Monthly Archives: August 2015

My Summer Vacation

Most days I search for something to write about. Not today. I have so much content that I can’t put it on just one post. I’ll talk about the weekend today but just to let you know I have my new Trek Farley 9.8 in a box in my office and thats a IMG_0498post for maybe tomorrow.

The weekend in Marquette was great. Awesome weather and some pretty good bike riding.

The campsite was nice and only 100 yards from the north trails. Its the only campsite in town so anyone who has been up here knows it. After an uneventful drive up I got into town just before noon and of course did my drive thru to see everything again. No ships in dock at that time. A run thru Presque Island Park and downtown then over to the site. I was set up in 10 minutes and ready to ride in 15.

After setup I headed for the South trails first and pretty much took the lead from a guy who was there way more than I. And that was kinda a mistake as he put us on the red trail backwards for some reason.

So we spent the better part of our first 3 hour ride climbing up the famous bermed switchbacks. I knew I had a limited number of climbing feet in me this weekend and 75% of that was wasted going up the down trails. But it was a good overall bike ride Friday. It felt good to ride a trail that I did not know completely.


After eating dinner and hanging out at Harborfest watching a crappy cover band we decided that tomorrow we will do the same red loop but in the normal direction.

And that meant climbing what is know as Bensons Grade. I figured I would just climb the grade first to get most of the elevation over with. Then whoop it up the rest of the way around the red loop.

Due to the huge traction of the Farley I was able to granny gear it all the way to the top without stopping. A pretty good achievement for a old fat guy. And not easy. I spent the first five minutes just holding back and that allowed me to spend more near the top. For me it was a victory at 13 minutes and some change.

Once on top we hit the red trail as it’s intended to be. And it was not long before I could feel yesterday’s effort. Along with that first climb today. It was evident that I did not have much more in me and I struggled even tho we were going downhill for the most part. About an hour in the ride I was wasted and I knew I had to pull the plug early to save riding tomorrow. So I did. An hour and a half Saturday was all I could do on those trails. A far cry for the 3 hours the day before but pretty much the result of those 3. And oddly besides having no legs whatsoever I got a bit saddle sore. Not sure why. So all in all I was a mess Saturday. I needed to pull the plug and I did. But I gatta say the trails were way more fun going the correct direction.

After getting back to the camp I cleaned up and headed to town for lunch. While the others rode I headed back to Presque Island Park and tooled around a bit. Tons of kids jumping off the blackrocks. If you’re a kid (or older) in Marquette its what you do. Mostly college kids finding something to do.


And then I got to see a ship come in. One I have not seen before. Not a real ship but a tug with a attached barge coming in with coal for the power plant.


The James L Kuber. Coming in. Seagull fotobomb.

Another nice dinner in town and for the last ride Sunday it was the north trails which were basically out the camps driveway. After using about 2 bucks worth of shammy cream ( 2 bucks well spent) we headed out the north and I immediately felt better. I could tell it was going to be a good ride and it was. I remember a lot of these trails from winter and it was nice to do them in summer again too. I love the north side. More than the south trails. The way they meander along the river with scenic vistas around every corner. I have way more fun here because this is the kind if MTBing I like to do now. Its not about how fast you can go but where you are. I think the other guys got a little frustrated with my speed but eventually I just told them to go and I rode with my head on a swivel. Which is not easy to do there as there are still some technical stuff to ride on.


While the other guys were off racing I stopped quite a bit for stuff like this. I would love to spend a day here just riding a 30 mile out and back. Bring lunch. Have a picnic. This is the type of MTBing I will try and do. Hit the woods, see the sights. Go slow(er).


The Farley was the bike for me here. Not the fastest but very forgiving in the tech stuff. I will pretty much ride fatbikes full time from now on. I would have like the Stache this weekend too. 29+ would have been great here. Still a wide enough wheel for tons of traction and tall to roll over the stuff. As far as not experiencing the drop post? No biggie as I don’t belong on any trail that needs a dropper post. Im too old for that stuff anyway,

All in all a great weekend. Some great riding in a cool town. Im already working on a weekend to come back before winter, and then to come back in winter. The three days away from the store was just what I needed too and I knew that by the end of the first day. I didn’t even call in Saturday or Sunday and that felt great.

I could type many a page on this weekend but I have a carbon fatbike sitting in a box right in front of me. Lots of pictures soon.



So I get to the park this morn only to find out I do not have a memory card in my camera. No pics today.

And that’s fine as I pretty much checked out anyway. Most of the day will be spent prepping for the weekend both in store and out. Off to the land of MTB’s and hockey.

I really haven’t been going up to Marquette very long. I think my first trip up there was for O2S in 2012. Staying just a day and a half. Two weeks later I was back for a couple more days and thats when I decided this was the town for me.

Its kinda weird… either your old and retired or young and going to college there. Not a lot in between as far as the locals. Its on a big lake, like where I live now. They get way more snow which I like and have a ore dock that takes in big ships, that are also one of my interests. The bike riding up there is phenomenal. Both in summer and now in winter with the snow bike route pretty much cutting edge. Really, this is where the groomed fat bike trails originated. At least a system that size.

Watch the big ships come in.

I started by maybe two summer visits per year, then two years ago throw in a winter visit with the fat bikes. This winter I want to make it two fat bike visits.

January 2014

Being a winter kind of guy I could retire up there. Even in the summer there’s a hint of winter. So really, its just one big playground 4 seasons of the year.

Im not so sure about making a living up here. I mean, if you just packed up and drove up here to live without a plan it might be tough. No real industry besides the ore mines. In summer Im sure there are small jobs with this being a college town. I know of many who came here for the school and really never left. Some anyway.

Ore dock that ships pull up to.

So I leave in the morning. I’ll be driving this time tomorrow so no post until Monday. A ton of Facebook stuff for sure. I gatta let everyone working know Im blasting the south trails of Marquette.

Im riding the borrowed Farley 8. I could have borrowed a friend’s Borealis with 29+ wheels but I think the Farley will do fine. I bigger tires just might save me at some point.

I really do wish I had the Stache which was made for trails this those. But, things happen fast sometimes. If someone has the money and is buying I guess Im selling. Again, the fatbike will do just fine.

Im scrambling to make sure I have all I need for 3 days of camping. Im sure I’ll forget something and if i really need it I’ll buy it up there….

Talk Monday. Have a good weekend.




Panoramic shots fit well in this blog. I can only imagine how many pics I’ll get up in Marquette this weekend. 2 days and counting till lift off. Today when I get home I’ll actually pitch my new tent to see how its done. I have yet to take it out of the bag to even look at it. Thats sad.

I still hold out hope for a small tour. The weekend after my cross race is my next target weekend. Sept 19\20. The weekend of the Shuammy 40 MTB race. I might go up just to hang out. Maybe I’ll have me a small tour. So many options. I’m so getting ahead of myself.

I haven’t left for Marquette yet and Im thinking about Hayward in three weeks. This was to be my year for Interbike ( I go every other year) but its just not to be. So the year I don’t do Interbike I head up to that race in Hayward.

Working in a bike store you need to make a lifestyle of getting ahead of yourself. By mid winter, you need to think summer. By mid summer you need to think winter. ¬†With all the fatbikes arriving Im getting pretty pumped for snow already. I cant help it. When I get back from Marquette I’ll get my winter ski and snowshoe order in. First pre order always light. Then when I see snow I’ll order more. In fact many clothing companies are asking me for a 2016 summer preseason order. For crying out loud i still have my 2015 summer stuff still on the floor and you want to to order more today?

So you kinda can see how I can post all the wishing for winter when thats really the mode I am in. Summer store stock is being reduced so ordering is low in that respect. Just the essentials.

And there’s still plenty of summer riding to do yet. In fact I get my most riding in during the fall. Which is one of my favorite times of the year. MTB rides when the leaves are turned is the best. And again with that statement I am again getting ahead of myself.

2nd pic this morn 840am

I need to concentrate on this weekend which is a task. Besides all the usual stuff I need to remember what I need for camping. Its been awhile. The last time I “car” camped was one nite in 2012. Before that it was 2009. So Im not that experienced in it. But I’ll make due. I hope to get three days of riding up there. One ride on Friday, two on Saturday and one more Sunday morn. In a perfect world.

So today and tomorrow I will be working ahead in the store. Both for the weekend and for winter.


Expensive Toys


Another cold(er) morning. I hope the temps rise a bit for the camping up in Marquette. Weather dudes are calling for rain all day and nite on Friday. I was actually thinking of going up Thursday nite but I think its going to be Friday morn now. I’ll try to not say too much about it here today. Im having a tough time concentrating at work the way it is.

Today my 29+ wheels will arrive. Im second guessing those.

Because Treks Farley 9.8 comes with carbon wheels. 27.5 by 4in. That should in fact come close to the diameter of a 29+ tire and wheel. And while the tires are a bit heavier the wheels should come in lighter. Even lighter than the 29+ set I had built that is 50 mil wide. So for summer riding should I just keep the stock carbon wheels? Maybe.

I guess I could just well the 29+ set. But I’ll make that call when all the stuff is in front of me. Wheels arriving today. Bluto fork tomorrow.


As for the Bluto, I’ll put it on until full on winter, then put the rigid back on for groomed trail riding and racing. As much as people say they don’t need a suspension fork on their fatbike, it sure makes the bike super summer friendly. Especially for old guys with bad backs like me.

My Farley is looking to be an expensive toy. Retailing at almost $5K, throw in the fork and its a pricey for sure. Even on a demo program.

And I just might one up that. I have a Farley 9.8 frameset due in Oct. I would much rather build a bike than ride a stock one. And I have visions of Shimano 1X11 Di2 dancing in my head. That would push the retail value well over $6k closing in on $7k.

Thats nuts!

And awesome at the same time.

Time will tell.