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Updated: 13 min 3 sec ago

El Gato returns to his Northfield roots, draws the heat

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 9:49am

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.

For more on that day and weekend, see my first ever Mountain Bike Geezer blog post: Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival grand opening: John Gaddo and Hans “No way” Rey dazzle the crowd and my photo album of John’s bicycle trials exhibition:

So when John got a new Surly Instigator a couple weeks ago, he was eager to return to his hometown of Northfield MN where he honed his urban trials skills as a kid and ride some of technical features along CROCT’s new Sechler Park MTB trail. Last Friday, it was my turn to do the chauffeuring.

Three videos and 39 photos tell the story best. Yes, there is a hoosegow element. 

Video 1: Riding some of the technical features along CROCT’s Sechler Park MTB trail

Video 2: On the paved trail through Riverside Park in downtown Northfield

Video 3: Urban trials at local college, with a brief visit to Northfield’s graybar hotel

Album of 39 photos:

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post El Gato returns to his Northfield roots, draws the heat appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Learning to reduce the impact of some mountain bike crashes, Part 1: sliding out sideways

Sun, 03/22/2015 - 9:30pm

Update 3/26, 7 am CDT:

This blog post, originally published on March 22, has now been published on Singletracks.com with a slightly revised title and a major addition of a narrated video/screencast at the end. See:

Learning to reduce the impact of some mountain bike crashes, Part 1: sliding out sideways

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post Learning to reduce the impact of some mountain bike crashes, Part 1: sliding out sideways appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

My last days of the winter singletrack (ridegroomed) season: not half-bad

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 2:00pm

I managed to squeeze in some decent singletrack winter riding on my 29’er last week before the spring thaw hit.  The trails were packed hard and the traction was amazing.

On Thursday afternoon, I rode everything at MORC’s Lebanon Hills MTB Park:

  

including my favorite rock in the skills park:

http://mountainbikegeezer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Leb-winter-skills-park-720.mp4

On Friday morning, I rode all of MORC’s Theodore Wirth Singletrack trails:

  

I made two short videos. This one includes the small gap jump in South Wirth section:

http://mountainbikegeezer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Theo-downtown-jump-1080.mp4

and this video features the difficult skinny:

http://mountainbikegeezer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Theo-skinny-1080.mp4

It turns out that wet snow on wooden skinnies is really slippery. Who knew? I failed 20+ times trying to clean it without hopping. Lots of pedal ratcheting and rear brake modulation but still no cigar. So I finally cheated.

On Sunday, I accompanied my buddy and fellow geezer Bruce Morlan on his first-ever ride on a proper mountain bike (mine). We rode CROCT’s Sechler Park trail here in Northfield. He was doing so well that I took him on the more advanced Spine section where he promptly nicked a tree with his handlebars, tumbled down a steep slope, and then jumped up in a victory pose, his bruised ribs and skinned shin not withstanding. If he’s still smiling about the memorable experience by the end of the week, then I’ll say I did an excellent job as a ride leader. If not, I’ll be like, “Bruce who?”

  

Although I’d prefer a winter with way more snow, it wasn’t actually half-bad (I talk Minnesotan)  for mountain biking, given that A) I don’t own a fat bike; and B) the groomed singletrack movement (#ridegroomed) has taken a solid hold here in the Upper Midwest.

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post My last days of the winter singletrack (ridegroomed) season: not half-bad appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Photo album: CROCT group ride on doubletrack at the River Bend Nature Center

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 10:22pm

With the gorgeous and ample snow in Rice County, we moved our CROCT group ride to the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault yesterday instead of a return visit to the MN River Bottoms as planned back in January.

It turned out to be a good decision. The grooming of the two-way doubletrack trails by members of the Faribault Flyers club was perfect, making it easy to share the trails with XC skiers, one of whom joined us for much of our group ride.

I was tail guide (sweep) this time instead of lead guide. I felt useful as I helped one rider with a chain that had come off and jammed in the front derailleur. And I did a hike-a-bike up a few steep climbs with another rider whose recent medical condition made the ride more difficult at times than they expected. I was actually glad for those hike-a-bikes as I was more out of shape than I thought.

Another rider broke a chain, just like on the last group ride. Fortunately, they had a chain link tool and knew what to do. This made me realize that A) I need to carry a chain tool with me at all times; B) I need to regularly rehearse how to use it so that I can do it quickly when it’s cold out. It would not have been fun yesterday, as it was 10 degrees F and windy.

See the album of 21 photos.

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post Photo album: CROCT group ride on doubletrack at the River Bend Nature Center appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

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