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

Weekly youth mountain biking group rides: a CROCT adventure

Fellow CROCT board member Marty Larson and I are co-leading weekly youth mountain biking group rides all summer, a partnership with Northfield Public Schools Community Services. It’s turning out to be a big hit, as you can see from these photos. And we’re pleased that over half of the kids thus far are girls.

It’s a big advantage to have a mountain bike trail (CROCT’s Sechler Park trail in Northfield) that young kids can ride their bikes to on their own or with their parents. Sechler Park is connected to a paved bike/walking trail adjacent to downtown Northfield that goes under Highway 3 and over the Cannon River.  It also parallels the Mill Towns Trail between Northfield and Dundas.

And this is turning out to be good PR for CROCT.  Building and maintaining mtb trails that serve ourselves and other adults is good. But going out of our way to get youth involved is better.  Kids help spread the word, they get their parents involved, and we’re thinking it will help with our fundraising and getting local sponsorships.

CROCT community services youth group ride 1 CROCT community services youth group ride 3 CROCT community services youth group ride 7

CROCT community services youth group ride 4 CROCT community services youth group ride 5 CROCT community services youth group ride 6

CROCT’s first National Trails Day & membership drive: superb

Over three dozen trail workers (including 15+ kids) showed up at Rice County’s Caron Park on Saturday (National Trails Day) to work on the first segment of a CROCT mountain bike trail there (I’m a board member). The weather was gorgeous and the bugs were non-existent. Under the direction of trail steward and CROCT board prez Marty Larson, the crew worked from 9 am to noon.

The results? Amazing!

CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park

We don’t yet know the mileage on the new intermediate-level segment that we’re currently calling Loop 1, but it’s significant and it’s going to be a blast to ride. (If you stay connected via the CROCT Facebook page, Twitter feed, email newsletter, or Google Group discussion list we’ll alert you when the trail officially is open to ride.)

We broke for lunch and beverages at noon. Milltown Cycles in Faribault donated and served the hot dogs, brats and pop. Bauers Southside Liquor in Faribault donated and served a great selection of beer:

CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park

After lunch, we raffled off some swag donated by Milltown Cycles to CROCT members in attendance. John Ebling and Kevin Keane won helmets and Jeff Kreis won a jersey. Four others got 3-packs of cycling socks:  Continue reading CROCT’s first National Trails Day & membership drive: superb

MAMB’s Kiwanis MTB Trail: continuous improvements include a difficult ‘Stonehenge’

I attended Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB)‘s Bike Walk Week grill out /  spring party / fundraising event last Friday.  Their Kiwanis mtb trail has a new trail head with a spiffy kiosk:

MAMB's Kiwanis MTB Trail Head Kiosk  Hot dogs: Griff Wigley, Clay Haglund

They’ve made dozens of enhancements to the trail since I was there a year ago, among them a cluster of large concrete chunks that architect Clay Haglund and fellow volunteers have turned into a spectacular XX technical obstacle known as Stonehenge.  It has many lines through it, none of which I could clean that day.  I blamed the mud but local hotshot Dan Oachs was having far less trouble. I will be back.

MAMB's Clay Haglund at the Kiwanis MTB Trail's 'stonehenge' Dan Oachs rides MAMB's Kiwanis MTB Trail's 'stonehenge' One of many of my fails on MAMB's Kiwanis MTB Trail's 'stonehenge'

 

A spectacular day to visit Cuyuna

After my Duluth excursion, I took the long way home, heading over to the Cuyuna Lakes MTB Trail system in Crosby-Ironton.  Clear skies, no wind, no bugs. The MN DNR’s new trailhead was looking stunning.

Cuyuna Lakes MTB billboard Cuyuna Lakes MTB trail head

Cuyuna Lakes MTB trail head

I spent several hours shredding the red and not just the Yawkey Unit’s XX Timber Shaft segment, my fave. Sharp curves were just as compelling so Bobsled, Sandhog Mountain, Screamer, Ferrous Wheel, et al saw multiple runs. I will be back.

Cuyuna Lakes MTB - Timber Shaft Cuyuna Lakes MTB - sharp curves ahead

COGGS rocks! Photos & video of some X sections of the Piedmont trail in Duluth

Duluth Piedmont overlook

When I saw this announcement in late April by COGGS (Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores) that a portion of their Piedmont trail system was opening:

Basically you can session the free ride trails on the NIMBY cluster but all the XC stuff still has draining water going through it.

I knew it was time to head to Duluth, as I’d never ridden Piedmont’s DM, Medropolis, Dr. Diablo, Rickety Cricket, BOB (Bones of the Beast) or the Skyline Trail. I was at the end of my first-ever 30 Days of Biking, my sweetie was out of town, and the weather forecast was stunning for Duluth in late April: warm and sunny.

Among the people I rode with or met on the Piedmont trails over the course of three days: Wyatt Gruben, Rudy O’Brien, Justin Martin, Mason Bacso, Mitch Larson, Conner Nick, David Cizmas, Max Skarman, Karl Erbach, Kelly Erbach, and Cory Salmela.

Photos and videos: Continue reading COGGS rocks! Photos & video of some X sections of the Piedmont trail in Duluth

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