Thursday, May 7, 2015

Earthquakes and Stampedes

Good Morning, Readers!


Last week was an exciting one, as far as weeks go. Certainly the talk around West Michigan has been the 4.0 earthquake centered several miles south of Galesburg.

It just so happens that we were camping at Fort Custer State Park in Galesburg when the earthquake quaked(?). And let me tell you, it was noticeable. We were surrounded by RV's that are not all that stable, so when the earth shook, they were rocking and rolling. Mostly rocking. All of them rocking and none of them literally rolling.

Sage, who was inside the camper at the time, was knocked to the ground thinking the RV was collapsing. She ran outside and asked Chad if we had an earthquake, at which point he replied "no, we don't have earthquakes in Michigan." Children, let this be a lesson that parents are not always right.

Shortly thereafter emergency sirens sounded and military helicopters were flew overhead. It was disconcerting but, thankfully, turned out to be no more than an interesting story to share.

For geeky information on the earthquake, check out WZZM's Bills Blog.


The annual Fort Custer Stampede mountain bike race was held on Sunday. Sage raced Beginner 10 and Under, Bear competed in the children's race, and Chad made a return to Sport.

Sage and Chili Dog at the Beginner 10 and Under Start. Look at all the awesome kids!

This was the first race of the season for the family and I'm happy to report that everyone had a blast. Sage was excited for the race swag. But as a parent, the best part is seeing the perma-smile when she crosses the finish line.

Bear was all business at the Kid's Race

While Sage was set on racing all weekend, Bear, on the other hand, insisted he wasn't going to. Bear and I planned to hang out at the campground. That changed 30 minutes before the start of the kids race. Bear and I were sitting around the campfire when he suddenly jumped up and started bouncing excitedly. He was struck with the urge to race.

We rode our bikes as fast as we could from the campground to the race venue (2-3 miles) and arrived just in time. I rarely see such a look of determination etched on his face. When they said "go," he stood and hammered for the entire two laps.

Both kids are looking forward to the next race and can't wait for Dirt Dawgs to start. The Brewer Family's next stop will be the Hanson Hills Challenge in Grayling. Look for us in the large Jayco. And it appears that I will be making a return to racing. I can't wait.

A few more photos from the weekend:

Sage is working on mastering the log pile.
No pollution. No signs. Just the trail and nothing to be bothering me. --Bear

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you on the trails,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dirt Dawgs

Earlier this week was the first parent meeting for the GRBC Dirt Dawgs, West Michigan's first youth development mountain bike team, headed by Danielle Musto and friends.

There has been serious anticipation for this team in the Brewer household. Sage considers Danielle her BFF and can't wait to hang out again. Meanwhile, I'm excited that we'll be able to participate in the sport together as a family.

The Dirt Dawgs will focus on developing a healthy lifestyle and natural resource stewardship alongside learning to mountain bike and growing friendships. There are races on the schedule for the kids that are interested in competition.

It sounds like an exciting program and Danielle's enthusiasm is contagious. No doubt the kids are all going to have a blast this summer. The team is capped at 50 kids, which I believe has already been met. It's exciting to see how many kids are already interested in this new program. And it will be fun to watch Danielle try and organize that many children at once (kidding, she'll do awesome).

In other news, after a few months hiatus, I'm back at making homemade Sugar/Gluten/Dairy-Free ice cream for the kids. We love this stuff. It's so creamy and delicious. Sage had an ice-cream party at school last week and she actually requested my ice cream over store-bought.

I base my recipe off of one from the Spunky Coconut. She is a genius when it comes to allergen-free baking. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself holding her Paleo Chocolate Lover's Cookbook to my bosom--she's that good.

That's it for this week. Hoping to ride more single-track this weekend--if it would just stop snowing.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Announcing . . .

I have 3 announcements to make today. Brace yourself.

First, I'd like to acknowledge a little blogging milestone: today this blog has reached over 20,000 viewers! Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Second and most important:

It's no secret that I enjoy writing, look, I'm writing right now. But, you may not know that I wrote a novel . . .

Brave Mountain (working title)

Over the winter I started a writing project, something I've been thinking about for a long time. It was a labor of love for my daughter. This story is about a girl and her mountain bike and so much more, and was originally inspired by books like Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain.

This was a fun story to write because it is chock-full of mountain biking, orienteering, and wildlife. It touches on the special bond cyclists have with their bicycles. I don't want to give anything away, but there is one scene that, if you ever loved a bike, will bring you to tears. You know what I'm talking about.

I've just begun querying, looking for the right agent to represent this story. I'll keep you updated on the process.

There may or may not be a mountain lion in the book . . . 

Thank you to Monica, cross-cyclist and editor extraordinaire, for her help editing the manuscript and to Stefan and Erin for doing a read-through and offering guidance. . . . And my mom and many more.


Number Three: I made a goal for myself last week. One goal—get out and RIDE. The weather forecast was questionable, but on Wednesday, while cloudy and misty, there was no reason not to dust off the mountain bike. In fact, not only did I need to dust it off, but I still had the Slush Cup number late adhered to the front. That, my friends, is how long it's been.

Being an overachiever, I managed to go on 3 rides at Owasippe.

It felt like coming home. Owasippe is where I learned to ride. Where I shed many tears and crashed even more. I still have a scar over my knee from that one time . . . Anyways, it was great.