Fat Tire Mountain Biking

Fat Tire Mountain Biking
Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail
MIKE HALL, Adventure Sports, Travel, Backcountry, Avalanche, Snowmobile, Snowmobiling, Snowboard, Snowboarding, Sledboarding, Winter Fat Tire Mountain Biking, Mountain Biking, Ski Patrol, Motorcycle, BMW Adventure Motorcycling, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Jackman, Maine

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kicking the New Year 2017 off on the Fat Bikes / Norpine Fat Bike Classic / Lutsen Minnesota

A January trip up to Cuyuna for some Fat Tire Biking. The map above is just a section of the entire area.

The trails wind around and alongside the old mining lakes in the Crosby, Minnesota area. I have ridden the trails in the Summer and Fall. The Winter is a great time to be in the woods.

Trails were in very good condition with a fresh coating of snow to cover most of the icy surface. The whole state of Minnesota received rain just after Christmas, then a cold snap moved in from the north and froze all the trails with a coating of pure ice. All our fat bikes are outfitted with 45NTH studded tires, even with that setup it was a bit sketchy for a week or so. The snow gave us a good surface this trip, yet One still needed to be alert for the patches of ice.
Good view of one of the mine lakes.
Feeling the trail...
Some sweet switchbacks gave me a good view from above.
Timed it right for several hours of exploring and checking out the different loops on the bikes as the sun set in the west. This was one of the full day adventures that started about 9:00am and arriving home at 11:30pm. We drove 360 miles round trip, rode for 3 hours. Drove further up the icy backroads to a burger joint in Cross Lake. Then to top it off, we made the drive to the family cabin. We hiked around the cabin and checked out the frozen lake. Then drove the 180 miles home.

This turned out to be a full on adventure day.

The map is the Fat Tire Bike race course up at Lutsen, Minnesota.

Riders will be riding 24 miles of cross-country ski trails this day. This was full on winter, fresh groomed snow with overnight temps at -12 degrees racing. It was an early -5 degree, 8:00am start. That meant I set the alarm for 4:00am, got up and let Jeff sleep till 4:30. We were staying in a condo that was a stones throw from Lake Superior... yeah the big Great Lake. Awesome!  
Two of the Midwest Mountain Bike Legends...Geno Oberpriller and Jeff Hall.
I met Geno back in about 1986. Jeff was 10 years old. I was doing the racing back then...
About 4 miles into the race with Jeff riding solid in the 1st chase group. A very loaded field in the front of the race. The trail was in very good condition. It was cold smoke snow this day at -5...
Jeff's son, my Grandson Owen and I chased the racers with the truck as they raced in the woods we were able to intercept them several times.

Owen is on the side of the course to hand up a water bottle. This was as Jeff was heading back to the finish, about 6 miles left. Still riding solid, didn't have the jump in his legs to win this day. Jeff was in 5th at this point and this is how he would finish the race, 5th place.
Owen was there to give his Dad a tap on his head to greet him at the finish. Tough conditions for all the racers with the temps. The good part was a great job of groomed trails.
After race time, the 3 Hall guys scrambling around on the rocks along the shore of Lake Superior. 3 generations of Halls having a good time at Lutsen. I am a lucky Man to have these adventures.
Above, Jeff and yours truly...below Owen and me hanging. Still about -4 degrees.

The image of Owen on the ice rocks along the shore of "Gitche Gumee" is priceless...

Adventure on!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fat Tire Bike / December Recap / Minnesota River Trail / Great Lakes Fat Bike Racing

Awesome Minnesota River Trail Ride!

Timing is everything in the outdoors. There was a large snow storm moving into the area. We arrived at the trailhead in the late afternoon with snowflakes just starting to float down. The temps were about 15 degrees with a bit of wind, good stuff... 

As we dropped down into the Minnesota River Valley we were sheltered from the wind and after about a mile we pulled over near the river which was chocked with ice flows. It was a chance to adjust clothing and watch the river flow past.   

 The snow was increasing and the trail was accented with the new snow. This is about as good as it gets... Good clothing and our LAMERE Fat Bikes are set for the winter riding conditions.
 The view from the bike bridge over the Minnesota River. Always good to end the ride with a stop and admire the river.
 With snow falling the light lingered into the evening. So overnight we would receive another 5 inches of fresh snow, looks like Winter moving in...

Good to top the ride off with a cold beer and hot pizza.

 The First Race in "The Great Lakes Fat Bike Race Series"

 A solid field of over 200 riders toed the line in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. With full on Winter conditions it was going to be a good test of tires and riders.

Matt Acker and Jeff Hall early on into the race...
 The course had been groomed and prepared the previous week. With the new, 5 inches of powder snow the course would change as the 200 riders packed it in. Temperature was about 5 degrees so there wasn't much pack to the surface snow.

With the early trail conditions, the loose snow, the pack became strung out. The course was primarily singletrack so there wasn't room to pass and it took full concentration to stay on the narrow track.

The course was 2 loops, about 46 minutes per loop for the leaders. As the leaders came through after the first loop Jeff Hall riding his LAMERE was in 7th position. That is where the grooming from the previous week came into play. the top snow was being pushed off to the sides and the hard pack came into play. Jeff was running a 45NTH Dillinger 5 Studded on the front and a 4" Van Helga on the rear. The front studded tire was hooking up and Jeff started picking off lead riders. He was able to work his way up to 2nd place at the finish. Nice come back... 2nd place in the first race of "The Great Lakes Fat Tire Race Series".
Jeff putting the hammer down about 2 miles from the finish.

Jeff Hall 2nd @ LAMERE, Jeffrey Young 3rd @ Larson Cycles Racing, Matt Acker 4th @ 45NTH
Assistant Race Manager, my Grandson, staying warm with the 5 degree temps.
Plan for staying warm. A pair of choppers, LAMERE winter clothing and pedal your LAMERE Fat Bike on snowy singletrack through the woods for a couple hours... JP LaMere riding and testing his namesake bike. The Boss feeling the ride!
Podium: Cole House @ 1st, Jeff Hall @ 2nd, Jeff Young @ 3rd  

Ride On!!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Sledboarding Colorado Mountains / Nine Year Flashback 2007 / Snowboarding the Backcountry

Chasing the snow storms was how we rolled 9 years ago. We had been in the sledboard game for 3 years, with 10 years of snowboarding under our belts, we kept pushing the bounderies.

Back in 1999 we started to head to the mountains from the Midwest. By 2002 we had taken an avalanche course in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The backcountry was our drug, best served with storms and driving through blizzards that just added to the adventure. 
 The town that caught our attention early on was Steamboat, Colorado. This was a big resort town, but also the appeal was the main town which still felt like a cowboy town. Nothing beats a good snowstorm in Steamboat.
 The goal 9 years ago was to hit the early season storm as it was dropping fresh powder in the surrounding mountains.

We went all in with the sled part of the backcountry adventure, 2 long track mountain sleds, enclosed trailer and 3/4 ton pick-up. 3 years into this adventure, we had replaced one of the sleds with a new 2008 Polaris RMK with a 155 inch long track. We still had the original 800 Polaris RMK 159" track.

The system was to have both sleds, ride both down the mountain and park 1 sled. Then Weez would sit in front and hold onto the bars while I stand and drive back up the mountain. Unload the boards and the snowboard down the mountain together. arrive at the parked sled, load up and roar back up. Sometimes we would use a waterski rope and I would pull Weez back up the mountain behind the sled.     

 The White Room... look close and you can see Weez in the trees.

 Riding the Polaris Mountain Sleds... awesome terrain and scenery... fresh powder.

 Living the rock and snow life... Our own mountain for the day, nobody else out there... Yee Haa!!
 Backcountry mountain weapon, Polaris 700 RMK 155"/2.4" paddles.

 Took a break from the backcountry 1 day and hit the Steamboat Resort on the boards.
The trip was all part of the big Adventure...East of Omaha heading into Des Moines, Iowa. 

Brapppp On!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 / Go Find Some Mud and Ride Your Bike / Listen To Your Great Grandpa

 Favorite place to hang out with our Fat Bikes, you guessed it "The Swamp", Louisville Swamp that is... all the precious maintained trails are off limits now with a bit of moisture in the air.

Hell, ya got to have an adventure and sometimes it means getting off the beaten path. The River Bottoms have been an ever changing system since I have been wandering along the banks of the Minnesota River for the past 43 years. Man what the hell happened, 43 years, still kicking ass and looking for the adventure that the River offers. The nastier the conditions, the more the memories are made. Night rides are the best because the world shrinks to the size of the lights or sometimes in the winter, just the moonlight.

 The riding is good, but the 28 years or so that I had a good dog running in front of me was the best way to experience the winding trail along the River. No dog now... Like George Thorogood said..."people are kinda funny", about dogs running with ya when on the trails. Seems that the dogs were eating and scaring all the wildlife, that's what the sign says... HaHa!
 Some would think that the weather in the Fall is bleak and drab, not so Pilgrim. Black and white is good. I gain energy from the stark landscape.

Bloodlines Have a Direct Impression on Ones Lifestyle 
 Flashback to my Great Grandpa who hung around rivers... Here he is pictured back in the 1950s with a big ole Catfish in front of his 1937 Chevy. Great Grandpa Aker on my Mom's side. He lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, worked on the railroad. He was an avid Pheasant hunter and made many fishing trips to Canada.

He was on the job riding the train one night at the ripe old age of 55 and had a heart attack. They put him in a boxcar and transported him back to a town that had a hospital. I visited him several times when my boys were very young, he took pleasure telling me about that night of his heart attack. They told him he had to retire at the age of 55. Well, he continued to hunt and fish for the next 41 years, all the while collecting his Railroad Pension... He told me " ya gotta just keep moving", wise words.
Cheers to all ya Pilgrims out there that are livin' life like every day could be your last day...

Ride On!!