Mud = Cyclocross.

One of the main draws for traveling to the Netherlands, besides seeing old friends and meeting new ones, was to attend a cyclocross race in a southern Dutch town called Hoogerheide. (here's a quick video on cyclocross). I can sort of pronounce this city name in Dutch, but only if I'm half in the bag... yes yes, which is most of the time.

We awoke to some snow in the town I was now staying in, Nijkerk (pronounced "Knee-kirk", just like Kirk Cameron). I also found out, for the Dutch, this is alot of snow. It's merely a dusting for a Minnesotan, but for a drive to the southern part of the country, we needed to be prepared for the racing action.

No snow to speak of down south, so it was time to break out the Wellies. I was lucky enough to borrow some thick socks and these perfectly suitable green badboys. (I only packed one bag, no room for Wellies).

Next, keep your hands warm with the Dutch hand warmer. Yes, Doris, that is mayo on the fries (or as they say, "frites"). No before you complain about mayo on the fries, try it first. This mayo has a hint of lemon and is not the consistency of American mayo. It was delicious, warm, and my lunch.

Finally, toss in an Umpah band, a large mobile TV screen, a few thousand Dutch and Belgians (only 4km from Belgium) and you have the makings of a race. Where's the bikes!?!


As I said, this was my first UCI World Cup Cyclocross event. It was awesome. The crowd was great (not too big, not too small... and not too drunk), the racing was superb, and the day couldn't have gone much better.

The 1.5 hour drive back (a real roadtrip in Europe) was spent talking about the warming of extremities, what we could snack on, and how much cold body parts hurt near the end of the day. I think it was perfect.


A View of Amsterdam.

Don't let the pot-rep fool you, this place is sweet!

So, for those not in the know, I took a short trip to the Netherlands last weekend (I had miles, I didn't pay for hotels, it was a VERY cheap trip - I won't even tell you how cheap). This is also why everyone that I met looked at me funny for staying only 3 days. They were like, "Wha???!!!", but then I told them why it was so short.

Anyways, the first day and a half was spent in Amsterdam. I though it might be nice to toss up some quick pics of a very cute city.

First, get a lay of the land from the place your staying. Due to a wonderful friend and host, I lucked into a 4th and 5th floor condo on the first night's stay. I did have to help pumping up an air mattress by hand, drink my share of beer, and ride a young lady around the city on the back of a bike... but hey, it's a small price to pay and I was glad to oblige.



Then, a trip through the city to the "Jordaan" through one of their bigger parks, called the "Vondelpark"

They have a large park with large houses all along the outer ring. It was something to see alright

Hurry, the light's fading fast (at about 4:30-5pm)

Catch this canal shot before the sun sets

And one more for good measure. The city has many many many canals b/c they used them to move goods from the harbor into the warehouses that stored/owned the goods. It makes alot of sense to me

So this is a shot from the bar we stopped in about when we arrived. Not to full... just wait.

Fuel up with some raw "ox" sausage and some good ole liverwurst. This is not the kind Oscar Mayer makes, a bit of a step up. We also had some Pringles (limited selection in this little nook), but they tasted great with the meat selection.

Wash down the vittles with some local brew, which in Amsterdam happens to be Heineken. And is that a ghost in the picture? Woooo-ooooohhhh!!!!

Here's our guy again... lots more people, and still only one bartender, handling it all like nothing's doin'

And finally, a shot of the swans hanging out in the RedLight district. Now whatever you've heard about the RedLight is probably true. I've not ever seen anything like it... but it's also kind of like an outdoor strip club. Makes you feel a little dirty and, at least for me, I just want to get out.

As a sidenote, the pot thing has never seemed to influence much about the city for me. I think of the city as very normal, hardworking, and just the right amount of design and Euro-flair. I like the place a lot.


The Netherlands, Intro.

A small series of posts will go up here over the next couple weeks. I'm thinking something like one on Amsterdam (aka "A-dam" or "XXX"), one on cyclocross, one for some random stuff, and maybe one with someone else's pics. Check back for the rest, please leave comments or even ask questions.

Song of the Trip.

For a couple of reasons this was the song of the trip. I'm a sucker for Pop... she's also easy on the eyes. Goto this YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrm05oolntA&feature=youtube_gdata


Luggage Tag

It's important to have a luggage tag on any airline. Look closely at
this shot, right under the hanging coat. It maybe the biggest luggage
tag I've ever seen. He may get great benefit from the homemade,
supersized tag.



IDS Center, Downtown MSP.

It's the glassy, tall one in the back. Great indoor spaces, shopping,
and restaurants. Of course, almost nothing is open downtown on Sundays.


Results, Poll #61, Wedding Party.

No, not the wedding reception... like standing up in the wedding party. You know, for guys it means day-drinking and wearing a rented tux. For girls it means spending hours upon hours in a dress you hate, holding something that gives you carpal-tunnel (bouquet or train), drinking as much as you're able to sneak out of eye sight of the bride-to-be, and saying nice things about people's looks like you're a seasoned con artist.

So, who can get out of standing up? The t.c readeship said:
> 3 people (50%) chose - 'sure i'll write a comment to describe how' - uhhh, that should be three comments or emails I see here - I got zero. Someone dropped the ball
> 1 person (16%) chose - 'maybe, if you're more creative than me' - well, that's no help! but I guess I gave you the out. Touche!
> 2 people (33%) chose - 'no, there is no hope, have fun at the wedding' - well, aren't you a little Debbie Downer. You're worse than the people what picked the 2nd choice... but perhaps more honest.

In any case, I've heard no good ways of getting out of standing up in a wedding. If someone has a way, I'd still like to hear this genius... as would some other t.c readers.

New polls up!!!


I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which uh..is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.
- Ellen DeGeneres


No way, #3.

I don't ask why my office carries these in the vending machine, or why
they're even produced - I just fork over my $.90 and rip into 'em. Way.

Does anyone remember the 'Tato Skins jingle? Hint, from Keebler.


Guinness "Widget".

Are you one of the few, proud, select people that enjoy Guinness? (well, at least in the group of friends you hang out with?) Did you ever drink Guinness out of a can? Did you ever wonder what that thing clanging around the can is? I found out.

The "widget" as it seems to be officially known has a long and storied history. I found the info quite interesting, but then again, I also like to drink the stuff. I even have a random pic of me drinking it in Copenhagen (in the AM), but you won't see that here.
Seems simple enough:

You can get into the can pretty easy.

This little ball (about the size of a pingpong ball) has a small hole in it. During canning, the hole fills with excess nitrogen (which is a different gas than most beers) and some of the liquid too. When the can is opened, the pressure is released and the excess gas and beer shoot back into the rest of the can, thereby "supercharging" the beer before pouring.
And before you go and feel sorry for me b/c I seem to have enough free time to cut the widgets out of my cans and blog about them, I'll have you know that they suggest removing them for recycling. So there.


"That guy".

This seems to be about the prototypical person sitting across from you in an airport terminal. At this snapping, he was about to engage a cute little girl into waving at him. I don't think she gave in to the obvious temptation. Why wouldn't she? He's got black shoes, white socks, nice jeans, a gold-ish medallion on his shirt and a shiny bald head. Plus, he talked loudly on the phone to his sister (from what I couldn't block out with headphones) for at least 30 min. I may no more about him than most girls I date (which may or may not be saying much, ahem). You know, that guy.

New Year, New Cold.

Well, it's not new cold for MNans, but this was the coldest I'd ever
run in. It really felt this cold too.


Jake Olson

This should give you some inspriation going into the new year.

Happy 2010.

(Good on ya, Sydney!)

Kind of a cool date today - 01.01.10 or 1.1.10 or in Europe, 01.01.10 (hmm, that's the same!)

Happy New Year's to my t.c readership (all 6 of you).

There's some cool stuff this year - the soccer World Cup, a new census, and maybe the economy will come out of the crapper. What else have you got???

Well, we can dream about a good economy... and speaking of that, time for a mid-morning nap.


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