Sunday, January 18, 2015

Off Trail...

With the warm above freezing temps I've been somewhat ambivalent to ride the single track trails. So, I've decided to mix it up some and hit the local lakes and marsh areas. It's been a fun two days of riding and exploring off trail.

 "Riding the Maze"
Medicine Lake is one of our larger and popular local lakes. On any given weekend the lake is full of folks enjoying ice fishing, kiting, walking, running, and of on the Pugsley.


The lake has plenty of interesting marsh and wetland areas that a person on xc skis, snowshoes, or fat bike can explore.

However, you have to be careful especially with the warm weather we've been having.


 "Sunday Sunrise"


With the lack of snow for insulation and plenty of cold weather the ice is very safe. Even with the warmer temps we've been having I haven't encountered any really "unsafe" conditions.

I really enjoy riding the single track, but I also enjoy getting off trail and exploring other options. Having a fat bike and good conditions makes the list of possibilities seem endless.

"The Peninsula"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mixing it Up-First Rides of 2015

With the recent snow and sub-zero temps the riding conditions at Elm Creek Park Reserve have been "primo". The snow has had good grip and the trail has been in immaculate condition thanks to the hard work of the local "Grooming Gods". So far I have really enjoyed this first eleven days of 2015.

I've also received some really good news from my cardiologist. My heart procedure seems to be holding and the recovery period has passed. Therefore he has decided to take me off of my medication to see how my heart functions without the cardiac rhythm meds. Good news as I should begin to gradually get my stamina back. 

First Ride of 2015...


 "Happy New Year"

Hitting The Frozen Lakes...

With temps in the teens below zero and windchills in the -30(F) to -40(F) the powers that be decided it would be a good idea to call school. That of course meant that part of my day could be spent outside on the bike embracing the winter cold. So, I figured with safe ice and firm snow it was a good time to check out the area lakes. It's always a nice change of pace and it fun to ride around the lakes and explore all the little nooks, crannies, and back waters.


Multi-purpose Trails...

Yesterday and Today I spent some time riding the multipurpose trails at EC. It's fun to mingle with the xc skiers in place where they don't give you nasty looks. I also love to see the skijorners out with their dogs. Like the lakes it's a nice change of scenery to get away from the single track from time to time. It's good for the soul to experience as many different kinds of riding as possible.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Adieu to 2014

My final rides of the year occurred in our gem of the Three Rivers Park District, Elm Creek Park Reserve. I really love riding these trails and right now, thanks to the hard working trail grooming crew, they are absolutely primo.

I'm happy to put 2014 in the rear view mirror and I'm looking forward to the new year and what it will bring.


Winter Solitude Returns

December 27th found me heading north once again. We had just received several inches of fresh snow and the Iron Range had received some additional snow early in the week and temperatures had cooled considerably. We didn't arrive at my Mom's until early afternoon and I wanted to make sure I was home for dinner, so I waited until Saturday night after dinner to get a little ride in.
The conditions were perfect to ride some local trails that were packed by snowmobiles.

 I was really anticipating getting out into the deep woods on Sunday...

Quiet Solitude

Sunday found me alone riding solo in a very happy place. I absolutely love riding these roads and trails in Northern Minnesota. One selfish thing on my part is that I really don't tell anyone exactly where I ride. In all of the years I've been riding up here or even up off the North Shore, I've never encountered another cyclist. This I like very much and would prefer to keep it that way. So, when someone asks me the inevitable question, "Where do you ride when you go to Northern Minnesota?" Specifics are avoided as much as possible.

Fishermen don't talk about their honey holes for fear of finding others in their spot the next time they go out. I treat my rides the same way. So if you want to ride forest roads in the Northwoods my reply is pretty much..."Take your pick."

Another question I get from the techie cycling geeks is, "Do you put your rides on Strava or Map My Ride?" or "Do you use any other cycling apps to track your rides?" My reply is generally "NO". I don't need to see where I've been, nor do I need to keep track of miles, elevation, average heart rate, calories burned or any of that other stuff. I've done that before and it became an obsession, so now I just ride and I don't worry about anything else. I'm not "training" for anything. Rather, it's only about getting out a bike and enjoying the ride and my surroundings. For me this is what cycling is all about.

 "Long Shadows of Winter"

My other appreciation for this type of cycling is the places you can actually go. I've taken my bikes and have ridden in places where not many other people would think of riding a bike. However, now that gravel riding has gotten to be such a big deal (I seemed to be ahead of the game here also) more people are riding forest roads, but the number is still quite few. Hopefully it will remain that way in the Northern part of our fair state.

I'm still riding the old Pugsley and still loving it. Back in 2008-2009 there were very few people riding fat bikes. Now that the roadies and everyone else has gotten into the fat bike scene, the same people who were laughing at us and calling us fat bikers crazy are riding carbon framed fat bikes and can continue their racing year round. 

The thought of getting rid of the Pugs has never came into my mind until this year. Now I'm actually thinking of getting a newer fat bike. Possibly another Pugs, but more than likely a Salsa Mukluk. I have no desire to get into a super light weight carbon model. Most of my riding is adventure riding in nature so the Muk sounds like a good choice and definite upgrade from the Pugs.

In the meantime, I'm just going to continue enjoying my solitary rides in the Northwoods.