The day I rediscovered mountain biking also happened to be the day I met John Gaddo (AKA ‘El Gato’). It was the grand opening weekend of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails back in June of 2011 and he was chauffeuring Hans “No way” Rey around, one of his many duties as a QBP staffer. I happened to be at a Crosby, MN pub when he and Hans came in for beers and dinner with Gary Sjoquist, Advocacy Director for QBP and Jeff Verink, sales rep with GT Bicycles. John told me he grew up in my hometown of Northfield, was into bicycle trials, and we’ve been colleagues ever since.
In the past month or so, I’ve managed to go riding with guys 25-40 years younger than me. Yeah, that’s a bit of bragging as they’re all very good riders and I’m able to more or less keep up with them, which makes me feel younger.
But putting that ego stuff aside, it’s one of the things I really like about mountain biking as a geezer: I get to meet and participate in a recreational activity with a younger crowd that I don’t normally have much contact with.
Update October 28: I’ve added several more riders, with photos and videos. The list now includes AJ Peterson, Chris Knight, David Starrs, John Gaddo, Manny Paulino, Marty Larson, Michael Guinee, and Miguel Masberg.
According to this post on Facebook, employees at QBP “spent weeks turning this year’s copious snow into a fat bike demo course” for their annual Frostbike dealer show at their headquarters in Bloomington. (I was there yesterday, doing board member booth duty at the MORC booth.)
I don’t know for certain, but I’d bet that John Gaddo was the instigator, designer, and chief test rider. (I stole the above left photo from his Facebook profile.) Continue reading QBP’s demo course at Frostbike: fat bikes on rollers and berms, oh my!
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.
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.
No, I’m not referring to the big cottonwood that crosses 9 Mile Creek in the MN River Bottoms that I wrote about back in September.
Rather, there’s a downed tree just a few feet from it on the east bank that makes for a much more difficult skinny. Wall of Death competition winner Heath Weisbrod alerted me to it last week saying that he’d cleaned it, so I tried it on Sunday morning.
As you’ll see in the video below, my first attempts went nowhere. So I thought the problem might be that the bark on top was crumbling so I pulled it off. Look closely at the photo of the log. Unfortunately, I made problem worse (again), as it exposed some moist spots that were underneath the bark. I tried it anyway and landed flat on my back. I told Heath about my misadventure and said that John Gaddo’s rule is that you have to clean an obstacle three times before you can ‘claim’ it and optionally name it. He wrote:
I even got it one more time Thursday night (my first attempt) but reached out to the tree for stall then finished. So I’m not counting it.
Why ‘Sqrl Log’ for the name? Heath’s username in the MORC forum is RedSquirrel.
Here’s my 19 seconds of fail:
Former Northfielder John Gaddo posted this photo on his Facebook wall last week with the caption: Use your imagination.
Yes, he cleaned it on his trials fat bike and innocently asked, "Hey Griff, have you done this one yet?"
I replied, "John, I usually just ride my Mary Poppins hybrid bike around Northfield (sans helmet) so no, I’ve not tried this railing on the 2nd St. bridge. But now I guess I’ll have to."
I gave it a go early Sunday morning. Bad idea, as the iron rail was wet from dew and thus, very slippery. I made it half way or so on my 4th try but subsequent crashes took their toll, despite the body armor I was wearing.
Here’s my 40-second video.