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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ray's Indoor MTB Park

The MTB part of the title for Ray's is a little misleading. If you've ever been to Ray's in Milwaukee or Cleveland you know this place has a lot to do with having your bike airborne.  There are a lot of features for the mountain bike, but when you get there the first thing you see are massive jumps and riders flying by high above your head. I'm not the kind of rider that is all about jumping, I'm a cross country guy but the jumps are beckoning, taunting me to ride them with all the flashy colors of the insignia's of the company's who sponsored them. This would hold true for Lynn and the boys as well, as we seemed to all gravitate toward them throughout the day. I was really nervous about hitting the first line of the larger jumps, but after a few passes I was airing it out and jumping smoothly and comfortably over them. There were even larger jumps that I tried, they proved to be too large and I shied away from them. In the beginner/sport room was another set of jumps that Big "D" was mastering for much of the day. 
     Just for shits and giggles I brought the Moon Lander along. I have to admit I felt like a total dork bringing it in there, but it was fun to ride just the same. It made a awesome sound on the pump track and nearly gave me a heart attack when I jumped it into the foam pit! The initial drop-in for the pit was really scary, from the top it looked much taller than it actually was, all I could think about was casing it at the bottom and getting all messed up. I made it without incident and went back for more until Lynn got a good photo. What made me even more nervous was Big "D" insisting he could do it too. To my surprise and horror he did. Lynn and "G" man also had their time in the pit. Super "Y" would not make the jump into the pit, as he was sleeping off all the excitement on a couch in the lounge area.  
        We finally had enough around 5:30pm, we simply did not have the energy to ride anymore. The best time to leave is before you get hurt. Judging by my last run at the jumps that time would be any minute.


Lynn's new bike

He claims he was just resting, not sleeping

Supermom !

Drop-in for the foam pit

Pump Track



Moon Lander about to touch down

Trying to get his Ray's wristband off before swimming, Super"Y" ripped out one of his teeth. It scared him and to comfort himself  he told us" it was already  loose".  He got five bucks for it  from the "tooth fairy" and was happy in the morning
              

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gear List

Man trip 2010

06' or 07' ?

2011

2006  mouth of Split Rock River
This is a list of gear for up an upcoming trip on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Your here either because you got invited or you like to read blogs like I do. If you did not get invited, It's not because I don't like you I probably don't know you or don't have your personal email, if you want to go, send a message at bottom. It is very short notice but It's only for a weekend + a couple days.

List in no particular order
Fat-Bike, note: I'm riding mine with platform pedals. If you don't have a fat bike don't bother reading further
Sleeping bag, mat, pillow etc.
Lightweight 1-2 man tent
Headlamp  you can have one on your bike too but will need one that can travel with you easily
Second Mtb bike with studded tires, I'm bringing my geared 1X1 with studded nokians. we may not use it but I'm bringing it anyway.
Snow shoes
X-C Skis classic  Backcountry or touring,  expect to have them damaged a bit
Gaiters
Small stove and mess kit
Climbing harness, belay device, 1 large carabiner  and know how to rappel or learn how quickly in the field
 Cramp-ons or other traction device for walking on ice.
Any Ice climbing gear you might have. especially ice or mountain axes.
Helmet either climbing or cycling or both 
Backpack
Daypack
Swimsuit we will be hitting up the municipal pool in Grand Marias at some point.They have a spa and sauna.
All the warm clothes you think you might need for camping in the winter.
Bring whatever food you wish to bring we will most likely hit a restaurant for one meal. we will also be able to hit a local grocery store.

The master plan   Thursday; Play on fat bikes, skis, snowshoes all day find a place to camp out for the night.
             
Friday:  Play all day on fat-bikes, ski or snowshoe. Afternoon, ride fat bikes bike packing style to undisclosed location and camp out for the night. Note: have your shit ready so you can just throw it on the bike and be ready to ride asap. I don't like to waste a lot of time on this trip doing things like packing. For this bike packing portion   you will not need the tent!
           
 saturday; ride back form campout, play on fat bikes, skis, or snow shoes, Afternoon, we will be skiing down a river and setting up camp for the night mid way . you will need your harness for this portion along with all your gear for the night.You will also need your helmet here! please have all your shit ready in a backpack or know how to pack it quickly. Once again we don't want to waste alot of time fiddling with gear.
           
Sunday; Ski out from camp. do the rappel and play some more on our way home.

This trip is non-stop, we will do a lot of shit going from one adventure to the next. It's not a race but you will be tired. anyone that has gone in the past has had a ton of fun. If you don't have all the gear, get it, borrow it, rent it, or  buy it up there. The trip is flexible, but there is a definite agenda of areas we MUST hit.

To quote my good friend Steve on the topic of gear or lack thereof , it goes something like this,  "I'll watch you flail for a while, but eventually I will get tired of it and just leave you"

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mayor's Ride

Last week while riding with "The Mayor", he told me about a fat-bike ride he was planning on leading down on his old stomping grounds of Hastings. Festive also grew up in the area and possessed a lot of knowledge about the terrain we would cover. It sounded fun and I was allowed to invite two others if I wished. The area that we embarked on our adventure was on private property, which we had permission to access only because we were in the company of  the Mayor. He wanted to keep the group small and travel quickly to keep a low profile. I chose to invite Mark and Steve, not just because they are great riders with a sense of adventure, but they were the first to answer their phones.
      We rolled out of  Mr Mayor's sister's house around 10am and were in the thick of the river bottoms by 10:15. The area was not much different than the Minnesota bottoms but felt more primitive. There was no trail and occasionally we would come across ATV tracks and makeshift "camps". One of them was all set up with the comforts of home including a table, chairs, wood stove, grill, and even a toilet. None of this was under a roof and much of it was tied or nailed to trees for the impending seasonal floods, although I don't think it will flood this year. We rode from thick forest, to tall grass, through cattails at the perimeter of large and small lakes, the lakes themselves, a narrow shelf of ice along the mighty Missisip' and anything else the area could throw at us. The ride had a lot to offer. The log jam crossing was my favorite, at about 100 yards long. We had to carry our bikes over a snarled, twisted mess of large and small diameter logs, sticks, some trash and a big section of dock. The final 40-50 ft felt like a log rolling championship, as the logs we were standing on would shift, roll, or sink under our weight. Everyone got their feet wet! We ended up doing the log jam crossing twice as we discovered we were now on an island surrounded by open water. The lake we were going to cross had opened up, leaving a narrow section of bad ice in the middle that most of us were not willing to cross. Steve and Festive were most of the way across when they turned around. We had to backtrack a little before getting back on the same lake in a different, safer location. I have not ridden my bike on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, but riding on that lake made me imagine that's what it would be like. There was a ton of traction and low rolling resistance. Most of the surface was completely smooth, void of any imperfections and no frame of reference. These conditions make you feel like your floating  since you have nothing to focus on as you cruise on a massive white sheet of  frozen water. The ride was coming to an end now. We finished off on some railroad tracks, a very small amount of pavement and a couple miles of gravel. Once again, good friends and the fat-bike made for an incredible day.
Giving encouragement before the ride

Steve was constantly testing the safety of the ice for us


This did not feel safe 

The Mayor and Festive have both been hitting the gym this year and were playing catch with a boulder 

Festive gets mad at Steve and throws the boulder at his head


The Mayor is about to get wet!

Home sweet home

One of the many dock sections we found, this one was meant to be ridden

Log Jam


There is at least ten feet of frigid water under him


Break time and time to dry off

Steve says the ice is often thin on either side of a pressure ridge, we made him go first

The End

         

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Loop the Lake




messing around on a pressure ridge 

Troy, DR, Gomez
My good friend Troy has been doing a ride out on White Bear Lake for several years now. Being the good friend that I am, I have not made one ride until this week. The stars aligned and made it possible for me to get out and join the twelve or so, other riders for an evening of riding. To my surprise, among the riders was none other than Gomez of FAT-BIKE.com, one of my favorite websites. I was excited to meet him as I have been corresponding for the last few months with him and others from the site. After introductions we started the ride out of the town square and onto the lake. Immediately after hitting the ice, several riders were down. The conditions of the ice after a light dusting of snow were treacherous for non-studded tires. I felt a little like a weenie for not riding my fat-bike but as soon as I saw Steve slam hard on the ice I felt a little better about my decision. Riders were falling quite a bit and as a result we did not ride as far as we could have. After the ride most of us went to a bar/grill for some socializing. Not bad for a Monday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

24" DMR Reptiod
I'm just guessing here, but I think most women get flowers and candy for Valentines day, or maybe some jewelry or even some nice clothing. My wife got a bad ass dirt-jumping bike! This is the first bike she has gotten that I really want for myself but it's all hers, at least until the kids are big enough to sneak away with it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Salvaging Winter


It goes without saying ,this has been a really weak winter. In typical Minnesotan fashion we all complain about the weather. Summer is too hot, winter is too cold. If we had a lot of snow or it was colder right now or anything in between we would complain. Yes I am complaining about our winter right now, but I have been  making the most of it. It has been a lot of fun and unique, but I really miss the snow. Anyway this weekend I got out Ice fishing with the kids and friends. Saturday night I went down to the river bottoms with Tim and Mark and had a bonfire. On Sunday I made it to my favorite shopping experience, the Twin cities bike swap and afterwards did a long ride at Umore park on the fat bikes with some friends. I really can't complain.

This is Evan. He has just fallen into one of the holes and claims "The hole just went in my way". It was really hard not to laugh, luckily his dad brought some extra boots and pants

Adam trying to toss the kids off the sled
 
This is the biggest fish we caught all day


Mark using feminine hygiene products to light the fire. It worked very well. 

Mark,Tim     The two guys that didn't bail out

"The Mayor"

How many guys does it take to change a flat ?


Lone Rock

Duck house or hunting blind ? Sucka

Butler Lake

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Fantastic Weekend

Now that the Arrowhead is over I was in need of some time with the family to just mess around and have some fun. Saturday, Super "Y" and Lynn went to a birthday party while "G" man and Big "D" accompanied me for a van ride to parts unknown. We packed some snacks the Nintendo DS's and our bikes to go cruising in the countryside and to see what we could find. We ended up in Shakopee down by the river looking for a "Tee-Pee" that I noticed from the other side of the river, on a ride I did a few weeks ago. The tee-pee was dismantled and  in it's place was a ticket a DNR agent had left behind stating "they had their stuff and if they wanted it back to call them", sounds like a fine just waiting to be handed out to me. We had fun riding around the area,tee-pee or not. From there we headed for Jordan and checked out some old buildings and got sort of lost. A few miles down the road we encountered a sign and arrows leaded the way to Blakeley Snow Days. This is what we were looking for we just didn't know it. Blakeley is a small town about the size of two city blocks, sort of ghost town-ish, but really neat just the same. The Snow Show was a snowmobile show of  vintage sleds at some ones house. I think all the people in attendance knew each other but welcomed us in for some free food and hot chocolate. I left some cash in the donation box and we were off.
       Next up, in the afternoon, was a party down at Milltown Cycles. I convinced  the "Legend" to join Lynn and I for what was sure to be a good time or at least free food. The three of us loaded our fat bikes in the van and headed to Fairibault. The guys down there were planning a ride but conditions were crappy enough that they cancelled, we would ride anyway. When we got there we rode with Mike around town and hopped on a short section of trail covered in ice. The ride wasn't super fun but it was nice to get out a little and work up an appetite before getting back to the shop at dark. The food was excellent, ham, turkey, beans, chips,salsa and some beer and pop went well with the ride. After the food was devoured by the 20+ people inside we headed out back by a small fire pit. Who doesn't like a fire on a chilly night? I bought a couple Revelate items and it was time to go back home and relive my mom from watching the kids.


Big Snowmobile 









Our pile of treasures
        Saturday was so fun I decided to do it all over again on Sunday. This time I called my brother and dad. My three boys pilled into the van and met pa and bro down at a little park near my brothers house. We played around in the woods for a couple hours. We found an old farmer's dump pile and scoured it for anything useful, interesting or valuable (scrap). Each of us came up with something we wanted, which ended up in my backpack, all 30 pounds of it. It was kind of crappy and cold Sunday so we got a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant and finished the night with everyone warming up in the hot tub, including Lynn, who did a 3++ hour bike ride with some friends. Another Fantastic Weekend!