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

Thursday, February 28, 2013


We all owe Big "D" a thank you. If he had not agreed to go with on this day, I probably would not have brought this thing out.
hand saws are too slow, we needed lots of wood
 For the past six years I've religiously gone out on Wednesday night rides with my fellow fat-biking friends. It's usually a small group with several die-hards that always show up and a bunch of others that make the rides when they can. We start in November and wind down after the Arrowhead Ultra because by that time were usually sick of riding and if you've done the Arrowhead you don't want to ride until it's warm anyway.
Best-in-Schow, provided a veggie delight for everyone. It turned out really good too

LT-1, manning the grill
 While I am not burned out or even sick of riding this year, it's nice to celebrate the end of the winter riding season with a short ride/ group get-together around a bon-fire, and enjoy a meal.  In the past we have ridden out into the woods and just cooked our meals over an open fire. This year I upped the ante and brought a full sized grill to the party so we could accommodate a larger group and do a better job of cooking. My youngest, Big "D", helped me out a couple weeks ago by riding in the sled with the dismantled grill, and keeping me company while I dragged it to our secret spot and reassembled it.

Hollywood, Kristy Kreme, Best-in-Schow, and  The Mayor
 Nine of us were in attendance including myself. It was a great time hanging out with friends and being able to talk to one another with out having to yell or pant from the saddle of a bike. As the moon was coming up it was time for us to head out, it was a weeknight after all.  Sometimes things just seem to fall into place and work out better than planned, this was one of those times.   P.S. If you happen to find the grill, feel free to use it, I left some charcoal and lighter fluid inside, and make sure you have an extra burger or brat for me if I see you there.
Yes, there were fat-bikes present.

The Mayor, O'Neil, and LT-1, admiring  their handiwork

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gruss vom Krampus

Finally got around to building up this old green frame I had in my basement. I built it with the nicest parts I could steal off of my other bikes :).  Going to take it for a spin on Wednesday, and hopefully give it a good beat down this weekend.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Out and About

a couple pros
 This weekend was pretty low key, "G"Man was out of town with Lynn for a gymnastics meet, and our little camping trip I had planned for the weekend was cancelled on account of my mom being in the hospital with some heart issues (she's all good now). I was concerned about going out of town so we stayed put and got in what we could, close to home.
A couple pros falling down

It's so much better skiing when the sun is out
 Since the boys had been skiing only the flat trails of Pike Island and were doing well, I thought it would be time for some hills. We went to Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville for some moderately hilly but short loops. This was the most fun they've had on skis this year, it turns out they were getting bored with Pike Island, "all we do is move our feet and arms back and forth" they said. All I could do is laugh when they told me this and acted out the motions of  x-c skiing.  I was really impressed at how they could hold it together on the twists and turns of the hills, they did well.

  After the skiing we headed home for dinner and a movie. They wanted to sleep in the tree house that night so I had to get everything ready and the house warmed up. After it was all said and done, an hour later they came into the house saying it was too cold and uncomfortable. That was just great, it only took an hour to shovel a nice path so they could walk out there, find the space heater, find the extension cord buried in snow and ice, find a three way plug so they could have heat and light, and then haul out three sleeping bags ,mats, pillows, stuffed animals, snacks, books, extra blankets, and more stuffed animals !
That's a real eagle, and those are real kids

It appears this Golden Eagle can turn it's head completely backwards!
 The next day we got up early and went down to Wabasha to the National Eagle Center. The building was really nice and we had a good time seeing some eagles up close. We took time to listen to a speaker while one of the eagles devoured a dead rat. I learned quite a bit, but still have no desire to become a "birder" or spend two grand on a set of binoculars.
My dad and the boys in an eagles nest

That bloody mess is a dead rat MMMMMM
 After a couple hours at the NEC we started making our way back home with a couple pit stops along the way. We took a few minutes to drive out on to Lake Pepin. Lake Pepin is formed by the widening of the Mississippi River, driving on it made me a little uneasy, there's current in there somewhere right ?
About a hundred yards out on Lake Pepin......far enough

Look close, Super "Y" is throwing a snow ball in the water. This was the sole  purpose of our visit, to throw snow balls in a stream :)
Our Second stop was at Miesville Ravine, this park has a trout stream flowing through it and is located along the Cannon River. The shelters are top notch and we will definitely be heading back to picnic under them and do some more exploring when it gets warm out.        Up next...........................Man Trip 2013
D Rider .....out

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Duluth Fat-Bike Weekend

I think this is like a Duluth icon or something
 Last weekend I had the pleasure of riding some of Duluth's finest routes with some of Duluth's (and greater Minnesota) finest fat-bikers. Weeks ago, a post on the MORC forum invited any and all fat-bikers to a three day group ride led by Rudy O'Brien. The post contained a detailed itinerary of the proposed routes, including a beach ride, creek ride, and local single track. Before I even ran it by my wife I replied back to the post with an "I'm In".
14 deg F   What else would you rather do a Friday night?

Ride leader, mastermind, and gracious host of D F-B W
The first ride was to be on the beach of Minnesota Point at 8 pm on Friday night, and roll to Park Point at the end of the giant sand bar. Park Point/ Minnesota Point is a long sliver of sand heading south east out of Canal Park. The beach terminates at a small light where the contents of Superior Bay and Allouez Bay empties into Lake Superior, fed by the St Louis and Nemadji Rivers. If it were not for the canal leading out of these two bays one could continue on Wisconsin Point for another three plus miles. 

 The night was cold and windy as thirteen brave souls ventured out onto the beach. The ride out was playful as we rode over the large ice heaves deposited in the sand. It was a bit tricky as the traction and firmness of the surface went from sand paper to glare ice and firm crust to bottomless drifts. When we reached the turn around point some six miles, (give or take) the cold was setting in and well as the thought of hot food and cold drink. On the way back it was every man for himself as we made our way into the chilly headwind towards Grandma's Saloon and Grill.

Yours Truly

The next morning we would be tackling Amity Creek and the Lester River from the bottom and heading upstream. Creeks and rivers are my personal favorite places to ride fat-bikes and these little gems did not disappoint. The crew for the day's ride was slightly larger than the night before. What this translates to is a nicely packed, fast trail when we head back down stream. One of the highlights of the day was riding down a very steep waterfall. Less than half attempted it, I only rode it after I saw a Rudy "Mad Skills" O'Brien pull it off. It looked too steep and the run out too sharp. Rudy made it look easy, so without thinking too long about it , I hopped on my bike and did it.... clean. Several others rolled the big drop with differing results as the rest of us cheered and heckled.   
there's a creek around here somewhere with our names on it

Winter wonderland
 Mid-day we found ourselves at a nice little cafe before starting the second half of the ride at Hartley Park. Lot's of climbing is the first thing that comes to mind when I think back on that ride. The trails were in pretty good condition for the most part and got much better as we neared the main parking lot. It has not snowed much in "The Cities" over the last couple years, so I was rusty trying to keep the bike on the  narrow sweet spot of trail within the deep snow. After the ride I had to get back home and was not able to continue on with the remainder of the festivities that evening and the next full day. I had "adventure" plans with my boys so it was a win win weekend.
too steep to ride up, but perfect for going down

E P 
 Thanks to Rudy for putting together and leading a great weekend. Also thanks for the guest room. Thanks to the Duluth crew for your hospitality, and showing us "oh, your from the cities" a  good time. I know most of the people from around the entire state don't like "our kind" so thanks for not giving us the cold shoulder. :)  It was great riding with some of "the regulars" (you know who you are) and it was good to get to know some new folks and hangout with a real live Arrowhead Ultra racer, ( E.P. I see Man Trip in your future) and the very first champion of that same race.        Hope this happens again next year.... D Rider ..out
Final Thought...... Nice

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Young Explorers

To reach the bridge we HAD to go through this culvert
 I like to get the boys out exploring or adventuring at least once a week. Sometimes we can get an adventure during the week which is an extra bonus, but most of the time it seems to be on Sunday. The following is from the last two Sundays exploring some of my secret places I have found over the years. Don't bother asking them where they are, they have been sworn to secrecy.
climbing skills utilized

Bridge clearly visible above

The watery slush below is about 10 inches deep 
 The first exploration was with Super "Y" and Big "D". "G" Man was under the weather and stayed home with mom. It was late in the afternoon when we finally got out of the house, so it would have to be short. I decided to show them a deep gully complete with a natural bridge. I really enjoy going here any time of the year, I only wish it was longer.
We Had to go through another culvert to reach our destination the next week . Are these things portals to adventure ?

Abandoned shelter 

Maybe we'll set up our own hide-out

Another gully similar to the one from last week

Cold weather slip-and-slide
 The next Sunday all three of my crew were up for adventure. Lynn decided to sit this one out and get some errands done :(.  I did have to coax them a little with the promise of bottled pop to pry them from the cartoons and video games. Once we got rolling the TV and computer didn't enter their minds for the rest of the day.  We were headed for a decent sized, but little known waterfall, and anything else along the way or in the area.
Headed behind the waterfall

"G" Man's throne

best seat in the house

Big hole in which the water was flowing through to the stream bed. Not a good place to fall into, but perfect  place for tossing chunks of ice or rock.
 The days adventure seemed to follow the theme of going IN places. We went into a culvert, the back side of a waterfall, two separate tunnel/caves thingys, and a homeless guy's cave/shelter. By the time we got back to the van they were worn out, mission accomplished.
It smelled like dirty feet inside, as you can see by the facial expression 

Yoda is in here somewhere, I'm sure of it

Well at least I know they are not vampires

What does gymnastics since age 3 get you ?   Flexibility