Photo album: Superior Cycling Association’s Sawtooth Mountain Challenge mtb race

Last weekend I took photos of the Sawtooth Mountain Challenge, an annual mountain bike race in Grand Marais, Minnesota, hosted by the Superior Cycling Association (SCA).

Superior Cycling Association Sawtooth Mountain Challenge

I’m starting work on a bike advocacy project for Advocate Cycles, one of the race sponsors. (More on that soon.) So I thought it would be fun to capture the event while spending time with founder Tim Krueger and some of the SCA guys I’ve met in the recent past, (eg, Tim Kennedy, Adam Harju):

Advocate CyclesRace sponsor Tim Krueger, Advocate Cycles Tim Kennedy, Adam Harju

With sunny skies, temps in the mid-30s, and a gusty north wind, race director Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux sent the riders out at 10 am on the SCA’s Pincushion Mountain Trail System in one big group: Experts first (22 miles), followed by the Sport class (15 miles) and Citizens (4 miles):

Continue reading Photo album: Superior Cycling Association’s Sawtooth Mountain Challenge mtb race

Advocate Cycles: Tim Krueger’s excellent adventure

I finally got together with Advocate Cycles founder Tim Krueger last week at the company’s headquarters in south Minneapolis (photo by Advocate’s general manager Adam Blake).

I first heard about Tim last year in a MORC Board meeting when there was a discussion about him taking over the MN Rusty Ride, given his history running the Chequamegon 100 for several years with 100% of the registration fees donated to CAMBA.  At a subsequent board meeting, I think there was some mention about him starting a new company called Advocate Cycling Productions and adding more races but that was about it.

Continue reading Advocate Cycles: Tim Krueger’s excellent adventure

CROCT photos & video: Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, 2015

Last Saturday was IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (#TKMBD). I’m on the board of CROCT and we got a late start on planning activities for it. But rather than doing nothing, we decided at almost the last minute to invite CROCT members to meet at MORC’s Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail where Dakota County was hosting its annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day 2015 Wild-Ride-Mountain-Bike-Festival-flyer-2015

We had 5 kids and 4 adults show up and we all had a blast among the many hundreds of others who attended. We’ll be better organized for next year’s TKMBD!

See the album of15 photos and a 1-minute video on the CROCT blog post.


CROCT leads an overnight youth group mountain bike trip at Cuyuna Lakes

Back in June I blogged about the weekly youth mountain biking group rides I was co-leading all summer, one of my activities as a CROCT board member.

As part of that collaboration with the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division, we recently took the kids and some parents on an overnight youth group trip to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System.

I’ve published a long blog post with dozens of photos about the trip here: CROCT leads an overnight youth group mountain bike trip at Cuyuna Lakes.

CROCT youth trip - trail

I failed Ryan Leech’s 30-Day Wheelie Challenge. Join me as I try again.

Ryan LeechLast spring when I saw that pro mountain biker and coach Ryan Leech was going to offer an online 30-day course on learning to wheelie, I was thrilled because A) I suck at wheelies; and B) he was going to use an online approach to learning a complex skill similar to what I’ve been doing with my Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills online instructional courses , ie, many small steps, using exercises and drills, with a multimedia delivery platform.

I started the course back in April when it launched but I quit after about ten lessons. I started having low back pain, something I struggled with years ago but eventually solved (or so I thought) with a special regimen of pilates and yoga called Back RX which I described in this 2013 blog post. I thought my subsequent regimen of kettlebells and free weights (more on this in a future newsletter) would be enough to keep my back in good shape for mountain biking so I quit doing Back RX.

That appears to have been a mistake, because like most geezers, the discs in my back are gradually degenerating with age so exercises that work on my flexibility are just as important as those for strength and endurance. I know, duh, right? Continue reading I failed Ryan Leech’s 30-Day Wheelie Challenge. Join me as I try again.

Photo album: IMBA Great Lakes Regional Summit 2015

After my two days in Duluth, I headed across northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s U.P. to attend the 2015 IMBA Great Lakes Regional Summit in Marquette.

Dan FauseyThe best way to get a sense of what is was all about is to read this blog post by Dan Fausey published on his Mountain Bike Trailer Park blog a titled Something for Everyone – Riding Marquette MI and the IMBA Regional Summit. It’s an entertaining, engaging, and informative read.

I may have my own blog post about the experience in the days to come (yes, that’s Gary Fisher in the featured photo at the top of this post) but in the meantime, see my large slideshow of 115 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

The Duluth Enduro Series: why I’m now hooked on mountain bike enduro racing

Duluth Enduro Series 2015I tried a few XC mountain bike races back in 2011 when I first started mountain biking and while I enjoyed the atmosphere of the races, I didn’t really enjoy the riding that much, as it seemed to be 90% aerobic endurance, not my forte.  I began to equate ‘endurance’ with ‘suffering’ and haven’t competed in any XC mtb races since.

So when I started learning about mountain bike enduro racing last year and that COGGS was again hosting a Duluth Enduro Series in 2015 for members, I became intrigued because of the format. The way they explain it:

Enduro uses a time trial format with racers starting special stages 30 seconds to a minute apart. There are two types of stages: Timed stages (or Special Stages) and Transits. All of the Timed stages will factor into your final place. Timed stages are mostly downhill, but will have a few flat sections or small climbs. Transits require riders to make it to the start of the next timed stage within a given time, however there’s no benefit to finishing the Transit faster than your competitors.

The Wikipedia entry for Enduro mountain biking nails the rationale for me because of the emphasis on technical features, more my forte:

Enduro is a form of Mountain bike racing in which there is a greater proportion of downhill sections, which are timed, to uphill and cross country sections. This aims to test rider’s technical bike handling skills as well as providing endurance and climbing.

But since I live in southern Minnesota, a 3+ hour drive from Duluth, and since the Duluth Enduro Series races are held on Wednesday nights, I didn’t give too much thought to actually competing.

On Wednesday morning, June 10, a massive rain system was moving towards southern MN and forecast to cover most of Wisconsin on Thursday. I had been planning to head to the IMBA Great Lakes Summit in Marquette, MI on Thursday but decided to take a detour to Duluth to avoid the rain and sample some of the COGGS trails that I’d never ridden. I posted a note about my intentions to my Facebook profile timeline at 3pm:

Continue reading The Duluth Enduro Series: why I’m now hooked on mountain bike enduro racing

Skills, advocacy, & MTB happenings in the Upper Midwest