Thursday, May 19, 2016

College Graduate #1

Can't believe we have our first college graduate! Jake graduated from the College of St Scholastica last weekend with a Business/Management/Marketing minor.  Looking back at this blog the other night and reflecting on all the memories.... its crazy how fast time flies. It was a great four years and of course we are very proud of everything Jake accomplished during that time while being a full time athlete and working at the local bike and ski shop, Ski Hut, when he could.
Proud parents. 

With the bros.
Family shot.
Jake with girlfriend Anna and best friend Ethan from high school who also graduated this year from CSS.

Grandma Judy and Grandma Mary.
Getting ready to roll to commencement. Jake and three of his roommates made the trek down the hill.
I found it interesting they had a pow wow band perform at the beginning of the series. It would be like having a white group open the ceremonies at a Pow Wow. Seemed a bit out of place, having witnessed many Native American Indian ceremonial openings personally firsthand.

Trying to act cool I guess.

Nice plaque presented by the ski team at the awards banquet. Jake was captain this year for the team.
Sunday morning before we went home, Jake and hit up the new loop at Brewer park including the sweet new trail called "kissing booth". It was completed late last summer and I hit it up once last fall on a visit to Jake. What a sweet trail!!
With all the new pumpy, flowy, purpose, sustainable built trail being made, it is very refreshing to see a trail like this. Really reminds me of the old "Powder Monkey" Spirit Mountain course. Hand cut singletrack, tight switchbacks and very rocky technical descending.

When doing the trail last year, had to dismount on a few crazy drops but this year I rode everything, keeping on Jake's wheel as he was hitting the jumps like a kangaroo bouncing across the outback.   The new loop is 10-18 minutes and a nice addition off the main Brewer loop which we accessed from the Piedmont trail. The trail growth in Duluth is crazy with the Traverse trail and be interesting to see how things play out the next 5 years if the growth really occurs like they say.
One last family shot before heading home. Fun weekend, well done Jake. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prom 2016

The best part about prom is Sunday morning when the kids are home safe. With that said, every night makes a day great when the kids are home or where they are supposed to be, safe. Prom gets more attention with some unfortunate events happening. They put a crashed up car in front of the school a few weeks before to send more of a message but the fact of the matter is, kids need to be safe all the time. So do parents. Anyways, here are some photos from prom a couple bonus for those that aren't on Facebook, Twitter or Intsa but look at this blog.

 Jack and two other couples came to Maplelag for their dinner. Jonell, Amanda and I cooked the meal. Jonell and Amanda did most of it, I just cooked the meat.
 This spring Jonell and Amanda refinished the floor and we hadn't put the tables back in the dining room. Jonell thought it would be neat to just do one center table along with new wall hangings on the "Beck prints" wall.
 Fun photo. Boys making a "skier sign" not a gang sign but Jack said he messed up so hopefully the wrong message isn't being conveyed.

 Jack and his buds, Zach and Axel aka AJ. Bonus photo not posted on Facebook.

Fun photos. Another bonus photo.

 Jack and Jon.
 Jack with mom and dad.
 Jon with mom and dad. I forgot to put my elbow out and do whatever else.
 Jens with his bros and their dates.
 Jack with his date Auroura.
Jon with his date Sophie.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Mountain Bike Action

Last weekend I hit up the first Minnesota Mountain Bike Series Race (MNMBS) in Saint Croix Falls, WI. at the Woolly Trail. Full race report on skinnyski but thought I'd add a few more comments.

Team photo before my race in between the other races. It's awesome to see the growth of the Maplelag mountain bike team, especially on the women's side. There are kids from 9 years old to 65 representing all classes and divisions.....awesome!

 One of the things I look forward to the most going to the races is seeing all the folks I've met over the year. Such great people. Tucker Hibbert and his wife Mandi have been getting in to the mtb race scene and hit up the races when their schedule allows. They have been coming to the Maplelag race Labor day weekend the past 4 years maybe. For those of you that know Tucker, he is world class snocross athlete having won 14 medals at the ESPN X games. With that said, he is one of the nicest folks you will meet and is a guy his sponsors should be honored to have on board. Top shelf.
 TMB Images catching the racing action. Finding the race zone the first race of the year is a fine line. Good be be mixing it up, hope to race at least once a month this summer, maybe sneak in another one if schedule allows. I made the jump to a hardtail 29er this year (big thanks to LaMere Cycles for the support this year) and after a month of riding and "testing" I give it two thumbs up. Still dialing in the handling part of it on the berms mostly but so far so awesome. Really like how it plows the rocks and rooty sections.
 Jeff Hall racing a "half fat" bike en route to another convincing win. Jeff and I started racing pretty much at the same time and always good to catch up with him and his beautiful family.
 Same deal with Wallace. The first years back in the 90's, I always got him and Geno mixed up. Always enjoy having he and his family two times a year at Maplelag.
 Post race with Jeff. His Chequemegon win last fall was really special to him and it was fun talking to him about it. We also talked about some of the old Spirit Mountain courses that were real mountain biking. Maybe not the best for the overall mountain biking crowd but the courses there you will most likely never see in cross country racing again in the Midwest unless you are doing enduro.
 After the race I was convinced by the locals to stop at the "Drive In" It was well worth the stop. Made from fresh burgers and a classic old time drive in. Malts pretty good as well. I was going to book straight to Duluth to see Jake but I was too hungry.
Met up with Jake and his girlfriend Anna for supper than Jake and I met up Monday morning for a ride at Piedmont which remains my favorite mtb trail system in the Midwest.
 I haven't been in Duluth very often to enjoy bluebird skies, no wind and perfect temps. Wow, what a morning with Jake.  Doesn't get any better!
 Jake has really taken to the Enduro type riding, riding he grew up with and raced on more. Rode everything there like nothing. Made me proud. I noticed in the race Sunday some of the handling skills of the junior riders. All I have to say is I hope this younger kids ride stuff that makes their parents nervous. There is risk in anything in life but..
 Riding the rocks on a new double black. Really liking the 29er through here...
 There were 3-4 sections I had to dismount, maybe with a full suspension I would think about it but 10-15 rock drops I'll pass for now.
 Hand built berm action. Fun stuff!
 There is a rock section, think it is called admiral rock bar that I haven't been able to "clean" before but did this time twice. Think the rocks are place better and will say the bigger wheels give more confidence.
 More rocks.

On the way home I passed through Remer and had to stop at the coffee shop there having stopped there before and experienced fantastic service. Remer is playing up the Sasquatch thing, staking claim that it lives in the area. Probably some made up stories but apparently some tv show is coming there this summer to film a segment.
 In search of Sasquatch?
 A must stop in Remer!
 Super friendly staff, pretty good coffee.

Made it home early enough to get a lot of outside work done on probably the nicest day this spring. Beautiful end an awesome day!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mexico Spring 2016

The other week, Jonell and snuck down to Mexico for a five day getaway. 

First came down to Puerto Vallarta (PV) back in the 70's with my parents. A few trips driving down which I told Jonell would be fun to do sometime with the Scamp but I haven't convinced her yet! Since that first trip in 1973, maybe have only missed 10-15 years. Lot of great memories each trip. The ones that stick out the most are probably the times we went with the kids, staying north of PV in Sayulita and Lo De Marcos. Recently we've stayed more south near Boca de Tomatlan where it's not as crowded and a bit more quiet.

Out of the last 10 years, can't remember PV being so quiet as it was this year. Easter was very early this year which is the probably the busiest time of the year for the area and spring break for most schools etc. long gone.
Similar what we have been experiencing in the Midwest this year, it was cloudy most of the time. No complaints. It was great to be with Jonell and enjoy some down time from what turned out to be a crazy spring at the resort, good to get away from it for a while.
Once again I brought my mountain bike down, using a hard case bike box to transport the bike down. I hit up the roads and mountain trails I have been riding around PV the past 20 years or so. One thing nice about the Strava cycling app is to see how many more people are riding down there. Pretty cool to see more cyclists enjoy the endless amount of mountain roads. It's always an adjustment coming from the cold weather of MN to the hot and humidity of Mexico. Had some nice rides, nothing over 2 hours really but able to get back a bit farther up in the mountains compared to recent years. It's a great way to see the landscape outside of the city and way of life for a lot of folk.  Maybe 15 years ago I did this 4 hour ride discovering a remote mountain village. Remember riding in looking around the village and walked in on this class/school in a dirt building and the kids all laughed. Hope one day to return back there, not sure if I would do solo again! The day I rode in photo above it was cloudy heading up but when I hit the high point, I hit the cloud line making for a spectacular vista.
Coming back across the Rio Cuale river.
The atv tours have amped up in recent years. Only saw one, on my way back. Dusty as usual and always catch them off guard when passing. They are good natured though and always give a hoot or holler of encouragement. Typically of most people you pass or see while grinding out a climb or what not.
Hit up the usual eating spots that are hard not to go back to. Friendly staff, many that we've gotten to know since the first year they starting working or opened. We call it a bit of a business trip learning from the incredible hospitality from the hotel staff, restaurant servers and taxi drivers which are always the most fun to converse with. The people are awesome and coming from the states watching the coverage of this election year with so much aggression from both sides, its refreshing.
The food is unlike anything we experience around home. Everything is so fresh and different. We rarely eat Mexican food other than the taco stands or maybe breakfast, the Asian, Mediterranean and Italian top spots. The dollar is strong in Mexico making for incredibly pricing compared to the states.
Heading up in to the mountains pavement. Even though there weren't as many tourists as years past the traffic was heavier than I expected. Morning riding and being safe as possible key!
Always have to be on the watch for sugarcoating and the orange Kool-Aid too much and strange things can happen!
Road side encouragement.
Tour bus rolling by, hooting and hollering. Nice near the top of a 6 mile climb! Love this stuff. Nice job pulling over a bit. Thank you.
Taking in the scenery along the climb up.
Back down along the ocean.
Freddy on espresso action near the beach.
Exploring. Lots of walking in the afternoon and evenings.
Another awesome trip with Jonell. Always goes by so fast but we take in every moment and fully appreciate it.