The end of September Lynn and I headed out to D.C./Alexandria, VA to meetup with son Nick and his family and attend a fundraiser for a Navy SEAL that had died while kayaking in Chesapeake Bay.
Nick knew the wife of the SEAL and her sister from Marquette.
Got in some bike riding while out there.
Rail Trail back to the house.
Brought the bike trailer out for the grandson....but he's suppose to ride in it. He likes to pull stuff.
At the fund raiser we partook in the bike auction.
This year's race was pushed back to the more original date occurring between Christmas and New Year. H.O. Wolding, the trucking company I now drive for when I'm home and available, was gracious enough to allow us to use one of their truck and trailer rigs to shuttle bikes and sleds from Rice Lake to Park Falls WI for the start of the 80 mile race.
I got started by making some bike racks in early December to add to and replace if needed, some of the older racks. I made these a bit wider for the newer 5" tires and added a little more space between bikes to allow the gear to be left on the bikes if desired.
Trial work getting the spacing correct and seeing what things would look like in the truck. Ramp setup.
Training ride, first flat with a fatty. Rode through an area where they did some wood chipping on the local urban trail. Walked out....
Timm's Hill, WI. Seems they always have first snow.
My sister made a cool quilt out many of the finisher T shirts I've collected over the years. We displayed it in case anyone wanted to do the same. Wife Lynn modeling next to it.
Most if not all of the bikes were fully loaded. We transported around 45 bikes I believe. Many of the racers still chose to bring their own bikes to the start which made sense if they had a support person drive them up there.
A buddy of mine and fellow racer rode with me in the truck, about a 2 hour ride.
Bikes and sleds loaded.
Unloading at the start. Saw -20 in the truck coming over, -15 or so at the start.
As for the race, I hung with the fast guys for a couple of hours but had to back off. At the first and only check-point for the 80 mile race I was in 5th or 6th place. The leader and 2nd place guys were still in the check-point building but left soon after I arrived. My goal was to spend as little time off the bike as possible for training for the up-coming Arrowhead135. My water froze, as usual, so I drank down as much as possible while there and buddy volunteer John handed me some chicken soup so downed that as well as he took my picture. I was about 2-3 minutes behind the leaders as they left, only staying in the building 7 minutes.
I was feeling good as the temps kept dropping. I never did see the leaders and around mile 50-55 I started to get the feeing that I wasn't getting enough carbs. Had plenty of sugar and water, though. At mile 60 I got passed and I had nothing in the tank to hold his tire.
My plan was to get to the town of Birchwood and get some food....breads especially. By this time I realized that it was going to be a cold finish. The air was at 70% humidity with the temps at -20 and lower in the late afternoon and dropping. I found out later that it was one of the highest dropout rates in the history of the race. People just couldn't stay warm. For me personally, I depend on the moisture wicking through the loose mesh back of my jacket as the typically drier air that's associated with the cold temps sucks it out. But that wasn't happening. The ambient air was just to saturated already to draw out any moisture.
In Birchwood I drank some hot chocolate and put on all the clothes I had which really only consisted of what I already was racing in and a mid-puffy jacket and wind pants. These 2 items made a world of difference. I was there about an hour.
One 80 mile rider came into the gas station I was getting ready to leave and he told me he had to drop as he got a flat and couldn't fix it. He told me he had been riding with another rider that continued on.
I took off and finished the last 15-20 or so miles ending up in 5th place.
For the 80 mile bike race 23 finished, 24 did not.
For the 160 mile bike race 14 finished, 20 did not.
Bentonville, Arkansas....the OZ trails (Ozarks). Maybe better known from one of the trail systems, Slaughterpen. When Lynn and I came down in May I rode this section but it was pretty wet. Rides a lot better dry!
Coler Mtn. Park. Not XC stuff....
Jason, from the New Hampshire.
Mt Kessler....real fun stuff, XC style.
Randy from Illinois.
Kevin Nierman from MO and a fellow artist friend we ran into while out on the trail. Both Kevin and Clay Crymes contributed art to the Dirt Rag mag.
Jason with his 2nd or 3rd flat....lucky Kyle from Texas brought a gross of tubes with him.
Shea (aka as DK) from Texas and me...I'm on top.
The CREW R-L
Me, Shea/DK-TX, Kevin-MO, Kyle-TX, Randy-IL, Jason-NH, Brandon-MO
As I came in a day late, I covered some of the Back Forty that the guys rode before I got there. Nice XC variations.
September, 2017 brought us our first travel trailer trip. We decided to head out to north central Idaho to meetup with Chris and Helen for an Ultra Race they were doing.
Lynn and I planned on taking off a week in advance and take our time crossing the northern plains. At the last minute Lynn decided to stay in WI for a few days to help in the move of her parents to an assisted living facility.
Lynn would fly out to Missoula and meet me there in 3 days.
That meant I got a few days to travel as I wished, stopping where, when and how long I wanted.
Before I left I had to do a little bike shopping for our grandson, Jason. He grew out of his 20' single speed "Magic Bike" and upgraded to a 26' 21 speed.
We had a nice time together checking out a few bikes. Jason got to test ride them and then we talked about their condition and how he felt riding them.
First stop, Battle Creek Park in St. Paul, MN.
I've ridden here before years ago with son Chris. It was just off the highway I was using to head out to North Dakota, Montana and then Idaho.
It was very hot, humid day. 90 degrees or better with maybe the same humidity.
It sure felt nice to pop into the shower and get cleaned up before continuing on my way.
I was able to make Fargo the first day, stopping and visiting with my niece, Christy.
Parked in Sam's Club parking lot.
The next day I stopped in Jamestown, ND and spent a couple of hours riding the Pipestem Trails. The trail runs across some prairie but also dips into a groove of trees winding in and out and up and down utilizing pretty much all they can.
Trailer in the distance.
The trail crosses the road then heads out along the reservoir bank.
Again, it was really nice to be able to shower and grab some eats and a drink out of the frig in the trailer.
Was able to make it to Montana via I94. At Glendive I left the 4 lane and headed west on Montana 200.
I drove past dark and found a local weigh scale that had plenty of parking around it. After talking to some locals to get their thoughts about parking there, I pulled in for the night. The house on wheels is working out great so far!
The next day I stopped at a Wayside after driving a bit to make some bacon and eggs with the grill.
I called my cousin that's a big game guide and stopped into his camp. He's from WI and moved out a number of years ago. We hunted together before he moved out west. He had a couple of clients in from Wisconsin, hunting elk and mule deer.
I drove on towards Great Falls, stopping at a Wayside 20 miles from town.
The next day I hit up the trails along the Missouri. They've been expanded and improves since I was here back in 2008.
Heading down to Missoula to fetch up Lynn I went past town and parked the trailer at a real cool bar just past Lolo, The Jack Saloon, then went back to the airport for Lynn. We got back in time to grab a beer. Parked here overnight....Lynn's first night in the trailer.
We rode over the Bitterroot mtns, very near the route Lewis and Clark took,
making our way to McCall, ID and the campsite 30 miles into the woods where the event was going to be held.
Many sites on the way to stop and take in, the first being the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. Very nice interpretative center.
Another was a nice walking area of Western Red Cedar. Trailer peeking through.
We got into McCall, ID around dark, picked up a few supplies in town and started on the 30-40 minute drive to Burgdorf Hot Springs, HQ for the IMTUF Trail Race that Chris and Helen entered. Lynn and I pulled into a 5-6 place campsite where I was warned our 30' trailer might not fit....but it did!
Once I got the trailer backed in we rolled out the canopy in the dark and rain....temps were in the 40's. At the end of the roll-out the LED lights came on. I setup the grill and cooked up the steaks we brought.
Our first dinner in the trailer.
For the next couple of days (and night) we followed the progress of Chris and Helen in the race while taking in a few other sights.
A "local" watering hole....watched part of a Packer game here.
Got some mtn. biking in.
Didn't get any pics of Chris....gotta follow the Leader!
Turns out, Chris miscalculated his cut-off times and wasn't allowed to finish. He still got in 85 or so miles of the 100.
Loon Lake in the background, where the bomber was located.
After the race and spending a little time with Chris and Helen we headed home via Boise and Denver.
At the Capital in Boise.
About 6-8 miles out of Montpelier, ID. Campground on the towns reservoir. Lynn out for her walk. Great having the trailer!
Montpelier was on the Oregon Trail Route.
Green River, WY. Camped at the mtn. bike trailhead. Met a local there about my age and I followed him around for a couple of hours. He had moved out west from MN years ago. Had a brew inside the trailer after our ride.