Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guitar Ted Productions Rear View 2011; Part III

In the continuing process of closing out the year with my best memories from 2011, I have a few more events to talk about......

Annual Frostbike pilgrimage to Mike's Bikes
Frostbike: This "dealer only" show in Quality Bicycle Products Bloomington, Minnesota warehouse/headquarters is a fun get together where I get to hang out with several folks I get to see all too rarely. It also includes getting together with Ben Witt and making a pilgrimage to Mike's Bikes in Northfield, Minnesota.

This is always a very special time for me. This past year was no different. Ben had just gotten his Pofahl custom snow bike together, we did hot laps around Mike's Bikes shop on a modified pre-war Schwinn cruiser, and skidded fat bikes around corners to the point that we had "rubbered in" the corners in Mike's cement floor.

Mike's is a special little chunk of bicycle shop heaven that is rare and disappearing across the nation. I am honored and thrilled to have been there and to have seen the things I have. Mike was one of the original Marin "klunker" guys, and the heritage and history of mountain biking he brought back with him to Northfield is a small treasure I count myself lucky to have been able to experience. Thanks Mike! Thanks Ben!

Frostbike was fun, and a bit anti-climatic, since we ended up coming home early to beat out a wicked winter storm that stranded a lot of folks up there. (Maybe we should have stayed and gotten stranded with everyone else!)

Boo-boo.
El Paso, Texas: My summertime trip to El Paso, Texas to visit my relatives usually involves some riding in the Franklin Mountain State Park, and this year was to be a great, two week trip with plenty of opportunities to ride. I brought two bikes and gear and was all ready to do some desert riding.

On my first ride there, I endoed and smashed a rock into my knee cap, splitting open the skin down to the bone. I was alone, it was in the 90's in the desert, I was unable to see, and didn't know if I could walk. The pain was incredible. I was scared.

Well, obviously I made it back to talk about it again, but suffice it to say, I learned a thing or three about myself and about what I needed to do for the next attempt there. I also learned to appreciate what I have: Family, friends, and my own life. Seriously- this was a big eye opener, and even though I was disappointed in not being able to ride anymore down there, (or for about two weeks), I would not have learned what I did without that experience. I've got a scar to remind me too.

Summertime ride with Ben, Curtis, and Jason B.
Northfield Trip #1: In July I went up to help with a criterium Ben Witt was helping put on, and I also got to ride with Ben, Curtis, and Jason B, which was one of my favorite rides of the year.

These guys are a blast to ride with, and I count them as friends. To be out on the rural Minnesota gravel roads in such beauty only enhanced the experience more.

I also got to hang out with Ben's Dad, Mark, and we drove classic cars around in the sun, drank soda from a 50 year old vending machine dispensing 10 ounce bottles, and hung out at a beach on a lake for a bit. That and Mrs. Guitar Ted and I got lost on bicycles in Northfield, plus we stayed at a great Hotel in downtown Northfield. This was a highlight of the entire summer for me. What a great time!

So much happened in one weekend that it is hard to express how much this trip meant to me and my wife. Thanks to all who were a part of this one.

GTDRI: Toledo, Iowa stop.
Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational: Well, here was a cooker of a ride! It started out foggy, wet, damp, and cool-ish, and ended up becoming a sweltering death march of a ride at the end of the day, but we (almost) all completed a dirty century.

This was a great ride from several standpoints. The people were fantastic. I had folks come in from further abroad than I had ever had- (North Dakota, Michigan), and had more folks on the ride, (13 individuals at different points in the ride), and had a spectacular course to share with them.

The hills were less brutal than they are in Northeast Iowa, but still- they were not easy! We took in the "Wolf Creek Wall", which I had in T.I.V8, and is featured in the film trailer for "300 Miles of Gravel", (see if you can spot it!), which leads into a mile and a half section of hills that suck the life out of you after 75 miles of previous hills.

At any rate, it turned out to be a killer fun ride, and I didn't make the mistake of drinking too much the night before either! Plus I made a few new friends, which is always a good time. Thanks all who came out for that ride!

Okay, look for another Rear View 2011 post tomorrow.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Man, that all seems like so long ago now. Thanks for the recap of many great memories.

Here's to many more in 2012!