CLMTB Crew president Aaron Hautala does the US Airbag jump

In the waning hours of yesterday’s Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival, I reminded CLMTB Crew president Aaron Hautala that he said he was definitely going to do the big jump into the US Airbag that was set up in the center of Crosby. I thought he was going to play the I’m-too-busy-running-this-festival-to-have-time-for-that-kid-stuff card.  But I was wrong. He put on his game face and did it. Here’s the play-by-play in 9 photos:

DSC01152 copy DSC01155 copy DSC01159 copy

DSC01157 DSC01156 copy DSC01158 copy

Aaron Hautala jump1 Aaron Hautala jump3

Here’s the 11-second video of Aaron’s jump:

Some of the faces of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew

Jordan Vandal, John Schaubach, Dan Cruser, Aaron Hautala, Steve Weber, Jenny Smith, Nick Statz, Maya Statz  Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew logo

Many of the members of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, the local IMBA club, were at yesterday’s IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit. L to R: Jordan Vandal, John Schaubach, Dan Cruser, Aaron Hautala, Steve Weber, Jenny Smith, Nick Statz, Maya Statz (front).

Technically, DNR park manager Steve Weber is not a member of the Crew but I think they’ve adopted him.

Surprise discovery: Dan Cruser rode motorcycle trials years ago and competed at events on our UMTA club grounds near Northfield.

Photo album: IMBA’s Great Lakes (Upper Midwest) Summit 2012

I attended the IMBA Great Lakes Summit in a conference room at the Heartwood Center here in Crosby yesterday, hosted by IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson.  The promo blurb:

Schedule: Great Lakes Summit at IMBA Cuyuna Lakes Ride CenterThis season our Summit is focused on IMBA Chapters and clubs looking to become Chapters.  So if you are either an existing Chapter or are with a club that is seriously looking to become an IMBA Chapter please pre-register.  All other clubs or individuals feel free to contact IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson if you are interested in attending.

The Summit is a one day event.  We will be meeting and discussing various advocacy topics and issues that pertain to the IMBA Chapter Partnership.  Later in the afternoon we will ride the Cuyuna trails and then we will have a social at Ya Betcha’s Bar & Grill later in the evening.

IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012 IMBA Great Lakes Summit 2012

 Hansi Johnson, IMBA Midwest Regional Director Andy Williamson, IMBA Great Lakes Region Director Aaron Rogers, IMBA Trail Specialist Steve Weber, DNR Land Manager

Aaron Hautala, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails Reed Smidt, MORC Ryan Lieske, MORC Jordan Vandal, CLMBT Crew

Aaron Rogers, Ryan Lieske, Reed Smidt,  Hansi Johnson leading a group ride at the end of the day

Update: Here is IMBA Midwest Director Hansi Johnson’s Great Lakes Summit report  (PDF) on the meeting.

Great Lakes Summit report 2012 - Hansi Johnson

They haven’t changed but the trails at Cuyuna are more fun this year

bridge on the Switchback trail, CuyunaI pitched my tent in the Portsmouth Campground in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area at about 8 pm last night. I’m here for the 2nd Annual Cuyuna Lakes MTB Fest on Saturday but came up early for IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit, too.

There was just enough daylight left to get a ride in on some of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails, so I took Switchback from the campground over to the Mahnomen Unit and rode Crusher, Miner’s Mountain, Chute, Ferrous Wheel, Trammer, and Rocky Flats.

Early this morning, I took Drag Line from Portsmouth over to the Yawkey Unit, riding Man High Hill and Haul Road on the way and then Bobsled a couple of times.

Cool discovery #1: I had assumed both Switchback and Drag Line were just plain old connecting trails. Wrong. They’re both hugely fun intermediate level trails. Lots of rollers and a surprising number of berms for  two-way trails.  Non-stop pleasure riding, both directions.

Cool discovery #2: I took it a little easy on all the trails, as I was by myself, but it was so much more fun riding these trails than last year, I couldn’t stop grinning. Why? I’m in better shape, of course. But my skills are better, due mainly to A) what I learned about braking, turning, and ‘the attack’ position at the Leaders’ Summit skills class; and B) spending about an hour at Eagan’s Lexington Pump & Jump Park where I learned (thanks to Chance Glasford), how to pump, ie, accelerate without pedaling.

Andy Williamson, Aaron Rogers, Hansi Johnson, Maureen Heartland Kitchen Café Heartland Kitchen Café
By 8 am this morning I was starving so I headed over to the Heartland Kitchen & Café, my favorite breakfast spot in Crosby. I lucked out, as some of the IMBA guys were there: Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director;  Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Region Director; and Aaron Rogers, Trail Specialist.

I coaxed the café’s proprietor, Maureen Christopher, into posing with them for a photo, since Maureen is such a fan of the mountain bikers who’ve helped her business thrive since the park opened last summer.

Get your butt and your bike to this weekend’s Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Fest. It could change your life.

Cuyuna Lakes MTB Festival poster 2012I didn’t own a mountain bike when I went to the grand opening of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System last summer and the very first Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Fest.

But the experience was so fantastic and the people I met were so fun and interesting that I bought a bike as soon as I returned home and my recreational life has been pretty special ever since.

I’m going back this weekend for the 2nd Annual:

A collaborative fundraiser planned by and for the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, an IMBA Chapter and the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce in an effort to continue to foster the growth of mountain biking as a sport in Minnesota and the community of Cuyuna Lakes.

The schedule of events is pretty amazing but be sure to see the blog posts for more details, for example:

My June 2011 blog post has links to all my photo albums from that weekend, but for a quick overview, see the large slideshow of 60 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

The sulphur shelf mushroom: chicken of the woods

IMAG0082 IMAG0084 IMAG0085 IMAG0086

While mountain biking at Lebanon Hills last week, I came upon a log right along the trail that was host to a large number of very fresh sulphur shelf mushrooms (AKA the ‘chicken of the woods’). I stuffed my hydration pack with about 10 pounds of them and brought them home.

Robbie cleaned and soaked them in salt water, dried a big batch with our food dryer, and sautéed the rest to accompany yet another delicious meal on our deck. Heaven:

IMAG0100 IMAG0102 IMAG0103

MTB skills, instruction, & advocacy