Wednesday, November 11, 2015

desert road

I was on the road again last month, but not on a bike. My family accompanied my Dad to Mesa, AZ where we all boarded a chartered bus on a beautiful Saturday morning for a drive out into the desert. Our destination was Bouse, a small town with a big appreciation of history and the veterans who trained under General Patton during WWII. My father is one of those veterans. He was part of the 748th battalion which trained for dessert warfare in Africa, but ended up on the beach at Normandy on D-Day instead. We had been with my Dad to Bouse several times for a ceremony they hold each spring. They have erected several monuments to different battalions which trained there. And there was one monument that only listed the others who had served, without much added information. Thanks to my brother found out what it would take to get a monument for the 748th, and several tireless volunteers, a new monument now stands on Monument Row. The "Rhinos" are represented!

Click on this link for the story:

 Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015


In 2007 I joined my brother-in-law for the 2nd annual Tour de Kota, which is no more. But on the first day that year, standing on Main Street in some small town in southeastern SD, my brother-in-law, Bruce walks up to a guy wearing a Ride The Rockies jersey to ask him about that ride. He gets the idea that we should go to Colorado and ride a tour in the mountains! At the time it sounded really hard. By week's end when I dragged myself into Mitchell after 400+ miles of SD rollers, the idea of a week long tour in CO was preposterous.
The next year we showed up in Gunnison on a Saturday in early August to ride the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. On the 3rd day I set a personal record for how slow I could ride without falling over, 3.7 mph on the last stretch of the climb up the western side of Independence Pass. (This record would be shattered in 2014 on Pikes Peak). By week's end I had been hot/cold, wet/dry, fast/slow and overall exhilarated that I had made it up and over all the climbs on CRMBT 2008.

We had so much fun we were back with a few friends in 2009 to ride a different loop. Again I was forced to push myself past what I thought I was capable of. I took time to rest and take lots of pictures, realizing that a bicycle was the perfect vehicle for exploring remote corners of this beautiful state. I couldn't help but notice that in addition to seeing the tour organizers again, many of the volunteers at the aid stations were back. And many of the riders too.
In 2009 none of my previous riding partners were able to make it to Colorado that summer. The route that year went over some familiar passes, plus offered a chance to do Loveland Pass, Mt Evans, Peak-to-Peak Highway, and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. It sounded too good to miss. So I went by myself. And the year after that, and the year after that.
I've become friends with other riders, volunteers, and organizers from all over. Going back to CRMBT each August became a given. How could I miss it? Thanks to this tour I had slept in cool mountain air in Gunnison, Frisco, Crede, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, and many more. I've ridden my bike over Independence and Cottonwood Passes, Slumgullion and Monarch, over Trail Ridge Road, and up and back Mt Evans and Pikes Peak. Good times!
I knew I wouldn't be able to do the tour in 2015. We were putting in long hours all Spring getting the beautiful new Scheels Overland Park ready to open. When I was slated to be the manager of the bike shop I didn't want to be gone so soon after opening the end of June. And as a member of the leadership team it still seemed too soon to be gone for a week. Not to mention that I've been on my bike, like six times in the last few months. If I tried to go to Colorado to ride now most of my views would be from the inside of a SAG van.
So I'm going to miss my first CRMBT since 2008. I'll miss Colorado. I'll miss the people. I'll miss the challenges and the satisfaction of completing them. The only thing that makes it a little easier to take is that this year's tour won't be climbing any passes that I haven't already done. Thanks to them I've climbed all but a few of the highest paved passes in Colorado, including everything over 11,000 feet.
But I still wish I could be there. I'm hoping that they will share lots of pictures and stories of the ride. And I'll plan on joining them for CRMBT 2016. Peter, make it a good one!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I'm disappointed that I'm going to miss my first Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour  in 7 years. But in all honesty I haven't had much time on the bike this year. My passion for biking helped me land a job with Scheels, a sporting goods store, and so much more. Scheels is based in Fargo, ND, where I grew up. I've been a fan and a customer of theirs my whole life. When I heard they were coming to Kansas I wanted to be part of it. I was hired to be the Specialty Shop Manager for Bikes, but have since accepted a position as an Assistant Store Leader. It's been fantastic working with so many talented, fun people. It's also been time-consuming. In the last 2 months the only time I've been on a bike was as part of product training rides for some of the folks who will be selling bikes for us. So I'll set my sights on next years CRMBT and find something a little flatter and closer to home for now.

We're less than 2 weeks away from our grand opening, and local media were invited to tour the store last week. I think they were impressed:

For all of my Colorado friends, don't worry, we're headed your way soon:

SCHEELS Announces New Retail Destination in Johnstown, Colorado

Johnstown, CO – On Wednesday, June 3, 2015 SCHEELS announced their new location in Johnstown, Colorado. Unlike a typical sporting goods store or department store, the new Johnstown SCHEELS will be a collection of entertainment venues, specialty shops and boutiques staffed with Experts who focus on their passions. The 250,000 square foot SCHEELS Retail Shopping Adventure will showcase Colorado’s largest selection of sports, fashion and footwear under one roof!
“SCHEELS is thrilled to announce our newest location in Northern Colorado. After more than 15 years of studying the Colorado market and searching for the best possible location for a flagship SCHEELS, we are proud to be bringing our newest store to Johnstown, Colorado”, states Steve D. Scheel, the company’s Chairman of the Board. “We are excited to be bringing 250,000 square feet of sports, fashion, and footwear to the intersection of I-25 and Hwy 34 in Johnstown. The store will be 30,000 square feet larger than our most recent openings in Overland Park, KS and Billings, MT. And whether it is women’s sportswear and fashion footwear, biking, running, golfing, or camping, hunting and fishing, this location is the best possible location for SCHEELS to serve more than 750,000 people in Northern Colorado, as well as customers to the north and east in Wyoming and Nebraska. We will break ground early in 2016 and open in September 2017 to join the great mix of retailers at or near this intersection.”
“After searching multiple Colorado locations for our new shopping center, we are confident we have found the perfect location and town for our project to call home. We are excited to bring a new tenant mix to the area, and the addition of SCHEELS to our development is great news for Johnstown, the surrounding communities and the shopping center” says developer, Allen Schlup.
“I am excited and proud to welcome SCHEELS to the Town of Johnstown and the beautiful Front Range of Colorado. SCHEELS has a great reputation for quality operations and commitment to the communities in the locations they serve.
We look forward to collaborating with SCHEELS in developing an outstanding sporting goods retail destination,” Mayor Mark Romanowski.
Modeled after SCHEELS stores in Springfield, IL; Sandy, UT; Billings, MT; and Overland Park, KS the SCHEELS in Johnstown will feature specialty shops ranging from technical running gear and the latest fashion, to spectacular hunting and fishing shops. The sport shoe, hiking boot, and casual footwear selection will be the largest in the region with everything for toddlers to all athletes, from serious hikers to beach goers, and from hunters to the fashion conscious. There will be a World Class golf shop, bike shop, ski shop, canoe and kayak shop, and fishing shop. The gun and hunting shops will have the largest selection of guns in Colorado, ranging from everyday shooters to modern sporting rifles and collectible firearms.
Special attractions will include a huge 16,000-gallon aquarium; a 65-foot, 16-car, operating Ferris Wheel; photo opportunities; a wildlife mountain; shooting galleries; and laser shot shooting simulators. Customers will be able to test their golf, soccer, hockey, baseball, football and basketball skills on the sport simulators. No shopping experience would be complete without tasty treats; SCHEELS’ deli and fudge shop, named Ginna’s Cafe, will serve gourmet soups and sandwiches, Starbucks® coffee and specialty drinks, 24 flavors of homemade fudge, and 18 flavors of gelato, which will make the shopping adventure something unlike the Johnstown retail customer has ever experienced.
Johnstown SCHEELS will employ around 400 associates. SCHEELS provides the best training in retail for its career associates. The people at SCHEELS make it special and SCHEELS associates are among the highest paid in retail, with outstanding benefits. SCHEELS is an employee-owned, privately held business that owes its consistent success to its empowered associates, leaders and partners who think and make decisions for their individual store and the entire company.

World-Class Shopping and Customer Service

Providing SCHEELS’ customers with first-class customer service and the World’s largest selection of sports, sportswear and footwear are the priorities throughout the organization. Although each SCHEELS location is unique in design and sometimes varies in product selection, every customer is greeted and welcomed by friendly and knowledgeable associates. The SCHEELS guarantee is:

Everything you buy at SCHEELS, on sale or otherwise, is guaranteed satisfactory or your money back. You don’t take chances at SCHEELS, ever!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

hello? hello?

Just checking to see if there's still anybody reading, since I've kind of neglected this blog lately. I have a good excuse. I'm working hard to open one of the coolest stores you can imagine. The new Scheels in Overland Park will have everything you need for hunting and fishing (if you're into that kind of thing). You can find stuff for golf, soccer, hockey, and every other kind of competitive and recreational game you can think of. Plus a shooting range, golf simulator, mini bowling, photo ops and much, much more. And that's just the second floor!

As you enter the store you'll pass under a salt water aquarium and see the huge Ferris Wheel with Ginna's Restaurant behind that. Turn left and you'll find some beautiful women's shops for shoes, fashion, and athletic clothing. Turn right and you'll find a tremendous selection of the best sunglasses you can buy. Plus men's athletic and casual shoes, men's fashion and outerwear, and licensed merchandise to wear, tailgate with, or show your support for your favorite team.

In the back corner is a huge bike shop, the crown jewel of the store. ;)  Lots of bikes for all ages, plus accessories, clothing, and a first class service shop to take care of you. I do have some good news, bad news. The bad news is that I'm not going to be the Shop Manager for the bike shop. The good news is I've accepted the position of Assistant Store Leader. I feel blessed to be part of a great leadership team that has impressed me from the first time we met. And more good news, one of my responsibilities is to oversee the bike shop, and help the new Shop Manager run the best shop in town.

The store is going to be amazing. If you're anywhere near Kansas City on June 27th or later, you've got to check it out. And even better are the people. I'm astounded at how many good people our team has been able to hire to run this place. And how many supremely talented people have transferred her from other Scheels locations. Every shop is staffed with experts who know their stuff, have a passion for their sport, and want to help you get the most out of your gear. Are you in?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

tour of missouri 2009

click on black bars to turn off road tunes playlist

Friday, April 3, 2015

bike, bike, bike

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to visit Wisconsin as part of my continuing education on bikes. Is this a great country, or what? A group of us traveled from Overland Park to Des Moines, where we picked up some bikes to demo on a "hybrid" ride that week. Then we headed to Madison for a few days. We got to hear from several reps from different bike, bike accessories, and bike clothing manufacturers, as well as some Scheels bike experts on how to help our customers enjoy biking as much as we do.

Despite recent snow and chilly temps, we road on some paved trails around the lakes in downtown Madison. And we took a bus ride to Waterloo to tour the Trek factory. They don't show you everything on the tour, but I did get to see where my Project One Madone was painted Chi Red.
I did enjoy this picture of Trek founder, Dick Berg and his son on Independence Pass.
Then we took a box lunch, got back on the bus, and rode to Milwaukee to visit Ray's MTB indoor bike park. To be honest, my strategy going in was "survive and advance", like most teams in the NCAA tournament. But despite a handful of spills, I ended up having a great time. I rode around on the easiest two routes for a while before discovering the "pump track". It was a short track with banked turns, and small humps in the straightaways. A lack of speed going high on the banked turns would leave your wheels sliding right out from under you. But if you used your bike correctly, it was something like a roller coaster powered by you.

After dropping bikes off in Des Moines we got home late Friday night. Four of us got together Saturday for a short road ride. And I've been exhausted to some degree ever since. I'm glad the weekend is here to rest up for another busy week at Scheels.

Monday, March 9, 2015

wrenches needed

We're still almost 4 months away from opening our new Overland Park Scheels, but we need some folks who might like to work on bikes. Experience would be a plus, but the main requirement is a mechanical aptitude and a love of bikes, as well as other sports equipment. If you know anyone who lives in the Kansas City metro area that might be interested, let me know and we'll figure out how to get together.

Scheels is an awesome company and we'll have lots of new bikes rolling in soon. Someone's going to have to help get them put together. What do you think?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

first ride

Strictly speaking I guess this was a mild winter in the middle of the country. (I did drive back to Omaha in 2 of the handful of storms we had!) But it seems like it lasted forever! There was a nice day here and there, but more often than not it's been cold and windy for too darn long! Between my time in a hotel in Omaha and the blustery weather I haven't been outside on a bike since early last fall! That changed today.

After a few errands my wife and I enjoyed lunch with some old friends of ours. By the time I got home the temps had climbed to the upper 60s, and the winds were not too bad. I dressed warmly and pumped up my tires. Without checking wind direction I headed west and north and smiled to realize that I was riding right into the breeze. That meant it would be at my back for the return trip.
Less than half a mile from home, as I turned on to the bike lane that would get me across the interstate, I saw the first of several riders enjoying the day. A little over 25 miles later I made it home feeling pretty good. I was a little slow on the hills, but overall I was pleased with my first real effort of the season.
 My season this year may be limited to a few one or two day events as we celebrate opening the new store and get together with our families. But I'm hoping to spend a lot of days riding with friends, old and new, promoting cycling and helping folks get into it with a brand new Fuji or Scott.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

next chapter

My four months in Omaha have come to an end. It was a great experience; a great store and an even better group of people. Now I'm ready for the next step. Monday a small group of us will start at the new store. For the first couple of months we'll be receiving freight, assembling displays, and generally doing "whatever it takes" to get the store ready for our June grand opening.
 Omaha Scheels

The tech outdoor department in Omaha had shrunk to a fraction of its peak size before I left, and we were able to set almost all of the expanded bike shop. It was fun to see some great displays of road, mountain, comfort and fat-tire bikes, as well as clothing and accessories. I'm glad that I got to be part of writing the next chapter before I left.

I would also like to announce another new chapter. I'm going to continue to use this blog to write about my cycling adventures, those accomplished and those being planned. And I also want to share the news of my new bike shop and beautiful new store as it comes to fruition. But I don't know if everyone who may read this blog about cycling wants to hear about my veganism. So I'm starting another blog devoted specifically to that. I would encourage everyone to follow me at Vegan For Life but if you only want to check in on the bike biz, this blog will be for that.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

go big or go home?

Let me start by saying that I won't be able to do this in 2015. Maybe not even in 2016. But I've been thinking about a new challenge in cycling. Some things are a little too daunting. I'm too old, too slow, and too overweight, um, under height. But if I put my mind to it I can accomplish some things. With that in mind, I thought that I needed a new goal towards which to work.

My love of cycling in Colorado gave me the idea of something I've heard about for years, The Triple Bypass. It's a one day, 120 mile ride, with 10K+ feet of climbing, from Evergreen to Avon. It goes over Juniper Pass, Loveland Pass, and Vail Pass. I've climbed all of these passes, (Juniper in both directions), but not all in the same day. It would be tough, but I know I could do it. That's not optimal for a goal, is it? If you know you can do it? So, how could I take it up a notch? I'm glad you asked.

The slogan for the Triple Bypass is "For those who dare". For those who dare even more there is the Double Triple Bypass. After riding 120 miles over 3 mountain passes with over 10K feet of climbing on a Saturday in July, Double Triple Bypass riders get up and ride back! That sounds so hard, but so awesome! I could add this to my "bucket list", but that contains lots of things that I want to do, some of which I doubt I'll ever get to. So I'm making it a goal. I would like to do it next year, but if it takes a little longer, that's OK too.  But, I'm going to work towards successfully completing the "Double Triple".

Friday, January 16, 2015


I can hardly believe it's the middle of January, 2015! What they say about time going faster as you get older? I can tell you they're right. It doesn't seem like that long ago when we were wondering if Y2K would be a major catastrophe. Now it's 15 years later in the blink of an eye.
My time in Omaha has been going fast too. The first month was a lot of formal training, followed by the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas, the busiest time of the year for retailers. And while I did get the chance to sell a few bikes (mostly for small children), I sold a lot of coats. North Face, Columbia, Spyder, Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia and more. Plus hats and gloves. And sunglasses and watches. That was valuable training for the pace and intensity required to take care of so many customers in such an amazing store.
The people I met when I interviewed for this position impressed me so much, and the team in Omaha has continued that theme. There are so many outstanding folks in that store that it's going to be hard to say goodbye at the end of February. But I'm sure I'll see a lot of them in the future, and I know I'll use several of then as resources as my career with Scheels moves forward. And I am very excited to get into our new store in Overland Park, with our new store team, and build something special in the Kansas City market.
Our bike shop will carry a large variety of bikes, from an inexpensive bike with training wheels to get your kids riding as early as possible, to some high-end road bikes, mountain bikes, fat-tire bikes and hybrids. In addition to some awesome Fuji bikes, we'll also be carrying Scott bikes. I can't wait to get my hands on some of these!
To the few of you who have read my blog for a long time, I just wanted to say: I'm still here. I'm still vegan. And I can't wait for warm weather to get off the trainer and on the road. What this cycling season holds is still up in the air for me. I'm hoping to get back to Omaha and ride one day of the local MS150, sponsored by Scheels. And I'm hoping to get in another adventure or two. With the store opening in late June the summer may be tricky. I might miss my first CRMBT in 8 years. If I am unable to make it this year, I know I'll be back again soon. This is the best tour, with the best people, in one of the best places to ride a bike.

And my intention to one day join my brother-in-law and nephew on RAGBRAI will probably have to wait at least another year. (I really need to retire so I can ride more). One possibility for a Colorado ride that doesn't take a whole week is one that I've done before, and would love to do again. They've just opened registration for the Copper Triangle. 78 miles, 3 mountain passes, and almost 6,000 feet of climbing on the first Saturday in August with a few thousand fellow cyclists? That sounds about right!