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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sea Caves

 It's been five years since the frozen sea caves along the southern shores of Lake Superior  have been accessible on foot.....or fat-bike. It's been over ten years since I was there. Fat-Bikes didn't even really exist then but my first visit there had me dreaming of a return trip on a bike. This past week it finally happened!

 Why did it take so long? It's quite an event when the lake safely  freezes in that area. There is no way to tell if and when it will freeze, or if it will even happen at all. I would liken it to seeing a solar eclipse, the problem is you don't know when it's going to happen. Last Monday I receive a tip from G Money, that the lake was frozen and he had just been there. I immediately put the call out to The Imperial Fat-Bike Riders Group and planned a trip for Thursday. Four guys responded including G-$ and we were set to roll at 6:30 am.

Left to right ;  Best in Schow,  D Rider,  G $, The Savage...missing Arc Flash 
  It was a long haul, just over 500 miles for a one-day trip but it was well worth it. Upon arrival the parking lot was nearly empty.We suited up and went out for a nice ride on Lake Superior. It was a surreal experience for me. I have kayaked on the big lake many times including a half dozen trips to the area, It just didn't seam right. The lake can be a very scary place that will kill you even during the warmest months. It just didn't seem possible that this place was frozen solid as far as the eye can see.

 Even though the sun was shining brightly it was more of a teaser for the temps just above zero F and the  howling wind that was slapping us in the face. I really didn't care much about the cold, I was living my dream, right then and there. We ended up spending about two and a half hours out on the ice before turning back. I would have liked to go further but as we rounded our last point the wind was really moving and the blowing snow and drifts were becoming too much to ride through. We had already gone way past the point of where all the hikers stopped and the steep cliff-ed landscape was giving way to a more gradual and less scenic shore line.

  Once back at the van we loaded up for the next leg of our ride the ice road to Madeline Island. This was another one of my small bucket list to-do's. It's really not a big deal, I just wanted to do it. We could have driven the van across the 2 ++ mile road but what fun would that have been. The wind was still blowing hard and it had not warmed at all so it least it wasn't a complete cake walk.

The ice road

  When we got to the island I was pleased to see the roads were not salted, it looked so cool out there I felt like extending the ride further than the bar we all headed straight for. It was late afternoon now and knew a long ride would not be in our least for today. The guys all grabbed a drink and some free popcorn. A giant burger would have gone down really well but the kitchen was closed for the day. The people we met were pretty cool too, a couple fishermen gave us some ideas for a return trip in the late winter. After our drinks and chit -chat we crossed back over to the main land and loaded up for the long drive home, thoroughly pleased with the day .....until next time,   D Rider Out

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Get Phat with Pat

This past Saturday marked the conclusion of a two race series on the Minnesota River bottoms. This was also the second year for the running of this race. It also happens to be an event put on by my awesome sponsor of 17 years, Penn Cycle and the owner Pat Sorensen (the namesake of the event, and a top notch friend).  Both events went well in the bitter cold we have been enduring this year. The numbers weren't as high as we all would have liked, but both events were competing with other races held on the same day. Last Saturday there were two other events in the Twin Cities and this past weekend we competed against one. As usual Penn Cycle had a ton of swag to hand out including a 9-0-7 fat-bike frame! Minnesota Off Road Cyclists (MORC) was on hand giving out hot dogs,brats and hot beverages both weekends....Thanks Morc.
Big D was out with me the first weekend. He had fun building snow forts, eating hot dogs and drinking hot chocolate while I was out racing.

The start line for race # 1
 The first weekend we were fortunate enough to have CJ come out and groom the course the night before. A few guys, and myself, had been trying to keep up with the snow and the packing of the course to no avail. The river bottoms trail is a two way and we needed to maintain a complete one way loop by bush whacking an alternate route. If not for the grooming, the racers would have been doing a bunch of walking. The second race was much easier to set up, I know because I was responsible for putting up ribbon and marking the turns with florescent paint early Saturday morning. It hadn't snowed much all week and the course was really firm and well defined. Having done my duty early in the morning I had planned on riding out with the pack on the first lap of the race and then backing off on the second and pulling all the ribbon for the "clean up". I knew I was wussing out but I had already been there four hours before the start of the race and I kept telling myself "you either put on the race or you race the race....not both". In truth I have done both on many occasions, but that little voice in my head was telling me otherwise.
It was peaceful but cold morning for race #2 when I was out setting up

The only two beginners to show up at race #2. I had just finished up with the course when they came through to start their lap on the bottoms
  Not wanting to let my team down, I took the start line and did my best. I was still planning on a slow second lap, cleaning up. It wasn't until about a quarter of the way into the race and about 12-15th place that I started feeling good. I wanted to go fast now, I felt great. The trail is too narrow to pass except for a couple places so I would either ask to get by or give a couple tire rubs to let them know it's time. By the time I got through the first lap (8 miles) I was sitting in 6th or 7th place and had abandoned the idea of cleaning up. Somehow on the last lap with only a mile and half to go I managed to drag my nearly 200 pound carcass up to third place. I was really happy with this and was determined to hold on to it. Right behind me was Mr Wolf Tooth Mike Pfeiffer, I knew he could beat me and has done so in the past. So as soon as the two of us got around the 3rd and 4th place riders I went as hard and as smooth as I could in the remaining mile of single track. I had a good lead on him when I hit the road for the final approach. I put my head down and pedaled until a felt like I would black out, too scared to look back. I held on to 3rd place and could not have been happier.
The winners circle, B Moore, Pat Sorensen, B Tungseth, and yours truly... D Rider
 At dinner tonight, while I was giving a recap to my boys, my middle son Super Y, commenting on my fatness, asked if the finish was on a downhill ? Then they all laughed and said that's why you went so fast. Thanks kids :-)      

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Best Laid Plans

Last Friday I headed north for a long weekend on the shore of Lake Superior. Long story short...
Vandy and I stopped to ride the beach at Park Point. This would be the only ride of the weekend due to a large amount of snow that would come a few hours later

Does this look cold? That was rhetorical , fuck yeah it's cold

Several hours of white knuckle diving in a snow storm and we were at our hotel in Grand Marais 

Yeah we're wimps for not camping.

We met Boney and Mr Ness the following morning....They are NOT wimps

Inside of their tent

Cooking breakfast .....for a while... stove issues :-( 

If you can get past the brutal cold and wind this time of year it's beautiful

Devil Track..  via snowshoe....classic

Due to a late start, we rappelled  Barrier Falls at night....A first for me

Almost back to the vehicles.   4.5 hours of snowshoeing.  Time for pizza at Sven and Oles, another north shore classic
     By Sunday morning the temps were brutally cold. Boney and Mr Ness shared our room instead of suffering outside. Vandy and I packed up early and headed home while the other guys did one more hike. Sometimes things don't go as planned, I would have preferred to camp out, ride my bike more and not be so flippin' cold.                          Until next time...............    D Rider out

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Last Friday, G-Man (my oldest son 10) and myself had the night open and free of any commitments other than my own selfish need to get outdoors. Typically he and his brothers have gymnastics on Fridays and we do pizza and movie night when they all get home.

This was also kind -of his first fat-bike ride in the snow.....on his mom's bike

getting warmer
  The gym was closed for the holidays so naturally, I conjured up a plan to go camping. This would be a short over-nighter to test my newly finished canvas pyramid tent and small wood stove, via fat-bike. It was nice and warm, with temps forecast-ed to only drop into the twenties, we were both excited.
I'm glad I brought this candle lantern, it's all we need for light 

the glow from just one candle.....and a long exposure on the camera 
 We got going kind of late on purpose, all we really needed to do was eat a little dinner and go to bed. I didn't want to have too much lounging around the tent, kids get bored with that sort of thing. So by 8 PM we did our short ride and had the tent set up complete with a good fire. I cheated a little and rode down to the site I had chosen in the daylight and dropped off some fire wood.
he thinks he's at home

 There was a ton of fire wood laying around anyway, but again when you bring kids, preparation is the key to having a good time. After getting the inside nice and cozy,I threw a pan of soup on top of the stove and just chilled out. The tent was super warm, and at an 8 foot diameter, surprisingly roomy for two people and all our gear. G-Man acted as if he were at home and lounged around bare foot in attire not much different than his pajamas.
way bigger than I ever thought it would be for an 8'dia hexagon

just chillin' and enjoying a morning cup of hot chocolate
 After dinner and shit load of snacks, I too was lounging and nodded off. It was nice and warm and the light from the single candle just sort-of put us to sleep. After the tent cooled down, we got up, situated our bags in a better position for sleeping, thew some more wood in the fire and went to bed. I have to admit I slept like shit, it got much colder than twenty, and my bag seemed to have a much higher temp rating than it was capable of. G-man on the other hand had no complaints about being cold or sleeping poorly, and that's all that really mattered to me.

sleeping bag in the back, stove and tent up front,misc shit in the middle
  I got up at about sunrise and got the fire going again. At about 12-15 degrees F the tent warmed quickly and we got busy making breakfast, oatmeal first and cookies for desert. About an hour later we were back on our bikes and headed for home..... short and sweet .
heck yeah

       The stove and tent passed test #1 but will need to undergo a couple changes before I bring it out again, namely the zipper, and the addition of some short ground flaps to keep the edges sealed to the ground.  Until next time.........D Rider Out

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

blast form the past, can you name all of the guys in this photo?