Beer Review


Normally during my work trips on which I drive I often take Founders Centennial IPA with me since the locations to which I travel are weak in good beers.

I lucked out a bit this week.  I reached Princeton Indiana and found a local store that had Goose Island IPA on hand which is brewed in Chicago.

What I’ve noticed from many IPAs is that very few of them actually reach the robust hoppy level of the Founder’s IPA or the 7.2% ABV.  (Test cases Piranha Pale Ale in McAllen Texas).

Goose Island fits into those test cases well as a suitable subsitute but not as a full competitor.  It is a 5.9% ABV for starters. I also found it quite a bit lighter than my favorite Founder’s offering. It has a dry start to the flavor but a touch sour as an aftertaste.

Interestingly and coincidentally- one of the ingredients for the Goose Island is Styrian Hops- Styria is a state of Austria which I visited in 2001 (capital is Graz- hometown of AH-nold Schwarzenneger).


Almanzo 100 report


So, how do I start to describe the Almanzo 100?

First, what is the Almanzo 100? It is an event in southern Minnesota that commemorates the triumphant effort of Almanzo Wilder. If you don’t know who he is, he is the husband of the gal that wrote the Little House on the Prairie books. The actual books not the TV show. I guess this Almanzo fella drove 40 some miles in the worst conditions to save his town from an outbreak of some sort to get medicine. That’s the kind of shit that heroes are made of.

Well I’m no hero and I didn’t save any towns. But, I did finish this race. If you don’t know what it is all about, it is a 100 mile gravel road race that is set in some of the most epic area of southern Minnesota and is absolutely positively self supported. I mean you better bring all of your shit with you. Not only is it self supported, but you have to travel on 97% gravel and have to climb some of the biggest hills I have ever climbed. I’m talking hills that are a mile and a half long with a grade that will make your jeep want to go in low gear. Plus, you have to cross a river at some point that has no bridge. I’m talking epic!!


Now let’s tell you about the day we rode this. Past Almonzo’s have been sunny but not this weekend! It was 45 degrees and we had a 20mph head wind for a good portion of the ride plus rain and sleet. Rain had also been down for most of the night had soaked the course and turned it into mud pit, it made for a muddy day to come.


Once we started the wind was so bad it froze my hands and feet to the point of numbness and we had only been riding for an hour. My choice of clothing was limited at best, I was not thinking this was going to be

that kind of ride and did not bring my whole arsenal of goodies. Thank god, for the first stop is was a little town called Preston, that was the saving grace for me. I was shivering and my mind was saying ‘this is bad Jeff’. Word was spreading about a short cut that would take you back to Spring Valley but my riding buddy Ryan was not having it! He was the voice of reason. Plus what kind of pussy would I be if we drove all this way and didn’t get the 100? So after pacing up and down the isles of this little grocery store for about what seemed like a day I came up with a MacGyver fix!

I bought a box of trash bags and some gardening gloves. The trash bag was to be made into a poncho! And the gloves well, they went over my fingerless gloves that weren’t cutting it. You should have seen me I was shivering and hovering around hypothermia. It was not cool! Once I had my bag over my body and the gloves on, life was getting better! At this point, 20 or more people were already hitching rides back to the start. Bunch of pansies! But, Ryan and I soldiered on.


We had 60 plus miles to go and I was thinking ‘why I am doing this!!’ but as the ride progressed and my body temp got higher, life got better. Hell, I was even laughing! I think I was a bit out of my head. Once we hit the 65 mile check point you could mentally feel that the worst was behind you. That was a huge boost, exactly what I needed to finish strong. The last portion of the race was probably the hardest because of exhaustion and the hills kept getting tall and longer. Out of all of the hills I was able to pedal up all except one. At some points I could have walked fas

ter than pedaling my bike, but then I couldn’t say that I only had to walk one hill. If riding 100 miles wasn’t tough enough I really wanted to get all of the hills. Just cause. But, the one that I pushed up, got most folks.

Well we finished. We were not first, but not last. 92nd out of 177 folks that showed up. Out of those 177 people only 150 actually finished and 750 signed up for it. That means a lot of people woke up and looked out side that day, and said ‘NO WAY! I’m not riding in that crap’. But, hey we drove 500 plus mile to do this thing. So it was going down either way.

Would I do it again? Sure. But, I have to say, it would be easier on a bike a little bit newer. If you don’t know what rode? Well, it is my Iver Johnson that was built in the 1920’s with a coaster brake and a 71 gear inch. Let’s just say I was thinking I would be a badass and see what I could do. I will never learn. But, after this event I truly feel that I could accomplish a lot on a bike. It was the most grueling 100 miles of my life and looking back I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. My bike is now completely trashed and needs a complete restoration. And I have not quiet gotten the feeling back in my finger tips. But, what a freaking epic ride. If you have ever been to the Venetian Casino in Vegas and have seen those people that are all white and are supposed to be statues. That is what we looked like after this race. I feel bad for the people who had to clean up the grocery store and the hotel.

Thanks Chris Skogan, for putting on this event. I think it will truly become a classic. And if you have to prove how bad ass you are on a bike this is by far the way to do it! See you next year. And I’m brin

g more people to see how truly bad ass this course was. I can’t express it in words. 35mph plus, downhills on gravel! Need I say more?


Mud, Sweat and Beers report

Marnie takes Mud Sweat and Beers!

This is a race that can be best described as a shorter, hillier, and sandier version of the Iceman race. It starts and finishes at the Mt Holiday ski resort, which turned out to be an excellent post race party spot. The after party really made this race worth attending. There was plenty of music, food, beer and sunshine to greet racers and friends as they finished this race. The race itself was mostly wide-open trails with some freshly cut single track mixed in here and there. There was even some suburban asphalt thrown into the mix when we had to cut through a neighborhood to connect trails. Although I did not have a good day on the bike, I had a great time at this race. If I go back next year it will be more for the after party than the race. As for the other Founders team members that attended. Marnie Tencate battled and fought her way to another 1st palace in the women’s sport class. Actually I think Marnie was the 7th fastest women overall in the race. Tenner finished with a respectable 30th of 447. Rick Plite was 105 of 447 and I brought up the rear at 180th of 447.

Scott T.

Fort Custer Stampede!

The 2011 Stampede played out as one of the better Custer races.  The weather was cool(upper fifties) for start time with slight overcast giving way to a sunny warm race and a beautiful afternoon.  Pre registration started slow but had over 300 by race day and about 100 more day of.  This made for competitive fields in all classes on trails that were perfect, except for one water hole that got deeper as the laps went on.
Earl rode like a pro finishing third in the Elite class,  Gabe also finished third in his Expert class 30-39,  Tim rode to a fourth place finish in his Expert class 50 plus, and Brenden finished 14th in the Sport SS class.
We had a great afternoon for post race beverages, an award or three, and soaking up that post race feeling!!

NUE Series opener

course profile

It’s now a couple days of recovery and a Founders-Alger-Racing team ride since my first mountain bike race of the season is now history.  I call it a success.

I completed the Cohutta-100 in 12hours/2minutes according to my computer- official times not yet posted.  Cohutta-100 is the first race in the National Ultra-Endurance race series of which I’ve committed to doing five of these 100 mile events for 2011.

The course starts from the Olympic Whitewater Center on a road climb of about 3 miles then dives into the singletrack along the Ocoee River valley and ravines for the next 15 miles.  After mile 18, the course hits gravel forest roads for the next 60 miles until finally getting back into the singletrack the last 15 miles.  The last mile is again a paved road finish to the chute.  The course is shaped geographically like a big OMEGA sign with the tails of each end near the start and finish in Tennessee and the big loop of 60 miles rounding out in Georgia.

I pretty much have my nutrition dialed in. I start with two bottles of Heed and two bottles of Perpetuem  (Hammer Nutrition products).  Each bottle of Perpetuem (a carb/protein mix) has enough fuel (12 scoops) to fuel me for six hours.  As I deplete one bottle during an event I will refill that with either more Heed from the aid stations or simply fill with water.  During the event I think I went through about 30 Endurolytes, however. I take one or sometimes two every half hour.

The weather was great. It was 47 degrees in the morning but hit a high of mid-70s by about 200pm.  I started with a base layer, arm warmers and leg warmers.

I hit the singletrack and was moving along pretty well. For some reason, during the climb up the road I put a big gap on people behind me and yet had a large gap to the riders in front. Consequently I had no traffic jams in the singletrack for most of my 15 miles there.  I did catch a couple people and pass them in technical sections and was also in turn passed by others.  But it was very different from 2010 where I was behind a train of riders for miles and we could not effect a pass on the lead (slower technical) rider(s).

I lost one water bottle in the first seven miles. My lower bottle cage is susceptible to the bottle bouncing out and I forgot to zip tie it.  But it was a Heed bottle so I was not overly concerned since the temperatures were not hot and I had time to the heat of the day to deplete one of the two Perpetuem bottles and fill with Heed at aid stations. That said, I deliberately filled bottles at each aid station.  I also don’t utilize drop bags, instead I carry everything with me.

You’d think that the two track fire roads would  make for an easier course.  You’d be wrong.  First, during much of this portion of the event, there was significant and seemingly interminable climbing. Second, the crushed gravel was really loose this year- or at least seemed much more loose than in 2010 and I suspect much of it was recently applied by the forest service and state maintenance and not yet “ridden in” by jeeps, trucks and other ORVs.

I reached mile 30 with an average speed of 10.7mph and was feeling pretty good about my pace. But a quick glance at the attached elevation you can see that the from approximately mile 30 to mile 55 was nearly continuously climbing. During the next couple hours watched my average miles per hour steadily drop until it was hovering at about 8.8 which is what I finished the event averaging.  The climbs had to be done nearly always seated.  Standing to pedal in many spots simply caused the back wheel to spin on the loose terrain.

Finally reaching checkpoint #3, which is where I dropped last year due to the freezing thunderstorm, I had about 3 miles left to that last big peak after which there’s be approximately ten miles of nearly continuous downhill. But these were not easy downhills.  While I did reach, at one point, 37mph as a max speed, most of the downhill was on that loose stone which meant I only felt comfortable feathering the brakes and riding usually down the hill at about 24-26mph.  Then there was the corners, as the road swept around the side of the mountains.  In these turns I brought my speed down to 15-17mph and could still feel the back wheel want to slip a bit.  I was using Kenda Kwicker tires, low profile with some cornering tread.  Likely had I used my Kenda Karma’s I’d been able to eke out a bit more speed on these turns, but not much. (At the finish I saw one young man with his face nearly so bandaged as to have on a mummy costume.  I suspect he hit these sharp gravel stones face first on one of these segments- not pretty).

By 300pm I’d rolled the armwarmers down to my wrists and the legwarmers. I didn’t feel overheated, at least in my chest and back, though I was wearing a base layer, but the sun was baking my thighs especially on the long slow climbs so rolling them down below the knee allowed some air to my legs.

Within the last 16-18 miles I finally hit the last of the singletrack.  I still had energy to gut out the shorter “Michigan”-like climbs, and began flowing through the woods.  There was a few technical sections but mostly hard packed singletrack.  I caught four other racers in this woods in this last segment. one guy was wretching and when I asked how he was feeling he said dehydrated.  I ended up giving him my bottle of water.  I still had a 2/3rds full bottle of heed with less than ten miles to go and so didn’t feel I’d be shorting myself into the finish.

The singletrack comes out onto pavement near the control unit for the dam and I rode across the walking bridge that spans the rocky Ocoee and turned right onto the pathway which led about a mile to the finish line and was a flat finish.


me at cohutta