I know that this is a recurring theme, me not writing forever and then apologizing so this time I'm not going to apologize. I've been really busy at work and just life it's self and we only have one working computer at home and it's Kelly's work computer and she was gone for all of last week. So it was just Jerry and me.
The Tuesday night before I was scheduled to go to trail building school my back started to feel tight. I'm not sure what caused it. I could be from the crash in Copper Harbor, it could be from the hard crash at the bike park the Friday before or just who knows. Anyways I got home from bike park maintenance and was laying on the couch with Kelly and Jerry and I could just feel my back tightening up. I got up I stretched and foam rolled and went to bed and laid on the heating pad. I woke up about 2 am to go the washroom and basically had to roll out of bed in pain. My back was f'd. Serious pain, I hadn't been in this kind of pain from my back in years. I went down stairs to try and foam roll, no dice I couldn't even lay on it. I grabbed the ice pack and some ibuprofen and tried to go back to sleep hoping I'd feel better in the AM. Nope still felt like shit so I had to call into work for the first time in my professional life and find a chiropractor that was in my insurance network and that had an open appointment. I had to wait till 230pm to get in so it was more ice and heat and stretching to try and loosen up. I did this pretty much as a cycle till I went.
Jerry was super frustrated with me. He didn't get why I was home and not playing with him, I didn't smell sick so what was wrong. After the chiro I felt a little better but then worse. However in the morning I felt a lot better and went back to work but brought my ice pack and heat pad with me. Each day after that I felt better, I went back to the chiro on Friday, hoping that I would feel like a million bucks after the second go, but only felt about 75%. Super bummed. I had to drive to Duluth in like 3 hours and was really hoping to be able to shred and build like a mad man!
I left work about 245pm and headed north to Rudy's house in Hermantown, suburb of Duluth. It was good to see Rudy and Leslie again and they were gracious enough to let me crash at their place for the IMBA Flow School. Rudy was attending to so that was even better. We had a meet and greet at Spirit Mountain later that evening. I love these things, 20+ like minded people sitting around talking about bikes and excited about what is to come!
In the morning I was feeling about 80%, it was an improvement but still not were I wanted to be. Luckily the school that day consisted of a morning full of class room time explaining what "Flow" meant to IMBA and the two awesome trail builders that were teaching the class. Huge thanks to Aaron and Dan! Then we had a little presentation from Vermeer Equipment and then it was time to see the trail. I didn't get up there early enough to check it out like many of the others had the day before. A lot of them had already ridden it too.
We rode over to the trail. It was seriously cold out, not sure the exact temperature but the rain had turned to freezing rain and sleet. The trail looked super sick! I was just bummed I wasn't feeling 100% I really wanted to let loose on this thing, but I knew that probably wasn't a good idea and wouldn't help my recovery. So I rode the giant pump track at a gingerly pace while most the other people were tearing it up and trying to turn rollers into doubles and whip it out of the hip jumps.
This trail was truly a work of art. Aaron had done and amazing job so far. It was one of those trails that could really be fun for all levels of riders. Beginners could roll the trail with out ever having to leave the ground. The better riders could avoid pedaling all together by pumping and manualling everything and the good riders could start to really fly by doubling up some of the rollers and pumping the backsides of the jumps.
Hansi Johnson, our awesome local IMBA rep.
These photos have been blowing up all over the local forums and the Internet. Pro's like Richie Schley and Pinkbike have shared them on Facebook and they are getting mad reviews! I can't wait for these trail to open up and the lifts to start running! This will change riding in the midwest and MN forever and for the good! We might actually start seeing some longer travel bikes in shops as well as full face helmets, pads and even flat pedals!
Sunday came and I was feeling about 90% and it was time to start learning hands on and start building some trail. We had multiple stations were we got to watch Aaron work his magic in the mini-Ex and then rough shape the features, finish the features and then play with the Vermeer Equipment they had brought out for us to demo. Over all it was great day. It went too quickly. The end of the day was a bitter sweet day. I didn't really want to go home but it was time. I hadn't really got to give this trail what I wanted to or get to ride the other trail smorgasbord to even see what that had to offer. That was the first trail built out there by the on staff trail builder Glen, and this trail will be labeled blue as far as I know.
Over all it was a great weekend and I truly learned a lot of about building trails. I have the experience building BMX tracks and Bike Parks but now I have added another skill to my bag of tricks and will continue to expand and learn. It sounds like they will have another trail school next year in the midwest, an IMBA Jump Trail School and I hope to be there for sure!
How cool would it be to be able to make a living from building trails and riding my bike! My life would be complete, a great wife a sweet dog and a killer job doing what I love! Well maybe some day my dreams will come true, until then I will just keep doing what I do!
Keep it real!