Saturday, July 30, 2005

Quick trip home

So I find myself in Bismarck, ND tonight, which for at least a little while is still home to my parents, before they move back to Minot, ND. Tommorow starts the Texas road trip for Adam and Jamie's wedding. I took the long way home today, skipping the interstate highway route that I take most, and drove the backroads instead. I'm gonna have to say they take you through some beautiful parts of this state. I took highway 200 over so I ended up coming in to Bismarck from the north. I even included some gravel action to drive through the buttes that drop you down into the Missouri River Valley (this town actually has a valley to go with their river- Grand Forks just claims one). They river was lookin' sweet, with people kayaking out to the many sandbars to camp. Mist was forming in the valley at sunset, and I felt like building a campfire of my own. It even smells great here. I'm too used to the smell of processing sugarbeets and potatoes. Fresh air is something to cherish. If there's time amist all the packing tommorow I need to spin a short ride on the Lemond, which of course came with me on this trip. Bismarck is officially a nice town in my book.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

more headwaters spinnin'

Well I've definately found a sweet oasis of outdoor fun only two hours away from Grand Forks. Itasca was a blast again. The parks "Wilderness Drive" has got to be the best road riding I know of anywhere remotely close to my windy farmland city. Sorry I don't have any pictures from either of my latest biking trips there, but I don't have a working camera right now. Plus, I'm usually having too much fun to remember to take a picture. Yesterday I got to log another good big hill ride, spinning 100k (62 miles) with my friends Dave and Andy. During one of our laps around the park and thunderstorm beat down on the south side of the forest, while we were biking around the north side. Good timing. Thunder and giant dark clouds always up my average speed (and strangly always make the ride more fun.) This trip sure pumped me up for the Headwaters 100 in Sept. My friends with sexy road bikes and travel-benefitted airline careers should definately show up. Notice your official heads up. :)
I have yet to backpack in Itasca, so I'll have to leave the Lemond home next time and break out the boots. By map, it appears that there are too many cool trails and backcounty campsites not to enjoy the park by foot. I'll definately have to take a camera on that trip. Tom if you're reading this you're invited when I go. I don't think Itasca has any wild horses. :)
This weekend I'll take off for TX, to go to my brother's wedding. Congrats Adam and Jamie! (In advance, as I'll probably not be bloggin' during the trip.) Should be good times, despite the 40 hours on the highway. Road trippin's always a good time, but this particular trip will be all prarie drivin'. Yikes. Might have to drink caffienated coffee for once. I'll have updates on that whole escapade later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Sweet. I'm going to Itasca for more road action tommorow. My buddy who wants to hit the road offered to pay my trip costs so I can go and he can have a riding partner. I think that's a handout I'll accept. Summer!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A toast to 7.....I guess in that case the police looked the other way on the whole drinking and driving thing...silly Johan Bruhneel.... Posted by Picasa

7's a charm

As expected, today marked the 7th tour victory and final competive race for Lance Armstrong. I did manage to wake up at 6:30 (although I didn't get out of bed) to watch the final stage of the Tour, and it was sweet. It was cool to see Lance and his opponents chatting and taking it easy on the way into Paris (the race was pretty well decided yesterday so they didn't really race much today), then when it mattered the peloton picked it up and the finish to the Tour was great, with Alexander Vinokurof (yeah I don't know if I spelled his name right) wailed one last time to take the stage. Nice. Anyways, everybody should ride their bike today to celebrate the end of the Armstrong career, which entertained and inspired us. And also try to pay attention to all he's done for the cancer community. All those trendy little yellow armbands you see people wearing mean something.
Have a good one all.


Well today was a relaxed day to follow a busy one yesterday. I actually got to work a bit at my job, being at the airport from noon to midnight. I only got paid for 6.3 hours, but apparently partial pay is all a flight instructor can get for hard work. It was a large amount of pay in my world, so that's good. Today I watched history as Lance nailed his last time trial, and with it his seventh tour. Yes, there is one more stage, but nobody is close enough to take him out at this point. Good job Lance! (Yes, I know he'll never read that.) I was moved by the performance, so I decided to ride one of my normal training loops as a time trial, and surprised myself. The fastest I've ever ridden it was an hour and seven minutes. Today I rode it in just over 58 minutes! And I say that not to brag, but to share my excitment. It's good to push yourself to new levels. Plus, I had to get a good ride in here today because I was not able to ride the Lewis and Clarck 100 century event back in Bismarck, because gas is for the rich these days. Someday I'm going to that event. It's on my road.
Also during this fine saturday I tried to fix my clothes dryer that does not want to dry clothes. Laundry mats are another form of slot machines, eating up all your money, so I'd just assume fix my broken dryer fast. Turns out it's the motor, so it looks like I need to check the classifieds for a new old machine. It's been a fun project though. I think the best part was watching Mullet insist on getting into every part of the ripped apart machine, then getting afraid and hissing at all of them that he considers threatening. :)
Well, off to bed. I have to get up in just a few short hours to watch the final ride into Paris. Don't miss it- it's the last time to watch our American champ!

Monday, July 18, 2005

80 km in 1 day

Although not as epic as the Tour, myself and a cyling buddy from college, along with several old guys who are faster than us, went to Lake Itasca State Park in MN this past saturday to spin some miles. The park has a great 16 mile scenic loop, with a twenty mph speed limit (whoops, my max speed during the ride was 33.2) and very little traffic, and makes for a great road ride through the woods. It was a tough half century (in miles), as we flatlanders are not used to having to climb hills, and the road is pretty much short climbs and decents the entire loop. Much fun though. I do like a good hill climb (or mountain when I can stumble upon one). The woods are amazing as well. I love it when you run into low light under tree canopies, and it seems surreal, like you are traveling through a painting. Not to get cheezy and poetic, but that's just how it feels. One can't find a feeling like that on the couch. I don't understand how people dislike the outdoors just because there's no anti-bacterial peach mango handsoap (with shea butter). I think I'll have to backpack that park soon, as it's only a two hour drive away, and it would be nice to take it all in at a slower pace than we did this weekend. Nevertheless, road miles make a man happy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

3607 kilometres in 21 days

More than I can ride. The Tour de France is going great for the American cycling fan (not that there's that many of us). It seems Lance is gonna do it again. Holy crap. To win the Tour even once it takes so many things going right and nuts of steel (or carbon fiber). Winning seven times in a row is borderline sick. But nevertheless I am surely a Lance fan. I hope he does it. It's good to see Americans getting psyched over something other than a sport where you hit, pass, or well, hit or pass a ball. Racing a sweet road bike over an entire country in a month, consisting of flatland sprints, mountain passes that will make you cry and smile at the same time, team time trials, the rich French culture, crazy fans (yes cycling has those too), and countless other things contributing to an epic ride is just plain cool. If I could ride just one of those famous mountain climbs at my own pace I'd be one happy man. Not that I'm not. Today's stage pumped me up and I managed to hold above 25mph for over a mile sprint on my sweet Lemond Buenos Aires, despite the heat index in the upper nineties. Watch the Tour. Learn all about it. It's way cool.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Thought I might tempt some of you out there to join me on the Superior Hiking Trail sometime soon......


Friday, July 08, 2005

The long of the short....

Well it's time to elaborate on yesterday's blog. This past weekend was a much needed Grand Forks relief session. The north shore of Lake Superior is indeed superior. And I have to say that the many folks who put together the Superior Hiking Trail did an amazing job. What a sweet trail! It's currently somewhere around 220 miles stretching from just north of Duluth, MN to the Canadian border. The through-hike would take approximately two weeks at a decent but not overzealous pace. If there was some way to swing a trip like that and still have enough money to survive I'd totally be there. I can't afford to miss that much work though in my current stage of life. But just getting out there and backpacking the 10 mile stretch that we did this weekend was great (and it's a start at completing the whole thing). We (me, Alison, and our friend Jess who many of you know), hiked from Castle Danger township to Gooseberry Falls State Park. One mile into the trail section, we met a hiker walking quickly the other direction, just folding his pocket knife after keeping it out for his previous few miles. He told us that he'd just run into two adult bears sitting in the middle of the trail, and he'd quickly retreated back in the direction of Castle Danger rather than going around them. So, we needed to decide whether or not to continue. I'm going to have to give the credit of pressing on to Jes, as Al and I probably would have turned around without her. She pointed out that we came out there to backpack, so we'd better do it, and I agreed. Good job Jess. :) We made lots of noise along the trail, and saw no bears ourselves, although the mud of the trail was littered with fresh bear prints. Cool. Since there were so many prints, we decided to press on past the backcountry campsite we planned on spending the night at and went all the way to the state park campground. Being the fourth of July, it was full, but the rangers have a little secret stored away for tired backpackers at the end of the day. It's called the Davis Area, consisting of the best three campsites in the park, which lay right on the shore of Lake Superior itself. Ultra sweet. And we had hot showers. Not bad for roughing it. And I have to say that that lake tastes mighty fine after it passes through my filter. MMM. Not all full of chlorine and other city crap.
The day after I rode my singlespeed back to the van (I had stashed it in some bushes nearby the park the day before our hike) and picked up the girls. We headed up to Palisade Head, where they humored me for a bit while I did a local favorite climb, Danger High Voltage (5.8). It's a nice combo of face and crack climbing, exposed over the lake. I'm gonna have to go back and lead it next time. Much fun. The rest of the day was pretty low key, as we were all super sore from the backpacking, not to mentioned bit up by bugs and itching. I apparently was bitten my a spider or something, as my leg is still swollen pretty good. All part of the game. We hike in the critters homes and become there food sometimes.
That night we camped at Eckbeck campground north of Tetegouchi State Park, and got to watch thunderheads light up the north sky while mowing down smores. Did I mention trips are flippin' great! In the morning we played in the Baptism river after filtering some water out of it, and then went to check out the waterfalls of the nearby Temperance River. All of these places fall somewhere along sections of the Superior Hiking Trail, making it one of the top ten hiking trails in the country.
Oh yeah, the police. I had a fierce case of the hiccups on the drive out to the north shore, so I was trying to kill them off by taking consecutive short sips of water from my Nalgene, and consequently wasn't paying attention to the speed change through Grand Rapids (Hwy 2 changes speed limits about every 10 feet all the way out there). I got pulled over, but apparently I looked embarrassed enough that the officer let me go with a warning.
Overall, the trip was absolutely wonderful, and I'm very impressed with the Superior Hiking Trail. I'm going back. Anyone want to come with?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Short of the long

I'll soon write a decent blog of this past trip's happenings, but here's the short of the long: backpacking a section of one of America's top 10 hiking trails, climbing exposure over Lake Superior and camping on it's beautiful shores after a long trek, bears, spiders, my sweet singlespeed, waterfalls, silhouettes of nighttime thunderstorms from camp, many a glowbug and even hiccups that lead to dealing with police. Dang trips are cool.