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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Red light reeducation

I recently read this article about how some bicyclists who are cited for running red lights on a bike have a choice of either paying their tickets or going to a cycling traffic class. The author chose the latter, learning about some important things along the way.

As I will continue to attest, legally cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other road users. On a bike on the road, bicycles are a vehicle. When we run through a stop sign or red light, we are breaking the law. It makes cyclists look bad, and it puts you into a very dangerous situation. By acting unpredictably, the one time you decide to fly through a stop sign when a driver doesn’t see you could be the last time.

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First look: My new 2010 Trek Madone

Part one of a three-part series.

As you probably have noticed, I like to bike – a lot. Although I really enjoy my riding my Trek Pilot, I wanted a better bike (what enthusiast doesn’t?). So I bought a new Trek Madone 6-series.

Why such a high-end bike, you might ask? The timing seemed right. Also, I work in a bike shop, so I got a bit of a break on the price. And I like the features of the 6-series, such as the frame is the lightest one ever built by Trek, it integrates the computer sensors, and it is made right here in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

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Welcome to the family

I need to send a shout out to all of the new little ones that were born into my family recently. My cousin Robin and his wife Jane recently had a boy named Logan. Rob’s brother Kevin and wife Katie also had a boy named Nicholas (he is big brother Bobby’s new little sibling). Congratulations to all of you – we’re proud of you on this side of the pond.

Cycling season returns

I’ll admit that I’m mostly a fair-weather cyclist. I ride during the spring, summer, and fall. I don’t ride in the snow… yet. At any rate, I get excited when most of the snow melts. It means that I can finally get off the trainer and do some real riding.

So when we finally had some decent weather this past week, I got on the bike and rode to and from work. I only got to ride a couple of days, just in time for more snow to come this weekend. But it sounds like it may be minor, and we should have some nicer days ahead. Continue reading