Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Hayward WI

Three Biketeers

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Day two of Paul’s, Randy’s, and my biking-instead-of-golfing adventures up at the lake place was a grinding success. Did I say grinding? I meant grand success. Honestly, the conditions were better than average, practically superb for the combination of riding we had in mind. My only issue was that my legs felt odd at the beginning of the day and as the afternoon progressed the muscles kept threatening to cramp up.

I’m guessing I taxed myself a bit too much on our opening day gauntlet of rocks and roots navigating the Makwa trail. Instead of allowing for a day of recovery, we three biketeers set out midmorning for some smooth riding on the road bikes. Once again, I demonstrated my penchant for having my sense of direction reversed.

My intended route would have basically formed a rectangle on the map but I missed one turn while rolling along and chatting with the guys. Remaining oblivious at the time, I was surprised to reach a “T” with McClaine Road again, which we had turned from miles before. Our route had circled back.

Knowing I’d missed a turn we reversed direction and backtracked. I was mistakingly looking for the Chief River Road I wanted on our right. When we came upon it –and of course, it was farther away than I thought it should be– I discovered my sense of our position on the planet was backward again and it was a left turn, not a right.

The rest of the road ride was without confusion and we enjoyed a triumphant return to Wildwood where we found the sign was showing a new skew of its own.

We switched to our off-road bikes again for the afternoon and I finally got my first exposure to the CAMBA trail loops by the hospital, appropriately named, “Hospital Trail.”

It lived up to the reputation I had heard for a couple of years that Hospital Trail would be much more to my liking. Sharing a variety of the fun features of the more aggressive Makwa trail near us, the Hospital trail in Hayward offers a few loops that meander through a nice section of pine forest. There are a fair number of hairpin turns but it has far fewer sharp changes in elevation or complicated rock obstacles and almost no tree root hazards.

It probably shouldn’t have been as taxing on my aging leg muscles as it was but for the rest of the day I found myself tetering perilously close to having my quads and calves seize up at one wrong move.

Pickle juice, I was told. No, I erred by asking for a scoop of two different flavors of ice cream from West’s Dairy. The serving size in the cup could have fed a family of five. I ate it anyway. Raspberry Delight with Mint Chip.

It’s what a biketeer would do!

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2022 at 9:19 am

Chasing Racers

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There’s an app for that. Family support for race participants becomes a sport in itself. One of the first challenges is interpreting event information provided by the organizers. Then there is the physical exertion of arriving at the correct spot at the precise moment to see specific racers along a 50-kilometer freestyle course. Having an app to show a skier’s progress is a helpful tool, but only part of the information needed in the role of spectator/support people.

Yesterday’s adventure began with the challenge of finding where skiers can be dropped off to catch a shuttle bus with time to spare to reach the starting point of the American Birkebeiner. Oft referred to as “The Birkie,” this is North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon and part of the worldloppet circuit of over 20 international ski marathons and it happens practically in the back yard of our lake place getaway.

When we got to town, taking the back route to dodge a suspected road closure (that turned out to be not closed) there was no obvious sign of where to find a skier drop off for the shuttle. We decided to make the drive to the race start ourselves. Knowing the route to Cable, WI was no problem but reaching the start required a lot of luck and a little bravado. As we got close, we found busses and followed one  past a sign that said “no entry.”

Our heroes, Ella W., and Ellie G. hopped out as the traffic volunteer was instructing us we couldn’t park there. Luckily, we had no intention of parking. We drove back to the house and watched the race progress on a live online feed.

When the time looked right, we drove to an access point somewhere near the middle of the race.

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Our intrepid first-time marathon skiers were in fine spirits and good form which was a wonderful thing to see for those who love them and are cheering from the sidelines. Once again, we headed back to the comfort of the house and some lunch while the athletes were outside pushing their limits in the elements.

With the app offering hints of their progress, we headed out again, this time in two cars so we could give them a ride back after the finish. Our first challenge was to find a place to park in the small town of Hayward where the population had expanded 20-fold for the weekend.

Since our first-timers Ella and Ellie started in the last wave of the race, a good percentage of people were already done and leaving so parking spots were opening up at random. We arrived on Main Street with time to scout out the scene and took up a position that unfortunately offered primarily shadowed views.

Regardless, we hollered excitedly at the sight of the girls taking their finishing strides.

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They had enough skiing for the day, that’s for sure. Gauging their assessment in the immediate moment of fatigue leaves room for interpretation. No matter what, it was a heck of an accomplishment for them. Endurance sports are not for everyone, but it is an honor to witness their achievements in person and live vicariously through their impressive efforts.

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Tree Dwelling

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Near the edge of the woods at the bottom of the hill behind our house, there is a large tree with three distinct critter access points. I noticed them the other day because Delilah stopped to look up at the tree with excited interest. That almost always means a squirrel was moving around in the branches.

I didn’t see any life in the branches but I very much noticed the three holes in the tree.

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Do you think those are three separate “apartments” or is that a deluxe three-story home with a door on each floor?

Cyndie, Delilah, and I are waking up at the lake place this morning on the weekend of the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race. Our friends, the Williams family will be joining us, and their daughter, Ella will be skiing it on Saturday for the first time.

It is estimated the event brings 40-thousand people to Hayward for the weekend. That changes things dramatically around here. For reference, the population of Hayward is a little over 2000. It messes up our navigation because they close roads and strive to move everyone by shuttle bus. Foils our desire to sneak down a fire lane road to catch a glimpse of racers in the middle of the woods.

Organizers want all spectators to watch the beginning or the end, or both, traveling by shuttle bus. I’d prefer to not be constrained to standing among the masses. I’m not tall enough to expect I will be able to see anything in a crowd, anyway.

Before we left home yesterday, I needed to finish clearing snow from in front of the big barn doors so I could move bales of hay in for the person tending to the horses while we are away. I also needed to pull snow off the eaves above the front door of the house and then shovel that into a giant mound by the front steps.

Arriving up here hours later, the first order of business was to shovel access paths to the doors. The driveway was plowed and caretakers had pulled some snow off the roof but no good attention had been paid toward clearing snow from in front of the doors.

Ski racing might be an Olympic sport, but I feel like the shoveling I’ve been doing lately is medal-worthy.

In case you didn’t form an opinion about the tree pictured above, I’d say it’s one palatial three-story home based on the noticeable lack of tracks in the snow at the base. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing it’s some fat-cat of a squirrel luxuriating up there with no reason to come out and get his feet wet.

I think Delilah could smell him.

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Written by johnwhays

February 25, 2022 at 7:00 am