Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Laddies Loppet 2015

I've been getting a few messages regarding Laddies Loppet for 2015. Maplelag Resort will be hosting the race once again for the 25th version on Labor day weekend 2015! The biggest change is we will not be part of the Minnesota series. Below is text from the Maplelag site that was posted about a month ago:

 Laddies Loppet 2015 will be the 25th anniversary!! We are excited to celebrate many years of great racing, old school course and most importantly…the people who have supported the Loppet over the years!! We are returning to our grass roots beginnings, offering a different format of events than recent years with two race distances on Saturday and short track racing and other events on Sunday. More specific details will be posted once planning has been finalized but expect the usual fun riding and racing in a great family atmosphere with home cooked meals and down to earth scene. We will no longer be a part of the Minnesota series and want to thank all those involved with the series for their tireless efforts to promote and maintain a wonderful mountain bike series, one of the best in the country, for riders in the Midwest. Keep the wheels moving!!

Racing has changed in recent years and it is all good with more people getting in to the sport and all different types of trails, trending more towards the flow or purpose built trail. We feel we are a bit unique with the course at Maplelag and "flow" of the weekend. As mentioned above, we wanted to go back to the grass roots feel like we were when we started. Operating a privately owned family resort the last few years has changed. Escalating operating costs from increased added and excess taxes. We receive no outside assistance for trail building or maintenance and handle it all internally. We want to continue to provide the same things like a free t-shirt with registration and be able to comp all team riders and other folks that we feel deserve a free entry. It isn't about the money but we do need to at least break even. Stepping away from the series will allow us to do some things differently to make the break even point but still provide some great racing on old school type trails during a unique race weekend atmosphere. I've been building some new trail this fall I hope to include in next years version that is different than the usual trail built at Maplelag that should add a nice mix to the current loop. Longer endurance type events has see the biggest growth in mountain bike racing and we are going to venture in to this with the 25th version. 
Exciting short track racing will return, this time on Sunday. Honoring requests from riders and mixing things up again. Matt Johnson was a big help with last years event, lining up some new sponsors and helping promote the race and all our sponsors. Matt is back to help again and we look forward to another awesome weekend! Matt has experience running a bike shop, racing and managing a race team and has a load of experience. There aren't many days that go by I don't think about the event, mainly with the course and what not but mainly all the people I have met over the year from racing. Having the race has been priceless and the main reason why we want to keep the event going. With that said, thanks to all the riders, family, friends and sponsors that have supported us over the years. Devoted to keep the wheels moving!

Friday, October 24, 2014


Last week was the traditional MEA for Minnesota. The week kids get Thursday and Friday off from school.

Jack had his last meet of the season at Park Rapids to start the week. Last year it snowed at the start. This year, like most of the meets this year, it was warm and dry. A great spectators course.

Jack had one of his best races of the year finishing 9th in the JV division.
We had guests all week and weekend but we got out three of the mornings to duck hunt. Each morning was different groups. With no weather to push northern birds south, I was surprised how many local birds were still around. The wind wasn't the best but its entertaining to see constant flying. Add in the swans, geese, seagulls and tweety birds, there is plenty of action.
Saturday morning crew. Since as long as I can remember, there hasn't been many MEA weeks I've missed duck hunting. We used to hunt on Rice lake by Rochert when my grandpa had a duck shack there.

Just another morning at Rice Lake back in the 70's. Still using the old duck boat. 20-50 birds common with big mallards, canvasbacks, northern birds and a few oddballs in between.
In the blind,
 The first morning we cleaned what we shot and I cooked for lunch. Pan fried with bacon, onions topped with a lingonberry rosemary glaze. The other days we froze and will save for Thanksgiving. Hopefully we can get out a few more times to add.
Friday night Jens and his friend Drew went over to Fargo to catch a Force game. Was fun watching the MN hs players, 5 which were from Section 8 including Zach Yon from Roseau and Kyle Slyvester from Warroad.
Sunday morning just Jens and I went out. Wind was a bit better.
Paddling back to the landing.
The best morning even though just two of us.

Sunday afternoon hit the ice for the first time to skate open hockey with the Pee Wees, the level Jens is playing this year. 

The groups we had over MEA were quilters, scrapbookers and "crafters" super super nice friendly folk.

Fall riding continues to be the best I can remember. Sneaking in one more ride with Mike Hess.

Celebrated Jonell's 43rd this week!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wood Truck

There are three different back woods mechanics in a 15 mile radius we use for older car auto work. Often times I will either drop a car off and ride home or ride and pick up the vehicle. Last week I had to pick up one of the cars in the Rochert area. The mechanic said the keys would be in a certain location in the "wood truck". After a nice fall ride on the Mary Yellowhead road and along the refuge I pulled in to the repair place.

The wood truck.

 The essentials.
 Just in case.
 Custom wood splitter. Back saver. The hydraulic boom with claw.
Ready for winter.

One of the best falls for riding in recent years.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Busy Boys

 Couldn't of asked for nicer weather last weekend to enjoy the beauty of fall. Jens had three friends over and the days were spent fishing, playing football, scavenging through the woods via bike and just being boys. A close call on making a trip to the ER after a digger on the dirt jump track which made the weekend a success not making that trip. I rather see kids out doing stuff instead of worrying about things that can get them hurt or sick. I think the over protection tends to more misfortune than protection.
 The past few Sunday's, Jack has had some cross country buddies come out and ride on the mtb course, introducing some new kids to the sport. Always good seeing new shredders.
 Filling up on the Sunday Smorg!!
 Trail work has been full on, sanitizing the ski trails digging and moving rocks and clearing leaves off the trail. The new mtb trail I've been working on is different than the usual stuff out here. It will be a fun mix of pumpy flowy stuff with some hand built tossed in. Should be fast, tight and a different type of technical. I was going to start on new trail over by Bullhead lake but instead utilizing the nice terrain over by Wavy Gravy.
 Bob was around a few days, digging out the bigger rocks and filling in some low areas. Bob hit 12,000 hours while he was here on his current "cat". When he got his new cat above, his first job was at Maplelag. A lot of the rocks around Maplelag have been moved by Bob.
 It's a good day if you don't get stuck like 8 years ago when Bob discovered the oyster stew wasn't sitting the best and had him off his game. Amazingly, the cat came through just fine after getting pulled out by a local logger that just so happened to be skidding out trees to the north.
 We got out for our first duck hunt of the year on Tuesday with Coop, Jon and I going out. The wind was ripping pretty good and blowing the wrong direction to head out to Island, our regular spot, so we took the duck boat out to Bullhead bay. Hard to have ducks decoy, it's more pass shooting. Saw some ducks, got some looks, a few buzzes but no shots. Still nice getting out.
I took post more to the east watching things. I don't think I would of taken a shot if the opportunity arose as it would of been pretty hard to find something.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NAHL Showcase

Last weekend Jon participated in the NAHL Showcase for the second year in a row. The NA Showcase is one of the largest hockey events in the world. Five days with games from 7:30am to 11:30pm on 8 sheets of ice all under one roof at the Schwan's Super Rink in Blaine. All the teams in the NA play four games in four days. The high school fall league Jon is playing in played three games over the weekend. There are other leagues there, u16 and u18 divisions. The PHL and NAPHL leagues. All the leagues are confusing and I am just starting to figure it out. I think. 

Another weekend wedding kept me close to home but his second game wasn't until 9:30 Saturday night so made the trek down with Jens. We were hoping to catch some bits and pieces of the NA games but the timing didn't work. We did catch some other UMHSEL games which included Shattuck participating for the first weekend. Some great hockey and a lot of really good players.

 Jon facing off in game vs Team Wisconsin. Wisconsin is leading the league right now.
 The Sunday morning game saw the stands full. Quite a few scouts watching.

NA team Aberdeen Wings loaded up and ready to "fly" home.

The week before the bike race I was watching the weather. Every weekend since then I have done the same. Thankfully we were able to have all three ceremonies outside. Last weekend was nip and tuck but after a rain shower it dried just enough to have outside. I've still found the Intellicast site to be the most useful for forecast models runs 2-6 hours out. The phone app is really good and quite accurate historically since I have been using it in the spring.

Big thanks to Kriston Wenzel for helping out the last three weekends!

Jack is nearing the end of the cc season but doesn't seem like it with the weather getting warmer each meet!

 Finishing strong.

 Most recent meet in Fergus Falls providing a nice post race refresh.

The colors hit their peak this week. Leaves really dropping fast the past few days but should have another few weeks of some color. Finally got out working on some new trail and getting easier to see through the woods.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Splash Magna

The past few weeks there has been a lot of stuff on the side of Richwood Road with a "free" sign next to it. I don't think you could go five miles without seeing something someone else wanted to get rid of without the hassle of taking to the dump.

 Just outside Richwood last week was an assortment of items including three bikes. It was hard not to notice the bikes with the bright colors.
I had to stop and check it out. I could not resist grabbing a bike with the name "Splash". I know Jonell would not be happy but it's second life is calling out to be a lake jumper. The rear wheel does not move at the current moment but it will be a good bike for possibly Jake to get the wheels moving again.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September Nice

This week was about as good as it gets for September. Cool nights, warm and pleasant days and dry weather. 

The frost last weekend kicked the fall color in to a high gear and things are really starting to change fast. One of the best times of the year! 

Last Thursday Jack had a cc meet in Little Falls. There were a ton of schools there with over a 1000 runners!!
I remember running there in high school, we did just one meet there. Some kid thought it would be funny to move the markers during the race and make things interesting. We never went back.
Jon played in Grand Rapids last week with his Great Plains team in the HS Elite leagues. We had a wedding going on at Maplelag but the second game wasn't until 8:30 on Saturday night and I was able to sneak away after the ceremony with the Scamp. We spent the night in the fairgrounds area. Nice spot.

Facing off vs Team North. Great hockey vs northern and outstate kids. The Grand Rapids arena is a southern range/northern classic. Great lighting, fantastic seating and sight lines. Other than the tender having a off day, a great game.


Jon setting up goal from the corner.

Before the game, snuck over to the Legion trail right next to the arena. Only rode about 20 minutes but a sweet trail right in town and definitely the closest singletrack to any arena I have been to in MN.

To make sure the car engine stayed warm, we went over to Duluth on Tuesday to bring a car for Jake. Jake and I rode a couple hours, hitting up my favorite trail in the Midwest, Piedmont and the new track at Brewer Park. After a hour or so, we went over to Hartley Park where I fielded off a bonk and exhilarated myself following Jake's wheel. Damn that kid rides smooth. Piedmont is classic old school mountain biking. Love it. Brewer Park is machine built, pumpy flowy stuff that is fun to ride. Pumps and berms in between the rocks. I was impressed they had trail open just days after building it. Seems like most trail won't open up until months after and it not good form to post pictures of people riding but say not open.  

Rolling a large rock.

Ready for a day of trail building.

Wednesday was the annual FFA Fall Rally day at Maplelag. 400 kids learning about Ag related occupations. We have been doing this for 15 years and have to say this year the kids were incredibly well behaved and hardly any garbage left behind and kids climbing on cabooses like some years. Great leadership is key.

20 school buses and the 52' food semi truck coming in as well. All coming in and turning around etc.with no paved road or parking lot. Nice work drivers.
Jens and I have been fishing at nights whenever we can in the old duck boat, with the no cover old Johnson 5horse motor.  Haven't caught much but nice to be out enjoying the sunsets. We're gonna catch a wall hanger before the lake freezes over!