Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chariot Adventure

Sara and I threw Kiera in the Chariot and headed to the Hut, Co-op, Northern Lakes Smokehaus, Amazing Grace and the toy store in Dewitt Seitz. It was nice to get the whole family out of the house and go on a little adventure. We started in the rain at 10:30 and got back at 4:30. Sara packed the Chariot full of books, toys, snacks and water so Kiera was quite content.

The blown out road has helped us realize it's not so bad to take Kiera on Skyline and through town. Cars were pretty courteous and the Chariot is okay going off road too.

We plan to do the same thing tomorrow!

The city awarded RJS Contractors the bid and the fellas are already getting busy

They've started by bring in lots of gravel and fill to prep for a new culvert

Sara pulling the Chariot down Michigan Street near the Duluth Grill

Off-roading with the Chariot. We are climbing up old HWY 61 I believe (either that or it was old Cody Steet).

The creek that blew the road apart is back to its normal trickle

The Stover boys have now dug out steps into the ravine

The rope in the background just in case it gets greasy again

Kiera is now able to traverse the ravine on her own. And people think we are stranded:)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Great Aerial Footage from KSTP

Check out this 20+ minute video of the flooding around and in the Duluth area:

On my way home from mtb camp today I got passed by the political motorcade coming out to see our hole in Skyline Road. The cameras were flashing and the video cameras rolling. It is hard to believe so many people would stop to look at this small problem when other areas in the city are completely destroyed. Would it be great if we could use our cars to get places? Certainly. However, when biking around and seeing so many with so much loss, the lack of using a car means nothing to me. I still cannot believe there hasn't been any reported deaths.

Mayor Ness, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, Rep. Cravaack along with County Commissioners checking out the damage.

Mayor Ness, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, Rep. Cravaack along with County Commissioners checking out the damage.

This is Fond du Lac. Sara's up to her waist. These folks need all the help they can get. We can wait.

In the past two days I've pedaled for 16 hours. It has been a ton of stop and go to take pictures, but riding has become a necessity to get food, go to work, etc.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More Photos

Couldn't stop taking photos of the lake today. I've never seen it so full of clay or other debris. Logged over 10 hrs on the bike today since I had to commute to mtb camp, do mtb camp, and ride with Sara once I made it home.

My coping mechanism is to try to do everything I normally do and pretend nothing has happened. It is working so far.

"The Puker" backyard regular

Mission Creek Trail or 7 Bridges Road - summer/winter beauty

Mont du Lac access under water

210 - Favorite road ride...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Biblical Rains Part II

Sara and I rode/hiked out our door down to Fond du Lac this afternoon. We attempted to ride down Ghost Town trail to get there, but either Mission Creek or mud slides have washed the trail away. We were up to our knees in mud and dragging our bikes through creeks, trees, etc. It reminded me of hacking our way out of the BWCA 4th of July straight line wind storm we enjoyed a number of years back.

Between Mission Creek running wild and the dam being opened up a couple of times over the past day, Fond du Lac is destroyed. It was heart wrenching to see the water running through people's homes, garages, cars, etc. We spoke with a handful of folks that live there and they said it sounded like electrical transformers were exploding all night long (turns out it was from the trees falling during mud slides). These people also mentioned that Highway 210 through Jay Cooke is gone. Mid slides/water has destroyed much of it. There was helicopter flying about, assessing the damage the entire time we were in Fond du Lac. We tried to get to Brad and Susan's house at 23 and 210 but it was impossible. A city crew was driving around a hover craft and that appeared to be the only way to get around to check on people. Mission Creek was still pretty high at 4:00 pm and we still three blocks from Highway 23 where the deep water of Mission and the St. Louis River meet. The wreckage is indescribable and very disturbing.

We ended up riding 23 into Duluth, checking out all kinds of damage at any and every creek crossing.

Duluth will never be the same after this 500 year flood.
Culvert leading under Becks Road and Skyline Parkway intersection

Mission Creek and Ghost Town - new intersection

Mission Creek taking over more trail

Ghost Town trail used to go that direction

Mission Creek taking away Seven Bridges Road

Seven Brides Road completely washed out thanks to the mighty Mission Creek

Sara and I had to hike in waist deep water to get out of Fond du Lac. This is a small street a block or so on the high side of Highway 23.

Highway 23 blocked off

Highway 23, east of Fond du Lac before the water gets deep

This is a downstream from the zoo

We can no longer leave our house by vehicle. Hike-a-bike or nothing.

Biblical Rain

It's a good thing Sara and I are able bodied. I'm willing to bet it will be a handful of days before the city of Duluth will be able to repair Skyline Road and make it structurally safe enough to handle the weight of a vehicle. I wouldn't dare walk on the ribbon of singletrack right now because it is so unstable...

Mountain bike camp went off without a hitch until today.

I wonder if it will ever stop raining. I had to resort to making little dam out of my old cedar siding to keep the water out of the basement and garage. 99th gravel is taking over the blacktop driveway and I shovel more today than I did all winter. If only we could have gotten this kind of precip this winter in the form of snow :)

This is our road at 7:00 AM - 99th Ave West

99th again

Skyline Parkway a few feet west of 99th

Skyline Parkway

Skyline Parkway

Skyline Parkway

Skyline Parkway

This creek (usually a trickle) doesn't have a name it's so small

Skyline Parkway

Monday, June 18, 2012

Red Wing Debacle

Rookie errors abound for Sara and me. First, wrong tires for both of us. I usually error on running tires that are too aggressive when the trail has been wet or might get wet. For the first half of the race XR 1s were perfect. Once Mother Nature opened the floodgates, they packed up and started spinning. We both stopped a few times to drop the air pressure but there is only so much one can do with a dry tire in a muddy race. In addition, I had 2.2s front and rear so my back tire didn't want to spin by the last lap and I had some serious chain suck issues. At least most of us were in the same boat. In hindsight, I should have used the 29er.

Sara ripped the buckle off her shoe so she had to nurse trying to keep her shoe on while running and peddling. She felt good but the muddy conditions derailed any hopes of a trying to keep Jenna within sight on the last lap. The great thing about mountain bike racing is that conditions can change in a split second and all of a sudden you can find yourself flying off the front or wallowing, going backwards. Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of the muddy conditions.

Red Wing is a great course and super fun in any condition. Even though I couldn't generate any power or climb worth a darn, I really wanted to finish. It would have been easy to pull the plug after lap one, but I kept hoping my legs would come around. The start seemed fast and I wasn't able to recover and just had to ride along. I couldn't respond whenever someone would go by so it seemed like a training ride instead of a race.

Well, I've got to get back to cleaning the mud out of all my orifices and get ready for the mountain bike camp I'm leading this week. Thanks to the torrential downpours we get on a regular basis, we will get muddy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Vacation

Sara and I put a playset together for Kiera about a month ago and she is constantly using it. We have placed her pool under the slide and the first thing she wants to do each morning is get wet. I'm in a jacket and she is sliding into cold water on a cold day. I took some videos with the iTouch but blogger doesn't allow me to upload them for some reason...

We also loaded up a couple of yards of cow manure from our friends Phil and Kelly Rogers so hopefully the garden will produce more than ever. We will plant today and hope for the best.

The garden after adding nutrient rich soil.

Mont du Lac is in fantastic shape right now. We rode a couple of laps last night and it is race-ready. It is a little grassy though so I may have to take the DR mower to it.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Mankato Update

I finally finished a Mnt Kato race without blowing sky high. It has been around 15 years since I've had a good race at Mnt Kato and I was suspect about this year considering the hot forecast. Duluth has been pretty chilly even though the rest of the state has been toasty, so it is a complete crap shot when the mercury creeps to 80 and higher. Luckily, Sara's dad was at the race to keep Kiera entertained and do hand-ups...

In fact, her dad was in Mankato racing at the Senior Nationals and he was able to grab 5 firsts and a couple of second place finishes. We watched one of his races and he was obviously stoked to have a fan section. I'm always way more nervous watching bike races rather than racing.

At the gun, Doug Swanson pushed the pace and then let Jesse Rients take over part way through the lap. We had a pretty big group for most of the first lap before Brendan Moore took over on the ski hill climb and blew everything apart. I was doing okay riding with Jack Hinkens and Michael McBurney but anytime the race went uphill I had to be careful because I wasn't recovering as quickly as I'd like. Jack ended up gapping me a bit before I saw Doug, since he dropped a water bottle and had to stop. I got on his wheel and he brought me back to Jack but the effort was too much and I popped and had to spin for a lap. Luke Nelson caught me somewhere in lap four, rode with me for a bit, and then dropped me easily on a short, steeper climb. I ended up holding on for fifth so I was pleased with the effort.

Sara ended up getting second to Jenna Rinehart for the second year in a row. It is no surprise seeing how Jenna flies on her hometown turf - and everywhere else for that matter. Sara didn't have much so she couldn't give her a run, even for a lap. Sara said she would have quit if her dad wasn't there watching the race because she could tell she didn't have it and the motivation was low.

On Thursday Sara got super sick with a high fever, sore throat, cold, aches, etc. so she's bummed that she cannot ride in the warm, dry weather.

We got a little hail on Memorial Day. Had the insurance adjuster out so I'm sure we'll be getting some money back since we just replaced the roof on the house and garage looks worse.

If all goes as planned we'll be at Red Wing next Sunday.

Some of this was still around on the following day

Stella and Kiera at Anne Swanson's cabin

Stewart Creek by our house is usually a little trickle