The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday


I cleared this three times, w/Lynn trying to get a shot mid air. No luck

Underground?

Fearless!

Two thumbs up for Milltown Cycles
 During my many  hours wasted in front of the computer writing and reading blogs, a daily check on my blogroll revealed a group ride taking place at a shop I really wanted to check out for a while now. Milltown Cycles in Fairibault MN. They had everything a person could want or need for a Fat-Bike as well as a bunch of other cool stuff  that you just want. The ride was awesome, since my dad was taking the kids overnight, I actually got to ride with my wife. The terrain was sweet, a mix of two track, renegade trail, and stuff that Native Americans might have walked a hundred years ago. It reminded me of what mountain biking was like when I first started riding a real bike 20 years ago. I don't feel old. The guys on the ride were really cool too, I'm going to try and do some ice climbing with Mike, I also hear he's a famous frame builder. To top off a great ride, Ben  had ham sandwiches, beans and some other food for our delight. The ham was way better than the dried out turkey I had the day before. Thanks Ben and thanks Curtis for a fun ride.

I was on a good roll for the long weekend since Wednesday and it continued after the ride when Lynn and I went to the new Vertical Endeavors in Mpls. We lasted about two hours and headed home but not before we chowed down on our favorite after climbing meal, pad thai.    

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Ride(s)

This thing was really slippery 

This was a little deeper than expected for Brett

Where the heck was this taken ?


These dudes rip ! They scare me too.

Big "D" and Mom 
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day for a ride in late November; nearly 60 deg. and lots of sun. I'm pretty sure every fat bike rider in the cities joined the LCR ride, there were 22 of them to our group of 5. That's cool though, their a great group and most of them are my friends anyway. I also found one of their team jackets which I'm holding ransom. Our ride went a little farther and hit some alternative areas that most people don't ride. In the house was Brett, Steve 1 and Steve 2, Chris, and yours truly. We had a little trouble from Steve 1 on a tricky river crossing but tongue-lashed him into submission. He was a good sport and ended up completing the "mission" and having a good time. I had a great time, I hope the others did as well, the smaller group allowed us to cover more ground a lot faster and I got talk with everyone this time. I even convinced Steve 2 to join Lynn and me, on caving trip on Sat.(details and photos soon). After the ride I did the typical Thanksgiving meal stuff. I also packed the van with the whole family's bikes so we could hit the local trail near the in-laws house after our meal. It was a great day with family and friends, and mostly our bikes.      

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kayak/Fat-Bike Ride

I found myself with a day off due to a miss communication at work, bummer. Now I will have a five day Thanksgiving weekend. My plan was to kayak and then ride a section of trail back to my van. But first I had to get the house clean for some guests that would be having dinner at our house in the evening. So I went down stairs and worked on Lynn's new snow bike. I got all my stuff packed and headed for Chaska. I locked the bike there and drove to the put-in in Jordan. The sun was shining it was about 40+ deg and I had a nice tail wind, but the water was very cold. The last thing I wanted was to fall in. About an hour in I came to what I now know as Carver rapids.I had heard about it from looking over some maps but never thought about it much until I saw a line of exposed rock stretching nearly across the river. I slowed down took some pics and moved on. The next set presented themselves around a sharp bend and were not as easy. I could see the river drop from a distance and also the white capped waves. I got out and scoped out a route. Back in the boat, I headed for the center of the river where the rock formation was sticking out of the water. When I got out to portage over the rock it was covered in slime and was really slippery,the water was very cold and was rushing through a channel right next to me. I was really nervous at this point, when I dragged the boat over the rock it sort of tipped over and I nearly lost the paddle. I ended up sitting right in the slime and lowered my self in the boat while I tried to keep it next to the rock as the current was trying to pull it down river. I was really glad to be through that, and it took a while to calm my nerves.
I paddled for another hour before I got to my next challenge. It was a Train trestle that had collapsed into the river. I had seen it earlier this fall and knew it would be trouble, but at least I was ready for it. Fortunately a lot of the debris and the logjam had been removed by the heavy equipment still working on the area. There was still a narrow fast moving channel to navigate but lacked the logs, timbers, and concrete that I was expecting. I decided to paddle it rather than lug the boat over a bunch of rocks and logs. The narrow section went fine, its the whirlpools and eddys directly after that move the boat unpredictably which really gets the heart rate up. The rest of the way went nice and smooth but I was running out of time so I had to hustle.
Lots of sand bars along the way prime for fat bikes

First section of carver rapids. All one piece of rock !

This doesn't look that bad. But I'm in the middle of the river, rocks covered in slime, 40 +- deg water, drop off on other side , and I'm by myself.  

This also looks a lot safer from the top

I don't think they use these tracks anymore

Me and my pals for the day
Next was the bike part. I had my trusty Pugsley and a cold Mtn Dew that I would save until I reached the van  as a reward. The trail was in excellent shape, it was well worn and mowed to get it ready for the snowmobile season. I've ridden the trail many times in the winter and also in the summer before the grass is down but this was the best I have seen it. I was making good time and even had time to check some stuff out and take a few pics. The trail took a turn for the worse (more interesting) at a washed out bridge. I ended up stumbling on a different trail, single track heading for who knows where when I started hearing gun shots. I had seen the game wardens out and one hunter on a bike but figured he was hunting ducks. This was not the case, I ran into a hunter on the trail that told me the area was open for deer hunting. They were using slugs, to me that seemed a whole lot worse than possibly getting sprayed with BBs. Also ducks are normally taken in the morning and a great time for deer was around dusk. It was around dusk NOW! I like hunting, I like guns too, I just don't want to be the one hunted or mistaken for something else. I had no blaze orange on, was dressed in black and prayed that my hat-less, brown hair covered head would not be mistaken for the kill zone on a nasty deer. I asked the hunter which way was the fastest way out on that trail. He pointed the way but I decided to try and get back to the real trail and finish my mission. Guess what ? I made it back and also made it home in time for dinner.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Camp Out

 I managed to get five others to join me on Friday night for a camp out on the river bottoms. I wanted to do this last spring, but with the flooding lasting into June it would not happen until November. That was fine considering my only prerequisite was that all the mosquitoes were dead. The river bottoms are absolute hell when the mosquitoes are in full force. So three of us left my house around 7pm for a grueling 10.3 mile ride. Waiting ahead of us was none other than the "Legend",who we saw from the other side of the river on our way to the super top secret meeting place.
 Once at camp the others went to gather fire wood as I went to grab my hidden camping chair I had left there on Wednesday. I unfolded it and got the fire lit. Corky showed up soon after we got the fire rollin' and Otey made his appearance around 10:30. We all busted out the well deserved snacks and told stories until 11;30ish. I froze my balls off all night on account of an old crappy sleeping bag and had to piss since three in the morning but was too lazy and cold to get up.
View from inside my tent

Corky, Otey, GP, Vandy, The Legend, Death Rider 

Sweet Salvation
We broke camp around 8am and headed home. Vandy, GP and myself were so hungry and broken down from our incredibly long trek we stopped for breakfast on the fringes of civilization at Juniors for a good home cooked style breakfast, we just couldn't make the .04 miles to my house without refueling.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Erie!



Thursday I had a little time for a ride after work in Mahoganytown. I knew it would be short day so I had my lights and bike ready the night before for my underground ride. The ride/exploration was one I had on my to-do list for a long time, several years in fact. The entrance reeks of sewer gas, has about four to six inches of mud below six to ten inches of water and has a good amount of trash mixed in with it. Heaven ! The first few hundred feet I powered through the deep mud, dodging chunks of rusted pipe, large rocks and spots that looked much deeper than I wanted to ride in. The walls were covered in black and bright orange slime and seemed to ooze from thousands of cracks in the joints between the limestone blocks. As I rounded the first corner the water got really deep, about two feet, and a waterfall was shooting out of the top of the wall about 150 feet upstream. I rode up to the water fall and decided to turn back when I saw a dead raccoon in the water beside me. The dead animal, the crazy amount of noise, the deep water and the fact I was alone was freaking me out. I rode  out and decided I was being a wuss so I headed back in, my logic was that my feet were already wet so what the hell. Once past the waterfall the water became shallow, the noise went away and I was starting to relax and have a good time. Eventually the route became dry and the old limestone construction gave way to smooth concrete tubes. At this point I was hauling ass, admiring the graffiti artwork and zoning out to the hum of my Nates echoing in the tube. I'll be heading back in soon to push farther on, hopefully with others.       

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Fat Bike Ride

Lets ride some fat bikes Thanksgiving morning. The traditional ride I've always done on Thanksgiving from the old train depot at the falls has become too much of a race. Also, I'm not sure how it will go, given the route follows the river bottom trail which is very sandy (good for us) and most of the riders now ride cross bikes. The route I'm planning will do some of the stuff  we had to leave out on the Fat Bike Adventure Ride we did a few weeks ago.  This ride will not have any water (maybe), we should stay dry. Ride will leave from Cliff Fen Park/Skyland Playground in Burnsville at 8:00 am. Plan on about four hours and 30 miles. Sorry no ropes this time, expect light bush waking, and about 3 miles of road riding (also 2 miles of abandoned road). Bring snacks and water, switch  phazers from stun to kill mode, no kooks.  Directions From 35W in Burnsville, Exit at Cliff Road, head east 1/4 mile, take left into large parking lot at playground.   http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=44.784576,-93.275771&spn=0.02318,0.028024&t=m&z=15&vpsrc=6&iwloc=lyrftr:m,14865446077610238238,44.788232,-93.275042

Friday, November 4, 2011

Infiltration

Those are real horns growing from his head

The horned rider uses some sort of sorcery to control  the other
After many years of trying to decipher strange riddles and a points system, I finally managed to pin down the ultra top secret meeting place for the famed LCR ride. Through a tip from a former LCR rider I was able to go behind the iron curtain and join the madness. There was no secret hand shake or code words to be muttered, my trusty Pugsley, covered in mud and remnants of leaves and grass spoke for me. If not for my Pug I surely would have been turned away or perhaps flogged for my attempt to ride with this group of ruffians. Instead I was welcomed by their fierce leader and led on an awesome ride on the river bottoms. Although I have not yet mastered the ways of riddles and points, I did receive the "bronze" on one such riddle. Until next time, Thanks for the sweet ride LCR.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bike that Didn't Win The.....

Dirt Bag, The Heck of the North, The Gentleman's Ride, The Almonzo, or the Ragnarok. I didn't have the best year on the gravel and the Dirt Bag was no exception. I felt pretty good until about midway when the lack of training and sleep the night before caught up to me. I'm glad to have finished, and happy to ride with Tim W for the remainder of the race. The best part is I got some really good chili at the end and a sweet Dirt Bag T-shirt at the start. The race was well done w/perfect que sheets and some nice terrain. When I signed up I thought it was only going to be around 60 miles and was punished by the 85 that it actually was. It's so late in the year for any residual fitness and a little too early for winter race training for me. I had a good time anyway. Thanks Mr Doom and volunteers. Great Job Mr Wilson!