Tag Archives: Hansi Johnson

Michelle Barker is IMBA Upper Midwest’s new Regional Director

Michelle Barker and her IMBA car Michelle Barker, Marty Larson, Griff Wigley

Michelle Barker is the new IMBA Upper Midwest Regional Director, replacing Hansi Johnson who resigned last summer to take a position as Director of Recreational Lands for the Minnesota Land Trust.

She met with me and fellow CROCT Board Member Marty Larson yesterday at Tandem Bagels in downtown Northfield, on her way back home to Iowa after attending the Cuyuna Lakes annual meeting on Thursday night.  Continue reading Michelle Barker is IMBA Upper Midwest’s new Regional Director

2014 IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended the IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop in Cable WI, a gathering of practitioners devoted to improving off-road cycling and fat biking in winter.

QBP  MORC logo 200 IMBA CAMBA
The event was sponsored by QBP and hosted by Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA).

John GaddoDSC06075  Cold Rolled

Following a late Thursday afternoon/evening fat bike ride by approximately 15- 20 riders on the newly groomed Esker trail in the CAMBA trail system’s Cable cluster, participants gathered for the opening reception at the Lakewoods Resort. QBP’s John Gaddo showed Cold Rolled, the  documentary by Clear & Cold Cinema featuring the 15-mile winter singletrack Snow Bike Route (SBR) that’s part of the Noquemanon Trails Network in Marquette, Michigan.

Continue reading 2014 IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop

Winter Bike Expo 2013: my first MORC booth duty stint

Winter-Bike-expo-2013

Freewheel Bike held their Winter Bike Expo 2013 at their Midtown Bike Center this weekend and I was around both mornings, primarily wearing my MORC/IMBA member hat (unlike last year), as I did my first ever booth duty stint. Continue reading Winter Bike Expo 2013: my first MORC booth duty stint

Duluth’s XC MTB trails just keep getting better. Here’s partly why.

Hansi Johnson on Piedmont MTB trail Hansi Johnson observing the reconstruction of Haines Road Hansi Johnson's salute to the 'side effects' of the reconstruction of Haines Road

The day after my solo stint at Spirit, I met up with IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson for a ride on the COGGS Piedmont trail over to the new Brewer Park trail under construction. On way, we encountered MNDOT’s reconstruction of Haines Road which was wiped out by last year’s flood. For some reason, MNDOT has take down a huge chunk of the hill/cliff overlooking a section of the road and with it, a large section of the Piedmont trail. If you look closely at the photo of Hansi on the right, you can see how he feels about this.

Hansi Johnson, Adam Harju Hansi Johnson, Larry Sampson Brad Miller, Hansi Johnson

After making our way around the, um, destruction, we came upon a COGGS trail building crew working on the new Brewer Park trail, led by Adam Harju and Brad Miller, with assistance from Larry Sampson, Duluth Maintenance Supervisor for the Superior Hiking Trail Association. Here’s some background from a COGGS blog post:

Along with the work funded by the Legacy grant, COGGS also has it’s own mechanized trail building crew. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow. To operate this equipment we hired Adam Harju, Brad Miller and Pete Leutgeb.

Their first project was building two reroutes of the existing singletrack on the east side of Amity Creek and have since turned their efforts towards building a portion of the Duluth Traverse Trail through Brewer Park. This section of land is immediately across Haines Rd west of Piedmont and has perfect terrain for mountain bike trails. This section of the DT will connect Piedmont to the State Trail and DWP, which are both off-road, multi-use trails that a rider can take all the way to Beck’s Rd in West Duluth.

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Members of the College of Saint Scholastica track team were volunteering, hauling many wheelbarrow loads of dirt to the Brewer Park MTB trail construction site a couple blocks away. Jeesh.

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“Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow.”

Scheming about IMBA’s Upper Midwest region

Griff Wigley, Aaron Rogers, Karl Erbach, Hansi Johnson Lori Hauswirth, Hansi Johnson, Aaron Rogers, Mike Brunet, Lyle VanderSchaaf Jay and Claire
During last week’s Ride the Keweenaw, Copper Harbor’s restaurants provided opportunities to do some scheming about IMBA’s Upper Midwest region (Facebook page).

Left photo: Friday night dinner at the Harbor Haus with Aaron Rogers, Karl Erbach, and Hansi Johnson.

Center: Monday morning breakfast at the Pines Restaurant with (L to R) with Lori Hauswirth, Hansi Johnson, Aaron Rogers, Mike Brunet, and Lyle VanderSchaaf.

Right: The conversation at times turned to mountain bike tourism for the Upper Midwest region, as epitomized by Jay and Claire, two college students visiting Copper Harbor from Vermont. They were traveling to Montana, trying to visit as many mountain bike parks as possible on their way. For their next stops after Copper, I told them that the sequence (heading west) would be to ride CAMBA, Spirit Mountain, COGGS, and then Cuyuna. Alas, due to the wet and cold spring, only Cuyuna would work for this trip.

Copper Harbor Trail System: the bar has been set high for Upper Midwest mountain biking

With only a short amount of time to ride the trail system at Copper Harbor during this year’s Ride the Keweenaw, I didn’t want to spend much time taking trail photos or shooting any video. 

hansi_photo_T_w hansi_photo_curve Interactive trail map - Copper Harbor 
Plus, I knew that there were plenty of photos and videos of this IMBA Silver-level Ride Center online already. A good place to start for photos: the Keweenaw Adventure Company‘s Epic Rides page which has several photos by IMBA’s Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson.  For videos, start with the stunning interactive Copper Harbor Trail system map by the Trail Genius.

As this April 8 2013 reviewer wrote on MTBR about the trail system:

There’s a little for everyone, with technical rocky areas, long flow rides, extended downhill tabletop jump sections, climbs that make you whoop if you manage to scramble up, boardwalks, simple trails next to dropoffs… just spectacular.

Flying Squirrel trail at Copper Harbor Flying Squirrel trail at Copper Harbor Flying Squirrel trail at Copper Harbor On the Edge trail at Copper Harbor
Among my goals: I wanted to try some of the smaller table top jumps and advanced berms. Much of the big stuff on the double black diamond trails was over my head but even on runs like the Flying Squirrel and On the Edge there was still plenty of fun stuff that I could ride. 

dual suspension Kona Process - rental from the Keweenaw Adventure Company But it wasn’t till I rented a dual suspension Kona Process from the Keweenaw Adventure Company that I got a taste of what’s possible.

I was shocked how much easier it was for me to pump the rollers and go fast on the downhill gnarly stuff than with my hardtail 29’er.  Full squish has just moved ahead of a fat bike on my bike quiver priority list.

Hansi Johnson, recovering from his crash on Danimal 20130526_135439 Griff Wigley, photo by Hansi Johnson
I didn’t see it but Hansi crashed twice on one of jumps on the Danimal trail, taking a hard whack to his head and miscellaneous other body parts. I wore my POC Cortex DH MIPS full-face helmet for the first time and if I ever get better at the jumps, I can see a neck brace in my future. (Hansi’s photo of me above is included in his blog post titled A Copper Harbor fish story: Ride the Keweenaw 2013. His narrative and photos are riveting.)

Hansi Johnson, Aaron Rogers 
Copper Harbor Trails Club president Aaron Rogers has led the creation of this amazing trail system. That page says:

Aaron Rogers, MTB trail builderAaron came in search of epic snowboarding at Mt. Bohemia and stayed to build epic bike trails in Copper Harbor. A man with a vision for greatness, Aaron built upon a foundation of great trails on great terrain and turned them world class. Now a contracted professional trail builder with IMBA Trail Solutions, Aaron’s heart remains in Copper Harbor.

Fortunately for us (and his wife Amanda), he prefers to build trails in Copper Harbor but also dabbles farther south on the Peninsula. If you find Aaron, it will be at the end of a newly built trail at the controls of the mini-excavator or with Pulaski in hand. If you can’t find him, it is most likely because you can’t catch him. He’s as good a rider as he is a trail builder.

Like most everyone else who’s ridden Copper, I can’t wait to go back.  And I’m thrilled that some of the MTB parks here in Minnesota are learning from what’s been done there.