Monday, August 18, 2014

First Ever Duluth Bike Festival 2014!

Future bike terror
Bling bling!
This did not end well

Boys at the end of the Enduro 

Joe V pleased with his day

The bell says it all

Take some time and look at every face in this photo.  Different strokes for different folks!
Young bucks


Kids Race Mission Creek 

Mission Creek XC Race

Turn and Burn!

The weekend had it all.

Thrills and spills, laughter and tears.......What an amazing experience.  So many cool riders from all over the region.  I was so busy racing the Enduro and participating that I did not have a lot of time to shoot much.

I have been to a ton of MTB fests in the last six years but I have to say this was a special one for a lot of obvious reasons.  Perhaps the biggest thing for me was the inclusion of Gravity riding in the festival.  Having Enduro and DH takes the MTB fest experience to a whole new level in my opinion.  The crowds were thick and the drama was intense.

The XC race on Sunday was amazing in its own right.  The Mission Creek Trails were nearly perfect.  Tacky and fast!  It was so fun to see the racers just grinning ear to ear and by all accounts people absolutely loved the trails.  My hope is that each and every one of those folks goes home and talks about how nice the trails were and how fun the festival in itself was.

Many thanks to COGGS and all the volunteers that made this festival happen.  Also even more thanks to Kraus Anderson for their volunteers and the marketing and the partnership.  Even in its first year it was so successful and of course with some tweaking it will be even better.

Of course thanks to all the folks that came and raced from all over the Midwest!

I cant wait for next year!  But until then, get geared up for the Gitchee Gummee Galivant!  It will be the best ride of the year in my humble opinion..........

Blood, sweat and fish fries in the BWCA with Elmo

Cherokee Lake

North Temperance

Wee Little House

Eggs Diablo

Almost home

Night night

Early Morning preparations

Rise and shine

Hucking metal at morning coffee

The "Spool" Affair at its start
The coming strorm during the "Spool" Affair
Beautiful disaster
It all worked out

Happens every time

Big old Brule Lake

It has been an insane summer even by my standards.  One job is ending, another is starting.  Family stuff is hoping etc.

All that said I was lucky to get four days in the BWCA with my Brother in Law Mike (Elmo).  Mike has never been to the BWCA so this was a great chance to give him the experience.  Never mind the fact that pretty much all hell is breaking loose in my life!

Really though I needed this as much as anybody.

It was a classic trip.  Big rocky and rooty portages, storms, sunsets, sunrises, good campsites etc.  We fished mainly with the Fly, but also hauled along the grappling hooks.  Many fish were caught and many were eaten, stories told Gin drunk and snores resounded.

I think everybody should do this at least once a summer and I hope someday to take the rest of Mike's family out with our own.

Thanks for a great trip Mike, it was the highlight of my hellish summer!

Friday, August 08, 2014

"Calculated Risk" Spirit Mountains newest DH Trail........

The Terrarium (Terrainium?) 

Butter to Chunder

Not ready for Winter
Andy K getting wiggly 

Just when you liked the smooth stuff

Dropping in to Terranium...
Thanks to Andy K and Ryan M for getting out of bed this morning and making this photo shoot happen.

The Bike Duluth Festival with Krauss Anderson is next weekend and this the DH course!  Nice work Rock Solid Trails and Elias Featherly!

Its big and and its bad and thats what these folks are looking for!  Come and watch it will be insanity.....

Smiling, Crying and Drooling: My final Trek World........

Red Dragon
So let me tell you a little story.  Its nothing new but it does speak to my span of time with IMBA.  This 2014 was my sixth Trek World.  What a run.

In my tenure with IMBA there have been three major corporate supporters of IMBA and regionally.  Trek, SRAM and QBP.  Trek was the first to really get behind what I have been doing regionally.  When I mean really I mean really.  Total support.  If I gave them good info, good reasons and a good argument about what needed what  and when they were generally on board.  Sure I threw a few at them that they passed on but that was because they were smarter than me.....

In an case my story starts out in my first year with IMBA.  I had a major presentation in Lacrosse, WI with the HPT guys.  Full house.  Several hundred folks at the very least.  Bigger though was that I was lead in John Burke.  I choked hard.  Hard enough that I got the consolation back pat from JB.  It was one of my first major public speaking engagements and it sucked.  Hands down.  However I was inspired enough to realize that I needed to step up and get better.

Geeks, wonks and book worms
Spartacus and JB
 Fast forward to Trek World 2013.  A story that I have told on this blog before.  I was coming down to mainly support my boss Mike Van Abel as he presented and received the three year contribution from Trek's Double Down Program, nearly $800,000 in cash.

I dawdled on my way south.  Rode the CORBA trails, got some lunch etc.  Well at some point around Tomah my phone started buzzing.  Emails, voicemails, was Brandon Buth from Trek and also Joe V.  letting me know that MVA was delayed and that I was going to have to stand up in front of the full house at the opening ceremonies and take the check and say a few words about IMBA.  Over 3,000 folks sit in that arena and John Burke himself is the emcee.

 I started to panic but then I thought back to 2009 and the HPT failure.  I realize that this was the time to dig in and make it up.  Four years later I had the time, the confidence and the ability to hit this.

I fell back on my three points.  Good, better,  best and I got some stats from MVA so I had the ammo.  When I arrived I was whisked into the green room where Fabian, the Schleck brothers, Jens Voigt and the rest of the speakers were all hanging out.  I shook hands with heroes and all the while I ground my teeth in fear.  Eventually all of us were escorted into some VIP front rows and the game show started.

Minutes before I went up I went back into panic.  Then the thought hit me again.  This was my time, my place to say it like it was and to really push my passion and IMBA and also my gratitude for what Trek had done for me and for Mountain biking in the Upper Midwest.

I nailed it and when I walked off I got the wink from JB and I knew what it meant, it meant I had redeemed myself from four years ago.

I did not have a lot of work to do for IMBA at the 2014 Trek World so I did what I needed to and that was hunt down the folks that have supported me for 5 and half years and said thanks. Including John Burke, all of them wished me well and asked me to keep in touch and I will.

Cool colors
Of course I did get to shred on some amazing bikes.  I really tried out the bigger bikes.  Spirit Mountain has turned me into a Gravity Junky and between the Slash and the Session I have gone to long travel and it was fun to drool over those bikes at the show.

Amazing stuff.

The demo trails and the atmosphere at the site were great.  Perfect trails, perfect weather and great folks (and of course beer).

I ran in Jan from the Soo and he got up early one morning for a shred and I snagged some great shots of him as well.

All in all I will miss Trek World and Trek dearly.  I can not think of a better partner in the journey and I sincerely hope that Trek, QBP and SRAM see some sales and some love from all the good work that occurred in this region over the past five years because they deserve it.

So long folks, I will miss you but for some reason I feel like I will return.......

Gone fishin

Going to the Farm

EX Two Niner over.....

Dairy land flow

Monday, August 04, 2014

10 Year Anniversary Weekend with Margaret!

10 years with this wonderful person



Its been 10 years of marriage with my wonderful wife Margaret Harstad.  The old cliche is that time flies, but I am hear to say that it does more than that.  It goes at 10 Million Parsecs a second, and if you dont realize it your missing out on a whole bunch of living.

I have and always will be a dream chaser. Head in the clouds, walking into cars, dream chaser.  I am so fortunate to have a woman like Margaret in my life.  She supports my craziness and at the same time can deal with the disfunction of it all.

Life with me is not normal and its not always easy and yet somehow Tae and Margaret can deal with it and make it work.
Old things that I find at the cabin

River X 2.0 Paddle

Gravel Shuttle run 

What we all live for....summer

Its been over five years since we made the best move of our lives.

To adopt Tae.

This 10 year anniversary was our first chance to leave him with a friend and take a full weekend for ourselves.  We headed up to Fairview and just hunt out, fished, paddled and read books.  It felt like there was so much time you could have done anything!!!!!

I am a lucky person with a lucky life and a wonderful family and a wonderful partner....thanks Marg, here is to 10 more!