The past two weeks have seen several multi-day warm ups. In most places this would mean that snowbike trails become ribbons of unrideable mashed potatoes that only get worse when they freeze. But, if you live in Marquette it means that the wonderful groomers from the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) Single Track Section put in some serious hours to ensure that our trails are top-notch when the inevitable freeze comes.
The NTN groomers have come up with some very unique grooming implements that suit our local climate. Their hard work and innovation is the subject of a great new short called “Whack Jobs.” It’s a true testament to those hardworking volunteers that make winter riding not only a possibility but a real pleasure.
The riding has been stellar so far in 2018. Despite the warm weather, as long as the temps drop overnight the trails are primo early in the morning before the sun hits them. In these few precious hours the planets align and you can really rip.
This weekend my friend Tim came up from Wisconsin to revel in our beautiful trails. I set up the GoPro and we went to the woods. Check it out!
We’ve got a little piece of property in the country. It’s the kind of place that’s just far enough out that you have to make your own fun. We spend a lot of time playing in and around the homestead. Lately, the main focus has been turning it into a bit of an adult playground. We are constantly looking for ways to make our spaces more fun and playful.
This past week we have been panking down our own fat bike trail for some friendly festivities this upcoming weekend. The freeze/thaw cycle from last week really helped the trail set up so we spent a little time riding them in this afternoon. Things are getting dialed in! The light was just right today so we did a little filming. Enjoy.
I got some new camera items to play around with and I am hoping to film more this year. Stay tuned.
I have been blogging off an on for around 8 years starting with Random Stream of Consciousness and now The Flannel Dispatch. However, its never been something that has been taken too seriously. I publish infrequently and fail to capture a majority of the things that I do. It has come to my attention that people like to hear what I am up to. People just like you. Perhaps it is that you are bored with your everyday lives and want to get a glimpse into the world of people that work hard and play hard. Maybe you really want to see how we balance our lives. Or maybe, just maybe you truly care about Chelsea and I and what we are up to.
While on a recent trip to Duluth I resolved to more closely chronicle my life and adventures.
We tend to live a life unlike many people and Id like to inspire others to live more like us. We have decided to eschew the “normal” young professional progression for a more #dirtbagyuppie lifestyle: we focus on experiences and toys that enrich our lives in ways that help us enjoy the outdoors. So, instead of saving our extra money and time off on one single vacation each year we would rather go on many micro adventures throughout the year. I personally find that taking quick breaks more frequently helps me to stay focused in my professional life and that allows me to do the things that I want in my free time.
So you have a decent job that requires you to dress up most days but deep down you really want to just shred gnar, drink camp coffee, and turn your hatchback into a fish car during your downtime. Boy oh boy do I have an offer for you. It’s called being a Dirtbag Yuppie.
Noun. Origin: Milennial Slang. Individual who holds down a decent job while also devoting much of their energy and passion to outdoor pursuits. Usually seen: leaving the office in bike shorts; at trailheads with a fully loaded adventure wagon; or suddenly “coming down with something” the afternoon before a big snow storm.
Dirtbag: A person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags seek to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle.
Yuppie: Acronym for Young Urban Professional. Group whose culture blends the hippie/counterculture values of the 60s and the materialistic monetary-based values of the 80s. Usually congregate in nice coffee shops, co-ops, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and a wide variety of handmade or small-batch boutiques. Includes both moderate Liberals, and moderate Conservatives, although both the far left and the far right enjoy dissing them.
I have always felt a little conflicted: I love what I do for a living and the financial rewards that it brings, but I do not have the same value system as most people in my position. On paper I am a bit of a yuppie. (This is a title that I have struggled with more than once). However, I don’t want fancy things for the sake of showing them off to other people, nor do I go out to dinner just to be seen, and I never start off a conversation by asking someone where they work. I prefer to live a simple life focused on my passions; those activities and causes that light my fire and give me purpose and which my profession allows me to comfortably pursue. I’m not a big fan of having stuff just for the sake of having stuff. The exception to that statement of course are the implements that further my passions: bikes, fly rods, tents, kayaks… I LIVE for adventure, nature, and experiences that enrich me as a person and I follow those passions every chance that I get. So to that, I am also a bit of a dirtbag. Whenever I am looking for the answer to a big question I take to my bike.
While out spinning my wheels last year I came to a conclusion: embrace the yuppie-ness but, do it in such a way that in amplifies your ability to dirtbag it up. In short, you can have a great fulfilling career and nice things but don’t let that change who you really are. Wear the suit from 9-5 then change into your cycling kit or Baggies and let loose.
Now, I do not live out of my van and scrounge for dollars to score whatever is hot and full of calories at the nearest convenience store while on multi-week climbing or biking excursions so many people will not agree with the dirtbag moniker. However, I always have at least one fly rod in my vehicle, tote my bike or skis around to every work trip, and take frequent long weekends spent solely playing in the outdoors. Doing so allows me to recharge so that when I head back to my office I can be the best version of myself for my clients.
In short: be a yuppie: plan for retirement and have nice things. But live like there is no tomorrow.
Don’t waste your life chasing things that don’t really matter. Take more powder days; shred more trail; leave the office when the surf is up.
If you feel like letting others know that you are a contributing member of society that is more than a pressed shirt and a handshake maybe you should check out Dirtbag Yuppie swag.
I have an honest confession to make: I have been Zwifting. Since a few days after Christmas I have been a card carrying member of the cellar-dwelling cycling contingent. Why, you ask? Because I decided to make a commitment to myself to be a more serious cyclist in 2018. I have some long fun-rides and “races” planned. Don’t get me wrong, I will not place in any of these races, but I need some sort of event/goal to spur my physical fitness on. So I caved, and I joined the ranks.
I have been putting down some miles. Zwift affords me the ability to get up, swing my leg over the bike, and start the day spinning. No hauling my bike to the trailhead at 6:30 in the morning in the pitch-black Marquette morning. No snow pants, goggles, or frozen water bottles.
When I got Zwift I vowed to not let it totally replace winter cycling. I wanted it to supplement my training without serving as the death knell of fat biking. Consistent morning rides on the spin bike and after work rides on the fat bike to remind me what it really means to be a cyclist.
Things have been going pretty well. But this morning didn’t line up right and I missed my Zwift. Regardless I packed up my fattie and headed to work. The workday sort of slogged on and I dealt with some pretty sad and heavy situations with my clients. While gearing up at the office I debated skipping my snowbike ride and putting in dedicated practice time on Zwift. But I told myself that I could just treat this ride as a training ride. Hit it hard and I wouldn’t fall off my loosely planned training regimen. That was the plan.
So I took off with a bit of a poor attitude. As I climbed Benson the direction of my attitude was inverse to the incline. The higher I went, the worse it got. It was like I forgot that riding outside would be much harder than my basement. The elements seem really harsh when you haven’t had to deal with them in a while. Needless to say I was not feeling it. The big fat under-inflated tires felt like they were working against me with ever pedal stroke. Mentally beaten down I plodded on. That is until it happened.
The wind picked up and the trees started to move around a bit. Unbeknownst to me all of that moving around dislodged a softball-size glob of snow. That glob floated down and smacked me right in the face. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. My poor attitude melted as quickly snow on my face and I wiped it all away. That’s all it took to turn things around. It’s like Ma Nature saw me struggling with some earthly crud and decided to set me straight. I was only half way into my short ride but the rest of the trail seemed to zoom by with much less effort. I was back to enjoying riding my bike.
That’s what it’s all about for me; enjoyment, communing with nature, and maybe getting in shape along the way. Not mileage goals, race results, or Strava KOM. Everyone’s drivers are a little different and this ride showed me that I was going about things in the wrong way.
System re-calibrated, I pedal on with the same goals for 2018, but now I have a better idea on how to achieve them.