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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

High Island Creek, Rush River

High Island Creek at 250th ave 
 Two days before running both of these creeks I had never heard of them. It was a Sunday morning and the boys and I were looking for something to do, but didn't want to do the same old same old. I began looking at a map of the outlaying towns, just past the burbs of the Minneapolis/St Paul area and noticed a county park I had never heard of....... High Island Creek County Park.
let the fun begin

dirt walls

  We loaded up and headed south, stopping for pop and snacks, obviously. The park was awesome, with a fast flowing creek in a very deep river valley. It seemed out of place in a landscape surrounded by farm fields. Instantly I knew I would have to come back and paddle it. Later that night, searching the internet I found almost nothing about the creek , other than it had a tendency to have a lot of snags and sweepers. Not being a well versed whitewater paddler I was nervous, but the anxiety of missing the high flow and trying something new pushed me to skip a day of work and run this creek solo on Tuesday.   There wasn't anything greater, or barely reaching, class II but it was a blast , and had me grinning ear to ear for nearly the entire six+ mile stretch I ran from 250th ave, to HWY 6.

  The snags were present and had me on edge, moving quickly around  blind corners into a couple of them had me out of the boat in flash. For this reason I chose to use my sit-on-top Ocean Kayak, Frenzy. It's sort of made for this anyway, I can exit and get back on it in snap, also it will not sink. Looking back at the water level gauge, I hit it at just the right time. The day I ran it, the creek was cresting just below 400 cubic feet hour/ 5.5 river gauge , not to say it wont get higher, I just happened to hit it at a good level. Had I waited till the weekend it would have been down to an un-runable state. Rush River was an added bonus to the day. It's less than ten miles away from High Island and runs in a similar type of surrounding, a high walled wooded valley.  Like the previous river, I knew virtually nothing. Somehow I stumbled upon a youtube video Monday night of Rush River that had been posted that day of a group that paddled it the day before. They were fully decked out in real white water kayaks and gear, but the rapids didn't look like they warranted any of it......I decided I would run it as sit-on-top would be just fine.
Rush River....somewhere 

more dirt walls

transportation/ shuttle 
       Rush River was an excellent trip from 300th street to Rush River Park, it was a little wider, with less snags, but not as many rapids like the long chains experienced on High Island. I would recommend checking out either of these rivers,  I will definitely be back when the water is up....with more people. Better info can be found in the book Paddling Southern Minnesota, that I picked up at REI two days after I ran these creeks/rivers. A few things to note: the Carp Dam on High Island Creek is gone, If High Island Creek is up, most likely Rush will be up as they are very close to one another, unfortunately Rush has no river level gauge.  For my pack raft friends...I would't use it unless you want a hole in it, A bike shuttle works awesome if you want a little bit of desolate gravel road riding, There is a car show in Henderson every Tuesday night in the summer.  In the meantime, I'll be paying attention to the rain and watching the river level gauge for another run down these little jems.

D Rider...................out

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hungry Bear 100

The Legend was spotted at the Hungry Bear sign-in....can you see him 
 Just a little over a week ago I was in Cable, WI for my second consecutive weekend of gravel road riding/racing.The Hungry Bear 100 is a gravel road race with 100 mile and 100 kilometer options. It just wrapped up it's second year and is part of a collection of races put on by The Green Tunnel (Tim Kruger of Advocate Cycles and the Angry Catfish).

Mr Gibbs haming it up 
   I chose the 100 k option because I'm fat, wanted to have fun, and wanted to be able to drive home afterwards. Although I chose the shorter route I worked it as hard as I could ending up in 7th place. Typically I like to start fast and just hang with the lead group as long as possible and see where it goes from there. During this race, after a few breaks in the peloton, falling back into the second group, I was able to bridge back and stay with the top ten or so riders. With approx 12-13 miles to go the hills came on one after another. I stuck with Craig and Jill while the really fast guys rode away from us. I was happy to finish where I did, with Jill pulling away at the end and Craig  and I riding in together.
There wasn't much pavement on the route, but this was the only spot where I could get my camera out for a approx 25 miles per hour

custom cue card holder, I call it the D.R.U.N.K.  death riders ultimate note karrier 

Second best, or perhaps best.... part of the day............ wood fired pizza out back in the sun. 
  Luckily the Mayor and I carpooled since I fell asleep on the ride home anyway.  The Hungry Bear was a good race and well worth putting on your own calendar for next year. Ending it at the Rivers Eatery was pure genius as well.    P.S. there aren't any pictures of actual gravel road racing because I was riding way to hard to ever get my camera'll have to see the route for yourself.

D Rider ..........................out

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Chequamegon Dead Horse

 The Dead Horse is a trail in northern Wisconsin, taking it's name from an unfortunate event that occurred  in 1900 when a team of horses met their demise. The Chequemegon Dead Horse is a bikepacking event that took place last weekend in the same area, in which no horses lost their lives.

Found a private junkyard along the route....that's a Bidgestone MB-1 in red. 

found this boat too
 The ride is set 116 years later on gravel roads, and a portion of the Dead Horse trail. The route and event was conceived by Mr Ross and made public via facebook, with the idea of getting a bunch of like minded folks together for some camping and riding. Unfortunately the turn-out was low, with only 9 riders showing up at the OO parking lot just east of Seeley WI. The 8am start time was brisk, under 40 F, but it wasn't raining, and we had all day to get to our campsite and just enjoy the ride.
the group left to right.  O'Neil, Superwoman, TJ Hooker, and Mr Ross

water's up 

The Dead Horse proper
  ArcFlash and I rode off the front, not because we were fast, but because we just pedaled a little harder than the rest. About 20ish miles in, an arrow pointing the wrong way on the que card had us off track and added an extra 7-8 miles. Turning back and following tracks, we rejoined the group that had now dwindled to four. We decided to hang with them, and just go with the flow. Around noon we found ourselves in Clam Lake dinning at one of the two establishments in town. There we met the self proclaimed "best pizza maker, in his apartment, in all of Chicago"....35 years ago. He was a friendly gentleman that gave us the low-down on just about everything that was going on in Clam Lake, as well as hinting very heavily that one of us should buy the restaurant so he and his wife could retire to their lake cabin nearby. No one had the money for more than the half pound burger we all consumed, so we were on our way.
Water's up here as well

Almost home for the night
  The rest of the day we just knocked off the miles, arriving at our camp around 5:30 pm. The site was awesome, a secret place in the woods that Mr Ross has been frequenting since he was a kid. Big thanks to him for letting us in on this amazing spot.....your secret is safe with me. Night time was typical, but still my favorite pass-time....sitting around a fire, cooking food and sharing stories. No one made it past 10pm before calling it a day. Sunday morning everyone slept in a bit, leisurely made breakfast, and then rolled out together. Approximately 12 miles into the return trip it was time for second breakfast at Wendy and Joe's Steakhouse. From there the group elected to shorten the return trip just a bit (less than 5 miles) of the benefits of just riding your bike for the fun of it. Around 3pm we arrived back in the OO parking lot and went our separate ways.
I dislike photos of food,,,,but here it is anyway

     If you're looking for a little adventure outside of the CAMBA trail system, this is it. Show up next year and give it a go, or plan your own adventure in the Chequamegon National Forest. The possibilities are endless, with options for combining, gravel roads, single track, two track and if you have a packraft...the rivers.

D Rider.................out