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Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas 2023

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and there were terrified.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men."

Luke 2:8-13.

Merry Christmas. 

Peace and good will to all. 

Addendum. I love that Linus lets go of his security blanket when telling the Christmas Story.

The Meaning Of Christmas, by Linus.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Add, Without Subtracting

I am thankful for volunteers, those people who give their time, energy, and talents to serve others. They pour part of themselves into making this broken world a better place for someone else. Seeing that service sparks hope.

I am also thankful for those creating something for the common good. They envision a path toward a new or improved experience for others to share. Seeing that service fosters dreams.

New Flow Trail on M-Hill.

Here in Rapid City, South Dakota, a nascent group of cyclists are creating "flow" trails. This group appears to be passionate, committed, and willing to work to build their version of trails for mountain biking. They also appear to be drawing new and additional people into their activity. Good stuff. 

As I understand, "flow" trails are primarily downhill, with wide, heavily banked, and bermed corners for turning at high speeds and with added features built for jumping. For safety reasons, they are one-way (downhill) and limited to bicyclists. 

Downhill, one-way, cyclist-only trails are not new to Rapid City. Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park actually included such a trail (Dirk's Draw) as part of its original build years ago. It's still there and "flowing."

The new "flow" trail at M-Hill appears to be a new trail purpose built for "flow." That's great. Go with the flow, bro.

Additional "flow" trails may also be in the works for Skyline Park, where the City of Rapid City and volunteers have built miles of single track trails enjoyed by many hikers, runners, and cyclists. Hopefully, the City works around those popular trails when constructing new "flow" trails. 

Existing trail at Raider Park blocked off for construction of a new Flow Trail.

The construction of new "flow" trails at Raider Park raise an issue. There, an existing trail that was built for, and has been enjoyed by, everyone has been blocked off and replaced with a "flow" trail. The old trail appears to be closed to walking and running.

It's one thing to create and build a new trail for a select group of users, who likely have volunteered or contributed significantly to make it happen. That's the add. That's awesome.

It's entirely different to take trails away from everyone else for use only by a specific sub-group. That's subtraction.

For those creating and volunteering to serve others, thank you. When you believe that you are adding to our community, please consider whether your actions also subtract. 

Maybe there's a way to add, without subtracting. 

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Change Out of Pajamas

Gandalf the Grey:  I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone.

Bilbo Baggins: I should think so - in these parts! We are plain, quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien (1937). 

Leave the valley. Find a way over that mountain.

In today's world, Bilbo's rejection of adventure might be expressed more often as follows:
When I saw this meme, I thought of Bilbo Baggins and smiled. Probably because Bilbo said out loud what he honestly thought. A good adventure may not feel so good while in the middle of it. When you know that discomfort, or worse, lies ahead, it can be hard to commit. Even harder to start.

And like Gandalf, anyone who creates challenging routes, events, or group rides certainly experiences resistance and flat-out rejection. Those few that express interest often fall aside when reality strikes. Life readily supplies excuses.  It's all too easy to stay in pajamas.

That's all fine and good for a time. But every so often, mindfully change out of pajamas. Embrace the challenge knowing that difficulties are part of the deal. Jump out of your comfort zone. Go for that adventure.

You may surprise yourself. You may even look forward to the next one.

Bursum Road turning to climb Y Canyon to crest a stormy Continental Divide.
Day 47 of my 2021 ride of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
Adventure certainly awaited on that day. (Three Days Of The Gila).

Sunday, December 3, 2023

A Dad's Expression of Love

In the old comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," Calvin is a grade school boy and Hobbes is a toy stuffed tiger that comes to life through Calvin's vivid imagination. I always enjoyed the comic, but really connected with Calvin's dad on the rare occasion he appeared. Perhaps not surprisingly, I learned that Calvin's dad is portrayed as a patent attorney who loves to ride his bicycle. 

One day, over 25 years ago, I received in the mail an envelope from my dad. No letter or note of any kind rested inside. Rather, a single, folded clipping from the Sunday comics of a local newspaper revealed the above Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Dad read it one Sunday morning, thought of me, and simply dropped it in the mail.

Dad didn't know that I loved Calvin and Hobbes and he certainly did not know that Calvin's dad was a patent attorney. He just thought of me with my cycling adventures and my challenging career. And he wanted me to know that.

Dad's actions always spoke louder than his words. I think this mailing was Dad's way of expressing his understanding and appreciation of my journey, even though it differed substantially from his own. 

But I don't know. Maybe he just thought it was funny.

Clifford G. Groseth, at age 88 in 2022.

Dad passed away on November 30, 2022. Much has changed, within and without our family, over this past year. He would have loved to have been a part of all of it. And his presence would have filled every family situation. In many ways, it still does. 

We miss him dearly.

The Obituary I wrote last year is reproduced here. Clifford G. Groseth (1934-2022).

Also, here's a blog post that I wrote as a Father's Day gift to him in 2018. The Best Coach I Ever Had

Clifford G. Groseth, at age 18 in 1952.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Black Hills Bounty - One Page To Link Them All

Over the course of many days of riding with me in 2020, cycling buddy Paul Brasby wondered aloud of a possible bikepacking tour of the Black Hills of South Dakota. We eventually developed the concept of a week long, mixed road tour on my favorite remote, rough roads in the Black Hills, designed around a rider like Paul on a bike like his Salsa CutThroat. That is, a relatively short, remote, rough road tour for a seasoned bike packer on a loaded mountain bike. With a treasure trove of roads and sights from which to choose, I called the ride The Black Hills Bounty and set out to create it.

Of course, we kick this whole thing off with a USFS Low Standard Road.
First road on Day 1 of Year 1 of the Black Hills Bounty. (image by Lane Bergen)

For 2021, we eventually developed a plan to ride 5 days in the Central Black Hills, based out of the tourist town of Custer. Early that summer, a group of six friends rode throughout the Heart of the Hills, including a Bucket List ride up iconic Iron Mountain Road to Mount Rushmore and down Needles Highway. That bit of Bounty only fueled their desire for more.

So, for 2022, we rode for 5 days deep into the Southern Black Hills, pedaling South from Custer and then both East to the prairie's edge and West back into the hills. The route covered a similar mix of rough back roads, but more remote, requiring the next level of water, food, and shelter management. Not surprisingly, the experience sparked further interest in the Bounty, both from within and without the group.

In 2023, we embarked on a 6 day tour of the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota and the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming, with a jaunt out to Devil's Tower National Monument. Once again, we hit about every type of Forest Service road and added a few twists, including a climb on grass-covered trails through a cross-country ski area. Every day, big views and bold autumn colors flood our senses. And, yes, the group is already looking to next year.

Now I've created a separate Page that links my blog posts for each year of the Black Hills Bounty. This Page is for all riders of the Black Hills Bounty, along with everyone else willing to stretch their comfort zone into new experiences in unfamiliar lands. Black Hills Bounty Page.

Hopefully, the Black Hills Bounty Page will be adding posts for years to come.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

2023 Black Hills Bounty (Day 6) - All Too Soon

The final day of a week long bikepacking trip always elicits a mix of emotions. Day 6 of the 2023 Black Hills Bounty is no different. We linger over breakfast at our idyllic camp site by Cook Lake, relishing the relaxed vibe. A few hours of steady climbing on good USFS Secondary Roads will deliver us to our waiting vehicles for the drive home. Of all days, this is no day to hurry. 

Here are a selection of images from Day 6, as captured by our riders. For prior photo galleries of the 2023 Black Hills Bounty, go to Day 0 - Gathering At Roubaix LakeDay 1 - Mining Camp Ghosts Lead To DeadwoodDay 2 - Up Ski Trails & Down Rock ChutesDay 3 - Active RecoveryDay 4 - Tower to TowerDay 5 - Back Up To Bear Lodge

Slowly packing up at Cook Lake. (image by Paul Brasby)

Jeff Bloom, Craig Groseth, Jon Naaf, Ben Cooper, Paul Brasby, Peggy Waite-Bradley.
Start of Day 6 from Cook Lake. (image by Peggy Waite-Bradley)

Climbing on good Forest Service gravel most of the morning. (image by Paul Brasby)

Glimpse into a hardy lifestyle. (image by Paul Brasby)

Through yet another birch tree choir. (image by Paul Brasby)

Local traffic on the move. (image by Paul Brasby)

A back road in the Black Hills. (image by Paul Brasby)

Even with the colors and the company, it's still up. (image by Paul Brasby)

Ben Cooper and Jon Naaf refuel one last time. (image by Peggy Waite-Bradley)

One final hill. (image by Paul Brasby)

The Riders on Day 6 of the 2023 Black Hills Bounty.

Ben Cooper leads the way. (image by Paul Brasby)

Jon Naaf. (image by Ben Cooper)

Jeff Bloom. (image by Ben Cooper)

Paul Brasby. (image by Ben Cooper)

Peggy Waite-Bradley. (image by Ben Cooper)

Craig Groseth. (image by Ben Cooper)

Sunday, November 12, 2023

2023 Black Hills Bounty (Day 5) - Back Up To Bear Lodge

After a night at Devil's Tower National Monument that started with the movie "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" and ended with a brilliant lightening show, we climbed on good county gravel back into the Bear Lodge Mountains. Day 5 of the 2023 Black Hills Bounty delivered many more miles climbing than descending, but strengthened legs steadily covered the good gravel roads to reach USFS Cook Lake campground for the evening. We celebrated our last night together around a roaring camp fire.

Here are a selection of images from Day 5, as captured by our riders. For prior photo galleries of the 2023 Black Hills Bounty, go to Day 0 - Gathering At Roubaix LakeDay 1 - Mining Camp Ghosts Lead To DeadwoodDay 2 - Up Ski Trails & Down Rock ChutesDay 3 - Active RecoveryDay 4 - Tower to Tower.

Devil's Tower National Monument. (image by Kevin Fox)

KOA Campground at Devil's Tower National Monument. (image by Paul Brasby)

Do we tell them it's uphill all day? (image by Kevin Fox)

Devil's Tower National Monument. (image by Kevin Fox)

Ready to roll. Devil's Tower National Monument. (image by Kevin Fox)

Rolling out of the KOA at Devil's Tower National Monument. (image by Paul Brasby)

Back on gravel, for the rest of the day. Lytle Creek Road, County Road 196. (image by Paul Brasby)

Kevin Fox steaming up Lytle Creek Road, County Road 196. (image by Paul Brasby)

Soaking in the scenery on Lytle Creek Road, County Road 196. (image by Paul Brasby)

Craig Groseth and Ben Cooper are ready to climb. (image by Paul Brasby)

Jeff Bloom and Peggy Waite-Bradley spin up Lytle Creek Road, County Road 196. (image by Paul Brasby)

Jon Naaf leads the charge up Lytle Creek Road, County Road 196. (image by Paul Brasby)

Entering Black Hills National Forest on USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

Now we're back in the forest on USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

Bad Asses. No doubt. (image by Paul Brasby)

Better than Aspen Alley. A Birch Boulevard. USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

Still climbing into the Bear Lodge Mountains on USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Secondary Road 847. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Primary Road 838. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Primary Road 838. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Primary Road 838. (image by Paul Brasby)

USFS Primary Road 838. (image by Paul Brasby)

Cook Lake. (image by Paul Brasby)

Cook Lake. (image by Paul Brasby)

Cook Lake. (image by Paul Brasby)

Campfire Master Ben Cooper. (image by Paul Brasby)

Professor of Campfire Philosophy Jon Naaf. (image by Paul Brasby)