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BRF’er Dan Woll part of writing team for “Death on Cache Lake”

Big Ring Flyers member Dan Woll recently published a novel along with late co-author John Lyon. As far as I know he’s the first team rider to publish a novel.

So through the miricale of e-mail, we had a brief chat with Woll about Death on Cache Lake:

Q. I think you are the first Big Ring Flyer to publish a novel. How does that feel?

A. All the BRF riders know how it feels to set goals, accept challenges and relish the feeling of having done the best one can at the finish of a hard race. It’s the same. But different:)

Q. Can give us the shortest summary of the book you can? (You know how racers like to get things over in as little time as possible)

A. Set in the tumultuous days of 1970 as the University of Wisconsin anti-war movement imploded after a deadly campus bombing, Death on Cache Lake, takes the reader on a dark odyssey through the lake wilds of Ontario and the woods and small towns of Wisconsin.

Q. Have you given any thought to writing about teenage vampires and werewolves? I hear that’s undiscovered territory in popular literature.

A. Although riding the BRF TT on a tandem with Cheryl Barker yelling at me to pick it up was a lot like having a vampire breathe down your neck:), I do not expect to explore this genre. (I heard being a vampire really sucks)

Woll and Barker

Q. Are the Big Ring Flyers or any of its team members mentioned in the book?

A. He’s gonna kill me, but when I checked my answer to this important question, I found my first mistake in the book! I left Bob Barabe out of the acknowledgments and in addition to being one of the few guys who can stand me, he was a valuable proofreader. I’m SORRY Bob. I mean it.

Local racers, Paul and Jen Marietta also helped proof the book as well as the fastest D.A. in Wisconsin, Jim (Velodog) Peterson.

Maybe I will write that vampire book and Bob can be in it with Cheryl as a muscular superhero/vampire team who suck the hematocrit down to five on the riders they punish on Tuesdays.

Q. Are you in discussions for movie rights? If so (or even if you aren’t), who would you cast in your lead roles?

A. I’ve worked on this for so long that I see the characters and settings, (the woods, lakes, small towns, and cabins), in my mind’s eye. If you can remove the effects of the Animal House persona, the protagonist is physically a double for the young John Belushi. It’s a dark book and he is a tragic character.

Q. Do you have another work planned?

A. A sadness in my life is that my co-author died the week we ok’d the final draft to the publisher. We had an interesting yin and yang going and we were going to do another one. I need to reorient, but writing is a passion and I intend to keep working on it.

Q. Where can I get one of these books?

A. Death on Cache Lake can be ordered at:

The printed edition is available now, and the eBook will be available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by Christmas, and Apple by the new year.

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BRF go to Tour of America’s Dairyland

Several team members ran a limited schedule of the Tour of America’s Dairyland this week in eastern Wisconsin.

A short video from three of the events is below:

ToAD continues through Sunday, but the team’s main focus will be a pair of unrelated races (Brice Prairie TT and  Y-30 RR)   in the LaCrosse area.

In other TT news, the team had three riders in the County Cycles TT #2 Thursday night in Withrow, Minn.

Bob Maki took top team honors with an 8th place finish while Vince Meyer took 9th and Bob Barabe rode to a 20th place finish.

The next County Cycles TT is Aug. 4. Detials and registration can be found here

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BRF at Nature Valley Grand Prix Gran Fondo

Take your pick, 65+ miles or 89 miles…

That was the choice for riders in the Nature Valley Grand Prix Gran Fondo in Menomonie, Wisc., Saturday.

The team put about a half dozen riders in the fields including: Matt Christiaansen, Nancy Stutter, Glenn Spiczak, Bob Maki, Varick Olson, Steve Goulet and Vince Meyer.

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The ride also included Bjorn and Dag Selander.

The long course featured roughly 5,500 feet of climbing, according to a few of our riders (more than they expected).

“There were lots of hills including several at 16 percent (grade),” said Christiaansen who rode the 89-mile course. “The ending hills were short but between 11 and 14 percent.”

Check out the “Race News” Tab at the top of the blog for a full account of team results in 2011. Results from the last week will be available by Wednesday night.

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BFR’er Kadera talks new Cuyuna MTB trails

Last weekend saw the opening of the Cuyuna Country State Recration Area that included a full slate of mountin bike events.

Big Ring Flyer member and County Cycles owner Ron Kadera was among those participating in the event near Crosby, Minn.

He also nabbed a little local press:

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By TT bike and MTB: a quick weekend re-cap

A nice weekend of racing for the second weekend in June.

At the Frederic TT in northwestern Wisconsin Saturday, Bob Maki rode to a 16th place finished followed by Clark Stoik in 19th.

Bob Barabe captured 27th while Dan Woll rolled in in the 29th position. Dan Johnson finished 37th and and William Johnson rode a single speed to 41st place.

On the dirt Sunday at Nine Mile Recreation Area near Wausau, Wisc., , Jeff Sympson continued to stay hot in the 45-49 age group in the Comp. division of the WORS series with a fourth place finish.

J. Sympson

Quentin Gniot (Titletown Flyers) took 4th in the 40-45 age group in sport and Nate Phelps suffered a flat halfway through the sport race and took a DNF.

N. Phelps

Three team riders took on the Bong-And-A-Half TT near Kansasville, Wisc. Sunday morning.

Here are the times and category results from the 18-mile event:

Mike Buelter: 44:32; 7th place, Cat. 4

Dave Goetzinger: 44:55; 3rd place, 60+

Ellen Daroga: 50:58; 5th place, women’s 50+

Check out the “Race News” Tab at the top of the blog for a full account of team results in 2011. Results from the last week will be available by Wednesday night.

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Coaches Corner: Riding skills, part of your training

Ed: Throughout the year we’d like to bring our readers a few training, riding and lifestyle tips from Varick Olson and Elmer Colyer. Both are U.S.A. Cycling coaches and allow us to tap into a wealth of knowledge within the team.

We hope to provide a series of short articles covering different aspects of cycling over the course of the year, most likely once a month. This is a bit of a work in progress so it may change a little as we go, but we can all take the ride together and see where it goes.

I will add a tag to each of these postings for “Tips and Training” and post them on their own page “Coaches Corner” on this blog after they run.

If you have ideas, or questions you would like Varick and Elmer to address please post them to this site in the “comment’” area under the post or contact us at

Build your skills

Training is “the ride”, number of miles, intervals, H/R, power, etc.  Too infrequently the skills of “bike handling” are not practiced.  Skillful bike handling makes you a safer rider whether in a race, on a training ride or just riding. 

Bike handling skills need to be part of your training program.

Skill practice can be divided into three categories: those to do alone, those to do with a partner and those to do with three or more.

All skills have two basic principles: 

 Keep your bike perpendicular to the road, leaning the bike means you are closer to the ground and will more easily crash. 

Keep pedaling, power to the rear wheel keeps you upright, no power and you lose control. 

Skills need to be practiced in areas of minimal to no vehicle traffic.

Skills to Practice alone:

Practice pedaling, shift down and practice spinning, shift up and keep your spin.  This is an important skill when turning and coming out of a corner.  Practice shifting down and then spin when climbing, do not come out of the saddle.  This skill will help you avoid a “backward movement” when climbing. 

The backward movement disrupts other climbers and can cause a crash.

Ride a straight line, practice looking backward under your arm and maintaining your line.  Practice looking backward over your shoulder and maintaining your line.  Become proficient right and left. 

This is a VERY IMPORTANT skill in pack riding so you learn to LOOK before changing your position.

Place 6 sponges in a line about 1.5 bike lengths apart.  Ride the line steering between the sponges, do not hit the sponges.  Do not lean your bike, keep it perpendicular to the road and learn to steer your way through the line of sponges.  Practice various speeds. 

At higher speeds you may feel you need to lean your bike-DON’T-learn to move your body and keep your bike perpendicular to the road.  This skill will help you avoid debris on the road, sudden movements of other riders and maybe a fallen rider.

Place a water bottle on the road.  Ride toward the bottle and reach down and pick it up.  Turn around and ride back and place it on the road.  Become good reaching left and right.  As you improve place a riding glove on the road and pick it up. 

To make a few dollars tell a friend you can reach down and pick up a 5 dollar bill placed flat on the road, if you can’t you owe $5.  Just make sure you have practiced so you can’t loose.

Ride along the edge of a road with a minimal drop-off.  Drop-off the road and learn to keep pedaling, shift down and spin, and RIDE back onto the road.  Practice RIDING back onto the road rather than “bunny hopping” as “bunny hopping” requires you to stop pedaling and you will have poor control when returning to the road. 

As you improve try dropping off at higher speeds and different terrain.  This skill will make you a much safer rider no matter where you ride.

Cornering: Turning left move as far right as possible, into your drops shift down and turn into your lane, spin to accelerate up to speed.  Turning right move as close to the center line as possible, into your drops shift down and turn into your lane, spin to accelerate up to speed.  DO NOT CROSS THE CENTER LINE! 

Practice this skill as if your life depends on it- it does!

Practice corning two ways.  The most frequently used method is to lean your bike into the turn with the inside pedal up so it does not hit the road.  This is an exception to the rules of “keep pedaling” and “keep the bike perpendicular to the road”.  Beware that you need excellent control as this method places you closer to the road with minimal control over the direction of your lean. 

Another way to corner is to keep your bike perpendicular to the road, into your drops look over the brake hood in the direction of your turn, pull up on the bar toward the turn and push down on the bar opposite (this keeps your bike perpendicular to the road) and steer your bike around the corner — KEEP PEDALING. 

This method is very useful in wet conditions, loose gravel and when the group has slowed a bit as you now keep your bike perpendicular, pedal through the turn and can accelerate away from the group.

Skills to Practice with a partner:

Ride side by side and place your hand on your partners shoulder, keep pedaling and both of you ride a straight line.

Put the sponges on the road.  One of you slaloms by steering between the sponges, the other rides as close as possible leaning his body, not the bike, toward the slaloming rider.  By leaning with the body and keeping the bike perpendicular to the road the leaning rider can support the slaloming rider if the need arises. 

Try it.

Practice picking up a water bottle from the road with your partner riding beside you, first left then right.

Practice dropping off the road with your partner beside you and “riding” back on the road without disrupting your partner’s line.

Practice cornering riding side by side.  Which method (leaning the bike or steering) works the best when you are the outside rider or when you are the inside rider? 

Practice cornering following your partner and learn how to accelerate to get on her wheel.  Not only will you become more skilled at staying on a wheel but also your skill of cornering will improve.

Skills to Practice with 3 or more:

Put the sponges on the road, one rider slalom (steer) between the sponges, with a rider on either side riding as close as possible.  The side riders lean their body toward the slaloming rider and keep their bikes perpendicular to the road. 

Take turns in the middle and on either side.  How fast can you go?

Practice riding a revolving pace line.  When you reach the front LOOK under your arm and when you see the front wheel of the front rider in the slow line, move your bike over then your body. 

By moving your bike first you are able to keep your bike perpendicular to the road.  When you are at the end of the slow line accelerate and move your bike toward the fast line and move onto to the rider’s wheel. 

Again by moving your bike first you are able to keep your bike perpendicular and KEEP PEDALING.

Bump and Out: In an open grassy area make a large circle marked with water bottles.  Riders ride the same direction inside the circle and attempt to ride other riders out of the circle.  The last rider in the circle wins.

The slow finish.  Select a finish line and assemble 75 to 50 meters from the line.  Begin the race, no turning around, no foot on the ground; the last rider to cross the line wins.

Varick Olson, PhD, PT, is a Level 2 U.S.A Cycling coach and long-time member of the Big Ring Flyers.

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