Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Fall hunting stoke 2012

Pocket full of shells and time to myself

Late season duck surprise
So I had lamented my lack of outdoor time and hunting this fall.  I was able to sneak out for a day this week and scout my deer hunting spot for the weekend.  Like my last post on adapt or die, this post could have been another version of that.  Our traditional hunting spots seem to be falling by the way side, pushing us more and more onto public land.  That of course has a lot of challenges, mainly finding spots where nobody else isnt!  That said, I have two tools that take me to places where others avoid (and hopefully animals dont!).  One is my Surly Pugsley, the other is my Advantage solo canoe from Wenonah.  Knowing that most folks will not hit their stands via water I took the boat out and did some paddling and found several amazing spots to check out come opener.  Along the way, to my total amazement I also got into some huge duck action.  I obviously stumbled into the late season mallards coming south as I saw hundreds of fat northern mallards and was able to shoot my fair share.  After limiting out, I just sat and watched duck after duck come steaming into my set up.....

Adapt or die files: #1

Wishful thinking
Last winter I started posting comments and thoughts on the idea of adaptation and winter sports.  Mainly because there is no doubt that we are losing winter here in the Upper Midwest.  Or at least the version we grew up with.  My older post was on Fat Biking, and I will have plenty more of those, but the idea is about tools, not one specific sport, so I thought I would start posting some other examples.  Fresh water surfing is one of those.  Not for the faint of heart, not for the folks looking to "hang out" while surfing either.  Want to surf the big lake?  Get your ass ready for lots of wind, lots of extremely tiring scratching and of course some sweet rewards down the line if you have the skills to make it happen.  This is a lot like eating crab legs.....lots of work, delicious morsels to be had in fairly small amounts!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Random Fall 2012 shots.

Soup town morning

Dtown slick rock!
So this week was another week on the road.  It has been a long sordid fall for traveling and the work load has beaten me up pretty well.  However that said, a lot of sick things for Midwest MTB have been lined up for next season, so I think it will have been worth the torture.  I am still digging through my images from the World Summit and will post those as well, but with limited time I thought I would toss up some shots from when my buds from Salsa came by....

Friday, October 19, 2012

IMBA World Summit tour 2012: Image download.

Buffalo Creek burn out

Buff Creek rocks become strange bedfellows

Morning drive to Monarch Crest tour.
High, cold and endless:  Monarch Crest
A-Rog feeling the warmth of the Colorado sun down in Salida.

So like I had mentioned we hit a lot of trails on our recent trip out west.  I had also mentioned that shooting was unfortunately not a priority.

Our rides were long, at altitude and had (at least for me) high exertion levels, especially with a full camera pack.  So many times I just chucked the 5D Mk2 and went with the point and shoot, and of course not being super inspired by shooting the point and shoot I just rode my brains out!

Our trip started out with one hell of a lot of driving.  We left on Friday night from Duluth at about 6pm and arrived at Buffalo Creek just outside of Denver at about 5pm the next day.  Fried does not describe it and after what happened to us at Buff Creek I have to also use it as an excuse.  First off let me say that as a photographer Buffalo Creek is by far one of the most interesting visual places I have ridden in a long time.  I could have spent a season shooting all that I witnessed there.  Unfortunately for us, we only had a few hours.  We used all the daylight we could, and the bummer was that even that was not enough!  We got caught out on trail, at the highest point no less in total darkeness.  What was going to be a fun fast and well earned descent turned into a hike a bike and "strider" crawl in the inky black darkness to our car.  Our bloodthirsty need to ride had overcome our need to be prepared and we paid for it, luckily however we did not end up spending the night out, as that was a very real possibility.

Once fed and back on our game, we once again hit the car and drove as far as Fairplay so we could hit Salida early in the morning and ride the Monarch Crest Trail with my buddy Nate Porter.  The morning dawned cold and frosty and the Crest started out that way as well.  Special thanks to Nate for the tour, we were not the speediest of riders, but we got the job done and ended the tour with beers and chile at Nates.

Both the Monarch Crest and Buffalo Creek were eye openers for our crew.  We have grown so spoiled by purpose built bike trails that we had to pull ourselves back into the head space of riding backcountry and multi use trails.  We loved em going down, we hated them going up and we saw nothing but lost opportunity in both directions.  Ultimately we realized the luck we have here in the Midwest in the fact that we are able to work more independently of horse and motorized use on our projects and thus create extremely high quality MTB trail experiences.

No doubt though, the views were worth the work and we will never have those back home....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back from the road: IMBA World Summit 2012

Sunshine daydream
Aaron Rogers, Elias Featherly and I drove out to Santa Fe, NM for the 2012 IMBA World Summit.

The trip had it all.  We rode, Buffalo Creek near Denver.  We hit the Monarch Crest Trail in Salida (with my buddy Nate Porter) and we hung with my bro in Durango and both fished the Animas river and rode in Overend Park.

Then we hit NM and survived the World Summit festivities and responsibilities and also had some great rides at Dale Ball and of course Winsor Ridge.  After the summit we hit the road and checked out the Angel Fire Bike park.  After a full day of riding we headed north and east to Bentonville, Arkansas to check out the Slaughter Pen trails.

I guess the take away is that we are home now, we are exhausted and yet fully inspired.  I will try and drop some photos on the blog here the next few days to cover the trip.  Unfortunately I did not take many, we were always moving and always busy with other things, so dont expect much!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Trail of Tires: Road to the IMBA World Summit 2012

Buffalo Creek, CO

Heights, vert and Altitude

Cold Starts in the morning
We are here.  We are suffering the climbs, but we are learning the ropes and so far, we miss home...

Destination avocation: IMBA World Summit Santa Fe, NM

Snow and mountain biking??  Already?

Frosted Shredded wheat 
Icy Spokes, icy breaks=equal slow stopping
On the road to the IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe, NM.  Aaron, Elias and I in the IMBAroo, heading across the country......

Monday, October 01, 2012

Go ride Bullwinkle!

Ryan Nelson reliving Saturday morning cartoons.

After being gone over the weekend I decided to check out the progress on the new Duluth Flow Trail at Spirit Mountain (which needs a damn name by the way) and was super stoked on the progress.  However it is obvious that people are poaching it despite the fact that it is as soft as a new fallen snow and the damage is a bummer.  Please folks, I know it is hard but please wait for some water to fall and harden the trail!  Then come out and help us shape and compact it, if you can do that then we will have some insane riding for years, versus your one slow assed descent on sugar berms.....If you need to ride something, go to the Harbor and ride Bullwinkle!

Mississippi River Fall hunting and fishing respite 2012

Watching and waiting to see what happens

A worthy Mississippi view

Pelicans heading for Mexico

Funny looking ducks around here

Heading home to check out the trout streams

It has been a great fall.  Great for work that is.  A lot is getting done and I have to say, never complain about success.  However I am grieving the fact that I am missing a lot of my fall hunting and fishing time because of it.  This weekend I was able to scratch that itch a little bit.  Duck hunting in the morning with my father (despite the summer like weather) and then due to the early stop times (cant hunt past 4pm early season here) hitting the trout streams for the evening hatch.  I was also able to hang with my parents and of course my own family as well.  In fact Margaret and I paddled across to the Trempealeau Hotel for a G&T, one of our first dates and then the site of our wedding.

I love where I live and what I do, but I have say I could just chuck it all, move back to Winona and become a river rat without any problem or regrets.....