The Packers are going to Super Bowl XLV

Congratulations Green Bay Packers – you are going to the Super Bowl! In a very close game of “epic” proportions, the Packers beat the Chicago Bears 21-14. This is the first time since 1998 that Green Bay will appear in the Super Bowl and its fourth appearance – in case you’re not familiar with their record, they won Super Bowls I, II, and XXXVI, and lost in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense early on to a 14-o lead in the first half, but was unable to get much going in the second half. Chicago, however, started scoring, earning its first seven points shortly after the start of the fourth quarter.

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Packers vs Bears in 2011 NFC Championship Game

It’s pretty unbelievable, but the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will battle each other for the title of NFC Champion this coming Sunday, January 23, 2011. With a legendary rivalry between the two teams, the contest will be nothing short of epic. The only time the two played against each other in the postseason was in 1941 (back before the days of the NFC and the Super Bowl).

Being a Packers fan, I am obviously hoping they win and go on to win the Super Bowl. They have had some struggles, but the team has really gained momentum in the past few weeks. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has really grown as a top-tier professional in the three years since taking the starting position. Coach Mike McCarthy is making great calls and changing it up for his players. Linebacker Clay Matthews and Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams are disrupting the opposing teams’ offenses and causing turnovers. Wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings are playing at the top of their games. Running back James Starks and Fullback John Kuhn have really taken the running game beyond outstanding. Overall, there are many great players on the team this year that have stepped up to make it a Super Bowl caliber team.

It will not be an easy battle. The Bears also have many great players and have just as good a chance of winning. The media is calling it epic, legendary, and whatever else they can think of. I personally think that it will be generally a great game to watch.

Useful accessories for riding a bicycle trainer

The temperature is dipping below 50 degrees. The sun goes down before 5:00. Let’s face it: it’s time to move the ride indoors. For those of us that want to keep up our cycling fitness, we find it necessary to resort to our basements and spend the non-snowing days riding our bikes (once the snow comes, I’m taking to the snowshoes and the skis).

I ride a bicycle trainer in the winter to keep my cycling fitness up. This ingenious device keeps me pedaling my bike in the winter without worrying about slipping and sliding on icy roads (or watching other vehicles potentially slip and slide into me on those same roads). Just to be clear, though, I am not condemning riding in snow, it’s just not my thing (yet). Let’s face it, though, riding on the trainer can seem more like a chore.

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Remembering Rod

Rod Nilsestuen was more than just the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary; he was a leader that I looked up to. I had the honor of working at DATCP  for five years, all while he was the Secretary. Although I left to work for another state agency over a year ago, I still hold a special place in my heart for Rod.

Rod’s vision for agriculture in Wisconsin was to preserve that which we take for granted nowadays: the importance of us working the land to help it work for us. How often do we think about the farmers that grow the ingredients and produce that we buy at the supermarket, the milk that comes in a bottle, or the meat that we find in the butcher shop? But it’s not just the importance of agriculture, but making it matter to Wisconsin. Today, Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland because we produce the most artisan cheeses in the country (perhaps even the world). We had the first mandatory livestock premises registration law to protect animal health. It recently passed working lands initiatives to help preserve agricultural acreage. And we have some of the strongest consumer protection laws. All of these occurred under Rod’s leadership as the Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. I was happy to be a part of it.

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My new Trek Madone part 3 – First rides

 

This is part three of a three-part series

If you’ve been reading about my new road bike, you know that I pretty much went all out. My new Trek 6-series Madone is one sweet bike, especially since I set it up through Trek’s Project One Web site. With the Madone built (including handlebars wrapped), I was ready to take it on its maiden ride. I don’t often ride as far as I would like, but my goal this year is to accomplish a number of 50-mile rides and maybe push a metric century (62 miles) near the end of the season. At any rate, I had a long Memorial Day weekend coming up, so I figured that I could get some base miles in, including a 50-mile ride.

As you’ll note, the title of this post states first rides (plural). This implies that I actually took the new bike out for more than one ride – in fact, I took it out for two long rides this past weekend. It also involves two friends named Josh: one used to work with me at a previous day job and the other worked with me at my part time job.

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My new Trek Madone part 2 – Specs and Build

Part two of a three-part series.

As I recently posted, I purchased a 2010 Trek 6-series Madone. This is essentially the same bike that Team Radio Shack rides. I may not race, but I do like going for long rides. And as you can probably guess, I’m really excited about it.

The bike was shipped in a box to the bike shop that I work for and would be built by one of the techs there. Most of the components were already on the bike, but it still had to be assembled. This past weekend, one of our techs, Ian, started working on it (after hours, of course). I also indicated that I would list out some specs on the bike. However, I decided that it makes little sense to give the same information that you could read on Trek’s Madone 6 Web site. But I will cover some basics before going into how I chose to enhance my experience.

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