Monday, June 09, 2008

Minnesota Larkin-Hoffman MS 150 2008

Hmm...maybe I'm wrong about David Mitchell being in Flight of the Conchords. Oh well, they're both funny, watch them.

Nicest thing I heard on the MS 150: "I've been sucking on you for a while, now you can suck on me."

So the ride went well. I took a half day off on Friday and caught the 1:00 p.m. bus up to Proctor, near Duluth, which went pretty well considering they told us to take a left off the highway, and it was actually a right. The weather the first night involved big gusts of wind that weren't compatible with either the hill the camping was on, the flatness of the field the camping was on, or the flexipole dome tent Ming and I were using. The first few gusts it pretty much laid down flat. So we moved inside the high school gymnasium and endured the hard floor and loud snoring. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but I made up some time the next night at the Grand Casino grounds in Hinckley, where there was wonderful weather and the quiet peeping of frogs.

It was a significantly more relaxed ride than RAGBRAI. No 100 degree heat. No leaking tent. Only two days. Fewer riders. But also no vendors, no bus routes through town, and not as much excitement, despite the younger crowd consisting of 20-something Geek Squad riders, the Larkin-Hoffman lawyers (and other employees), and a variety of corporate and non-corporate teams. For a while it looked like it might rain on us, but it never did. The first day there was a stiff head wind, and we averaged about 13.4 mph. The second day a lot of the wind disappeared and we did a geeky little four-bike (later 5) peloton with our mix of hybrids and mountain bikes that allowed us to kick it up to 15.4 mph. That worked pretty well except for the time Ming tapped his brakes to move off the front and Iver hammered it down at about 18 mph. That's a little fast for a mountain bike, and the combination of speeding up and Ming breaking meant Ming shot off the back. Not a good place to be if you're tired because you were just in front, you have to fight the wind yourself, and you're on a mountain bike (where 18 mph is a dubious speed). I dropped back and we pushed it into the next rest stop.

The atmosphere was fun. Chris Cakes and sausage for breakfast. In Hinckley we had a team tent, beer, decorations, and a contest for best jersey, best team song, best team poem, etc. They tried to liven it up a bit, and Larkin Hoffman (the law firm) sang their song to the tune of "I've Got Friends in Low Places" - I don't suppose all partners are willing to belt out a song like that.

Other things learned at the MS 150:
  • Ming's wife may still believe that part of the MS 150 involves breasts and beads.
  • You may refer to Ming by the nickname "slug bait". They like him a lot.
  • People in Blaine need to not leave live .38 shells sitting around the Blaine Sports Center parking lot or people in Eagan will continue to believe you may be hicks.
  • One bbq sandwich is not enough to constitute a pre-ride dinner.
We raised $42,000 as a team. A very good showing.

Here's the Flickr photo set. I'll call a few of them out.

God is somewhere above. And apparently he frowns on you swimming in this location. Maybe he likes to pee off the top of the bridge.

Some of the pretty scenery near Proctor.

Ming looking cool.

Ryan looking cool.

Me looking scrunchy faced.

One of the Capella online university guys hauled along a tandem rider with no legs.

Our team at the Casino grounds.

Another team that was in the jersey competition (our team, the Wild West Outlaws, won), the Psycholers.

Ming and Ryan at a rest stop.

Part of our 40-member team hanging out at an early rest stop.

And here is one of our team members attempting to master the intricacies of the bull whip:

...which was used in the team song. As you can tell from the video, Paul needed a bit more practice:


Mac Noland said...

Glad everyone made it safe! You probably would never believe me, but there was a time back when I road the MS 150 that I averaged 20 mph for a 20 mile stretch. If I remember right, it was right before dinner break near Hinckley.

Scooter said...

Some of the people in the group were in a 22-person bike throng that was traveling at about 23 mph average. Just flying. They left over an hour later than us and tied us to the lunch rest stop.