Category: <span>Events</span>

BBQ fundraiser: Ride the Keweenaw BBQ fundraiser: Ride the Keweenaw BBQ fundraiser: Ride the Keweenaw
When the mountain biking was over on the Sunday of the Ride the Keweenaw weekend, the festivities in Copper Harbor park ramped up.  Many dozens lined up for the $25/person BBQ fundraiser while…

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an excellent rock band, a GoPro-equipped quadcopter, and a, um, enthusiastic dancer provided entertainment. (Just in case you’re looking for the top quadcopters under 100 bucks – check out more reviews here.)

Lianna Miller, Lori Hauswirth, Bill Marlor DSC00495 DSC00496
Lianna Miller, Lori Hauswirth and Bill Marlor from the Copper Harbor Trails Club began selling tickets for their big 2013 raffle (drawing is Sept 1).

Fellow mountain bike geezers from Ishpheming, MI Dave Markman, Tony Schwenn Griff Wigley, Oliver Cooper
Left: It’s always good to see some fellow graying geezers on the trails and at the party. These guys were from Ishpheming, MI
Center: Hollywood Dave Markman and CHTC Board Member Tony Schwenn provided security
Right: He doesn’t know it yet but MTU student and hot shot mountain biker Oliver Cooper is going to be my coach next time I’m back up there.

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As the sun went down, the dancing cranked up. A fitting end to a memorable event.

Events People

Since the trail system at Copper Harbor is an IMBA Silver-level Ride Center, that’s what I’ve mainly heard about here in Minnesota whenever talk turns to mountain biking in the U.P., especially in the Keweenaw Peninsula.  So the cool thing about the annual Ride the Keweenaw, I discovered, is that you get to experience many of the other trails in the area.

Griff Wigley, Hansi Johnson, Oliver Cooper MTU Technical Trail Ride MTU Technical Trail Ride - dragon MTU Technical Trail Ride - dorkscrew
IMBA’s Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson and I arrived in Houghton on Friday afternoon to ride some of Michigan Tech University’s network of mountain biking trails. We luckily arrived at the same time as Oliver Cooper, MTU engineering student and avid mountain biker. He led us on some very cool technical trails (rocks, roots, mud) that included some fun man-made obstacles like the Dragon and the Dorkscrew shown above (photos extracted from the poster).

Rob Peters, Lori Hauswirth, Bill Marlor, and friends 3713796927_d9314082ce_o 3713778779_364680869e_o
A late addition to the Ride the Keweenaw schedule was a Friday night ride on some of the Southern Keweenaw (SöKē) trails around the Adventure Mining Company in Greenland, about 40 minutes south of Copper Harbor. Staffer Rob Peters (and course designed of the annual Miner’s Revenge Mountain Bike Race) graciously led the ride and opened up the trail through the mine for us.  Very cool. (Other than the group shot on the left above, I didn’t take photos, so I’ve grabbed two of the mine tunnel from a Flickr album of the 2009 race by Christopher Schmidt. I’ve linked his photos to his set.)  Some rocky sections of the trail we rode were the most technically challenging and fun I’ve ever ridden.  If you love the gnarly stuff, especially steep, rocky downhills, go there. “The Adventure Trails are free use public trails open 7 days a week for hiking, running, and mountain biking.”

Ride the Keweenaw group ride at MTU Ride the Keweenaw group ride at MTU trail pass system at MTU
Saturday’s 9 am group rides were held at Michigan Tech’s network of mountain biking trails (supported by a trail pass honor system). I was thrilled that they offered 4 choices ranging from beginner to expert because my legs were mush from the 4 hours of riding on Friday. I chose ‘intermediate’ and was barely able to keep up.

Caleb Wendel and Steve Vizanko Steve Vizanko pump and jump park at Michigan Tech MTU dual slalom MTB course
Post-ride food and refreshments were provided by co-owners Caleb Wendel and Steve Vizanko of The Bike Shop in downtown Houghton. Steve also did some jump coaching in the MTU terrain park (beginner and advanced jumps, a pump track, and a dual slalom course). I was thrilled to be able work on my form on the beginner level table tops that first learned how to do at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park back in Feb. See the May 26 Mining Gazette article, Riders practice jumping during Ride the Keweenaw, for more.

At noon, most riders departed for more group rides at Churning Rapids MTB trails near Hancock (1 pm) and the Swedetown MTB trails near Calumet (3 pm). Alas, not me. I departed for Copper Harbor to give my legs some recovery time so that I’d be able to get in at least one run on a downhill trail there.

Events Group rides Photo album Trails

The 2013 Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout is history.  And it was a fabulous weekend. I competed in all the events, pretty much sucked at all of them, but smiled the whole time. And riding the Yawkey Unit just for fun was the best. Thanks to the CLMTBC for putting on a great event.

See the large slideshow of 58 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Events Photo album Trails

XC-race-Beginner-class-start-photo-by-Aaron-Hautala whiteoutstickerlogosmall_2013 Iron Yeti Sagamore Snowxross course

It was just about this time last year that I made the decision to go to the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout and compete in my first-ever mountain bike event.  The whole event was a hoot (see all 5 blog posts with photos and video), despite the difficult snow conditions.  So I’m going again this weekend.

Judging from yesterday’s blog post with photos of the Iron Yeti Sagamore Snowxross course and the weekend weather forecast, the snow conditions should be much better. The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC) has been busting their collective butts to get the trails and other events ready, as the whole weekend is a club fundraiser. I’m way out of shape for racing but in good enough shape to ride the Yawkey unit for fun.

I still don’t own a fat bike but I’ve got one on loan again, this time from Ben Witt at Milltown Cycles in Faribault where I spend a considerable amount of my children’s inheritance. I’m not likely to blog from the event but plan to tweet regularly @mtbikegeezer and will blog when I get back.

Competition Events

Dave Cizmas and Hansi JohnsonHansi Johnson nails the tabletop in the micro-rhythm section at Ray'sHansi Johnson (IMBA) and Charlie Johnson  (LAMBA)
Hansi Johnson, IMBA’s Midwest Regional Director (his IMBA blog is here, his Universal Klister blog is here), organized a two-days-for-the-price-of-one weekend for IMBA members at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee over the weekend.

I’ll have more to blog about my memorable experiences in the coming days but for now, see the large slideshow of 50 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow (apologies for some of the crappy smartphone photos):

Update 5 PM: an 8-second video clip of Hansi on the Micro Rhythm feature:

httpv://vimeo.com/57773365

Update Jan. 22, 7:30 am: an album of 140 photos of all areas of the park. I took these early on Saturday morning before it got busy so I could climb around without getting run over.  The photos are boring because there are no people in them.

See the large slideshow or this small slideshow:

Events Organizations Photo album

Winter Bike Expo, Freewheel Bike Winter Bike Expo, Freewheel Bike Winter Bike Expo, Freewheel Bike  
Freewheel Bike held their 2nd annual Winter Bike Expo ("the world headquarters of winter riding fanatics") yesterday at their Midtown Bike Center. The fat bikes were everywhere (Surly and Salsa each had a big presence) and since I’m doing some work on the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit & Festival coming up in January, the Expo gave me a picture of how much enthusiasm there is here in Minnesota for fat biking.

Griff Wigley being influenced by Aaron Hautala Joe Meiser and John Gaddo, QBP Hansi Johnson and Aaron Hautala Aaron Hautala's Cuyuna Series G Surly Moonlander
I hadn’t planned on going but on Friday night, I had dinner with Aaron Hautala, president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew and while I was under the influence, he influenced me to go. I got to chew the fat (heh) again with former Northfielder John Gaddo, Outside Sales Rep at QBP (Quality Bicycle Products). He introduced me to Joe Meiser, Q’s Product Design Manager who, just a few days ago, had sent me all his photos from the 1st Annual Fat Bike Summit for posting on the site. I also got to talk fat bike advocacy with IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson.

I took a photo of Hansi and Aaron, two guys who, unlike me,  actually  know what they’re doing with a camera.  (See some of Aaron’s photos on his Sweet Cuyuna Living’ blog; see some of Hansi’s photos on his Universal Klister blog.) Alas, I was laughing when I took their photo and ended up with a very blurry image. So I’ve covered up my mistake with a stylized version of it. My choice of red was influenced by red accent that Aaron has used all over his Cuyuna Series G Surly Moonlander, which he had just outfitted with monster 4.8" Bud and Lou tires from Surly, complete with red valve stem caps.

See my large slideshow of 56 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Events Photo album