Tuesday, July 26, 2011

North Country

Headed up north this weekend to do a little MN relaxing. Can't say that I didn't enjoy the weekend and I'm pretty sure everyone else enjoyed the weekend as well! We drove up pretty early on Friday and met up with Kelly's parents, her brother, his gf and room mate and my parents. A couple of Kelly's cousins were up there as well.
With in 30seconds of Jerry getting out of the car and seeing the lake he was wet and pretty much would have remained wet the entire time if we wouldn't have kept him out for the couple hours before bed so he could sleep inside. After he was wet we decided to see if he would fetch his throwing dumby and with in about 3 mins he was jumping from the dock and that was the end of that story. His tail didn't stop wagging all weekend! He seems a little bummed to be home.
The afternoon was spent swimming and grilling. After dinner we went fishing. It was my dad, bob and I in one boat and everyone else was in the pontoon. We didn't catch very many fish but we had a good time. That was actually the only time I went fishing but I didn't get skunked, caught 3 fish. My dad and Bob went out a few more times but they didn't catch much. Bob said it was because the front coming in and moving out. I guess the barometric pressure makes them not hungry or something.
Saturday morning we were woke to a pretty gnarly thunder storm that made the dogs go crazy, of course. It rained super hard and everyone that was sleeping in a tent got wet. I told them they could borrow our tents and they wouldn't have gotten wet but they stuck with there walmart tents. Learned that lesson a long time ago. If it isn't a name brand and you don't have to spend a little cash on it, it's not worth it.
Pretty much all day Saturday was gloomy and cool but we made the most of it. We went into Crosslake and got ice cream and played mini golf. They had a new course that Kelly didn't want to play but everyone else wanted to try it. It was challenging and not all that fun. So I guess Kelly was right, should have played the other course and we did but not till Sunday afternoon.
That evening we went to moon light bay for dinner. After dinner the party started. We got cups and ping pong balls and played beer pong all night. That's right all of us. Even the old people, :) haha. Surprisingly bob and my dad were really good at beer pong. They played for the main group championship and bob one. We played a 6 cup, singles double elimination tourney and unfortunately Tommy's roommate came back from the losers bracket and one the over all. Then we played another tourney with a few less people then I won that and finally Derrick, Tommy's roommate, and I played for the overall champion and I won in over time! What a crazy night, it brought me back to college!
Sunday morning was spent doing a little yard work and then out to the lake for some swimming and tubing. After I went tubing I was dumped about 400meters from the pontoon were everyone was swimming so I decided to swim back there and when we were done swimming I swam back to shore which was another 700-800meters. So it was a good test of my swimming skills. I did pretty well! After that, lilke I said we went and played mini golf and then came back and I headed to Crosby to ride the Cuyuna trail!
Oh snap I went straight to the Yawnkee Loop as it was closed when I was there last and I rode every inch of it and some of it twice! I just love how amazingly it flows! I finally got a shot at the double black tech section at the top and it was sick! It made Leb's blacks look child's play. It was true legit double black! It took me 4 loops before I could clean it all and I had to use my granny gear as some of them were almost trials like moves! Then to top it off they had this pump track section and it was sick fun! I did laps on that and I was flowing so well towards the end I was able to manual multiple of the rollers like a BMX rhythm section! To top it off the bob sled black diamond dh run was open and GD that is some fast fun shit! I rode it 4 times going faster and pushing the limit every time! Over all it was an awesome ride and the perfect end to the weekend.
I went back had dinner and hung out by the fire and then woke up and cleaned up the cabin said good bye to my parents and packed up. The drive back felt like it took a while. It felt good to be home but definitely could spend a lot more time up there, that's for sure!
Hope all your weekends were as fun as mine!
Keep it real!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

and the thunder rolls

Well I know places are flooding but I'm still hoping for some gnarly thunderstorms and or a strong ass north wind to get rid of the humidity and bring some coolness and an end to this awful weather. This week has been awful, the weather sucked and work has sucked. I haven't been really feeling like riding my bike or doing anything outside. I go out side to walk the dog and right back in to sit in the ac. He doesn't like it outside either.
How ever it was really nice this morning on our walk. It said it was 84 but there was no humidity and a nice breeze. I wish I had time to get out on the bike but off to work. Work sucked again but what can you do. Over worked and under paid. I'm doing twice as much work as the expectations but still can't get through all the work that is assigned.
Anyways today after work I got a good swim in after the little nuggets left the pool. I did 50 laps in our pool which is about 1000 meters. I felt pretty solid until about 800 meters but I pushed through it. It proved to myself that I can at least swim that far.
Tomorrow is my Friday. We are heading up north to Kelly's family's cabin for the weekend. Friday-Monday with my parents, Kelly's parents, Tommy and his friends and Jerry! It will be a great weekend, Tommy's friend is bring up some ATVs, do a little fishing maybe, some drinking, some swimming, maybe a practice tri and definitely going to try my hardest to get to cuyuna trail to get some sweet mtb sessions in!
keep it real!

Monday, July 18, 2011

holly hanna it is hot out!

wow oh wee it has gotten super hot out these last couple days. Friday was an alright day at work no real complaints. After work we hung out with a couple friend and went to the movie Horrible Bosses. It was really really funny. I could actually be one of the funniest movies I've seen all summer. The cast worked great together. I honestly have to say the Charlie from always sunny in Philadelphia might be one of the funniest men in Hollywood.
 This weekend was pretty good. Saturday morning I did another mini-tri, I increased the distance on the swim and bike a bit and kept the run the same. I was feeling pretty good even though I did get kind or torn up on Friday night. I don't know what to tell you. I still have a little Grissel around the mid section. I can't seem to get as cut as I was last summer but I can't or don't really want to give up the tasty Colorado beers! That afternoon I hung out with my bud Adam at the Fireman's Softball tourney. I guess it's one of the biggest softball tourneys in MN. That evening I went out to eat with Kelly's parents and her brother.
Sunday morning Stu and I got up to go tear up Elk River's mtb course, Hillside Park. F me it was hot and the name of the course says it all. I don't know but some body needs to have talk with the designers of these mn mtb courses. I don't even know how they do it but they have at least 2-1 climbing to descending? Come on at least make it equal! I'm all for a could tough fun climb but damn it felt like we were climbing endlessly! Maybe it was because I was so GD hot! I don't know what it was when we started but when we stopped it was 90+ in the shade and that was at 1030am!
The course is absolutely sweet! I would give it a 7 which is like a half point less then leb and the only reason it doesn't score a half point higher is because of all the f'n sand! I hate sand! It totally kills your flow, there were multiple sweet declines that were ruined by sandy corners!
I do think that there are wa;y sweeter features there. I loved the teeter toter and the small north shore bridges and even a carousel corner! I thought the rock gardens were miles better then Leb and even had them on declines which make them some much more fun! They could use a few more jumps and rollers but they made up with other neat features including the morc specialty log piles! I don't know about them, I'm on the fence, they are ok from time to time but I think they are over killed at leb but hillside only had a few so it was cool!
I couldn't believe how hot I was, I had sweat dripping off my hands my shirt I was able to ring water out of it, and it was a dri fit jersey! Just covered in dust and sand, I hate sand! I did crash from that damn sand. My front tire washed out and I ended up with a raspberry on my right elbow and knee and 3 holes in my left shin! All in all it was a good climb but I don't think I'll be making the trip back there till it cools off a bit! It will be a lot more fun when I can do more then one lap and get to take passes at some of the cool obstacles
Today at work, I wasn't in the mood and the day drug on and man is it hot out. The evening is spent watching Man vs. Wild, Top Gear, American Pickers and James May Drinks Across Brittan!
Keep it real!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

tail spin

Wow, where is the summer going? I have no clue, it's like we are in a tail spin to fall! I can't really remember what the heck I've done in the last 3 weeks since I've been back. In the weeks since we have been back we celebrated the 4th at a local carnival, Eagan days. It was a neat little carnival with a live band, The Dweebs, and food vendors, rides and carnival games filled with carnies! Got to love carnies and of course they stole my money at the bottle breaking game. I broke 2 bottles in 5 balls but I guess they had to be 2 breaks in a row, cheeky bastards! Work has been pretty hellish lately. I left having my work 1 day ahead of where it should be and came back 2 days behind! WTF, thanks team for the support and basically I haven't been able to recover since and now more people are out on vacation and they expect me to help with their work? I just shake my head and put my tunes on louder, drink more coffee and push on dream for a chance to rip reign down the trail! I have defiantly been doing that, maybe not as much as I should be or want to be but I seem to get out there pretty often. I have also mentally committed to competing in the Aberdeen Xterra race on July 30th so I have began training hard, running more, riding harder and trying to swim as much as I can which was only once. Which was last Saturday morning and it was only 250meters, however that was followed by about a 9mile bike on the road with the MTB and then a 3 mile run. I was planning on swimming a couple times this week to start building those muscles but we don't have a key so I have to jump the fence and I feel weird doing it when people are out but I have to work a late night tomorrow. That being said my plan is to do a longer swim and then a run before I go to work. I also am planning on doing another mini tri this Saturday morning.
My riding has been improving last ride I did with stu I was groovin' and flying. He's usually right behind me pushing me, but there was no need because I was linking my corners, carrying my momentum and really working the trail, pumping all the rollers and flying through the trail. I felt good. You know when everything is working solid and it was awesome. I've also found my therapeutic road rides again. I've done a few since I've been back and they help me reflect on life which is good.
Over all these last few weeks flew by, with limited excitement. I was hoping to do the Thursday night Buck Hill mtg races but it rained a shit ton today. I guess they still raced but I wasn't in the mood for a mud fest and I hate cleaning my bike so I went for a road ride. 22miles in 1 hour 10 mins. Not bad, it was nice.
Thank God tomorrow is Friday, I'm ready for the weekend!
Keep it real!

Friday, July 8, 2011

El Fine!

Alright take advantage of the computer while you can. Thursday was a cool day. We got up early and headed to the ATV rental place. We were going to go on atv tour of some of the forest. I didn't know what to expect. I had grown up riding ATV's and quads so I thought I might be lame but it was really cool. The trail was really fun and after we had proven ourselves as worthy riders on the way up the guide took us on some sweet trails on the way back that wove through the trees, over some really rough stuff and through huge mud holes! haha it was sweet but honestly I think Kelly's parents had more fun then we did. They had never been on ATV's and they both had huge smiles when we were finished and didn't stop talking about the trip for hours after we were done.
Friday we decided to get up early and do the waterfall hikes that we couldn't do on Tuesday. Kelly's parent's came with us. The first hike was pretty short and not too strenuous but he pay off was huge! The waterfall was sweet. It was called Grotto falls and it definitely reminded me of a more natury playboy mansion! Sweet water fall the you could walk behind that emptied into a crystal clear, ice cold pool that then cascaded over some rocks down to some smaller falls and rapids! Absolutely gorgeous! Unfortunately Kelly's mom's knee was starting to bother her and it was getting hot out so we didn't do the second hike, but that's ok this one was suppose to be the better of the two anyways! After our hike we had a pic-nic in the park and ended up with an unexpected guest. A momma black bear decided that our lunch looked better then her's. It kind of caught me off guard but I scared the shit out of some of the other people eating there. I'm guessing they haven't seen a bear out side of a zoo before. I stood up and started yelling and clapping my hands and then the rest of us started doing the same and two park workers chased her off. They told us that she visits like every other day and has two cubs someplace. They told us she doesn't really cause problems just scares some tourists and eats some garbage. It was pretty exciting and I thought it was neat.
That night her parents took us out for a engagement dinner at Texas Road House and I had the best prime rib I've ever had. It just melted in your mouth!
Saturday we got up early and headed to Nashville. Kelly and I would only get one day there so we booked a bus tour and tried to see as much as we could. The bus tour was pretty good. The guy, Tommy, driving was super funny but I was hoping for more history and less celebrity houses but I guess that's what all the hoopla  is about there and all the tourist want to see. We walked around down town for awhile, ate a honky tonk and went to the Charlie Daniels museum. That night we went out to eat and then went to the park and listened to a big band play and saw the only replica Pantheon in the western hemisphere.
Sunday was time for Kelly and I to call it a trip. Her parents were staying till Tuesday and then flying home. We hit the road pretty early and Kelly fulfilled her lifelong dream of being a long haul trucker because she decided that she was going to drive the entire 14 hour trip! Oh well I didn't mind. I just sat there and enjoyed the ride. It was pretty uneventful minus the torrential rains we drove through in TN. They caused us to slow down to 45 at times.
It was sure great to be home. I will definitely go back that way again sometime. I don't know when I'll go back to Gatlinburg, maybe when I have kids of my own. I will definitely go back to south western TN, northern GA and eastern NC. They have some amazing MTB in Brevard County, the Blue Ridge mountains and all sorts of other sweet out door adventures there.
Monday we unpacked and I went for a short ride and then off to pick up the Jerry from my parents. It was great to see him! and he was excited to see us but I think when we got home he missed not having scooby around!
Keep it real!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Man I might be the single worst blogger... haha. Well I have a good excuse these days. Jerry ate my charger plug in so I can't charge my computer so I have to blog as much as I can before work, on brakes and lunch and when Kelly isn't using her work computer. Anyways back to TN. On Monday we didn't do a whole lot. We spent most of the day just exploring the town and perusing the shops. Gatlinburg has north America's largest Gondola that takes you up to the local ski area. It has a neat little shopping area and an indoor Ice ring that has concrete walls and costs $9 bucks to rent skates. If it wasn't so expensive I would have went out there and put on a show for the locals and the tourist. It was pretty humorous to watch people try to skate and even more amusing to see the southerns oooh and aaaah ove shitty skaters. And to boot the Zamboni driver did a half ass job on the ice. They would have been canned for sure in MN, haha! They also had some other cool things up there. Kelly and I did the alpine slide and of course I whooped her ass! They had some water park and some other kiddie rides.
Tuesday Kelly's parents rented a motor cycle and went for a pretty epic ride. They did some cool road about 250miles but the main event was "The Tail of the Dragon" 310 curves in 11 miles, haha yikes! So it was just Kelly and I to entertain ourselves. We decided to go for some waterfall hikes. We stopped at the Sugarland Welcome center to talk with a ranger about the best hikes to do. They told us of about 4 cool waterfall hikes and two car tours that were nice nature drives and have some  cool historic sites to check out. We decided to do the two  car drives. One was by our hotel and had the two hikes we wanted to do so we went to the other car loop first. It's called Cade's cove. It was a really cool loop but took about 2 hrs to do and we only stopped at a couple of the historic sites. We did see some sweet wild life. There we two bears and a couple deer but people acted like they have never seen any wild life, haha maybe they haven't. Who knows. After the cruise we ate lunch and headed to the other loop. As we approached the first trail head cars were lined up on the road side and I became worried that  there wasn't any parking spots available and I was right. We went to the next trail head and it was the same crap. I guess we got there way too late. We really wanted to hike that one but by the time we found a spot we were 3/4 of a mile down the hill and Kelly was no longer in the mood. So we  kept driving but eventually we found some cool looking streams and decided to not waste the day completely so we parked the car and started walking up the stream a bit. Kelly wanted to take a picture together so I told her to get on this rock out in the stream a bit and I set up the camera, hit the timer and ran out to her and got on my knee!
That's right I popped the big question and we got a picture of it! It is official now, we are getting hitched. We decided to not tell her parents but see how long it would take for them to notice. I didn't think it would take that long since Kelly never wears jewelry and now she has shiny diamond on her left hand. Surprisingly it took till super was almost over before her mom noticed! haha  she was like what the heck is that, haha. So let the preparation begin and Kelly wasted no time. She picked up a wedding magazine and began circling things she like that night.
Wednesday, I can't really remember specifically what we did. It's so long ago and everything becomes a blur. I know that Kelly and I went up the space needle they had there and took some pictures. It was some pretty cool views. I just can't explain the beauty of this area and unless you've been there and seen it yourself I don't think you will understand.
More to come soon!

Keep it real!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

it's official

Wow, first let me apologize, because I suck at blogging, haha. It has been awhile but we are back from our trip to Tennessee and I have quite of bit to go over so it will probably broken up into a few blogs. Sorry but I don't feel like writing a novel tonight. Well well were to start. I guess we start from the top. The week before we left was crazy busy with getting everything organized and packing. It did fly by which was good. Thursday I got off early so we could take the Jer Bear to meet my parents for his week vacation with my parents and scooby. It was a bitter sweet moment. It meant that our vacation began but we wouldn't see our little puppy for 11 days, the longest time we had been with out him. We didn't get back till about 1030pm, a little later then we had hoped so we quickly finished packing and hit the hay. We got up at 6am and headed over to Kelly's parent's. The plan was to leave a 7am but we had forgot to turn off the AC at home so I had to rush back there about 645 and turn that off and got back there about 720 and off we went. The four of us in a brand new ford Taurus. It's a pretty nice car but the seat belts in the back seat suck! They aren't adjustable at all and cut into your neck, so I didn't wear it at all. All day Friday was spent driving. We drove from St. Paul to Madison, around Chicago and through Indianapolis and stopped for the day in Columbus IN. Bob, Kelly's dad, drove the whole way. We did about 11 hours or so the hotel was nice and it felt great to sleep. We got up pretty early again and hit the road. I manned my station in the back, put on the head phones and proceeded to read my Bike Magazine. I usually don't read them cover to cover but I did this one even all the adds.
On Saturday we drove through Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington and about 1 or so we got to Sevierville, the start of the craziness, about 12 miles from Gatlinburg. Unfortunately it was a very popular time to arrive at the giant tourist trap. It took us about 2 hours to get to our hotel. On the way we past about every single restaurant I can think of and some of them 2 or 3 times like Cracker Barrel. The sure love those down south. We also passed about every type of amusement place you can think of, 15 mini-golf places, and a handful of sex shops. I thought this was a bit odd, in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee they had tons of "couples" shop and romantic gift shops. Even giant super outlet stores for sex stuff. I kind of wanted to see what in the world they could feel a store the size of Home Depot with but I would have felt weird making Kelly's parents stop, haha.
When we finally got to our place we all pretty much collapsed and took a nap and then walked around the area by our place. It was a cool little town, not as trashy or touristy as Seviersville and Pigeon Forge, the first two towns you drove through and it was separated by 3 miles of scenic highway.
Sunday we woke up early because Kelly underestimated the speed limit when she booked our rafting trip. It was only 110miles from our place but we were told it would take 2hrs and 30mins and they weren't lying. We had to go part way through the Smokey Mountain National forest at 45mph or less and then into NC, adding another state to our list we've visited together, and then back down and around to the very south east corner of TN. The drive was really pretty. I will have to say that all in all that entire area is extremely beautiful. We left on our rafting trip at about 1030am. It felt a little weird since I've only rafted twice, both time on the same river with the same company and this company did some things a bit different. The rafting was fun but I still think the gorge is way cooler. We did raft the Olympic section from the Atlanta games. That was pretty sweet. After rafting we were all pretty beat and made our way home. It was ridiculous we thought we would take a different route home and stayed in TN. On the map it showed it as 4 lane highway and it was but it was only 45mph and up to 50 in a couple spots but we had to slow down to 35 for ever little town. The worst part was the road was nice and pretty straight! So it took us even longer to get home.
That night we ate a little pub down on the corner. The food was really good. It felt like we had been on vacation for a week already and it was only Sunday. I guess that's a good thing. At least it wasn't flying by.

Keep it real