Dennis in Texas, again?!


I am on another work related trip to the Rio Grande Valley.  The upside of this travel is warmer weather which affords opportunity to ride outside in better than winter conditions and get one of the better beers I can find on my other work related destinations.  I am also lucky one of my colleagues here is a cyclist and willing to loan me a mountainbike to ride when I visit.

There is virtually no actual mountain biking here with exception of a small trail system in Mission Texas (10 miles away) at which I hope to do a group ride with some locals tomorrow evening.  (I wrote about Mission Trails a few months ago).

So, with little access to trails and little desire to ride road here due to high traffic and few roads to accomodate cycling, I’ve taken to riding levees.  The area between McAllen and the actual Mexican border of the Rio Grand River is crossed and lined with levees which help channel water diverted from the river to various farm fields. The levees also separate the various properties.  Atop the levees are hardpacked dirt roads. Tuesday evening I rode 1-1/2 hours east then south to the next levee then north then west, for nearly the whole ride I doubt I was more than five miles from my hotel however.  I also got a flat on the way back, expending my only air cartridge to make it to the hotel.

Wednesday I got back to the hotel later and had to change the tube from the previous day flat. But with no air I went to Walley’s Bicycle (small high end shop operated by two guys selling Felt and Scott) to get compressed air and another tube. The end result was a 45 min ride.

Thursday, my last evening here, allowed a pleasant one hour ride.

My favorite place to stop to end an evening is BJs Brewhouse.  It is one of several outlets in a regional chain and it’s not a brewpub like Founder’s in that they don’t actually brew beer onsite.  But they do have a line of their own beers encompassing stouts, reds, blondes, wheats and IPA.  As an IPA fan, I generally order the Piranha Pale.  This IPA is a little less hoppy than Founder’s Centennial. A little less robust (and lower alchohol content at 5.7) its lighter than even Bell’s TwoHeartedm. The closest comparison in west Michigan I can think of is New Hollands MadHatter.

I’ve sampled the Jeremiah Red, an Irish style sweetr than Red’sRye.  The Tatonka Stout is very mild and doesn’t have the thckness of Imperial.

My week in 60-70 degree beezy temperatures ends Friday and its back to wintery Michigan.  See you all soon
Dennis B Murphy

Snowcross #1 2011

The Founders Team showed up with good numbers this weekend at Versluis Orchards for the first race of 2011: Snowcross #1. Checking the temperature at 10am, Grand Rapids was a bone chilling 9 degrees.  By race time, it was also snowing very heavily.  We also came away with great results.  Earl passed Farmer Nate in the last quarter mile of the ninth and final lap to take 3rd in the A’s and top honors in the unofficial Founders/Farm Team contest.  Way to go Earl!  Nate and Joe #3 took the 4 and 5 spots with our own Jeremy Karel coming in at 6th.  Awesome race man!  Matt Remelts held on for 9th place.  Founders/Alger Racing claimed better than a quarter of the eleven A field finishers.
In the B’s, there was a huge field (in Snowcross terms) of 36 finishers.  The B race was 6 laps long.  Martin Hall finished a bittersweet 6th, dropping 4th and 5th due to a downed rider with the finish line in site.  Still a great race Martin!  Rick Plite took lucky number 13th place and Dennis Murphy came in at 28th.  Great job guys!
We should be proud of the team’s representation at Snowcross #1!  Race #2 is February 19.  Same farm-time, same farm-channel.  Send race pic’s to Rick for posting on the website.

Beer Review


Picked up a few bottles ($3 each) of Shorts Brewing Co. Freedom of 78, an IPA made with Guava and a collaboration with Half Acre Brewing out of Chicago. I love Shorts beers, especially IPA’s and have heard good things about Half Acre. Plus Half Acre has a cool cycling team that attend many of my events. Whats not to like?

The beer pours a light amber yellow with a nice creamy white head. Smells of citrus. First sip I think grapefruit, typical  IPA flavor. But it changes to something different, maybe some wheat, grassy, light lemony. Not as hoppy as most IPA’s and could use some more in my opinion. Maybe this would be a good, unique summer brew? I wouldn’t drink them one after another as my all time favorite but it is refreshingly different. And it is a salute to the one of my favorite bands, Ween, album – “Pure Guava”

If you find some in a cooler near you, pick some up, they only made and bottled one batch!