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Living the suburban dream! I could not ask for a more wonderful family and network of friends. My wife Angie and son Koen are the center of my life. Whether we are riding our bikes, going out to eat, or just sitting on the couch and watching Survivor, we always find a way to absolutely enjoy one another.

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

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

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 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

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

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...

An Extra “Specialized” Christmas at the Prenzlows

  It was an extra “Specialized” Christmas at the Prenzlows as Koen’s big gift was a new Specialized DSW SL Comp Allez.  I’m really not sure who was more excited? Koen or me? I cannot wait until next spring when we are both able to ride and race together. It should make for some amazing years to come!...

Christmas in Mankato

We have never been the type of family driven by traditions, but we may be starting a new one? This was our second year celebrating Angie’s Christmas at the Mankato City Center Hotel in Mankato, MN and it has been a great time both years. The wide-open space around the pool area allows the kids to basically run wild and the management’s accommodating and relaxed attitudes have made it a great experience all around. This would not be the place I would stay if I wanted to get to bed early on a Saturday night, but if you are looking for a glorified rumpus room until 11:00 PM, it fits the bill nicely. I’m so lucky to have such a great group of in-laws to enjoy the holidays with....

Celebrating Moms on Mother’s Day Weekend

Who doesn’t love to hold a new baby? It’s not very often that you have a brand new nephew in the family and they sure don’t stay brand new very long. It was only appropriate that we went down to Sherburn, MN to visit my sister-in-law Nikki and brother-in-law Jake on Mother’s Day Weekend to meet William (Will) for the first time. They had moved into their new house on Fox Lake less than a week ago and everything was wonderfully chaotic and exciting. Although with my sister-in-law Nikki, chaotic meant that there were no signs of empty boxes and pictures were already hanging on the walls :   ) After spending a wonderful Saturday evening with Angie’s side of the family in Sherburn, we headed to Mapleton to spend the night at my mom and dad’s. It’s always been nice for travel purposes that both of our families live in southern Minnesota. It was late by the time we arrived at my parent’s house, but we still had time to catch up and watch a little NASCAR with my dad. After a lazy Mother’s Day morning, we headed to my aunt Cindy’s in Winnebago for Mother’s Day lunch. With so many wonderful home-prepared dishes, the goal is to take small portions of everything so that I am not completely bloated on the drive back to the Cities. It’s always great to catch up with family and hear the latest news about my cousins. It’s always such a fun weekend with family. However, in my book mothers should be celebrated every day of the year.   Brady Prenzlow owns Prenzlow Photography, rides...

What does Oak Flooring, Windy Hills, Braised Rabbit, and Vehicular Manslaughter have in Common?

Reflecting back on an uncharacteristically busy Saturday that involved a round-trip to gramma and grampa’s in Mapleton, a 50-mile bike ride in Henderson, and an evening out in Minneapolis, I’m not sure one additional activity could have fit into the span of the 16 hour day? Mapleton with Koen Since Koen is on spring break all of next week, we thought it would be a perfect time for him to spend a few days in Mapleton at grandma and grandpa’s house. With a full day ahead of me, Koen and I hit the road early. I was excited to see how my dad was doing after undergoing his second hip surgery a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe he was already well enough to rip-up carpet in preparation for a floor and wall refinish of the dining room. This 100 year old Craftsman house is going to look even more amazing with fresh sheet rock and beautifully finished original oak floors. Having grown up in this house since the day I was born, I can’t believe I had never seen the beautiful oak floors that were hiding underneath the carpet. I just hope my dad doesn’t overdo it while working on this project.     Biking in Henderson After leaving Koen in Mapleton, I headed back north to Henderson where I was scheduled to meet up with Ben and Jim to ride the Silver Island Road Race course. Since I arrived to Henderson early, I rode to Jessenland Hill and got a few climbs in before the ride. The last time I had ridden this hill was 2009 while...

Can a Normal Guy Assemble a Weber Spirit Grill is Less than an Hour?

I’m not going to lie. Assembling this Weber Spirit Gas grill may have been the highlight of my day. As much as I have complained about needing to assemble modular furniture or small appliances over the years, the nine-year-old LEGO lover in me still welcomes a good challenge. The older I get and the more secure our finances become, the less likely I am to be standing over an IKEA box with an Allen wrench in one hand and a beer in the other. Our former gill was nearly 10 years old and it was time for a new rig. We looked around a bit, but actually ended up buying this Weber Spirit grill on Amazon with free shipping for $100 off the retail price. Weber was the only choice for Angie, which is a testament to how much brand equity can factor into a purchase. The heavy box had been sitting in our garage for a couple of days and it was time to put this thing together before the weekend. I hadn’t looked at the instructions or even opened the box, but I felt that I could be grilling brats in an hour or less. Once I opened the box and scanned the instruction book, I was happy to see that there were only a couple of tools required and a total of 26 steps (just over two minutes per step to meet my goal). It took about eight minutes to completely unbox the grill before I was on to step one. Besides my mistakes of initially putting one of the locking wheels on the back of...

Prenzlow’s Take Kauai!

An urge to travel to faraway places has never called me like other endeavors have. In fact, I’m sure Angie could quickly count the number of out-of-state vacations we have taken together–obviously not enough in her opinion. So, when my sister presented the opportunity to spend over a week in Kauai with her family, I knew this was a chance that may never come up again. Since Danielle had been to Kauai three times before, I really allowed her to plan the week’s events. I couldn’t believe how refreshing it was to not have to think about exactly what we were going to do each day—thanks Danielle. Overall it was an amazing week and one that the entire family will remember forever. Day One: Saturday, April 4, 2015 We knew this would be a long travel day when we booked our trip. Since our flight left at 7:20 am, we needed to wake up around 3:45 am to get out the door, get to the park-and-ride, and arrive to the airport to get checked-in. The anticipation of the trip had finally set-in when we rolled out of the garage at the crack of dawn. It was a completely seamless travel day until we arrived at Phoenix for our connecting flight to Kauai. The relaxing 60+ minutes we thought we would have to connect to our next flight turned into 5 mad-dashing minutes when our pilot couldn’t find an open gate to disembark. Koen will remember this moment of the trip as the only time mom and dad “expressed frustration” with one another. We finally arrived at the Kapa’a Shores...

Some Specialized Fatboy Fun!

Last week Koen and I both bought Fat Bikes at Erik’s Bike Shop after finally talking Angie into the idea. It was a Specialized Fatboy 24 for Koen and a Specialized Fatboy SE for me. I had thought about just getting one for myself for years, but I always had something else in the budget. However, with the long Minnesota winters and Koen not getting any younger, it was time to pull the trigger on two. My philosophy on spending money like this has always been about maximizing the amount or hours of fun per dollar. With Koen not interested in hockey, basketball, or any of the other traditional MN winter sports, I just want to find as many opportunities for us to spend quality time together. We enjoy many things, but biking has always been what clicks the most. I just couldn’t let several months go by without the opportunity to get out and push the pedals. As we are surrounded by some of the best Fat Bike single track in the country, it should be a great way to spend the many long winters—and summers—to come. A full video review of Koen’s Specialized Fatboy 24” to come. . .    ...

Prenzlow 2014 Memories and 2015 Predictions

I can’t express how much I appreciate my family for putting up with requests like this one. I just had to get a record of a couple of our favorite family memories from 2014 and what we were looking forward to the most in 2015. We did not share our answers with one another before getting in front of the camera, but I was not too surprised at the consistency of our answers. The list of questions we all answered included: What was your best memory from 2014? What are you looking forward to the most in 2015? What is one prediction you would make for the upcoming year? I probably could have included a question about “the worst part of 2014,” but I really didn’t want to get into the details about flying off the side of a cliff again. However, nine months after the crash thoughts still creep in, but it just makes the good times that much better. Relatively speaking it was a great year, but I expect bigger and better things in 2015 for the...

Who was Your Best Friend When You Were Nine?

Do you remember who your best friend was when you were nine? It may have been a friend you had for years or possibly someone you knew for a very short time, but if you were anything like me that bond was special. Times change and people are very different, but this relationship probably existed before the opposite sex entered the picture, prior to massive amounts of peer pressure, and in advance of needing to adapt to specific social roles. I would give anything to have a video of me and Carl Nienow at that age being just as silly and spontaneous as Koen and Brody in this short clip. Just as these two spent the night playing Mine Craft on their tablets and role-playing characters from Ninjago, Carl and I would crank the soundtrack to Footloose as we acted out Transformer battles before playing the Atari 2600 long into the night. I love watching the complete free spirt attitudes of this age as I know too well that it can be very short lived. If Koen continues to mirror his dad in this area, middle school and high school will bring some new challenges, but new joys as well. I was testing my new Neewer 216 LED light on top of my Canon Mark III and I got plenty wrong in this video. That camera angle was a little low, the light was a little hot, and the color was pretty awful, but after a few tweaks later in the weekend I am starting to get the hang of this light. I’m just glad Koen is still at an...

A Suburban Dad’s New Year’s Eve

Nothing makes me feel more like a suburban dad than celebrating New Year’s Eve with the neighbors, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. New Year’s Eve has always been a funny holiday as it is the last hurrah in a month of eating and drinking celebrations. As a kid it was all about Chex mix, the top 100 songs or videos of the year, and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Unfortunately, for most New Year’s Eves in college I still found myself way too close to my hometown as school at Winona State didn’t resume until later in January. Working for radio stations in my 20s, my New Year’s Eve consisted of spending way too much money on a scene that was ridiculously out of line with my personality. However, I do have plenty of crazy stories from those years that I would not part with for the world. I have now celebrated 10 New Year’s Eves as a father. Of course when Koen was a baby it was all about getting Chinese takeout and hoping for a full night’s sleep. However, ever since the kid has been old enough to stay up past midnight, we have rung in the New Year with our neighborhood. This is where the feeling of suburbia really kicks in. Drinks and apps are spread on kitchen counters and kids run under foot. We all joke about the times “that one neighbor” had too much to drink or how different this holiday was in our 20’s. This year the revelry was taken up a notch as the host and hostess spent hours...

Three Questions with Koen & Dad (2014-12-26)

Another week of Three Questions between Koen and I. This week is the Christmas Edition. I had no idea who he would choose between being the President of the United States or Santa Claus, but I guess I wasn’t surprised by his answer. I loved his question about going back in time. I could totally imagine myself asking and wondering about this at his age as well. I am slowly learning a few things about producing a decent video and definitely learning lessons along the way. Both videos used a three light set-up with the key light coming in from camera left. The hair light seemed fine for Koen, but was a little hot for me. I should have cranked up the ISO a bit and closed the lens down because at f2.8, Koen would come in and out of focus with his more animated answers. I also didn’t anticipate the flickering LED lights on the tree. Always fun to learn. Koen’s Interview of Me: My Interview of...

Christmas in Mapleton and Winnebago

It has been several years since we made it down to Mapleton and Winnebago for Christmas Eve and Christmas. My sister usually flies in from Seattle a few days after the actual holiday, so we time our trip to match. However, with her trip not falling until Martin Luther King Day weekend this year, we decided to head down for some food, family, and festivities. We had a great time opening presents and hanging out at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve, spending the day with family at my Gramma and Grampa’s in Winnebago on Christmas, and making a quick stop by the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato on the way home. Always feel extra lucky and appreciative after a holiday like this one.          ...

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