When Do Plans Exceed Expectations?

When Do Plans Exceed Expectations?

So often in life our most anticipated plans fall short of expectations. However, even though I had been looking forward to this father-son ride for weeks, the time I spent talking and joking with my 10 year old on this glorious afternoon ride greatly exceeded any prior expectations. After we decided to drive down to the Rochester area early for my brother-in-law’s wedding, I began planning the route Koen and I would ride while mom visited customers in the area. Since my father-in-law lives in Byron and I have ridden Country Rd. 5 into Pine Island solo on a number of occasions, I thought this would make a perfect mid-day lunch loop. The plan was to meet my father-in-law at the Subway in Pine Island before returning on the Douglas Trail and finishing with a climb of Genoa Hill. All told this would end up being roughly a 34 mile ride. Koen and I left Byron around 11:30 and told Russ (my father-in-law) to meet us at Subway around 12:30. It was only 14 miles away, but I wanted to play it safe. Leaving Byron with a tailwind increased our average speed to nearly 18 mph, but after getting my first flat tire of the year five miles outside Byron our progress was slowed a bit. Koen was in great spirits as we started to climb the first hill. Now that he considers himself a bit of a “climber,” he gets extra motivated when the pavement tilts up. The trip to Pine Island was filled with great conversation about his favorite subjects in schools, why “Uncle Grandpa” is his favorite cartoon, and all of the attributes that...
Erik’s Team Ride to Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater

Erik’s Team Ride to Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater

It started out a little chilly, but Saturday morning was a great day to ride out to Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater with the Erik’s Regional Race Team. Six of us (Matt Petersen, Andy Keogh, Peter Hagerty, Laszlo Alberti, & Ben Schinke) met at Minnehaha Park to begin the trek east. We stuck to bike paths and rode at a more conversational pace on the way out. However, after filling up with pastry and coffee at Kilkoot Cafe, we ripped through the crosswinds in a pace-line all the way back to Minneapolis. Such a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. All Smiles as We Pace-Line Down 10 Street in Oakdale Full Ride to...
Ken Woods Memorial Road Race: Koen’s First Official Race

Ken Woods Memorial Road Race: Koen’s First Official Race

The 2016 Ken Woods Memorial Road Race in Cannon Falls, MN on Saturday was Koen’s first USA Cycling sanctioned road race. At 10 years old, Koen has been riding his bike with me for the last 5 years and he has also competed in a couple of time trials, duathalons, and family fun races. However, this was the first race that felt like the “real deal.” He had a timing chip strapped around his ankle, two numbers pinned to the back of his jersey, and a group of kids his own age who he would be competing against head-to-head. This would also be his first race for the NorthStar Development Team.  Koen and his best friend Cole arrived at the race course shortly after I finished racing in the morning wave of Ken Woods. I could tell immediately that he was inside of his own head as nerves were clearly present. Koen has gotten better over the years, but he still puts an immense amount of pressure on himself in all areas of his life. It’s really hard to know what he is thinking before a big event. As all three of us warmed up, I tried to keep the atmosphere light and give the kids as much advice as I thought would be helpful. We rolled down the finishing hill to give both boys an idea of what they will face during the last two miles of the race. Both of them did great, but I could tell that they were thinking about how this would feel after racing for 12 miles. After the warm-up and course preview, we loaded...
Koen’s Stop-Action Animation Video “The Thief”

Koen’s Stop-Action Animation Video “The Thief”

Koen has participated in the Oxbow Creek Elementary Arts and Academic Expo every year since kindergarten. His projects have varied from Lego creations to sports cards about monsters and meerkats, to photograph compositions. This year he was interested in creating a digital stop-action animation video. What else would be the theme of his video but two of his favorite things; MineCraft and Legos. He worked very hard planning the set and writing the script. After those two essential elements were complete, we sat down and discussed the overall process of the production. We watched several videos, talked about how many photos would be needed for a short video, and discussed the lighting and production software needed. After all the preparation work was finished, we headed down the basement and started setting up the make-shift studio. Koen helped to set up the green screen, lights, and camera. He was then in charge of moving each of the characters ever so slightly through the completion of his script. Over 150 photos were taken before it was complete. Once the photos were in the can, we headed up to the computer and began the tedious job of editing. However, Adobe’s Premiere CC makes this process fairly effortless. We dropped in the clips and realized that a rate of 3 photos per second would suffice for this project (we read prior to the production that 18 frames per second is standard in stop-action animation). Koen had fun selecting the best soundtrack from YouTube’s free library of shareable music. He finally typed the titles into Premier from his draft script. Overall I was very impressed...
Specialized Fatboy Loop to the Coon Rapids Dam

Specialized Fatboy Loop to the Coon Rapids Dam

If you don’t own a fat bike and you live in Minnesota you’re doing it wrong. Where were these things when I was a kid? Of course there are times when it’s too cold to ride, too icy to ride, or it’s thawing and riding would ruin the trails. However, for those times when the air is crisp and the snow is crunching underneath those fat tires, it can be one of the best feelings in the world. Koen and I both purchased Specialized Fatboys last season and I still count mine as the most fun bike I own. We made full use of them all summer long, but there’s something about using them in the conditions they were built for it really makes it worthwhile. This short video is just our quick adventure to the Coon Rapids Dam in Brooklyn Park, MN on a frosty late afternoon in February. I have a GoPro Hero 4 Black on my handle bars and a GoPro Hero 4 Session underneath my saddle. I threw all of the footage together in Adobe Premier CC with a Ground Control Hangtime 2 filter....
Lego Star Wars Throwdown

Lego Star Wars Throwdown

In an effort to test my new GoPro Hero 4 Black and the Hangtime 2 luts from Ground Control, Koen and I competed in a LEGO Star Wars Throwdown. How long could it possibly take to construct a Tie Fighter with only 47 pieces? Just over five minutes for the both of us I guess? Koen nipped me in the end, but his small LEGO set did contain six fewer pieces ;  ) I wish I would have brought the exposure down a bit on the footage, but overall I was happy with the protunes setting on the GoPro Hero 4 Black and the luts from Ground Control. Looking forward to increasing my skills moving...

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