When my grown and gone daughter Gilly told me a couple months ago that she was in the market for a new bike, I told her to consider shopping at the newly opened Erik’s Bike & Board Shop in Highland Park. When she gave me thumbs up, I called the store and manager Rob Stepaniak answered the phone.
When I rode Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee the first time last year for the two-days-for-the-price-of-one weekend for IMBA members (see my four blog posts tagged with Ray’s), I met Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Jeff Dowhen. He was quite appreciative when he later saw my blog posts about the weekend and we’ve kept in touch a bit since.
The Friday April 25th Lee Likes Bikes one-day skills clinic I signed up for was scheduled to take place at the Capitol Off Road Pathfinder (CORP) CamRock trail near Madison but trail steward Chuck Hutchens closed it late in the day on Thursday due to the all-day rain. I put Lee McCormack in touch with Jeff to see if Ray’s could accommodate the clinic and fortunately, Jeff answered his cell phone at 10 pm and gave the thumbs up.
When I brought both my X-Cal 29’er and Scott 24 park bike into Ray’s on Saturday to practice what I’d learned on Friday, I was frustrated because I’d been having brake issues with both bikes that I wasn’t able to solve. (I’ll spare you the details.) When I saw Jeff and off-handedly whined about it, he pointed out the on-duty bike mechanic for the day, Eric Crouthamel, and said to ask him to take a look.
If you’ve been a bicyclist in Minnesota for very long, you’re probably aware of his contributions. If not, see the links from Adventure Cycling here and here. I like those because they’re a couple years old.
I briefly met Oberstar last year in St. Paul (blogged here) when he attended and spoke at the 2013 Minnesota Bicycle Summit. I knew at the time from my conversations with QBP’s Gary Sjoquist that Oberstar was able to secure (an earmark!) $750,000 of Federal highway funds (first time ever for a MTB trail) for the creation of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System so I was pleased to get the above photo of him with two of my Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC) pals, John Schaubach and Jenny Smith.
Here’s an excerpt from a Cuyuna timeline document on IMBA’s website:
2005 – IMBA’s Jenn Dice suggests to Tim Wegner that MN 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar might be able to help with funding. Wegner drafts a request for a federal transportation grant which he and [Gary] Sjoquist present to Oberstar in Washington, DC. When President Bush signs the 2005 federal transportation bill in July, 750,000 is earmarked for the CCSRA [Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area] to be administered through MN Department of Transportation to the MN DNR.
I went riding on frozen crusty snow piles up with fellow Northfielders Ryan Hutchinson, John Ebling, and Stew Moyer today at the Northfield High School parking lot today. It was more fun than I expected and definitely better than sitting around the house whining about the cold spring.
Last week’s Arrowhead Ultra 135 was in the news, not only for those of us who follow the world of winter fat bike racing, but because the unusually cold conditions made it an compelling human interest story.
Many of us Northfielders followed the race closely because two local mountain bikers, Jerry Bilek and Christopher Tassava, competed on fat bikes. Jerry got halfway (70 miles) before dropping out; Christopher finished in 7th place. (Results here.)
When a photo of Christopher and his beardsicle at the first checkpoint appeared with an article on the front page of the StarTribune’s Sports section, the world beyond Northfield began to take notice. Christopher’s skill with social media tools (@tassava on Twitter, @tassava on Instagram, Tassava on Facebook) prior to and during the race made it all the more compelling.
Tym Manley, editor of the British cycling magazine Rouleur, has an article titled Reasons To Be Cheerful – One, Two, Three about his visit to the hospital bed of legendary mountain bike trials rider Martyn Ashton, paralyzed from the waist down from an accident during a trials demo in September.
I really resonate with Ashton’s answer to Manley’s question, “Are you a religious man?”
I got an email last Friday from Dorian Grilley, Executive Director of Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), and at the bottom of the email he attached a photo of him standing with his new mountain bike. He said that his experience on the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System at PedalMN Bicycle Summit this fall won him over. (See my blog post about the Summit: Minnesota is a state that works for mountain bikers).
The MORC Board announced its annual awards last month and four young guys (three in the right photo) were recognized for their volunteer work: Chance Glasford for the President’s Award; Adam Buck for Volunteer of the Year; and Colin VanDerHyde and Mike Mullany for Trail Workers of the Year.
As a geezer, I’m glad to see this.
Lebanon Hills MTB held their annual Halloween party and night ride at the west trailhead in Eagan last night and as far as I could tell, Nita Woelbel was the queen in charge. Perceptive, no?
She made the pies and her ‘famous’ homemade chili, organized the prizes, was the MC, and after it was all over, graciously thanked her helpers with a post in the MORC forum:
Chris, thanks for coming out and getting the tents up and Doug Ecker, you are magic with hanging up lights. Doug Purdy, phenomenal with the equipment and little details like carving a fat pumpkin at midnight and not cutting off a finger. Mark Gavin, you are amazing on that grill, and I’m burping that last dog up as I type this. Al Goldstein, you put up that sweet race course and unfortunately we ran out of time, thanks so much for the set up and tear down help. To everyone else that helped tear down, many thanks! Right around 10 p.m. it started to rain and we were out of there at 11:00…perfect! Thanks everyone for coming out with fantastic spirit on a rather cold, damp evening, I just love this life!
Nita even let me take some pie home, which I’m eating now as I blog this. Saaaaweet.
See the album of two dozen photos.
The day after my solo stint at Spirit, I met up with IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson for a ride on the COGGS Piedmont trail over to the new Brewer Park trail under construction. On way, we encountered MNDOT’s reconstruction of Haines Road which was wiped out by last year’s flood. For some reason, MNDOT has take down a huge chunk of the hill/cliff overlooking a section of the road and with it, a large section of the Piedmont trail. If you look closely at the photo of Hansi on the right, you can see how he feels about this.
After making our way around the, um, destruction, we came upon a COGGS trail building crew working on the new Brewer Park trail, led by Adam Harju and Brad Miller, with assistance from Larry Sampson, Duluth Maintenance Supervisor for the Superior Hiking Trail Association. Here’s some background from a COGGS blog post:
Along with the work funded by the Legacy grant, COGGS also has it’s own mechanized trail building crew. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow. To operate this equipment we hired Adam Harju, Brad Miller and Pete Leutgeb.
Their first project was building two reroutes of the existing singletrack on the east side of Amity Creek and have since turned their efforts towards building a portion of the Duluth Traverse Trail through Brewer Park. This section of land is immediately across Haines Rd west of Piedmont and has perfect terrain for mountain bike trails. This section of the DT will connect Piedmont to the State Trail and DWP, which are both off-road, multi-use trails that a rider can take all the way to Beck’s Rd in West Duluth.
Members of the College of Saint Scholastica track team were volunteering, hauling many wheelbarrow loads of dirt to the Brewer Park MTB trail construction site a couple blocks away. Jeesh.
“Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow.”
Clay Haglund of Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) and his stepson Justin Wiersgalla met me at the Theodore Wirth Off-Road Cycling Trail this morning. We spent most of our time riding the new Glenwood flow trail (see my Oct. 11 blog post about it) but did manage to ride all of Theo’s fun and flowy XC trails, plus ‘session’ a bit on the skinnies and rock garden in its XX section.
These aren’t photos, just some screengrabs of the video I took (below).