Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid Summer

Hard to believe we have already reached the halfway point of summer. Sometimes it seems like it has been long if you look back to May but most people say it has gone by too fast and "where has the summer gone". It's not that long to begin with and record cold temps like we had the start of this week had it feeling more like end of September! Just like in winter when season starts out slow, you never get those days or weeks back.

I thought I might swing over to  Duluth to see Jake and race in the Minnesota series race last Sunday but the timing and scheduling did't pan out. Had a nice day with Jonell, just her and I up at the lake cabin. Hasn't been many days alone there the 25 years we have been going there. Beautiful day, eerily quiet for mid July.
I rode from Maplelag to the cabin, taking some new forest roads I hadn't been on before. The total distance was around 38 miles, pretty much deep woods forest riding the entire time with no pavement, no cars and some errant critters.  

 The high water hasn't affected the trails too much other than a couple spots. You can tell from the marks, my first attempt I tried going but turned back around. Stood the bike back up on the rock and decided to go for it. The water depth was well over all the hubs and bottom bracket, over my knees but I pedaled through and no problems.


Jake racing on Sunday, waving two flags. Solid top 10 finish among a solid field of 50 riders, top half strong! (Todd Bauer photo)
 Monday we took Jack to Italian camp. This will be his fourth year, this time going for a whole month. He will be in the credit program, in effort to earn a high school credit. A bit more intensive with 5 hours of class a day but some fun programs to make it interesting.
 No worries for any potential high water. The place of residence the next four months.
 Espresso machine.
 The temp struggled to get above 50 the first part of the day, nice fire going in the nurses cabin to take off the chill.
 Colorful paddles.

This week I finished a new section of singletrack off the Twin Lakes main loop singletrack. Started last fall and thankfully the temps were cool and no bugs so to speak when I worked on it this summer as I never got out in the spring like I wanted. The distance is less than a mile but has some fun flow and should be a nice addition to the main loop. The section is name "Pete's Porkie". Named after our neighbor who harvested a porcupine 350 yards away with a black powder rifle during a "drive" during deer season. The soil over there is nothing like I have seen over 650 acres at Maplelag. Really nice material with sand/gravel/clay mix. Did a bit more digging and shaping than than usual and lot of digging and spreading the material under the duff on the track.

 Super thick section, bit spongy but the gravel on top makes it more ride ready.

Think there were more days so far this month of windchill than heat index! Couple mornings wind rolling off the lake making it feel closer to the lower 40"s.

 A lot of the rocks I dug out I put on the side of a small drop for support near south twin.
This new section is a bit more tame than some of the earlier stuff. With the majority of new trail in the country being machine built with sustainability and "purpose" in mind, the thinking is new trail should be like that. But I'm still an old school guy when it come to trail. Does this make a trail "unsustainable"?  IMO, no. Actually I think the purpose built trail is more susceptible to erosion due to the added exposure. Anyways,  this article on skinnyski  I highlighted in the mtb report has some good points.

My Aunt and Uncle from NY,NY in town visiting. Came back from a morning in the woods for Jonell's kick butt brunch and a proper send off!

Tuesday was the opening night for a play (Sound of Music) my sister is directing through the Gooseberry Park Players. Great show and she did a fantastic job putting it all together with a solid support staff.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Fourth of July

 Hard to believe the Fourth has come and gone. Another action filled weekend at the lake cabin. 
 Nice weather other than the hurricane like wind on Friday making outside activities possible.
 Outside iron cooking over the fire.

 Hudson putting some good miles on the White Earth Forest roads.
 Scamp action.
 FIFA world cup soccer, or close to it!
 Uncle Ryan frying up walleye from the summer.
 Except the tree can't see the sign.
 Hudson waiting for the mom and dad to get up to go out and shred.
Evening poker, big bets on candy.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Keep on Tracking

This spring Jack ran track for school. He did mostly middle distance and some field events. The season was short lived as the first four meets were cancelled. Improved nicely throughout the season posting best times last meet of the year.

The last couple meets he wore my old singlet from when I ran track at DL.
Waving the Laker flag.

Meet in Park Rapids.
This spring our track team from 1987 when I was a junior was selected to the Detroit Lakes Hall of Fame

Running track was painful. We trained and raced hard. We rarely had any easy days. Easy runs were always a spring finish. Repetitions for speed work turned into "repervals" We also had a lot of fun. Swimming in the pool after track meets, jackalope hunting, ice berging on the lake. Lot of things that would get coaches fired and kids kicked out of school now days but no one got hurt and no harm was done. We didn't break any rules to the best of my knowledge. Ha!

One of the weddings this spring, our coach Mr Mohr or "Chico"was in attendance. Fun to catch up. He is proud of the team getting recognized and should be.  He that had a way of getting the most out of everyone but keeping things fun. Former DL teacher and coach of BBall and Nordic Skiing Steve Sundby on the right. Great guys.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Fishing in Canada

Last week after school was finished for the year, my dad took Jens up to Canada for a couple days of fishing. Back when I was Jens age, we would do the same thing at the end of school. Often times staying on an island as a base camp. Remember all to well some rough water, wondering if would ever make it to land.

   The first cast my dad caught a nice 14 pounder northern.
 Jens with a Lake of the Woods walleye.
Checking the slot. Warm and dry with plenty of sunshine. A good trip.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Memorial Day

So far three of the boys have had the "privilege" of marching in the Memorial Day parade in Detroit Lakes. This year it was Jack marching behind the flags waving nicely, remembering those that have served for our countries freedom. It is great thing the Detroit Lakes middle school still does this. One of the highlights of the parade. 
Local VFW chapter marching and waving the flags proudly.
 Long live the Junior High School Band banner.
 Jack in the mix.
 Program post parade. The sound system didn't work the first half of the program. I heard someone grumbling about how we can pave parking lots but not have a sound system for this important day. I am sure mayor Brenk got a earful the next day. Can't recall a Memorial day weekend it didn't rain at least one of the four days. What a great weekend of weather!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keep the Wheels Moving

This post has been waiting in the wings for a few weeks and the photos keep adding as time goes by.....After a cool and damp spring, suddenly we are in summer mode. Despite the cooler weather earlier this spring with many rides in 40 degrees, it has been a good start to the cycling season putting miles in on trail, gravel and road. This is the best I have felt since getting Lyme disease 7 years ago. When you have your health, you appreciate it. Not sure how much racing I will do this year. Nothing planned, all depends on kids and resort schedule. I remember 7 years ago when Lyme was kicking my butt big time, I didn't care about racing, just want to feel better. Very thankful for the improved health and the ability to get out ride. 

Rolling on gravel in Becker county. I've discovered some new gravel roads, connecting with the favorites. Taking a stop on Otto Zeck road. This road is set to be paved this year which is absolutely insane given the current condition of a gravel road which is in mostly good to excellent condition, in my opinion. The Otto Zeck road passes along a Waterfowl Reproduction Area..  Funding for the paving coming from a new one half of one percent sales tax increase in Becker county for businesses which includes Maplelag. Some area resorts blindsided by the decision and are left covering the additional charge as some summer guests have paid in advance. Anyways, this road leads to soon to be revived Detroit Mountain which will also so a paved parking lot thanks to the city of Detroit Lakes. This is a lot of new pavement for a project that has yet to see one user visit. Anyways...

On the shores of lake aggassiz  I had to drop one of the vehicles off in Fargo so I thought instead of using another car, I would ride home. 20-30mph cross winds with a light drizzle and sub freezing windchill. A mental ride and a steady constant grind.
 Jake was home for a week after finishing up his second year of college and heading back to Duluth to work and train for the summer. Despite the rain and cool temps, able to get some good laps on the Maplelag course.
 We agreed and committed to doing a 100 mile ride one day and decided to ride to Fergus Fall in a round about way to catch Jack competing at a track meet and hook up withe Jonell. The temp was in the mid 30's when we rolled east through the beautiful Tamarac wildlife refugee. Temps are fine when you are dressed for it and having someone else along helps the miles go by fast.
 The skies started to clear for a moment and temp warmed up to mid 40's. However, once we headed back east in the Rochert area, rain clouds moved in and falling temps making for a cold and almost miserable conditions.

 We kept plugging along finally breaking through the last rain cloud near Soo Pass Ranch, home of the We Fest. However, the feet were loosing feeling and running a bit behind schedule, me met up with Jonell near Pelican Rapids and called it a good ride at 75 miles.
 Last week I went over to Brainerd to watch Jon play his final tennis match but he ended up not playing so I snuck a good hard ride at Cuyuna. A fun place to ride for sure. Not super technical but like hitting this system one or two times a year. Like previous visits, not all the trails were open due to weathering and trail maintenance was underway. Sustainable trails do require upkeep.

On the way back to Park Rapids to catch Jack's track meet, stopped by Paul Bunyan State Forest for a quick ride to basically check conditions. Conditions were some of the best I have seen with rain the day before tightening up the track and setting the dust.

Powerline rock garden.
 Sunday after a busy wedding weekend at Maplelag, rode up to the lake cabin via forest roads and quad trails passing through the White Earth State Forest. The conditions were more like mid August. Almost two weeks with no rain.
 The White Earth State Forest hosts some of the highest points in the state.

Great rolling hills. Mostly traversed by ohv and currently mushroom pickers.

Road/gravel ride with Jon. No mid ride stop at Minwanjige.

After 24 years rolling a 26 hardtail, made the switch to a 650b and 1x11. So far so good. What lacks in a little punch climbing, smooths out the rough and overall a great ride. Really like the 1 by. 
Keep the wheels moving!