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No. 39 Knights fall to No. 11 Wash U

Carleton Sports - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:12pm

Elizabeth Yim won a super tiebreaker as the No. 39-ranked Carleton College women’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought non-conference match against No. 11 Washington (Mo.) University.

Categories: Colleges

Actif Epica, or The Windswept Plains of Southern Manitoba

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 10:23pm

The Actif Epica race outside Winnipeg was the ideal way to end a very challenging race season – a relatively short ride through some small French-Canadian towns and up into Winnipeg itself. After the Arrowhead, I decided I didn’t have another overnight race in me this winter, so I changed from the 200-kilometer (124-mile) long race to the “classic” 125k (77 mile) race. This was a good decision, allowing me to start and end in daylight and to really enjoy the racecourse.

And what a racecourse! In a word, it was bizarre – or as the French say, “bizarre.” The race started in the tiny town of St. Malo, about 50 miles due south of Winnipeg.

32 cyclists comprised the field in the short race, which started at a very reasonable 7:30 a.m. (that’s 7:30 a.m. in the metric system) outside the town’s charmingly un-fancy hockey arena. After a neutral rollout, we crossed St. Malo Lake, which shook out the field pretty well and ended with one of the only climbs in the race – a 10-foot zip up what might have been a boat launch.

Starting there, the rest of the course consisted of long sections of gravel road linked by short bits of paved highways, of trails for snowmobiles (which the Canadians call “Skidoos,” no matter the actual brand) or, even better, of completely snowed-in roads across farm fields. It was wacky, unlike any of the other fatbike racing I’ve done but not unlike some of the training I’ve done around Northfield – though far, far flatter. The end of the race was memorably different from all that terrain!

The open country – what my friend Minnesota Mark called “the windswept plains of southern Manitoba” – made it easy to see other racers, which allowed a lot of chasing and being chased. We came up on numerous runners who’d started either the long 200k race the night before or the short 125k race a.m. hour before our bike event. I was happy to be able to ride quite a bit with Mark, who has finished the AE a few times (as well as 20-some other fatbike ultras), making him a good guide to the race’s innumerable twists and turns and to its five checkpoints. At several of those checkpoints, I saw my friend Corey; though not a cyclist, he’d wanted to see what fatbike racing was all about, and so had driven up to Winnipeg with me for the event. He tracked us over the first part of the course, taking photos like this one at the first CP in St.-Pierre-Jolys.

We’d been told to try the pea soup there, but pea soup doesn’t sound too good at 9:05 a.m., so I ducked in and headed right back back out, yoyoing with a couple other riders whom I’d see all day as we made our way up to the second checkpoint at a “colony” of Hutterites at Crystal Springs. Just before reaching the checkpoint, we rode a couple miles of wonderful wooded trails along the Rat River (a.k.a. la Rivière aux Rats, which is frankly a far better name) as it oxbowed its way north to meet the Red River of the North nearer to Winnipeg. I stopped a little longer at Crystal Springs, which had a real bathroom (no peeing in the ditches during this race! [well, maybe a little]), chocolate-chip cookies, and very talkative Hutterite men, who wanted to tell me all about their colony. I chatted for a bit, but needed to get moving again.

The silent little boys – shirts buttoned up to their collar just like the adult men – held the door for me, and then I rode again with Mark for a while on some windy gravel. The first few miles of the race had woven through stands of trees, but those were behind us now. Houses were few and far between, but many flew a Canadian flag. The cattle farms had a smell that differed from the smell of cattle farms in Minnesota – sweeter, grassier, not as acrid. Under a high sun, the forecasted westerly wind started to show up, making us work hard whenever we angled north and west – which was pretty often.

At one point, the course dumped us onto a snowed-in road between two fields. In Minnesota we’d call it a “minimum maintenance road,” but I don’t know the French translation. Maybe “le chemin de posthole”? Ride for a bit, push for a bit, ride for more, push for more. For a change of pace, tip over in a pillowy drift and get snow down your neck. At the end of the section, I stopped to record the scene. Mark is one of the dots on the horizon; the other is, I think, racer #36, a tough guy who was riding the race on a 26″ city bike. He could haul on the gravel and especially on the pavement roads, but whenever we hit any snow, he slowed and even had to walk sections that Mark and I could ride. I filed this fact away for later, in case he and I were still nearby at the end of the race.

These sections made me extra grateful to be riding my friend Ben’s souped-up race bike. My beloved Buffalo had started acting up just before the race, perhaps suffering from an injury at the Arrowhead. As I commuted home the day before Corey and I would head to Winnipeg, the rear wheel started rubbing the chainstay. Two hours of sweating and swearing over it couldn’t fix the problem, but Ben solved the problems and saved my race by loaning me his own Mukluk, which was definitely the best bike I’ve ever ridden. The carbon rims in particular helped me float over more of the drifting than I could have on my own bike – though I sure missed the Buffalo.

Somewhere after this section, Mark caught me and started rhapsodizing about the pierogies served at the third checkpoint, in the hockey arena in Niverville. I’d never had pierogis before, an error I remedied with a triple serving. When we checked out, the volunteers told us we were in 8th and 9th places – top 10! We had barely gotten back on our bikes before we reached the fourth checkpoint, 11k (7 miles) away in St. Adolphe. Though this leg was short, I felt like we had a headwind for every meter. Mark and I traded pulls over the worst stretch, making the wind a little more tolerable. When we finally reached St. Adolphe, we rode not on streets to the CP but on the dikes that protect the town from the Red River,

and stopped not at a hockey arena but at a curling club. (Next to the door is the bike of racer #36, who reached the CP just before us.)

Curling looks just as fun from the other side of the glass as it does on TV, but why are so many Manitoba hockey arenas and curling clubs in Quonset huts? And can Northfield please build a Quonset hut for a curling club?

Someone – probably Mark – had warned me that the stretch after St. Adolphe would be the hardest of the race, as we would be continuously exposed to the wind. This was definitely the case. Mark and I traded pulls as we went north on the memorably-named Sood Road, then jogged a bit east to Shapansky Road, a freakishly straight and flat road that I’m pretty sure runs all the way to Hudson Bay. (Here it’s the north-south line from St. Germaine South.)

The wind here finally went from “hard” to “brutal.” Cutting across us from left to right, it separated Mark and me and slowed me to what could not have been more than 8 mph, which felt like a sad waste of Ben’s carbon machine! Racer #36 dangled in front of me for this entire stretch. I had worried that his skinny tires would help him get away here, but the wind was as hard on him as for me, and for Mark. Another racer later said that the winds had been blowing at 25mph here, which means that the windchill must have been well below zero. Adding to the fun, the sun was so bright that I couldn’t see my computer, and so couldn’t see the goddamn map that would tell me how goddamn long this goddamn section would continue. This was a classic sufferfest: put your head down and just turn the cranks. Every time the pedals make a rotation, you’re closer to getting done with it.

Then suddenly I couldn’t see racer #36 anymore. He’d turned! Huzzah! No more crosswind! Oh, wait. No, he’d turned northwest, going directly into the wind. A minute later, I made the turn too, and found another Actif Epica Special: a dirt “road” almost completely covered in snowdrifts. Someone had recently driven a truck down the road, cutting two ruts through all the drifts, and I aimed for the nearer one. But I had been puttering along so slowly for so long that my aim was way off, and I hit the drift. Stop, lean, bobble, lean more, tip over, already laughing and cursing. I expected Mark to ride up to me right then as I struggled to unclip my boots from my pedals, but no, he was still making his way up Shapansky Road.

Back on my feet and then back on the bike, I could see that #36 was hiking. I was able to ride, and gradually closed on him as we angled northwest, then north again through more crosswind. He grew from a black dot in the distance to an indistinct human figure, then to a cyclist – helmet, jacket, legs. I was excited to be on the verge of contact after seeing him off in the distance since St. Adolphe.

Then another turn, to the southwest. Mon Dieu! Knowing that Winnipeg was due north of us, I got worried here that we’d taken a wrong turn, but ahead of us I could see a weird low hill. Maybe another dike that would take us north? Here the course drifted in again, the snow cover deepening as we approached the hill. #36 was hiking continuously now, and I was trying hard to ride as much as I could to catch up before the hill. But now the drifts turned to a thick crust of snow with a skin of windblown black dirt on top – the most bizarre surface that I’d ever crossed on a fatbike, or rather crossed walking next to a fatbike. The snow was loose under the dirt, far too soft to support the bike or me. I postholed for a good ten minutes, trying to roll the bike along next to me and marveling as the weird cake-like appearance of the snow: a thin layer of black, a thick layer of white, and then far below some brown dirt.

Now I was at the bottom of the hill, with #36 on top of it. A lightbulb went off and I remembered that Mark had mentioned we would ride up and over the huge floodway that protects Winnipeg from the Red River’s spring floods. The hill was actually the eastern wall of the floodway, which – Wikipedia says – was at the time of its construction in the 1960s the second-largest earthmoving project in the world, smaller only than the Panama Canal. Still trailing #36, I rode up and onto the berm, down into the floodway – empty except for some grass and more snowdrifts – then back up onto a secondary berm that ran to a massive control gate. On the other side of the gate, #36 turned west again. Down a street? Where the hell were we?

We were already in Winnipeg. The city apparently has no suburbs; you’re either on the prairie suffering in the wind for your sins or on paved streets, dodging cars and trucks. #36 was gone now, hammering on his city bike over city streets. I dug out my cue sheets and zoomed in on my computer’s map, remembering more advice from Mark: that you had to be careful as the race zigged and zagged over streets and bike trails. I didn’t want to take a wrong turn again, as I had at the Arrowhead in January. There the only dangers had been -30º F temps and wolves; who knows what urban terrors lurked in Winnipeg! I might be force-fed poutine or compelled to learn the words to “O Canada”!

Luckily, the course here was remarkably easy to follow, winding this way and that through the city on the way to the last checkpoint at the University of Manitoba. The sidewalks and trails were fairly busy with civilians running, walking, walking their dogs, even riding bikes. Everyone I encountered gave me a nice smile and a wave, except the dogs. Abruptly, #36 reappeared at the far end of a long straightaway. Knowing that we had the checkpoint and then another half hour of riding before the finish, I didn’t try too hard to catch him, but gradually he drifted back to me. Fittingly I finally caught him at a stoplight where we waited in futility for the light to change. I had definitely never had to wait at a stoplight in a fatbike race. He said he’d finished the race on foot a couple times, but that riding wasn’t easier – “just faster.” Finally we decided to cross against the interminable red, and a few minutes later we reached the last checkpoint.

Another racer was there when we arrived, #37, a guy who’d dropped me after the Crystal Springs checkpoint hours before. He was riding a fatbike with drop handlebars, which struck me as perhaps the ideal machine for this wacky race. Could I bounce out of the checkpoint fast enough to steal two spots? No; as I headed out both #36 and #37 left too. We rode together in some places, apart in others, as we left the university campus, crossed the Red River, and headed north through what my computer said were the last ten miles of the race.

I had no desire to get in front of #36 and #37, since they seemed to know where they were going. #36 said we were nearly to the park where we would drop down onto the river itself. We would have something like 5 kilometers to go from that point. More streets and paths, another bridge over the Red River, and then we hooked into a little park over the river. Pedestrians had worn a path down the steep riverbank onto the ice, and we plunged down, #36 leading me and #37 just behind me.

Amazing. The river was spectacularly wide, and down the middle ran two groomed trails, one cleaned to the bare ice for skaters, the other covered with a thin layer of snow for walkers, runners, and cyclists and quite a few dogs wearing neon booties. Hundreds and hundreds of people were on the river, doing all those things or just hanging out on benches on the median between the lanes. I nosed alongside #36, said I wanted to go a little faster, and headed up the ice trail. My rear wheel slipped here and there on the ice, but the snow provided just enough traction that I could easily pedal at 12, 14, 16 mph – far faster than I usually finish a race! Now #37 came up around me, down on his bars and working hard. I hung with him for a while, drafting, then moved up beside him, now ahead of him. I realized that the red flags on the median were marking kilometers. We’d just passed 4, and here came 3 already. My legs were burning. I wanted to see if #37 was still with me, but given the ice underneath and the innumerable pedestrians all around, I couldn’t risk a glance back. Crashing on a perfectly flat part of the race and wiping out a bunch of Canadian kids would not be a good way to finish!

On the bench at kilometer marker 2, a hipster was smoking a joint. A strange thing to smell at the end of a race. I could see a bridge looming ahead, the one that marked the official finish line. The crowds thickened around the 1k marker, and even more stuff sat on the ice: some sort of museum exhibit, playground equipment, vendors’ kiosks… I started seeing little spots of light and wished I could see my heart rate on my computer. My pulse was ridiculously loud in my ears. The bridge came toward me. Throngs of people now. Music. The smell of food. I started looking for a finish line or banner, but no: nothing except the shadow of the bridge on the ice. I rode all the way through the shadow and slowed to a stop. #37 was still coming, but I’d reached the bridge first. 4:07 p.m. – not even nine hours of riding! How humane.

I pedaled slowly toward the ramp that led up from the river to the race HQ at a restaurant complex overlooking the point where the Assiniboine River flowed into the Red. #37 caught up to me as we climbed up to the street level. We wove through the pedestrians and hunted down the race HQ. When we found it, we pulled up and got off our bikes, exchanging well-dones. A little boy sitting nearby looked up at me and asked, “Why is your face covered in ice?” I told him I’d just finished a bike race. Some volunteers came out when they saw us and held the doors so we could roll our bikes inside.

There we got a nice round of applause and our trophies – for me, one for finishing the Actif Epica and another for finishing the Tuscobia, the Arrowhead, and the AE in the same winter and thus entering the “Order of the Hrimthurs.” Sure, why not! I had raced 380 miles and 68 hours in the three events, so a nice piece of metal seemed appropriate.

#36 came in a few minutes later, and then Mark. The timekeepers announced our places – Mark in 8th, #36 in 7th, #37 in 6th, and me in 5th. I was amazed and pleased – proof that the good feeling I’d had in the first half of the Arrowhead was no fluke. I hope next winter’s racing is as fun and successful as this winter’s. Only a few months till then!

Categories: Citizens

Mueller wins twice as Knights take second at MIAC Indoor Championships

Carleton Sports - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 10:14pm

First-year Lucas Mueller won both the 1000-meter and 3000-meter races on the final day of competition at the MIAC Indoor Championships, helping the Carleton College men’s track and field team climb into second place in the team standings. That is the Knights’ best finish at the conference indoor meet in 22 years.

Categories: Colleges

Mathison wins 3K, Knights finish fourth at MIAC Indoor Championships

Carleton Sports - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 8:39pm

Meg Mathison won the 3000-meter run to highlight the performances on the final day of the MIAC Championships for the Carleton College women’s indoor track and field team. The Knights turned in a total of four all-conference performances on Saturday and finished fourth in the team standings.

Categories: Colleges

Ice throw from turbine hits truck cab!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 6:25pm

Photo of TNT, LLC truck cab taken at the scene

On Thursday, just as we were leaving the hearing for the Freeborn Wind project at the Albert Lea Armory, a large chunk of ice flew off one of the Bent Tree turbines and hit the drivers side of a truck going south on Hwy. 13 towards Albert Lea.  Put a scratch and lite dent in the door, and took a big chunk out of the faring near the gas cap.  That’s a big piece of plastic that costs way, way too much to replace.

A chunk of ice also hit the Langrud’s shop nearby.  Others???

The ice last week was unreal, I’ve never experienced that level of ice coating my vehicle as last Monday, it was raining all the way from Red Wing to Albert Lea, and in places it was an inch thick.  I can just imagine how it was caked on the turbines.

It’s been reported in both the Albert Lea Tribune and KAAL TV 6:

Complaint: Ice From Freeborn Co. Wind Turbine Hit Semi – KAAL Turbines temporarily shut down after ice … – Albert Lea Tribune

And here is the letter sent by Alliant/Wisconsin Power & Light Company regarding the ice throw:

20182-140446-01_Letter Bent Tree

 

Categories: Citizens

Al Franken: What’s next? ‘I’m not quite ready to answer yet.’

Northfield News - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 1:45pm
ST. PAUL — Al Franken, what’s next for you?
Categories: Local News

Bringing science into the Northfield community

Carletonian - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:00pm

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Carleton Psychology professor Sarah Meerts presented “What is Love?: A Neuroscience Perspective” as part of the monthly Conversations on the Wonders of Science (COWS) talk series.

Categories: Colleges

Newly-elected CSA executives pledge change

Carletonian - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:00pm

On Feb. 12, the Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate announced the results of this year’s election. Apoorva Handigol ’19 won the presidential race, Selam Nicola ’19 won the vice-presidential race, while John Mullan ’20 won the race for treasurer.

Categories: Colleges

It's almost impossible to feel invisible on this campus

Carletonian - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:00pm

It’s hard to feel invisible at Carleton. We go to an exceptionally small college in a small community. My high school had the same amount of students as Carleton; it wasn’t a huge transition for me in that way. But compared to my high school peers, Carleton students are most definitely more preoccupied with the lives of people around them. There’s a lot more passive-aggressiveness and gossip than I ever listened to or participated in in high school.

Categories: Colleges

State Conservation Officer Lucas Belgard

KYMN Radio - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:45am

Dave and Andy interview Lucas Belgard, our local State Conservation Officer.   Lucas discusses what a Conservation Officer does, some of the challenges, rewards and stories of the job.  Every day brings new “opportunities.” Lucas Belgard DNR  

The post State Conservation Officer Lucas Belgard appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

2/24/17

KYMN Radio - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 11:05am

Girl’s Basketball Section Seeding, Gator Boy’s Go To State! raider wrap 2-24-17

The post 2/24/17 appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Northfield BNI Chapter receives $5 million banner from BNI Minnesota

Northfield News - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 6:00am
During the weekly meeting for the Money Makers, one of Northfield’s Business Network International chapters, members received a gold “Thank You For Closed Business” banner from Executive Director of BNI Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin Tonya Peterson.
Categories: Local News

Knights win three events, sit third at MIAC Championships

Carleton Sports - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 11:28pm

Matthew Wilkinson (5000m), Donson Cook-Gallardo (mile), and the Knights distance medley relay each claimed conference crowns on Friday at the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Behind those results, Carleton College slots third in the team competition.

Categories: Colleges

Knights third heading into final day of the MIAC Indoor Championships

Carleton Sports - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 10:19pm

Behind a trio of runner-up finishes and a total of seven all-conference performances, the Carleton College women’s indoor track and field team sits in third place after the first full day of competition at the MIAC Championships. The Knights are only 0.5 points out of second place.

Categories: Colleges

In the wake of continuing gun violence, state senators look for solutions

Northfield News - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 4:48pm
As America’s epidemic of mass shooting events dominates national interest, politicians are addressing the topic at a local level.
Categories: Local News

Program that produced Union of Youth mural continuing in southern Minnesota

Northfield News - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 4:29pm
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is continuing its program to help small cities in southern Minnesota beautify.
Categories: Local News

HPC Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 3:03pm
Event date: March 1, 2018
Event Time: 04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057

Snow should make Saturday travel difficult in southeast Minnesota

Northfield News - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 2:27pm
Motorists in southeast Minnesota may experience difficult driving conditions beginning Saturday afternoon as heavy snow and mixed precipitation is expected, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Categories: Local News

New library bookmobile ready for use

Northfield News - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 12:56pm
Bruce Wayne might feel pretty cool in his Batmobile, but that’s nothing compared to the looks Northfield librarians will be serving in their new bookmobile.
Categories: Local News
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