Event in Progress

On Friday, June 22nd to Saturday, June 23rd a bunch of friends got together to form teams to participate in the Powderhorn 24 Hour Bike Race. As it’s name suggests it’s a bike race for 24-hours.

We made camp on Friday afternoon and prepared ourselves for 24-hours of bike bonding.


This is all thanks for IBEC co-founder and all around awesome best bud Micah Thormodsgaard. He’s one of my best friends and always finds ways to make life more enjoyable. Participating in this race was his idea — and like most of the things Micah introduces me to — one of the highlights of 2012.


During the race a group of spectators constructed a jump at the top of a hill. In order to successfully hit the jump you’d need to pedal as fast as you could up the hill and use that momentum to launch you over the makeshift jump. I’d passed this tempting ramp many times, but finally decided on the last lap to go over the jump.

Spoke card

After 23 hours and 40 minutes of racing Micah and I, self-appointed captains of the Chain Smokers and Traffic Jammers respectively, began the last lap. At the bottom of the hill leading up to the jump I pedaled as fast as I could. I reached the top of the hill, rode onto the ramp, and was swiftly bucked off my fixed gear bicycle in one epic fail.

Elbow close upIf the spectators of the race were anything like NASCAR fans they certainly received a treat! I was ejected from the bike and landed hard on my side knocking the wind out of my lungs. I laid on the ground for a few minutes trying to get my proverbial shit together.

When I finally got back on my feet I saw the crash shattered the glass of the watch I was wearing. My right elbow and knee suffered a severe case of road-rash. Worst of all, however, was the 1970′s short-shorts I’d been riding in all day now had blood stains. It was a sad day for short-shorts enthusiasts. Though with no bones exposed, I mounted my Jamis Sputnik and finished the last lap.

My own foolishness brought pain and bruising into my life — just like when I broke my hand acting — but I wasn’t the only member of the biker gang to suffer that day. One of the racers suffered from heat stroke and another was cramping up pretty badly. We may have lost the battle, but I know we won the war.


The next day the pain in my right elbow continued to increase. On top of that I also couldn’t straighten my arm. This concerned me. Micah took me to the hospital. Approximately one month after having a cast removed I was now back at the emergency room being x-rayed and set in a splint.

Luckily after a few weeks of being in the splint a new x-ray showed the swelling had gone down and I wouldn’t need to be in a cast at all. This was particularly great news because in ten days I was set to leave for Washington, D.C., to produce “Thumbs Up.”

Cuts and scraps are memories and stories. Battle wounds from a life well lived moment-to-moment. I’m happy I hit that jump. I’m not happy I wiped-out, but I am happy Micah was there to help me get back up. Those 24-hours spent biking around Minneapolis and camping in the middle of the city were so much fun! The guys we were biking with are all amazing friends and I’m honored to ride with them. Here’s to another happy highlight in 2012!

Chain Smokers Traffic Jammers

Michael VenskeMICHAEL VENSKE is an expert mistake maker whose faith and enthusiasm cause him to leap without looking. One such jump landed him in China where he’s currently teaching kindness, compassion, and the fine art of physical comedy.

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About Michael Venske

Since 2012 Michael Venske has been teaching English in Zibo, Shandong, China. When not in the classroom he's busy writing his next solo performance endeavor chronicling (mis)adventures in The People’s Republic of China.
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