Sunday, June 30, 2013

First Ride of the Year on The Trace

You may wonder what has been happening since not many blog postings.  Over the last 2 months, I had a CT scan that showed a mass in my left lung.  Eight nights in the hospital for a biopsy - which showed the mass to be lung cancer.

My doctors let me make my trip to the mountain bike festivals - I needed the break.  On return, it was more tests (MRI, PET scan, Pulmonary Function) and doctor appointments.  We (doctors and I) decided to treat the mass with radiation.

A week of heavy, pin-pointed radiation treatment and all of the trips to the doctors took it toll on me.

The Spring was rainy.  When I felt like riding, it was a pavement ride.  Today, I decided it was time for this year's first ride on the Wabash Trace.  While it was a bit windy (from the North) the temperature was perfect (mid 70s) with filtered sunshine.  Parked the car in Silver City.

Mounted the GoPro camera on the handlebars of the mountain bike (my Trek 4300).  Since I knew I would be battling the wind on the way back, I rode non-stop from Silver City to 305th Street.  Ended up with a little over 40 minutes of video.

My original plan was hoping to make it as far as the Silver Creek Bridge.  When I crossed the bridge, I felt pretty good, so continued another mile to 305th.  This made the ride 5.5 miles one way.  Figured that was plenty for this ride, knowing I will be riding into the wind on the way back.

Shut down the GoPro at 305th and stopped several times on the way back, taking still photos.  This gave me time to rest at times on the way back.  By the time I got back to Silver City, I was exhausted.

Lots of folks riding their bikes on The Trace today.  Don't think I have ever seen so many along this section of the trail.  Had to be 20 or more that I met on the trail in my 11 miles ride.  Think everyone had the same idea - could not pass up a day like this without spending part of it on a bicycle.

Today's photo was taken about 1/2 mile North of 305th St.  The foliage along the trail is very lush, not surprisingly with all of the rain, humidity, and heat over the last couple weeks.

Tranquility Tire Tantrum

Saturday was (twice rescheduled) Tranquility Tire Tantrum mountain bike race.  The race is a part of the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series and was held in Tranquility Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Was a beautiful day for a bike race, though the wind could have dialed down a bit.

The photo shows some of the participants checking out the all-important race results.

Photos taken during Tranquility Tire Tantrum are posted. Think I only missed 2 riders in the first race. Did not stay for the end of the second race as it was about all my body could handle.

As usual, these are proofs for viewing and ordering purposes. If you wish to order a file, I will reprocess the file from the camera raw and e-mail the file to you.

Photos are located at:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival

Today was the main day of the mountain bike festival. There were 5k and 10k runs early in the morning (before I got to the festival grounds).  The first function I attended was the Bicycle Parade (upper photo).  The parade route took the riders from the festival grounds, to and through downtown Crosby before riding back to the festival grounds,  Fewer riders in the parade than last year.

After the parade, it was time to prepare to shoot the crosscountry mountain bike race.  Riders rode their bikes from the festival grounds to the start/finish line at Pennington Lake.  This mass roll-out from the festival was to eleviate any parking problems at Pennington Lake.  Large group of racers.

After the group headed out of the festival grounds, I drove over to the parking area near Boot Camp (along highway 128).  Visited with a race trail guard as I waited for the racers.  I found a spot in the woods along the singletrack.  Caught most all of the riders as they came through.  Missed some when there were too many arriving at once and the camera couple not keep up processing the files.  Many of them I caught on the second lap.  Ended up with about 200 shots of the race. 

Back at the festival frounds, I was hungry.  Picked up a burger and Fat Tire at the vendors.  The first of the Twin Cities Fun Factory BMX stunt show was underway.  Smaller crowd watchng the show this year than last year.  Did not see the "money shot" I took last year "High Flying Bike".  They were having a second show later in the afternoon.

I took some time to head to the hotel to sort some of today's photo files.  Got some also posted up on the race & events web site.

Was pretty tired, but wanted to try to shoot the always popular kid's races.  The lower photos was the start of the kids race for the youngest riders.  After the kid's race, the moms and dads rode their kid's bike in a race.

I topped off the day with a sandwich and Fat Tire at Coach's Corner Sports Bar.  Now rest time, checking the weather, and probably packing the car for the trip home.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Yesterday (Thursday) was travel day.  Was hoping it would clear off a bit, instead the day started spitting mist while packing the car.  Eventually got on the road.  Encountered "pea soup) fog just leaving Duluth.  I had to slow down to 40mph on I-35!

The fog was clear as I headed out on highway 210.  Was getting hungry when I reached Cromwell.  Had lunch at the Country Inn Restaurant.  What a lunch!  Ordered 1/3 pound burger, fries, cole slaw, 2 onion rings, and coffee for under $10! 

Checking at the Country Inn Deerwood.  Settled into the room and got stuff ready for a ride Friday.

Today, the morning was spent waiting for sun and higher temperature.  By noon, it was time to head over to the trails.  Talked with Dan (Owner @ Country Inn) about riding "Switchback".  This was a trail I had not ridden.  Parked the car at the Pennington Lake boat ramp.

Pretty good singletrack.  Just some climbing that was over my ability.  Did not how much I have gotten out of shape - be that from not active or health problems.  Was out of breath at times walking the bike up the trail.  From the upper photo, you can see where the trail gets its name.

Anyway, I had the GoPro camera on the bike and recorded the whole ride.  When I hit the end of Switchback, I rode the road to the Cuyuna Lake State Trail back to the car.

Back at the room, I downloaded the video.  Looks like I got the whole ride - even did not get the camera turned off while visiting at the parking lot.  Converted the video from MP4 to AVI.

The camera wanted to update the firmware.  That is done from the GoPro CineForm Studio.  The firnware update did not take.  Sent an e-mail from GoPro. While i was out for registration and pasta feed, I had instructions from GoPro.  Awesome customer support!  Downloaded the firmware and formatted the SD car.

Back at the Festival (Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival).  Bought raffle tickets (for a New Belgium Brewing cruiser) - drawing in September.  Food and beverages by Maucieri’s and New Belgium Brewing.  The band was playing.  Later there would be a night ride under lights (beyond me on unfamiliar trails).

No luck updating the firmware.  The camera seems to be stuck in a loop.  Sent another e-mail to GoPro support.  About time to call it a night.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tourist Day in Duluth-Superior

It was a busy day playing 'tourist" today.  Slept in a little, had a bagel & coffee at the hotel.  Then consulted the maps to find my way via highway to Canal Park.

My first stop was the Lake Superior Maritime Museum.  The top photo here is the entry hall to the museum.  I was there early (9:45) as the museum did not open until 10am.  It was interesting to see so much information about the shipping on Lake Superior.  One exhibit I found very interesting was a relief of the Great Lakes and surrounding area.  It really shows the depth of the Great Lakes.  I knew Lake Superior was deep, but did not know Lake Michigan has a very deep section. 

The building that houses the museum is also the offices of the Corps ot Engineers.  Not a large museum.  Sure can't complain as there is no admission fee.  The museum is in Canal Park right next to the Aerial Lift Bridge. Parking was pretty reasonable - 2$ for the first 2 hours..

Next was the agenda was the Great Lakes Aquarium.  Admission to the aquarium was a bit steep.  First, there was $5 for parking.  Admission was $16.50 (at least there was a discount for seniors - $13.50 for those 62+).  The middle photo on today's posting is of the entrance of the aquarium.

The most interesting exhibit for me was the large model of the Great Lakes water system including locks, power plant, and even Niagara Falls.  I spent about a hour at the aquarium.

It was about lunch time, so thought I would find the Anchor Inn in Superior for lunch.  I had been told they have great, cheap hamburgers.  Alas - Tower Avenue is all torn up.  Gave up and headed to the next stop.

I knew that today was the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center 3rd annual Open House (I was there 2 years ago!)  Free burgers/dogs, chips, and soda.  So, I could at least get a little food before later dinner.

Did not see much new - but it was a nice break.  The museum has artifact from WWI, WWII, Korea, VietNam, and the "cold war".  Did not see anything about Iraq or Afghanistan.  The center piece of the museum collection is a P-38 plane.

By this time, my left knee was having a fit.  Time to go to the hotel and "get horizontal".  After a little nap, I processed the photos I took today.  Then it was time for some dinner.  After some debating, I decided to find a place for pizza and beer.

The Firelight Inn (don't remember why I ended up at that site) recommended Thirsty Pagan Brewing.  I knew I could find the brew-pub since I was past it earlier, trying to find the Anchor Inn.

I told my server (Christy) that I would like an Amber Ale, if they had one.  She served me a pint of North Coast Amber - brewed on premises by thier brewer - Allyson.  OK, does it sounds like I was getting to friendly with the brewery?  t was just so easy.  Manager Steve stopped by and answered any of my questions.

I like to sample the local beers while on the road.  Talking with Steve, he asked how Hayward biking was - I said it was mostly wet.  He also stays at the Country Inn in Deerwood, knew the owner, Dan.  I asked if he knew Hansi - the local IMBA Regional Director - he does.  Guess he's also a mountain biker! Gave Steve the URL for my cycling blog and general web site.

Was a very enjoyable dinner.  I can sure recommend Thirsty Pagan Brewing for beer and pizza and friendly staff.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ride on the Duluth Lakewalk

Cool morning and the forecast was for scattered showers.  After coffee and pastries at the hotel, I found a place to get a haircut.  I had been getting pretty shaggy! was showing some showers heading through the area late morning.  So, I killed some time chatting online.  Soon, the clouds were getting thinner, so kitted up for low/mid 40 deg weather.

It was a little over a block from my hotel (Days Inn Duluth) to the Edgewater entrance of the Duluth Lakewalk.  Took the hybrid off the car rack and loaded up for the ride.  It was a 3 mile ride along Lake Superior to Canal Park.  Rode around Canal Park before riding back to the hotel.

Was a bit brisk ride back as I had a stiff headwind.  While I was a little chilly, I was not uncomfortable.  Guess I had just the right layer of clothes.  Felt great to be back on the bike.  Was not sure I was excited about riding in this weather, but sure glad I did.  Just over 7 mile ride.

OH, I had the GoPro on the bike.   Still have problems understanding when the camera is running and when its not. Did not get the footage I thought I was getting.

Was thinking of getting out last night - sampling the local night life.  But the exercise and fresh air made me too tired. Instead, I feasted on a chicken fried steak at Perkins (2 blocks from the hotel) and called it a night.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hayward to Duluth - the Long Way

Today was travel day - Hayward to Duluth.  That should be a trip of 75 miles - but not me.  I plotted a scenic route of 155 miles.

Before the drive, I needed a good breakfast.  Best place for breakfast was once again Coopers Restaurant.  The only place I have seen where you can have a home-cooked breakfast with coffee and under $10, including tip!  This morning, I opted for pancakes and sausages.

The drive took me North out of Hayward on US 63 to it ends near Ashland.  Stopped in at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.  Picked up a brochure about the Apostle Island National Lakeshore.  At the center, I was directed to Bayview Beach north of Washburn.  I was looking for places to take photos of the lake and the islands without having to take a ferry ride.  The daily cruise to see the islands started at 10am - it was already 10 and I was at least a half hour from Bayfield (cruise dock).

Anyway, the upper photo was taken at Bayview Beach,  One of the islands is in the distance on the right.

Was thinking of stopping in Bayfield, but the streets in the "downtown" area where torn up.  Took a couple photos of the National Lakeshore Headquarters building.  Next was Red Cliff (Native American town).  I had a recommendation to check out the view from the casino restaurant.  But, it was not lunch time.  Instead, I continued to Little Sand Bay.  Took some photos.  There were a couple of kayak there.  The lake was surprisingly calm today.  Was going to stop in at the Visitor's Center, but it was "closed for the season".

On around on Wisconsin Rt 13.  Not sure that my legs and knee would hold up enough to do a hike from Meyer's Beach to look at the sea caves.  So, I passed.  Stopped at couple times to take photos. Nice scenery at a wayside near Port Wing.  Took photos of abandoned Cloverland Community Club and School.  Also stopped at the Davidson Windmill. (see photo to the right)

On to Superior and Duluth.  Noticed that the annual open house at the Bong Heritage Center will be on Wednesday.  Might check it out again - if the weather is terrible and I'm looking for something to do.  Drove past the hotel a little on up along the North Shore. 

Checked in at the Days Inn Duluth.  Dropped some of my gear and checked facebook.  Asked the desk clerk for recommendation for burger or such for dinner.  Went to Fitger's Brewhouse.  Had a good brew from their selection (did not catch the name).  Food was the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with beer batter fries. Good food, just a little expensive.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Post-Mortum - Festival of the Trails

Festival of the Trails, 2013 edition - is history.  I slept in this morning.  Was a chilly and cloudy this morning and i was not excited about riding before the picnic.  Did take the back road to try finding one more check point on the way.  Found the trail, but did not find the sign or punch.

Turned in my tally card and got on line for food.  Thanks to Famous Dave's BBQ for food and Angry Minnow for beer.  On my way to a second beer, Bill (met 3 years ago at the festival).  Visited for a little.  Told him abour the Cuyuna festival.

The picnic was also the time for turning in tally card.  The cards had locations within the trail system where riders punch their cards.  Think there was a total of 16 locations. The more punches, the more tickets you received for prizes.  Riders deposit stubs in buckets in front of prizes which they would like to win.

The first time I attended, there were punches for attendance at other festival functions (skills class, night ride, bike repair class, etc).  The last times I attended, punches have been only for riding to the designated locations.  That is all and good for strong riders.  Slower riders cannot garner as many punches.

It seems that it takes longer riding to reach a punch location.  For example, it is only 1 along a fire road.  Many were on blue (and a couple black) trails.

I did not even ride my bike during this year's festival.  Arriving Friday, I was too tired.  Saturday morning I was more in shooting some photos of the skills class and the Mt. Borah Epic race.  Saturday afternoon was overcast and raining off and on.

Further, i did not have anyone to ride with.  Two years ago I started Friday evening trying to rack up punches.  I ended up crashing 3 times the first evening.  All of the times, I was by myself and had my mind on the punches, not riding.  So, this year, punches was on the bottom on my priorities.  To me, the newer method of awarding punches is weighted in favor of the strong riders.

At the picnic, much of the time was taken up with calling out door prize numbers.  Yes, its great to have a lot of swag to give out at a function, but ober an hour of numbers is a bit much.  The big raffle prizes seemed to be more of an afterthought.

Dinner tonight, headed to Coop's Pizza.  Figured to support the sponsors.  Ordered the Italian Sausage sandwich - thinking it would be a sausage on a brat (or such) bun.  Surprise!  It was a patty of Italian sausage.  Tasted pretty good, but sure not what I was expecting.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

National Trails Day

Today was National Trails Day.  I spend the day at CAMBA's Festival of the Trail in Wisconsin.  The day started sunny, comfortable (about 60), and no wind.  I slept in a bit - finally got up after 6am.

Checked out Cooper's for breakfast.  Good place to eat.  Coffee is $0.99.  Special was eggs, meat, potatoes, & toast for $5.99.  Such a deal!

On to OO Trailhead.  Scoped out the skills class they were conducting.  Little different than the last time I attended the Festival.  Still does not compare to the course I saw at Midwest MtB Fest in Quad Cities.  The upper photo is one of the skills whey were teaching - riding up and over a little hill, with a turn.

At the trailhead, there was a taped off chute coming from the woods, crosses the road, under the ski-race hut, and disappears into the wood.  I asked and found out the at Mt. Borah Epic race was coming though this morning.  I settle down and shot photos of the races as they came through (see previous posting).

By the time about all of the racers came through, the sky was overcast and threatening.  I drove over to the Wilson Lake area for Taste de Trails (food).  This year, the "Taste" was organized a little different.  The 2 other times I attended, you rode the trail, stopping at different stations for food.  This time, all of the food was under 1 tent.

Food was sponsored by the following business in the area:  Brick House Cafe, Coop's Pizza, Delta Diner, Namakagon Grocer, and Rivers Eatery.  Seems that they had plenty food for the riders.

I had the bike with me, but just did not feel like riding.  The weather was turning for the worse, spitting rain, cold, and raw.  On the way back to my motel, I detoured to one spot where I could get my ticket punched along the road.

That done, it was time for a nap until the mountain bike party with food, beer, videos and music.  The party was up in Cable at Rivers Eatery.  The place was packed.  I ordered my pizza and a beer.  It was not comfortable outside under the tent, but that's where I sat for dinner (with a couple other folks).  Did not say very long after I had eaten - just too raw.  I headed back to Hayward to my warm motel room. 

Mt. Borah Epic

Today was the running of the Mt. Borah Epic. While the race is  on the Saturday of  Festival of the Trails - it is separate from the festival.

According to the promoters:

"The Mt. Borah Epic is nothing short of its true definition. A series of trail systems developed by the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association, also known as CAMBA, have led Mt. Borah to stage a race that pays tribute to the trails and offers a one-of-a-kind experience found no where else but Northern Wisconsin.

Skill, endurance and perseverance will be asked of each rider as they challenge the Epic this upcoming spring. Each section of the course holds its own key to success. Racers will traverse rocks, roots and navigate through pine groves, all while enjoying the epic single track that has inspired us to stage this race from the very beginning."

I was not in Cable, WI for the start (probably should have gotten up earlier enough, but needed my rest).  Taking a break from shooting some photos of the skill class, I noticed a growing number of folks in blue sweatshirts gathering at OO Trailhead.  I learned that the point-2-point race will be coming through here.  Found a seat and spend about an hours shooting the riders.

OO Trailhead was about 1/2 point of the 30 mile race and the only (for what I know) fuel/water stop. Photo with this posting is the race leaders at the fuel stop. Once they are sorted, proof copies will be on my events & race web site.