Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I love the experience of riding new bike trails in Minnesota and last weekend's Gitchi Gami ride was a heart pumping extravaganza.This years ride consists of a 12 mile round trip peddle along the Lake Superior coast from Gooseberry State Park to Beaver Bay.... and back.The route between Gooseberry State Park and Beaver Bay ride is really the heart of this trail.
It's only the beginning.
Let's not forget the 21 mile Co. Rd 4/ Lax Lake Lochness Monster / Silver Bay Pain Hill/ loop that included oxygen stops in rural Finland, Silver Bay, and eventullay Beaver Bay. Once again, our trail club dedication proves that Northern MN excels in a high quality trail ride experience.
Biking the complete 55 mile ride left me rather winded, but certainly not speechless. For most of this trip I heard " Are you Ok?", "Is everything allright?", "Man, this next hill goin to drop you". There's always the silent bike rider's glimpse- mouth open, tongue displaced, a leap for air- and the shared riding code, "we're all in this together".
Thankfully, there were a few simple rest stops where one could hydrate and snack... and chat. I was following a really sweet group of riders up to Finland, but by the time I reached Eckbeck campground, I began to think I was part of the sag motorcade.
More hills and hills too. Keep peddlin.... Usually I get stronger throughout the day and so far no cramps.
More peddlin leads to some jive chatter, I'm feelin' ok now. Cut to the taconite railroad haze.......
All I remember is a long, painful bike climb out of Silver Bay en route to the first and last Beaver Bay rest stop.
I know this seems goofy, but I still recommend this trail ride to amaeurs, families, and even serious gear-heads. The north shore is one of the few areas in Minnesota that you can experience the "bikers climb", yet be blessed by Lake Superior views and tales and visions..........why will He come back? My Innocence Mission.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
To the right is a color infra-red aerial photograph showing the site before it was harvested. The red lines depict the burn boundary along with the yellow ignition points. The brownish color shows the extensive jack pine-black spruce forests in this area. Above that are recent timber harvests that have been planted or seeded with a variety of tree species including norway pine, white pine, white spruce, and jack pine. This area was not burned.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
This year I made a promise to re-unite with Black Beauty- my 20 year old Gary Fischer mountain bike- which unfortunately had been placed into semi-retirement. After taking her up to the 2008 Winnipeg Folk Festival for a test run, I knew she was up to the 51-mile bike challenge! Like any decent Gary Fischer bike, I wasn’t disappointed.
Although the Mesabi Trail is best suited to the modern tour bikes available today, I 'm an old sentimental fool. Give me my old Fischer, or no biking at all. It doesn’t matter that I can’t go 15 miles/hour consistently, nor does it matter that I have knobby tires. I just want to ride like anyone else. Ultimately, that’s what the Mesabi Trail folks have created. A trail suited for a variety of skill levels and bike types. On any given weekend you will find families, gear-heads, duffers, and everyone in between.
The planned route this year promised to be relatively easy. An occasional uphill climb was antipcated with only a few pedal-stomps to exceed an 8% grade. Thankfully this turned out to be true, although I was still sucking wind and cramping up by the end of the 3rd leg! That's expected though. Pain is defined by the name.... learn to accept and understand it.
The overall purpose of this day is a charitable one with proceeds going toward expansion of recreational trails and for promoting Independent Public Radio (IPR). As you know, our own KAXE is one of 12 independent/community based radio stations in Minnesota, and to ride for our station was especially motivating for me. In addition, we also know that this type of physical exercise has such a positive influence on physical and mental well being. Two excellent reasons to spend a day on a bike!
As early as June of this year, I begin to mentally prepare for this tour by watching and studying several fine films that involve cycling..... more or less. I’m sure you don’t want to miss any of these so search them out today. Remember any of these?
The Bicycle Thief (1948)- Italy
Breaking Away (1979)- USA
How can we forget this gem. A charming yet goofy bike film. Anyone remember the TV series Breaking Away featuring Shawn Cassidy as Dave Stoller? Yes, a rare nugget that’s extremely hard to find. Only in the 1980’s could TV execs pull this off- it barely lasted a season. Oh where or where can we find this?
American Flyers (1985)- USA
The Cyclist (1987)- Iran
2 Seconds (1998)- Canada
Beijing Bicycle (2002)- China
Cyclomania (2002)- Finland
Hell on Wheels (2004) Germany
Le Tour De France 2005: The Magnificent 7 (2005)- France
The Flying Scotsman (2006)- Scotland
How about some highlights from my personal Mesabi Trail tour? You can check out my photo-log below:
Iron Range/Mesabi Trail Ride 2008
Brief mile-marker harbor star observations coming soon. I'm too tired to continue.
A special thanks to all of the Mesabi Trail volunteers and staff for making this a special experience. This tour would not happen with out your commitment. Cheers to all of the riders, cutters..... I mean miners, and to everyone supporting IPR / recreational trails!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Photo Credit- Michael Myers
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Ever experienced what it’s like to change careers, move to another city, try to establish new friends? Sure. Everyone has. 1st time director Maren Ade crafted an amazing, true to life indie-film titled The Forest for the Trees. This German film is one of several foreign and independents that have been released by the smart folks at Film Movement.
Unfortunately I couldn’t track down a trailer, but I’ve included several reviews for the film. Critics are all over the map on this one, but if you like movies that focus on one central character this might be worth watching. A must for teachers.
Bursting with idealism, Melanie Pröschle, a young teacher from the countryside, starts her first job at a high school in the city. Desperate to fulfil her hopes, Melanie intends to do everything the right way. Politely she introduces herself to her neighbours with homemade schnapps. At her first day of school she gives a very ambitious speech for her colleagues. She wants to be a "fresh breeze" to the school, but it is not easy to start a new life, as Melanie copes with loneliness, established teachers and ninth grade students.
This film begs for empathy, but a close viewing can help to re-affirm our attitudes and treament of others. It provides the context that allows thoughtful reflection on what it means to befriend someone different from you, even if they don't seem to care. Of course there are boundaries between individuals that must be repected.
ENCYCLICAL LETTER SPE SALVI
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI
ON CHRISTIAN HOPE