Category: <span>Organizations</span>

2012 MN High School Cycling League season awards party 2012 MN High School Cycling League season awards party 2012 MN High School Cycling League - staff Gary Sjoquist and Steve Flagg
The MN High School Cycling League held their inaugural season awards party yesterday at QBP headquarters in Bloomington.  League director and QBP Director of Advocacy Gary Sjoquist and his talented team put on quite a show. Steve Flagg, founder and president of QBP, was on hand to make sure Gary wasn’t goofing off.

16 teams and 146 student mountain bikers competed during the season (official results here). In the team competition (combined boys and girls):

  1. Burnsville/Lakeville Composite
  2. Roseville Area Composite
  3. Rochester Composite

See the large slideshow of 135 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Organizations Photo album

MN High School mountain bike race at Buck Hill MN High School mountain bike race at Buck Hill MN High School mountain bike race at Buck Hill MN High School mountain bike race at Buck Hill
The Minnesota High School Cycling League held its final mountain bike race of the season today at Buck Hill in Burnsville.  I volunteered to take photos primarily of volunteers, teams, sponsors, and whatever else I could find of interest in and around the pit and start/finish areas.  I got a few action shots but there were other photographers assigned to taking those. I’ll add links to or embed their photo albums here as soon as they get them published.  Alas, I burned through two batteries on my camera taking 500+ photos and didn’t have enough juice left to take podium photos. Hopefully someone else did.

Update 11:20 pm:

Update 10/29 10:45 PM:

See the large slideshow of 155 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Events Organizations Photo album

Lebanon Hills West Trailhead grand openingDespite the windy and cold conditions, a big crowd showed up for yesterday’s grand opening of Dakota County’s  Lebanon Hills West Trailhead, featuring the new mountain bike skills park (see my Aug. 7 blog post of preview photos/video of the park’s technical features). 

Willis Branning, Thomas Egan, Nancy Schouweiler, Chris Anderson ribbon-cutting, Lebanon Hills West Trailhead grand opening Amanda Scholz, Meghann Fedde 
There were dignitaries on hand, including Dakota County Commissioners Willis Branning, Thomas Egan and Nancy Schouweiler. MORC‘s 2012 Land Manager of the Year award went to Dakota County Parks and board member Chris Anderson presented the commissioners with a cool plaque, prior to the official ribbon cutting.  And board member Amanda Scholz presented Meghann Fedde with MORC’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year award.

The Blue Door Pub crew The Indeed Brewing crew mountain bikers pigging out
Crews from the Blue Door Pub and Indeed Brewing kept the crowd well-nourished.

See the large slideshow of 60 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Events Organizations Photo album

Gary Sjoquist and Utah delegationI’ve blogged about QBP’s Director of Advocacy Gary Sjoquist a few times because of his involvement in various mountain bike-related activities and projects.

This week, he and his QBP colleagues hosted a group of civic leaders from Utah to share what’s been done in Minneapolis to earn it Bicycling Magazine’s #1 ranking as the best bicycling city in America for 2011 and Walk Score’s #1 ranking of the 10 most bikeable large U.S. cities. The plan:

This two-day trip will examine their recipe mix of new infrastructure, education, and advocacy that won this accolade.  Special attention will be given to how cycling is being integrated into the transit community, and look at the economic impacts of cycling within the MSP area.

Ogden, Utah’s bicycling infrastructure is particularly  important to QBP because they opened their western distribution center, Q-West, there in 2011 (press release) and their Bike Commuting Program for employees is a big deal.

Utah delegation & Nice Ride MN bikesUtah bike delegation at Mpls City HallI joined the delegation on Thursday as they toured Minneapolis on Nice Ride MN bikes, starting out at the Holiday Inn Metrodome.

We biked down to Mpls City Hall and ate lunch while hearing from Shaun Murphy, Minneapolis Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator; Ethan Frawley, Bicycle Coalition of Minneapolis; and Dorian Grilley, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

Utah bike delegation at Midtown Bike Center Utah bike delegation, downtown Mpls Utah bike delegation on the Stone Arch Bridge Gary Sjoquist & Utah bike delegation at Pracna on Main
We then worked our way over to Freewheel’s Midtown Bike Center on the Midtown Greeway where we heard from Bill Dossett, Executive Director of Nice Ride MN, and Soren Jensen, Executive Director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition.  From there, it was back to downtown Minneapolis during rush hour, and then across the Stone Arch Bridge to St. Anthony Main where we had dinner at Pracna on Main.

See the large slideshow of 72 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Utah delegation members 
City of Ogden: Mayor Mike Caldwell
City of Ogden: Josh Jones
UTA: Matt Sibul
UTA: Darci Taylor
Bike Utah: Scott Lyttle, Executive Director
Bike Utah: Brad Woods, Board President
WFRC: Andrew Gruber, Executive Director
WFRC: Jory Johner
Salt Lake County Planning: Max Johnson
Davis County: Commissioner Louenda Downs
Utah County: Commissioner Larry Ellertson
Eagle Mtn: Mayor Heather Jackson
MAG: Shawn Seager
UDOT: Evelyn Tuddenham
SLC Transportation: Dan Bergenthal

Organizations People Photo album

I saw the movie Reveal the Path when it premiered in Minneapolis back in June. At the end of the movie, Mike “Kid” Riemer, Marketing Manager for Salsa Cycles, the main sponsor of the movie and the event, announced that they were going to be having a Reveal Your Path video contest this summer.  The details:

Salsa Cycles Reveal Your Path video contestCreate a video and tell us your story. You could win a Salsa El Mariachi or Fargo frameset, a complete Fargo or El Mariachi bicycle or the grand prize of a Mukluk Ti bicycle and an Alaskan beach-riding adventure with the Salsa crew!

Perhaps someone—or something—sparked your adventurous spirit when you were a kid. Or maybe you came to it later. Tell us how it happened and where it led you. We want to hear about the great things you’ve done, and continue to do, with bicycles. Most of all, we want to know about the rides you dream of doing in the future. So really—If you could ride your bicycle anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I thought about entering but I struggled to come up with a theme that would be compelling enough for me to want to do the work. I wasn’t interested in just a I-did-this-and-then-I-did-that type entry. Late last week, it occurred to me to do something aimed at my fellow mountain biking geezers but that still wasn’t specific enough. On a whim, I popped in my DVD of the 1971 motorcycle movie On Any Sunday to see if I could get some ideas on how to narrate a documentary.  When I watched the segments of just regular folks (not the pros) competing at Sunday motocross races and the Widowmaker hillclimb, I found myself laughing again at the crashing scenes and director Bruce Brown’s witty commentary.

And then it occurred to me: crashing is not fun but it’s part of the fun of mountain biking, just like dirt biking. If you want to improve your skills, you have to be willing to crash.  If you’re worried too much about getting hurt, you won’t be too willing to experiment.  And one way to keep the fear of getting hurt under control is to wear a lot of protective gear.

Problem: Most of us guys don’t want to be seen as overly safety conscious, so we avoid wearing ‘too much’ protective gear.  We’d rather be seen with scrapes and scars, which are informal badges of honor.  But pain is sneaky. If you bruise the shit out of your knee in a rock garden, the next time you approach it, your brain remembers what happened last time, even if you consciously don’t. So you take a less demanding line through it, rather than riding and re-riding that line that caused you trouble.  Likewise for that high skinny or steep drop. And so your skills stagnate.

Advantage, geezers:  When my three sons were teens, I thought I’d try to learn to snowboard with them. That first day nearly killed me. Bruised my knees, hips and tailbone, hit my head hard several times, wrenched my shoulder.  (Ski slopes in Minnesota consist of hard-packed snow 90% of the time.) I got the hang of it by the end of the day and knew that the sport could be fun. But if I kept getting hurt like I did on that first day, I knew I wouldn’t keep doing it.

Michelin ManSo I bought a snowboard helmet, knee and elbow pads, and most important, a pair of used hockey breezers (hip and tailbone protection).  The next time I went snowboarding with the boys, they refused to be seen with me because they said I looked like the Michelin Man with all the protective gear underneath a huge winter coat. Doofus Dad.

But looking back on it now, the reason I came to love snowboarding (I still do it) is that I was willing to constantly crash as I kept learning new stuff. I didn’t have to worry about impressing girls or being made fun of by my buddies by how I looked.  My ego was more directed at being able to do little tricks and my body was interested in continuing to increase the pleasurable exhilaration of the sport.

So all of this came together in my head for creating a video for the contest.  I would tell my story of my first year of mountain biking but frame it with a sermon to my fellow geezers on how wearing lots of protective gear is a huge advantage for learning to improve your skills, even if you think it makes you look a bit like a doofus who’s overly concerned about getting hurt.

Unfortunately, I only had one day to create the video.  And I had no video of myself mountain biking.  So I bought a GoPro on Saturday afternoon and used it for the first time on Sunday morning, capturing some clips of me riding at the Lexington Ave. Pump and Jump Park in Eagan (Facebook page) and then at Lebanon Hills.  I got home and discovered that much of the video wasn’t usable because A) I was using the chest mount harness and it aimed the camera too low; and B) my water pack’s strap was flapping in front of the lens. AARRGGHH.

With a deadline of midnight looming, I knew I was in trouble.  The video was too long (over 14 minutes) and I didn’t have time to shorten it and fix all the little glitches.  So while it’s not likely to make the cut (a panel of judges will select eight finalists), I’m glad I did it and hope that my message resonates with a few of you fellow geezers out there.


Organizations Protection

Gary Sjoquist, nominee for this year's Mountain Bike Hall of Famembhof-logo mbhof-logoGary Sjoquist

Gary Sjoquist is featured in quite a few of my blog posts since I started mountain biking last summer, so I was pleased when I heard he’d been nominated for inclusion in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (that’s a page on the Minnesota High School Cycling League web site, another one of Gary’s projects).

Ballot, 2012 Mountain Bike Hall of FameIt’s not simple or quick to cast a vote for Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (MBHOF) nominees.

You first must become a member. Voting membership is $20 and can be done via print/mail or online (PayPay/credit card).

Once you become a member, they send out ballots via mail. Ballots are being sent out now and need to be mailed back by July 15th. I got mine last week (right photo).

I blogged about Gary’s contribution to bicycling back in July 2011 but that didn’t begin to do it justice. See his complete nomination page in the category of Advocacy and then get hustling.


July 27 update: Gary Sjoquist was one of five people inducted into the 2012 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame today.


August 23 update: Last night I finally got a chance to toast Gary for his induction. (Apologies for the crappy smartphone photo.)

Gary Sjoquist and Griff Wigley

November 2014 update: The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame website has moved. See the 2012 inductee entry for Gary Sjoquist here.



Organizations People

Aaron Hautala, Reed Smidt, Todd Orjala, John SchaubachCLMTB Crew president Aaron Hautala and Cuyuna legend John Schaubach drove down to the Twin Cities from Crosby yesterday to attend last night’s MORC board meeting.

John and Aaron had never ridden anywhere besides the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails so they decided to check out Lebanon Hills before the meeting. I joined them, along with MORC VP Reed Smidt and fellow Northfielder Todd Orjala.

We spent 3.5 hours riding every trail at Leb. I was glad worried when they crashed a few times but I still think they enjoyed themselves and maybe even learned a thing or two.

I also walked them through the soon-to-be-opened skills park at Leb and then took them over to see the Lexington Pump and Jump park in Eagan, as they’re scheming to add similar features to Cuyuna.

Organizations People

Jordan Vandal, John Schaubach, Dan Cruser, Aaron Hautala, Steve Weber, Jenny Smith, Nick Statz, Maya Statz  Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew logo

Many of the members of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, the local IMBA club, were at yesterday’s IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit. L to R: Jordan Vandal, John Schaubach, Dan Cruser, Aaron Hautala, Steve Weber, Jenny Smith, Nick Statz, Maya Statz (front).

Technically, DNR park manager Steve Weber is not a member of the Crew but I think they’ve adopted him.

Surprise discovery: Dan Cruser rode motorcycle trials years ago and competed at events on our UMTA club grounds near Northfield.


I attended the IMBA Great Lakes Summit in a conference room at the Heartwood Center here in Crosby yesterday, hosted by IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson.  The promo blurb:

Schedule: Great Lakes Summit at IMBA Cuyuna Lakes Ride CenterThis season our Summit is focused on IMBA Chapters and clubs looking to become Chapters.  So if you are either an existing Chapter or are with a club that is seriously looking to become an IMBA Chapter please pre-register.  All other clubs or individuals feel free to contact IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson if you are interested in attending.

The Summit is a one day event.  We will be meeting and discussing various advocacy topics and issues that pertain to the IMBA Chapter Partnership.  Later in the afternoon we will ride the Cuyuna trails and then we will have a social at Ya Betcha’s Bar & Grill later in the evening.

IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012

 Hansi Johnson, IMBA Midwest Regional Director Andy Williamson, IMBA Great Lakes Region Director Aaron Rogers, IMBA Trail Specialist Steve Weber, DNR Land Manager

Aaron Hautala, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails Reed Smidt, MORC Ryan Lieske, MORC Jordan Vandal, CLMBT Crew

Aaron Rogers, Ryan Lieske, Reed Smidt,  Hansi Johnson leading a group ride at the end of the day

Update: Here is IMBA Midwest Director Hansi Johnson’s Great Lakes Summit report  (PDF) on the meeting.

Great Lakes Summit report 2012 - Hansi Johnson

Advocacy Organizations Photo album

Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater
Robbie and I attended the world premiere of Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis last night, along with a few hundred other bike nuts:

Reveal the Path, Presented by SalsaA visually stunning adventure by bike: Reveal the Path explores the world’s playgrounds in Europe’s snow capped mountains, Scotland’s lush valleys, Alaska’s rugged coastal beaches and Morocco’s high desert landscapes…

Filmed across four continents and featuring Tour Divide race legends, Matthew Lee & Kurt Refsnider, this immersive film is sure to ignite the dream in you.

Andy Palmer (background) and John Gaddo Andy Palmer John Gaddo, Jason Boucher
Luminaries from QBP and its Salsa Cycles division, the main sponsor of the movie and the event, were on hand. They were marginally adequate as movie theater attendants:

Left: John Gaddo, QBP Outside Sales Rep
Center: Andy Palmer, Salsa Customer Service
Right: John Gaddo and Jason Boucher, Salsa General Manager. See Jason’s ImagineGnat blog ("Bicycles – Photography – People – Exploration")

Curtis Ness, Ben Witt, Mike “Kid” Riemer Ben Witt; Myrna Mibus Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path
Some other bike nuts at the schmooze fest in the theater lobby:

Left: Curtis Ness and Ben Witt, Milltown Cycles, with Mike “Kid” Riemer, Salsa Marketing Manager.
Center: Ben Witt with Mryna Mibus, blogger, freelance writer, and future mountain biker who was there with her husband Owen and kids.
Right: Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path and its predecessor Ride the Divide.

See the large slideshow of 17 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Events Organizations Photo album

The Minnesota High School Cycling League held their first Leaders’ Summit over the weekend. Northfielder Sue Welch and I attended both days (Head and Assistant Coach licensing) as we’re planning to be coaches for the soon-to-be-formed Cannon Valley Mountain Bike Team (“Mountain Bike Racing for High School Students in Minnesota’s Cannon River Valley“). Hopefully, we’ll have others join us as coaches and Ride Leaders.

Gary Sjoquist Austin McInerny Michael Hayes Sue Welch, Michael Hayes, Griff Wigley, Austin McInerny

Gary Sjoquist, QBP’s Advocacy Director, organized and hosted the event at their Bloomington headquarters.  Austin McInerny, (NorCal High School Cycling League, Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team) did the classroom instruction on Saturday. Michael Hayes, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, conducted the skills training (in the classroom and on the bike) on Sunday.

Austin and Michael were impressive instructors: very thorough, great storytellers, well-organized, interesting, and funny. Gary treated us royally with breakfast, lunch and even dinner on Saturday, with ample snacks throughout each day and happy hours at day’s end. The only disappointment: it rained all day Saturday and on and off on Sunday so the end-of-the-day-rides had to be cancelled.

I’m pretty enthused about all this. Sue and I will soon host a community info night in Northfield for interested student athletes and parents.

See my album of 27 photos (large slideshow recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Learning to ride Organizations Photo album