Thursday, January 05, 2006

The anti-rant

One business issue first, if your name is Gretchen, you live out east somewhere and want to talk to me about a frame, call me back, you didn't leave a phone # in your message, and the email address you left is not valid!

Ok, back to writing....

I'm not sure if that's an appropriate title or not. I guess it's still a rant, but it's a good rant, about good things. That's kind of the opposite of most rants.

I skied three times this week! That's some kind of record for me as I really haven't done anything outdoors for a couple months prior. I've been to Como, Battle Creek and Wirth this week, and all of them surprised me with how good they were. Sure last night at Wirth was a bit icy, but it was totally ski-able.

My big shock was Battle Creek Tuesday. It was about 36 degrees out all day, everything was slush, but yet the skiing was great. Some moron (probably someone who runs cyclists off the road) had been driving an SUV all over the trails in the prior days, but yet the skiing was great. There was a highschool meet going on with kids everywhere, but yet the skiing was great. Ok, you get the picture.

Battle Creek has really ramped up their grooming abilities in the last few years. When I first moved near the park, the trails were appalling. I mean they would hardly ever groom, when they did, it was done all wrong. I offered many times to groom the trails for free or even give clinics to their groomers on what they should be doing (I maintained the ski trails at MTU for almost 5 years, so I've got plenty of grooming acumen). The county always refused, I was always pissed when I'd ski there.

Then things started happening, great groups of citizens banded together and got improvements in the works. We got lights on a nice portion of the trail, then the county bought a new groomer, then in a remarkable showing if insight, they taught the operators how to actually use it properly! The last couple of years they've been refining the trails in the non-winter months, and that brings up to today. Despite a miserable lack of good snow, and temps staying above freezing for days, the trails were pretty smooth and fully covered in groomed snow. Bravo Ramsey County.

Even more impressive was the high-school meet. I coached a high school ski team for 5 years, so I have a pretty good idea of what it's like trying to organize 50-100 kids out in a field of snow and keep them starting and stopping at the right time. I also know how kids like to screw around in the snow, it's teen-ager nature and cannot be stopped. The meet I saw was Stillwater and Roseville doing a skate race. I showed up at the tail end, disappointed that there was a meet that day because that usually means it's tough to ski. Every kid and parent out there was really courteous to me though, I didn't see any of the usual shenanigans of kids building jumps, tearing up holes in the trails, etc... It was pretty cool, my hats off to those two teams and their coaches. Nice work presenting a great public image of ski racing. I don't always see that.

Now that things got below freezing last night, I suspect Battle Creek may be a deathtrap. It's all huge hills and they'll all be ice. I'm not sure there's enough snow for them to do much tilling, so I may be resigned to flatter skiing until we get more white stuff.

Not much new to report on the house. I've been too busy skiing!
I have done a couple more things around the shop, but nothing exciting. A few repairs, start on another frame, etc... I want to get these repairs out of the way since they take up a lot of space in the shop.

well, that's about all for now. I might even get some painting done this weekend (on bikes that is, not the house!).


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