Tag Archives: bike

Boston Marathon Tandem Bike Bet

This was the 14th annual beer bet with Bob Brandt. The challenge was to ride at least 26.2 miles with each of 26 runners who have run Boston. Because this was bet #14, at least 14 had be new tandem riders (I have a total of 308 tandem riders).

Result = 43 Boston marathoners, 23 of them were new riders. OK, only 42 riders met the terms of the bet because one rider had to stop at 12 miles due to being called in to work at the hospital.

Thanks, Bob, for setting this goal. Without the challenge, I would not have had the fun of spending quality time with so many friends. And thanks to all the Boston marathon runners for taking the time to ride with me and giving me these awesome memories.

1. Gene Harding –three Bostons (2015-2017). Was my first rider again this year.
2. Kirsten Pieper Street – ran Boston 2014. Has been a LRC winner for amazing comeback.
3. Kevin Tuuk – ran Boston in 2010 even though he was injured at the time.
4. Dennis Killian – five Bostons, 100+ marathons (including 50 states). Ironman triathlons.
5. Andy Williams – two Bostons (2014, 2016). Best running memory is qualifying for Boston.
6. Steve Laning – 2010 & 2016 Bostons. Best memory is running sub 3:00 at Indy.
7. Charlie Grotevant – ran Boston six times, including a 3:12 PR in 1991.
8. Roxanne Schulkins – ran Boston in 2003, six other marathons. Also golfs & bowls.
9. Tom Crain – ran many times, favorite was finishing 1984 close to Robin Roberts in 2:47.
10. Cheryl Richards – 3:24 PR. Her ride was cut short due to being called in to work.
11. Mark Hopping – five Bostons (three of them the same years I ran).
12. Kim Barman – five Bostons, including the 2013 Boston which was marred by the bombing.
13. Les Usiak – ran Boston 2005, among 14 total marathons, including three sub-3:00 efforts.
14. Jodi Heckel –two Bostons. Had the worst weather ride with me (high winds, rain, sleet).
15. Tod Williamson – ran Boston in 2008, among at least 24 total marathons.
16. Tim Rood – two Boston marathons. Also an accomplished Crossfit competitor.
17. Kevin Fahling – two Bostons, 23 marathons, PR of 2:52. Has done more than 80 ABC runs.
18. Lisa Sparks – ran Boston in 2009. Has done more than 80 ABC runs.
19. Tricia Martin – has done 38 total marathons and eight Ironman triathlons.
20. Seanan AlYasiri – best marathon experience was the Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu.
21. Rachel Wells – ran the worst weather Boston (2018) among her 16 marathons (PR=3:23).
22. Brigette Van Hook – two Bostons (2010, 2011). Her overall PR is 3:21.
23. Stacey Runde – ran Boston in 2010, her overall PR is 3:28.
24. Bill Perry – did Boston 2000, among 27 marathons (PR=3:00). Did two Ironman triathlons.
25. Mary Ellen Schubach – Boston 2003, among 11 marathons (3:00 PR). 5K PR = 16:08 (college).
26. Carol Pratt – four Bostons, overall PR=3:20, seven 50K runs, one Ironman triathlon.
27. Robin Roberts – seven Bostons (1980-1986), including a 2:42 effort in 1980.
28. Larry Turilli – ran Boston 1995, marathon PR=2:52, 1 mile PR-4:19, 5K PR=14:58 (college).
29. Carolyn Sutter – two Bostons, 84 total marathons (including 50 states). Ironman triathlons.
30. Erin Furimsky – ran Boston 2014, among nine marathons (PR=3:13).
31. Mike Heffron – Boston 1994. Has a 2:42 marathon PR.
32. Carrie Hymer – Boston 2003, 3:37 marathon PR. Has survived 1,362 miles on my tandem.
33. Paul Bliss – two Bostons (1996, 2016), 14 marathons (2:43 PR). Won one marathon.
34. Mary Toohill– Boston 2018. Has a 2:50 PR. Has Lake Run 12K course record (45:46).
35. Dan Anderson – ran Boston in 2014 at age 60. Has a PR of 3:47.
36. Steve Cleary – ran Boston in 1978, among 29 marathons (PR=2:49).
37. Amber Ferre – ran a PR 3:33 at the 2018 Boston marathon in spite of the weather.
38. Tamara Nelsen – two Bostons, with a 3:29 PR at Boston 2002. Ironman triathlons.
39. Doug Gillam – ran Boston 1994 among many marathons (PR=2:36).
40. Dick Luedke – Boston 1996. Marathon PR=3:17. Best marathon=3:24 at age 59.
41. Jim Pelarske – two Bostons, including 2:26 in 1991, good for 5th place Master award.
42. Nigel Keen – six Bostons among 41 total marathons (2:50 PR). Ironman triathlons.
43. Michael Mallon– four Bostons. Has a marathon PR of 2:37 (twice).

The 2019 challenge will be to ride at least 30 miles with at least 15 people who have done an Ironman distance triathlon. Bob will have the opportunity to make me schedule an additional Ironman triathlete for each time he goes for a bike ride of at least 15 miles. This is going to be an epic battle for the beer!

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged , | Comments closed

50-State Tandem Bike Challenge

For this, the 12th year of bets, I proposed getting a rider from each of twelve countries but Bob Brandt vetoed the idea because he thought that might be too easy. Instead, the challenge was to get a rider from each of the 50 states. To represent a state, riders had to (a) have been born in that state, (b) have lived there 12 years, or (c) currently live there. This had to be the toughest challenge yet! To find riders, I turned to the magic of social media and the concept of “six degrees of separation”.
img_1191 img_0786 img_0413 img_0401img_0464 img_1253

To make a long story short, Facebook friends got the job done, and I don’t think we even had to use all “six degrees of separation” (maybe just three degrees, a friend of a friend of a friend). We got all 50 states and even added Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic for extra credit. We celebrated with a party where Meg made pulled pork, Bob brought a couple of six-packs, and Gregg Chadwick (Mr. Mass.) gave me a 50-state quarter collection to commemorate the achievement.

What a year: 106 rides (49 rides with Meg), 60 different riders (35 new riders), 1,235 tandem miles (545 with Meg). Four riders rode more than once (Meg, Rebecca Payne, Kelly Bowers, LeAnn Poor). Five states had two riders (Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Wyoming). The farthest I had to travel was to Wyoming to ride with Donna Creditor (Ms. Delaware), Tanya Connors (Ms. New Hampshire), and Joseph Connors (Mr. Wyoming). The farthest anyone came here to ride was from China (Robin Schmidt teaches in China and was in the area visiting Anne Schmidt and other family). It was a wonderful odyssey. Thanks so much to everyone for all the great rides, the referrals, and great memories! Here are the riders, listed by state.

Alabama: Tom Lauritson
laska: Tyler Lotz
Arizona: Dianna Yoder Doblosky
Arkansas: Jenna Ramey
California: Kelly Bowers
Colorado: Daniel Mestas
Connecticut: Chris Allison
Delaware: Donna Creditor
Florida: Gene Harding, Tanya Gianotti
Georgia: James Auten
Hawaii: Rualani Simpson
Idaho: Tina Techmanski
Illinois: Stacy Sheridan, Emily Gomalchak, Cojo Aforiwa
Indiana: Kevin McCarthy
Iowa: Keith Bowers, Missi Adams
Kansas: Christiana Reader
Kentucky: Mike Eckhoff
Louisiana: Carl Blomquist
Maine: Brigette Van Hook
Maryland: Deb McNamara
Massachusetts: Gregg Chadwick
Michigan: Paul Betts
Minnesota: Meg Anderson
Mississippi: Sarah Anne Cary Welsh
Missouri: Darla Schwertfeger
Montana: John Quindry
Nebraska: Aimee Dzieken
Nevada: Rob McNamara
New Hampshire: Tanya Connors
New Jersey: Erin Furimsky
New Mexico: Nicole Thornton
New York: Nancy Falk
North Carolina: Joy Williams
North Dakota: Chris Hamilton
Ohio: Deb Schumann, Becky Roesner
Oklahoma: Cheryl Dwyer
Oregon: Larry Schumacher
Pennsylvania: Susan DeGennaro
Rhode Island: Michelle White
South Carolina: Robin Schmidt
South Dakota: Diane Risius
Tennessee: Tony Brewster
Texas: Adriane Powell
Utah: LeAnn Poor
Vermont: Bridget McLeese Frerichs
Virginia: Rob Junkins
Washington: Rebecca Payne
West Virginia: Gisette Brewster
Wisconsin: Seanan Alyasiri
Wyoming: Joseph Connors, Tanya Anderson
Washington D.C.: Meta Mickens-Baker
Puerto Rico: Maura Toro-Morn
Dominican Republic: Melin de la Cruz

The 2017 challenge is the “International Triskaidekaphobia Tandem Challenge”. Triskaidekaphobia means “fear of the number 13”. This is the 13th annual bet and Bob has made it so difficult that I’m afraid of failure. Keeping with the “13” theme, I have to get a rider from 26 countries (13 times 2). Bob wouldn’t agree to 13 countries, so we doubled it. A rider can represent a country if (a) born in that country, (b) lived there for 13 years, or (c) currently lives there. Each ride has to be at least 13 kilometers. This is going to be great!

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged | Comments closed

Bob’s Bike Bet 2015: The “Decathlon”

For this, the 11th year of bets, Bob Brandt collaborated with Kirby Cheek in a desperate attempt to win a beer (Bob has only won one time). They created a nearly impossible challenge but, thanks to everyone who rode with me, Bob went down in flames again. It was a tandem “decathlon” where I had to accomplish ten feats out of a list of 17 (one of those was to ride with Kirby who said he would only ride “when hell freezes over”). I was hoping the Cubs would win the World Series so that I would have evidence that hell froze over and Kirby would have to ride with me.

One stipulation of the challenge was that a rider could only be used for two of the ten challenges. I used a spreadsheet to make sure all requirements were met. Here are the ten challenges we accomplished:
1. Get ten riders (I got 62 – a record).
2. Ride 1,500 miles on the tandem bike (rode 2,095 miles; 839 miles with Meg Anderson).
3. Get ten riders to ride twice (got 15).
4. Get ten guys to ride (got 25).
5. Get ten couples to ride (got 13).
6. Get ten new riders (got 24).
7. Ride from the NE corner of McLean County to the SE corner (thanks, Becky Roesner).
8. Ride 10 miles in nothing but the hardest gear (rode 11 miles thanks to Krin Schubach).
9. Get 5 non-family riders to ride at least 100 miles with me in 2015 (got six, thanks to Tom Crain, Carolyn Sutter,
Rebecca Payne, Becky Roesner, Emily Gomolchak, and Stacy Sheridan).
10.Ride as Santa in front with an elf in the back (thanks, Rich Beal for riding and costumes).


IMG_8133 IMG_8128 IMG_8104 IMG_7931 IMG_7737

To accomplish all this took 144 rides (59 rides with Meg and 85 rides with the other 61 riders). An 11th accomplishment was to accumulate 100 miles with Tom Crain in only three rides. We did that and then Carolyn Sutter one-upped Tom by doing her 100 miles in only two rides.

To keep this article at a reasonable length, here are all 62 riders listed in alphabetical order of first name: Abby Bokus, Andrew Hedges, Azsure Hedges, Becky Roesner, Bill Hahm, Bob Brandt, Brett Leifheit, Brigette Van Hook, Cara Sweet, Carolyn Sutter, Carrie Hymer, Christal Kneer, Cojo Aforiwa, Colin Blakeney, Dara Williamson, Dawn Dieckgrafe, Debbie Walmsley, Diana Brandt, Doug Oehler, Emily Gomolchak, Erin Furimsky, Frances Connolly, Gene Harding, Jasmine Safford, Jim Pelarske, Kathy Alexander, Keith Bowers, Kelly Bowers, Kevin Fahling, Kevin McCarthy, Krin Schupbach, Larry Schumacher, Laurel Schumacher, Lisa Sparks, Lori Hahm, Marge Ehlers, Marilyn Mapes, Marshall Watson, Meg Anderson, Meryl Brown, Michelle Masten, Michelle White, Mike Haas, Missi Adams, Nancy Thiel, Pat Sheridan, Perry Rock, Ray Maiden, Rebecca Payne, Rich Beal, Scott Weiher, Sharrie Pelarske, Stacy Sheridan, Sue Anderson, Tammy Knippenberg, Tanya Anderson, Tanya Gianotti, Tara Payne, Tod Williamson, Todd Schneider, Tom Crain, Tom Lauritson

Thanks for all the great rides! I think the 2016 bet will be to get riders that are citizens of different countries. Last year, I had only two countries: United States (of course) and Canada. Bob is still thinking about how many countries would make a good bet.

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Beating Bob’s Bicycle Beer Bet 2014

This is the tenth year that Bob Brandt has created a unique challenge for me involving the tandem bike.  Over those ten years, I won a beer from Bob nine times.  In a nutshell, here are the ten bets:

2005 — get 20 riders (I got 30)
2006 — ride 2000 tandem bike miles (I rode 2001 miles)
2007 — average 16 mph on the tandem (Bob won, but I got 54 riders – a PR)
2008 — get 20 riders to ride at least twice in 2008 (got 24)
2009 – get 15 guys to ride (got 17)
2010 – get 15 couples to ride (# 15 Stacie Rood rode Dec. 31,  just before a storm hit)
2011 – get 25 NEW riders (got 32)
2012 – get 3 different riders each month (done!  — thanks a mild winter)
2013 – get a rider from 19 of the 24 towns in McLean County (done)
2014 – get 10 riders (all non-family) to ride at least 100 miles with me (done!)

This year’s bet was actually my idea.  A numbers freak, I thought it would be appropriate that, for the 10th year of our bet, I should get 10 riders to each do 100 miles (10 times 10).  Bob said I should get 12 riders but agreed to the bet when I revised it to exclude family members.  Bob thought the challenge was easy but I was nervous about getting ten riders to find that much time to ride with (and tolerate) me.

The ten riders that should be nominated for sainthood for their perseverance, listed in order of their completion of their 100 miles are:

  1. Emily Gomalchak: endured six cold & windy rides from March 1 to April 11.
  2. Rebecca Payne: hit 100 on May 18 but kept going and completed 200 miles.
  3. Deb Aukerman: accumulated 100 miles in six rides from March 18 to May 22.
  4. Missi Adams: got 104 miles in seven rides from March 26 to May 25.
  5. Becky Roesner: 100 miles in six rides from March 31 to May 26.
  6. Bill Hahm: 102 miles in four rides, starting May 20 and finishing July 29.
  7. Laurel Schumacher: used six rides, July 3 to July 28, to plan for ABC run #100.
  8. Stacy Sheridan: rode 100 miles in five rides from July 1 to August 4.
  9. Tammy Knippenberg: 101 miles in six rides, June 26 to August 6.
  10. Carolyn Sutter: only two rides (I kidnapped her for 65 miles on August 28).



I was fortunate to have nine more riders, including Meg Anderson (634 miles), Raegan Rinchiuso (45), John Kastigar (40), Nancy Falk (40), Curtis White (30), Colin Blakeney (26), Bob Brandt (15), Michelle White (5), and Jasmine Safford (4).  Bob Brandt and Becky Roesner share the distinction of having tandem biked with me for 15 consecutive years – more than anyone other than Meg.

Thanks everyone for all the great rides.  I’m not sure what the 2015 bet will be but it will be big.  Bob has been conspiring with Kirby Cheek to conjure up something incredibly creative and challenging.

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged | Comments closed

Tandem Bike Cross Training Challenge #9

by Merlin Anderson

Each year, Bob Brandt creates a unique challenge for me involving the tandem bike.  In the last eight years, I won a beer from Bob seven times and only had to buy the beer once.  The previous bets were:
2005 — get 20 riders (I got 30).
2006 — get 2000 tandem bike miles (got 2001).
2007 — average 16 mph on the tandem (Bob won, but I got 54 riders – a PR).
2008 — get 20 riders to ride at least twice in 2008 (got 24).
2009 – get 15 guys to ride (got 17).
2010 – get 15 couples to ride (# 15 Stacie Rood rode on 12-31, just before a storm)
2011 – get 25 NEW riders (got 32)
2012 – get 3 different riders each month (done!  — thanks to warm winter weather)

For 2013, Bob challenged me to get a rider from 19 of the 24 towns in McLean County.  The minimum ride is five miles.  To give a little leeway, Bob let me substitute towns outside of McLean County on a two for one basis.  To cut to the chase, Bob owes me another beer.  Thanks to all the riders and to everyone that provided leads.  Here is the list of riders by town (if I rode with more than one rider from a town, I listed the first rider for that town):

IMG_4833Normal: Meg Anderson (Meg set a new mileage PR by riding 611 miles with me this year).
Stanford: Brigette Van Hook (had to hurry to do this ride before baby Bruce prevents riding)
Carlock: Rebecca Payne (Becca has now ridden over 1,000 miles on the tandem in 4 years)
Bloomington: Rocio Rivadeneyra (thanks for responding to my Facebook posting)
Hudson: Becky Roesner (Becky has also accumulated more than 1,000 miles on the tandem)
Ellsworth: Shelly Rud (of course I called when I found out Shelly lives in Ellsworth)
Heyworth: Joanne Ritchie (thanks to Stacy Sheridan for asking her sister-in-law)
Shirley: Debby Henkel (thanks for responding to my Facebook posting)
Downs: Keeley White (Keeley was at our house visiting our granddaughter and…)
Gridley: Val Funk (we combined this with the Miles of Smiles ride and a detour to Leroy)
Leroy: Katherine Daugherty (Val allowed me to ride with Katherine in the middle of our ride)
Arrowsmith: Evie Heacock (thanks to Stacy Sheridan for asking her Mom)
Lexington: Cara Sweet (just worked this one in before school starts)
Towanda: Kevin Fahling (a frequent running partner that just couldn’t turn me down)
Danvers: Zach White (thanks for working in a ride on your way home from work)
Colfax: Janelle Hoffman (thanks to Rich Beal for giving me the lead & recommendation)

That was only 16 McLean county towns.  I resorted to using the “2 for 1” rule.  Here are the six riders from outside McLean county:
Cranson, RI: Michelle White (my daughter always makes time for a ride during her visit)
Blackstone: Kirsten Pieper (Kirsten is an enthusiastic Shady Hollow trail runner)
Atlanta: Bonnie Garrett (thanks for taking the time to ride once again
Naperville: Chris Lobdell (son of Lannie & Annette Lobdell)
Hudson, WI: Sue Anderson (a niece who stopped for a visit and got roped into riding)
Duluth, MN: John Stingle (was in town visiting Sharri & Jim Pelarske)

It was another memorable year in which I was lucky to ride with a total of 28 riders, including 12 new riders.  Every ride was great.

Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged | Comments closed

Biking for Beer (or, my most expensive beer)

by Merlin Anderson

Bob Brandt found yet another way to challenge me to get tandem bike riders. In the last seven years, I won a beer from Bob six times and only had to buy the beer once. The previous bets were:

2005 – get 20 riders (I got 30).
2006 – get 2000 tandem bike miles (I got 2001).
2007 – average 16 mph on the tandem (I lost).
2008 – get 20 riders to ride at least twice in 2008 (I got 24).
2009 – get 15 guys to ride (I got 17).
2010 – get 15 couples to ride (I got 15, finishing the challenge on December 31).
2011 – get 25 NEW riders (I got 32 new riders).

Even though Bob bought the beer for the 2011 bet, it turned out to be the most expensive beer I ever consumed. You see, I was parking the car in the lot near Outback Steak House and on that dark, foggy night in January, I saw a shopping cart in the middle of the lane. I veered left to avoid the shopping cart but scraped the side of my car on the concrete barrier that surrounds a street lamp. So, here’s the cost analysis:

  1. Auto insurance deductible = $1,000
  2. Increase in auto insurance premiums = $500
  3. Tandem bicycle repair expenses for 2011 = $212
  4. Extra food consumed to offset calories burned while biking = $200
  5. New bicycle jersey and shorts = $88

TOTAL COST = $2,000

For 2012, Bob got really creative and challenged me to get three different riders each month. Bob figured that bad weather, darkness, or slick roads would prevent me from getting at least three riders in at least one of the winter months. Thanks to global warming or climate cycles or whatever, we never had a real winter and Bob owes me another beer. Thanks a bunch to everyone that rode with me in 2012. Here is the list of riders by month:

January:  Nancy Falk, Emily Gomalchalk, Tom Crain.
February: John Traynor, Roger Aukerman, Deb Aukerman
March:  Meg Anderson, Rosie Hauck,Lisa Sparks, Rebecca Payne
April:  Dan Marek, Stacy Brandt,Carolyn Sutter
May:  George Farnsworth, Becky Roesner, Senthil Ramasamy, Brigette Van Hook
June:  Tammy Knippenberg, Kristen Dixen, Kirsten Pieper, Lisa Ehlers
July:  Erin Furimsky, Laurel Schumacher, Imara White, Michelle White
August:  Marta Mason, Tom Lauritson,Missy Adams, Jasmine Safford
September:  Betsy Drillon, Kathy Alexander, Jennifer Funk
October:  Azsure Hedges, Karen Dudek,Dawn Dieckgrafe
November:  Andrew Hedges, Raymond Sevier, Leann Steidinger, Luke Eaton
December:   Sharri Pelarske, Tim Rood, John Kastigar, Bob Brandt

It was another memorable year in which I was lucky to ride with so many good friends. Every ride was great. Here are just a few examples of the variety of rides in 2012.

January 18, 2013

  1. 24 miles with Meg in the Grand Tetons National Park (above on a rented tandem bike).
  2. 37 miles with Stacy Brandt, including a run at Moraine View.
  3. 56 miles with Nancy Falk, including a watermelon break in Lexington
  4. 7 miles with Luke Eaton, from Australia (he was here visiting our daughter, Tanya)
  5. 5 miles in the snow with Bob Brandt on December 31 (Bob completed his 13th consecutive year of riding the tandem. Becky Roesner also has 13 years. Meg has more than 20 years).
  6. 5 miles with Leann Steidinger & Ajani (the 1st time I ever had a 3rd rider in tow)
Posted in Lake Runner Blog | Also tagged , | Comments closed