Jonell and I are blessed to have 8 nephews and 2 nieces. The past week or so and week ahead, we will have seen all of them and have most of them at our house. With Fall, Winter and Spring being jammed with school and busy season at resort, we don't see them as much as we like.
Last week we had our nephew Reagan for the week, joining Jon for a shooting camp in DL. Nice to have a sheet of ice for a few weeks, not more than 4 hours away. Fun watching them both play at night.
Middle of the week we had nephew Joey who was doing dance camp and then my sister came with the rest of her four boys for the weekend. Jonell's brother's kids met up at the final session to watch Reagan and Jon.
Friday night with 7 of the 8 boys at Hotel Shoreham for pizza. Jack sporting the cowboy hat, ready for the trip to CO.
"Auntie Jonell, can we ride in the back of the pickup to the playground" No, says Jonell. "Uncle Jay, can we ?" Absolutely, for sure.
When Jon got home from the last session, he took a five hour nap. When he woke up the first thing he did was tape his stick. Next morning, on the court, with the cousins. We expected him to take a break after four weeks of 6am wake up and last week, not calling it a day until 11pm but Jon totally loves what he is doing.
Basketball to keep it fair and honest. Marco plays hoops in the winter in I Falls.
Marco is turning in to a solid runner. Going in to 9th this year and will most likely be #2 on his team for cc. Saturday morning Marco had a 5km run planned and wanted to go on the trails so I took him on the Citizen/Kids Comp loop and I biked while he ran. Beautiful morning with sun shining, 50 degrees and no deer flies.
Sunday, Jonell went over to Park Rapids area to pick up Grant and Garrett, the other two nephews who are doing a hockey camp this week with Jens. I went northwest to Turtle River State Park for the Prairie Rose games mountain bike race. Beautiful day for racing. Incredible park and facilities. The ND surplus is being spent well. Since I was last there, the Park has some really nice upgrades. Not crowded, very peaceful and well maintained. Was a fun course, bummer not more people but had a good ride, riding steady the entire time with Brian Abraham who went to school at UND I think and now ripping it up on the road in WI. Don't usaully run the hr monitor when racing but did this time, keeping track of each lap etc. Splits were pretty even and hr higher on last lap so that was good. Since the dnf at WORS cup, I haven't done a full xc since Spring Cup. Yikes!! Finally feeling better and relieved to have all the tests come back negative. Jonell thinks I got bit by a spider. I think I was taking too much cod liver oil. Not sure. Some times you get touched by a weird bug and does funny things.
Didn't look at the jersey in detail but I grabbed the one that didn't have the zipper so I had to use safety pins. Hope I don't get kicked off the team. Full report in skinnyski report on Wed.
I have some good memories of racing in the ND. The courses have always been sweet and fun to hook up with different people. Two years in a row Prairie Knights Casino did this race off the banks of the Missouri, south of Mandan. Had a huge cash purse. Never a ton of riders but the second year, Jeff Hall, Steve Tilford, Doug Cambell I think it was, a ringer from SD, Don Schimachel, and bro in law Nate Birkmeier to name a few, were there and was a riot. They did the awards in the casino and called us up to pay out the prize money on the main stage where Ronnie Milsap and people like that play. Was in $20 bills to make the $500 look more than it was. We feasted on a huge buffet with crab and lobster. I remember a lady asking, what machine did you win that on and I said a custom built Croll, mam. Probably the best course was at Fort Ransom, just south of Valley City. Super cool singetrack, climbing, prairie singletrack really fun course. Unfortunately, I think they only ran it one year. The ND state champs those two years had over 100 rider. Too bad the numbers have fallen off. Course like yesterday are ideal for across the board riders.
Greg Ames and Steve Wenzel post race, sporting old Loppet shirts. Fun to hook up with Steve and other riders that have been out to Maplelag. Kriston's sandwich for the ride home hit the spot.
Off to CO tomorrow night with Jack for Nationals on the weekend. Should be awesome. Going to try and hit some museums on the way out with Jack and maybe look for some fossils if I can remember the places we stopped at when I went on geology field trip back in college.