper channels for resolution within your ‘Kingdom Community.’

Do you have a dispute with a non-Christian? Ask your ‘Kingdom Community’ for guidance.

Are you feeling abandoned, marginalized, or taken advantage of? Immerse yourself in your ‘Kingdom Community.’

Have you hurt someone or broken a law or publicly sinned and want forgiveness and to start over? Run to your ‘Kingdom Community.’

Has God blessed you with something great, or just a time of smooth sailing? Celebrate the goodness of God and his creation with your ‘Kingdom Community.’

Now, as you read that far less than exhaustive list you will notice that living in the ‘Kingdom Community’ takes some vulnerability and willingness to not be self-reliant. Some of you are also probably thinking to yourself, “Not at my church.” Or some of you may be thinking that you can get those benefits from other places than your church. Please understand that the ‘Kingdom Community’ is larger than your local manifestation of the church and God works through all sorts of means, the point is that we need to be regularly involved and immersed in the Community of the Kingdom, in order to grow closer to King Jesus and reap the benefits of that relationship.

Can you imagine if we didn’t say “Not at my church” and started living in the Kingdom with intentness? Can you imagine what would happen if you let your guard down and let people in and cared for their needs without desire of compensation? Can you imagine what it would be like if the church was the place you ran to, rather than from, when you screwed up?

[end rant]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Too Much Friction: Levis

I have looked forward to the WEMS race at Levis for the past three years. I have some friends who always come up from St. Louis for it and the trails there are great. This year was fun because I was able to spend some time with my friends, but that was about it.

There was a 50 percent chance of rain the day of the race but the Levis trails can take rain because they are so rocky and sandy. However, they can't take a Wisconsin monsoon. We had just enough time to set up when we arrived in the mosquito craziness before the showers hit Friday night.

For most of the night is was dry and then we woke up to a storm. There was a 2 cup measuring cup on the picnic table that had a half inch of water in it at 6am, by 10am the cup was full. Yet the race went on, despite the fact that there was lighting, winds, and rain strong enough to destroy my e-z up tent. It was just one thing of many that were destroyed this weekend.


Levis is so sandy though that these puddles disappeared within an hour after the rain stopped. So I was determined to race the 50 mile if the race directors would continue with it. There wasn't much common sense going around.

It was miserable. The low sections of trail were hub deep mud puddles full of ruts and roots. After one lap there were no good lines possible in those sections. And because Levis is so sandy, the mud puddles filled the brakes and chains and cables with sand so that I (and everyone else with disc brakes) was effectively braking the entire time. Not many brake pads made it through the day.


That is Eddie's rear brake after 3 laps.

The bluff sections actually were pretty dry, but the heat and humidity made them far from a respite. In the end, I wish the race director would have taken out the trail that was under water. It would have shortened the laps and made it more climbing over all, but it would have saved people a lot of money on bike parts, saved the trail, and probably would have allowed most people to finish their races.

That's sand stuck to my bike, not mud.

Oh well, it was a crazy experience with some good friends. I'm sure we will be back next year for our annual trip to Levis.