Thursday, August 10, 2017

Duluth Enduro 4 > Hockey Fest >Jon Heads to College

Last week I made it over to Duluth again for the 4th race in the Enduro Series. It is lot easier to sneak over midweek for a day off versus the weekend. I left a little bit earlier since I was going to come home that night. I had been in touch with Scott Kylander-Johnson who is doing a lot of work for the Minnesota Series race coming up and we hooked up for a ride of the course for this years race. Scott and his wife Sara cut a lot of the hand built trail at Spirit Mountain that eventually got wiped out by the alpine slide and flow trail. The original races at Spirit Mountain were the best in the Midwest. It's great to see xc racing return there now, even though it isn't the same, and kudos to Scott and company for all their work to make it happen.
A great ride with Scott led to one of the best enduro races this year. Both course were totally different, the first one being super techy and tight. The second one was more flow, pedaling and fast. There was some grumbling from other racers and not sure why. Pretty much enduro to a T. Enduro isn't downhill racing, but downhill with a sprinkle of climbing, and what attracts me, the more technical aspect.
Afterwards Jake and I met up with Anna for a nice meal at OMC.  Waiting to be seating. We are waiting to Jake!!

Saturday morning out with Jake and Jon for one last ride before Jon heads out east for college.
Saturday hauled the Scamp down to Alexandria for hockey tourney. It has been the lightest summer yet for hockey tourneys but once again we were at Hockey Fest. I think this is the 10th year in a row either Jens or Jon have played at Hockey Fest. It's a fun tourney with the schedule usually pretty decent and the activities outside of the games. Jens was playing and cousin Garrett joined for Sunday's game. We also had Lucas along.
One of the activities is the Saturday night car racing. We caught the end races and always some good racing action.
Four in the Scamp was pretty tight. Lucas and Garrett slept in the bunks and Jens and I shared the double.
Sunday breakfast at the popular Travelers Inn. Lucas starting out right with their fantastic chocolate malts.
The boys after the first game Sunday. A 6-0 win. Lucas with the shutout and Jens and Garrett each two goals each. Fun tourney and pretty good hockey.
The second game a lot of family came to watch and meet up to see Jon afterwards before he went off to college at RPI. We met up at the local Zorbaz.

Thanks for coming everyone!

Monday night one last meal before heading out with family and friends.
High school buddies. Thanks for coming out guys!

Ready to take flight and spread wings! Have a great time Jon. We are super proud of you and excited for what opportunities and the future will bring.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Duluth Enduro 2

Made it over for the second Enduro race in Duluth last week. Originally scheduled for June but got rained out. Jens was in Duluth for the week, staying at Jake's and attending UMD hockey camp with nightly games so able to catch a game as well.

Pre-race instructions. Pretty cool to see almost a 100 riders show up, mostly local.
Good to bump into Chris Fisher and catch up with him on Wolf Tooth and OTSO happenings. He was in NE MN on vacation and made a stop by to rip it up.
Keeping the rubber side down. Like I said before, the Enduros are fun, bit more challenging terrain, nothing too crazy and good riding in between.
Spent the night at Jake and Anna's and got a ride in the next morning. Fun to check out some new trail that continues to expand in Duluth.

Jake took me on a new trail in the afternoon including the new Keene segments. Has a different feel

Jens moving the puck in the scrimmage.

Until there are grandkids, there is the grand dog Sully. Jake and Anna's dog adopted last winter that was wandering around Maplelag Presidents weekend and they adopted.

Thanks Jake and Anna for having Jens.

Jon wrapped up his summer training before heading to RPI in a couple weeks, playing in a summer game with some pretty solid players. Didn't work to make it down but my dad caught the action. Thanks Val and TJ for hosting him this summer.

Pontoon ride on the birthday.

Celebrating 20 years with friends stopping over.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mid Summer

Last weekend all the boys were home for the first time this summer. Not sure if it will happen again before Jon goes off to college and Jack and Jens start school.
Always good to have everyone together.
Group shot minus Hudson dog. Jake's girlfriend Anna and Jon's girlfriend Sophie.

We've been paddle boarding more lately and the kids were out the weekend. Jake and Anna taking Sully dog out.

Jake and I got out for a few ride Saturday and Sunday mornings on the Maplelag course.

Rolling through the rock garden and chasing Strava segments. Rides like these as good as it gets and keeps the motivation high.
Jon attempting a hand stand.

Evening paddle with Jonell.

Great way to end the day!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cuyuna 2017

It has been a busy summer of work for Jack. He is working in the pizza Shack again at Hotel Shoreham in DL and also has been working kitchen shifts covering for a cook that is off this month. There haven't been many days off this summer but this week he had three days off. Was going to be four but he got asked to cover for someone on one of the days. We planned a trip out west to Red Lodge, MT. but with days off cut short and two days would of been too much driving we decided not to head west. Instead, we went over to Cuyuna for 24 hours spending the night at True North Base Camp. It's been three years since I have been to Cuyuna. The trails aren't at the top of my list, personally, but its a fun place to ride from time to time and a lot of people definitely get into mountain biking after riding there. Tons of people, especially on the weekends and the two way traffic can be dicey. The local mtb community works hard making improvements on trail flow, tweaking trail and takes great pride in development.   
 We arrived late afternoon and got in a two hour ride, rolling about half of the trail system. Couldn't of asked for nicer weather. Cool, damp and tacky track.
 Bobsled run.
 Skip trail.
 Crossing creek back up to True North Base Camp.
 Rock Garden on Skip trail

First night checked out the new brewery and ended up ordering food from across the street while I lost in checkers.
 Dusk at True North Base Camp. It was interesting to check this out after reading out it in Outside Magazine and hearing from others that had been there. Right on the trail, clear refreshing lake to swim in afterwards and nice fire pit to cook over.
Crosby has been revived since Cuyuna has exploded with riders. Another 3.6 million recently awarded for trail expansion. Will be interesting to see how things change. The town still looks the same for the most part with empty buildings and a lot of antique stores.
 One new business that is thriving is the Iron Range eatery. Had to try the Tater Tot appetizer dish. Chicken gravy, bacon, fresh cut mozz, a unique dish for sure. Pretty much a meal in itself.
 If Jens plays here for hockey next winter, we know where we will be stopping to eat!  Red Raven is another new business to cater to riders including a bike/coffee rental shop call. Owner makes great coffee.
 Taking in the view during the next mornings ride. Off and on mist kept the track damp but not muddy or greasy.
 Flowing through the forest.
Taking a swim before heading the road. Fun quick trip!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Fourth of July 2017

Fourth of July felt kind of felt like two weekends this year. There was the weekend before than the Fourth of July. Was back and forth from chores at Maplelag and heading north to the lake cabin. Not quite as big of crowd this year, at least with our family with Jake not here, Jack working most of the time and Jon coming and going.

Monday night we met up at Hotel Shoreham where Jack is working again this summer (and was working that night) for pizza. Like I said on Insta, don't smile if your last name is Garden.
Flags flying on the pontoon during the flotilla, always very good.
Madeline giving Jonell a nice smooch under the new Gaaniizho Gamaag sign.
Probably the winner in this years flotilla.
More flags.
No big long rides, just a nice spin around south Twin Lake. Been to the LELTP once. Deep woods.
One morning rode up to Bass Lake which is home to the Broken Arrow resort on the northwest side. The lake has a feel of being in Canada.
Classic old Schmidt sign.
Obviously the poplar tree didn't get the memo.

Breakfast over the fire  Fourth of July morning.
Cleaning the pans.
Tanta Val paid for these guys to join us this year. They weren't the best behaved though, trying to drink out of everyone's glasses. One even cannonballed Tanta Val's glass and it spilled all over the floor in the pontoon. That has never happened! Someone said Grandpa Rodney rolled in his grave at that moment.

Jonell decorated Scamp action.
Too many firework photos so an evening shot of the cabins after a great day.