Dickie the Dog: rescued Border Collie mix

Dickie has been on here before.  He even has a ride named after him.  He had a fun day today running through Carley State Park.  I have a lot of respect for the way Dickie plays.  He absolutely drills it as hard as he can until he cannot and it's hours before he cannot.

We are unsure of the date or if there will be a Dickie Scramble this year.  There may be too much else going on and the rapidly expanding number of fatbike events in the area make it seem less important.  I'm sure we'll find a day to ride with friends and drink a few beers though!


Thanksgiving weekend in the north

After some debate and studying of ridiculous hunting maps we determined that it was safe to hike on the north shore this weekend.  That had been the original plan and my mind was pretty set on it so all that was left to decide was how cooperative the weather would be...   not that it would stop us, but it sure had the power to decide how much fun the trip would be.  I get tired of browns and greys this time of year so was pulling for enough snow to make things beautiful.  As the weekend approached things were looking like I was going to get what I wanted!

Noon Thanksgiving day:  packing up in Rochester

2pm Thanksgiving:  Arrive in Red Wing and spend around 5 hours with family.

9pm Thanksgiving:  Through the twin cities and we hit the snow.  Roads are terrible.  A police cruiser literally spins past us into the ditch.  It takes us an extra 90 minutes to get to Duluth and there are a total of 18 cars passed in the ditch.

Midnight:  Snocross!  Entire parking lot of hotel full of large trucks, info posted all over lobby for snocross racers.  Would later hear that there were 30,000 spectators???

10:30am Friday:  Finally to Lutsen!  At the Mountain Inn to drop off our bags and bikes.  The front desk is closed and won't open until 3.  Luckily got an employee on the phone and they opened up the office area for the gear.

11:45 am:  Reluctantly buy a MN state parks pass in order to be able to leave car overnight in an entirely empty and unstaffed Temperance River State Park.

Temperance River State Park-  things look perfect!

12:30ish:  Leave the State Park and begin the real superior hiking trail.  Maybe 2-3" of snow on the ground and the going is great!

Almost hard to believe the conditions were so easily passable and just also awesome

Another of trail
Wind?  there was a long section with trees like this
Carlton Peak-  really amazing area
Heading down from Carlton Peak
2pm:  Crap, the sun is going down!  Seriously, it's going to be dark at 4.  Total mileage back to the Mountain Inn is around 19 miles and we've only covered 5.  Time to put down some effort for a while.

Not something I was expecting to see in the middle of the woods!  Thought about coming back with fatbikes later, but no time.  Also, what an awesome sign!
4pm:  Stop and cook Easy Mac at one of the many backpacking campsites along the route.

5pm:  It's gotten COLD and we are bundled up after sitting at dinner but throw the headlamps on and get going.  Map shows 2.4 more miles to a lakeside campsite that we hope to make.  Camera freezes, no more pictures until Saturday.

8:30pm:  Bedtime?  No idea on the temperature but I'm warm enough and happy.

10:45:  Colder than hell and my hip is asleep.  Things suck.

11:00pm-9am:  I realize my borrowed sleeping pad has completely deflated...  It's a lot warmer again after I blow it up.  This cycle will repeat until 4am or so when I realize that my tent-partner (who has exactly 1 eye exposed in her Mummy bag and is clearly warm) has an 'extra' jacket.  I stuff it into my bag under my hip and figure that it will pad things enough that I won't wake up as soon as the pad loses air.  I wind up sleeping until 9am!

10:30am Saturday:  Back on the trail.  We had noticed the snow was getting deeper and deeper in the dark the night before and that was really confirmed by day light.  There are now drifts in places up near my knees.  Snowshoes would almost be beneficial.

11:30:  The sun is starting to heat things and the miles are flying by.  Beautiful trail!

Nearing Oberg Mt. Trailhead-  one of the few areas where we saw other tracks

Backside view of Oberg Mt.
We filtered water from this creek
Another of creek
Beginning of climb to Moose Mountain
2:00pm:  Getting super super hungry but on the Moose Mountain, walking the long ridge to the ski area part.  A large wolf has walked the same path sometime since the snow.  We talk about the wolf hunt and the wolf population.

2:30:  Lunch in the new Moose Mountain GS start

View from Lunch-  tons of snow being made on the mountain this weekend

Walking down Moose Mountain-  almost done!
3:30pm:  At the Mountain Inn with plenty of daylight.  Feels great to be in a hotel but definitely looking forward to riding the bikes too.  In the meantime it will be dinner and drinks at Papa Charlie's.

7:30am Sunday:  Early morning but no idea how long the bike part might take!  Make arrangements with hotel staff for an indefinitely late checkout such that we can come back whenever to get our packs.  Take off up the mountain.  I took a ton of bike pictures that I won't post here now...  but I'll make sure to link you to them asap once that is appropriate.  Here is one:

11:45:  Back at Temperance River to the car.  Very enjoyable ride.

1:00pm: in Grand Marais to check out the art gallery and lunch at the Gun Flint Tavern. 


Pugnago carbon fatbike update

If you are seeing it for the first time-  this is a mostly carbon fiber frameset created in my basement.  The stays/BB are from a broken Surly Pugsley, the headtube is from an El Mariachi, the fork lowers/dropouts are White Bros., the steerer tube is Look HSC5, and the carbon tubes in the main triangle are from a Colnago C40.

Build kit is relatively straight forward otherwise-  Chose friction shifting 10 speed due to personal preference.

Paint was Kim with the hand lettering/bats.  None of these images show the retro-reflective clear...  this thing lights up very brightly under flash or headlights.  More pictures to come showing that.

Here is is-


Jinglecross 2012

Jinglecross came up fast, so fast.  I had 12 months of looking forward to heading back down to this.  It's been an interesting fall season and I felt like my transition from 'endurance' type fitness into CX had been going well and that I had some positive momentum.  Then I DNF'd, rode slow, fell hard on pavement last Sunday and DNF'd once again and all the sudden I was at Jinglecross in the Cat 2 race hoping there was somebody there I could beat. It's funny how quickly confidence can come and go!  In the back of my mind though I was holding onto the progress I had made around this time of the year last year.  Holding out some hope that I could continue to replicate as all my base transitioned into the right kind of fitness.

Got off to a great start!  Went down in a surprisingly slick corner and sealed my fate early...  although I didn't know it at the time.  My derailleur was slightly tweaked and would derail the front at the least opportune time for the next couple of laps.  Stupidly I didn't swap bikes immediately after the fall, or after the first time, nor the second time that the chain came off.  The chain would pop off on the steep sections, I would fix it and then it would work fine for half a lap such that I'd forget about swapping bikes or anything but riding prior to the pit.  In the end I got the chain very solidly stuck between the stay and the small ring and it was game over.  It was disappointing and I felt stupid for not finishing again!  That said, I took some positives from the couple of laps I did make near the front.

Saturday I felt much more confident and rode cleanly throughout the race.  No mechanicals, no falls, no real bobbles even.  As soon as I finished I felt like I should have pushed things harder.  I wound up 12th.

Sunday I had a good sense for where I "fit" in and knew I wanted to do better than that.  At the same time though, the course felt too "herky-jerky" for me to have my best performance relative to the field.  Much more like Theo Wirth where I had suffered hard to stay in the lead group in the 3 race than like the Jackson Meadow or Cross a the Y courses where I had been able to ride away. I hoped I could partially limit my suffering by riding the run-up (I would have ridden it Friday night when it was on the course too, but that's where my chain was coming off!).  At the start Fred Mills took the holeshot and no one was really taking the reigns and giving chase.  I had no intention of going to the front prior to seeing Fred up there, but I felt like I could ride with him and I might as well.  He bobbled in front of me on the run-up (ride-up?) and I wound up leading the race over Mount Krumpit and a bit further on lap 1.  There was a prime at the top too!  Certainly not something that I would have ever expected to have a chance to win.  The rest of the day I suffered as much as expected and slowly fell back all the way to 11th.  I did ride the run-up each lap though and it was awesome all the cheers and support.

In the end I did a bit better at Jinglecross as a cat 2 this year than I had done last year as a 3.  I wanted more but I think I have to be happy with it. I'm glad the season isn't over.

This is too many pictures, I'm sorry. 

Friday night before too much trouble with the shifting

Bike repair in the hotel room...  always fun
So different this year on the hill without crazy mud
I know-  lots of pictures of me

This was incredibly fun

Josey was only? other ride in our race riding up-  either we are both awesome or we both wish we could run better
This gives a sense for the vertical sense the pictures don't show the grade very well
Fred made it at least this far on his bike-  'epic' suffer face


Wisconsin CX at Cam-Rock and Ripon Cookie Cross

 I raced a couple times Saturday.  Only photos are of the singlespeed race.  I got the holeshot pretty solid and then my friend Mike Curtes managed to bridge up about half way through the 1st of just 3 laps (long laps).

I pulled the rest of lap 1 and let him pull most of lap 2.  There was a large group of 5-6 back there but we were steadily pulling away and I figured it was going to be a race between the two of us.
 By the way, Mike has a pretty incredible SSCX bike!
 At the beginning of the third lap Mike and I were still together but I heard his girlfriend yelling that "Mark was catching us".  Now I didn't know Mark from Adam, but something about the way she was yelling it made it sound like it was time for me to try to get the hell out of there.  I absolutely pinned it for the first third of the lap and basically prayed it would be enough to drop them both.  However, we turned into the wind in the field and they were both right there!  I was thankful I had the legs to grab Mark's wheel!
 He spun like a mad-man on the back stretch and broke me before we even got near the finish!  Strong, strong dude!

We immediately got out of there to get food during the 3 hour gap between races.  However, despite ordering at 12:05 I still had no food at 1:16.  When the food did come out I decided it was too close to the 2:45 start and I just ate a couple of gu packs.  I started well in the Elite race but slowly faded throughout.  The only strong part for me was the technical log section into tight corners.  Without that section I would have probably wound up last!  It hurt/sucked to not be able to even hold wheels on pavement.  I'll be sleeping more, eating better, not racing prior to my upcoming goal races.

Sunday found me at Ripon College

 Those images are all you get...  I went down very hard on lap 1.  On pavement.

And what is this?

Images courtesy of Kim