Category Archives: World Vision

Backpacking Superior #1

Over Memorial Day weekend I went on a 2 night backpacking adventure along the Superior Hiking Trail.  I was going solo which meant that I could hike at my own pace, take lots of pictures if I wanted to, stop and linger or push through.  I had a lot of fun. I talked with a dude from the Superior Hiking Trail Association at the Outdoor Adventure Expo to get some ideas and he suggested that I hike from Castle Danger to Beaver Bay – 30 miles.  That seemed reasonable enough.

I was planning to do a bike shuttle – drop my car or bike at one end and drive/ride to the other and hike through.  I compared elevation, etc and chose to drop my bike off at the Castle Danger trail-head and drive to the Beaver Bay trailhead.  The elevation change looked pretty equal, but the first several miles from the trail-head were on the road until it connected to the Gitchi-Gammi Bike Trail.  So it seemed like a good idea to ride that fresh!  As I was planning I had this nagging feeling that 30 miles might seem too short for 2 nights…

Saturday morning I got up early, finished packing, loaded the bike and hit the road.  I stopped at Tobies for an excellent cinnamon roll and drove the Castle Danger trail-head.  There was no place to lock my bike in the parking lot, but I found a road sign across the street that would work.  I decided to take my front tire off and used my u-lock through both tires and the frame onto the street sign.  I left the water bottle full on the rack and headed out.  I made it to the Beaver Bay trail-head loaded up and hit the trail by 10am.

I was hiking from North to South and the trail guide is written in the opposite direction.  This didn’t really create any trouble, but it was important to remember as I stopped to look at it and read the descriptions.  I also needed to remember to stop and look in 360 degrees throughout so I didn’t miss any epic views!  I accidentally left my hiking pole in the car and didn’t realize it until 1/2 mile or so in.  I probably should have gone back for it, but oh well!

I hiked for quite a while before I saw anyone and then saw several people before lunch at the Beaver Bay campsite.  This was also the first chance I had to try out my new UV water filter.  It seemed to work well as I didn’t get sick!!  It was a lot faster than either a hand pump or iodine tablets and didn’t taste nasty like iodine does!!  Throughout the hike I did reflect on how relatively easy it was for me to use this $70 device to drink water any time I wanted and how hard it is for some people around the world to access safe water.  It made me very grateful for all those who have supported my fundraising efforts for clean water in the Congo and served as a great reminder that I need to keep up the work of raising $50 to provide clean water access for life.  You can do that here.

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First Century Ride Completed

I am a Gravel Grinding, Century Riding, Crazy Biker!! On Saturday evening May 17, 2014 at about 7pm I completed what was probably the hardest event/day of my life.  Completing a century ride (100  miles) is a pretty good accomplishment in its own right.  But doing so on a 100 miles of gravel in the rolling hills of Southeastern Minnesota is a huge deal!

The Almanzo 100 is a free bike race/ride that starts and ends in tiny little Spring Valley about 2.5 hours South-East of the Twin Cities. Traversing 100 miles of mostly gravel roads with a total elevation gain of over 5,000 feet I finished with an elapsed time of 10:06 (that’s 10 hours).  My actual riding or saddle time was significantly less at just under 8:30 – but the overall time is what counts.

Todd’s computer said we were burning 1,000 calories an hour, which is hard to replace.  My Strava said total we burned 3,600 calories.  Todd’s number sounds more epic – but either way it is hard to replace that many calories on the bike.  I had several ups and downs related to fueling – not the never ending hills.  Two significant ones were around mile 55 and mile 95.

Around mile 55, we were over the halfway point and about 10 miles to the next significant stopping place and where a friend had left me a drop bag.  We were riding straight into a headwind and I was going about 8 miles an hour. Despite having had a large lunch in Preston at mile 40 I was feeling in the dumps.  I was plotting my plans to quit at 67 and have my friend take me back to Spring Valley or Preston.  I ate some food and drank some more and shortly after we turned out of the wind I got my spring back and felt a lot better and was hitting some 18 miles an hour.  I was glad that was over and didn’t even think about quitting again after that!

My hydration/nutrition plan was to drink some water every 5 miles no matter what and to eat something every 10 miles.  I drank a lot in between the 5 mile increments but I knew it wouldn’t hurt to drink more.  I had 2 water bottles and a 2L CamelBak so I wasn’t really afraid of running out of fluid.  I also had dropped Nuun Tablets into all 3 containers so that I was getting some electrolytes back into my body and not just water.  My food really ranged – I had a variety of Gu packets, shot bloks, cereal bars, jerky, and more.  We stopped at Mile 40 in Preston and had an amazing lunch, many thanks to Eric’s brother-in-law and family, Steve & Amy’s!  That was a nice boost of calories and deliciousness! The only other place we knew that’d we’d be able to refill water was at the Forestville/Mystery Caves State Park.  The Historic Forestville Site was super nice to let everyone refill water bottles, use the bathroom, and take a break.  Many people met their families with food there.  Carrie had left a dropbag for me at a picnic table off the road in the park and left some Ibuprofen for my back.   It was greatly appreciated and probably helped get me to the finish! Banjo Brothers had a booth setup near mile 75 I think that included Oreos, chips, and other salty goodies and free Hams beer.  I took a few sips of Todd’s and couldn’t imagine drinking any more!

Southern Minnesota is actually quite pretty with some great views while on top of the hills! Very pastoral and rolling hills kind of beauty.  We stayed mostly in farmland but took a few trips into the woods, one of which was turning onto an “unimproved road” and at mile 81 included a creek crossing that only the most skilled mountain bikers were able to ride across.  At mile 91 we climbed Mt. Oriole which again only the best riders were able to successfully climb while still riding their bikes!

The finish was pretty lonely and unexciting.  I was pretty exhausted and was lagging as I noted above.  A group of riders came by and I decided to try and latch on to the back of them.  Unfortunately, for me the back rider was slowing down to mess with his water bottle and I didn’t realize it in time to jump around him.  By the time I did, I couldn’t close the gap.  After they dropped me I began to hope I wouldn’t get lost!! I hadn’t looked at my cue sheet all day and seriously thought I might need to do so to avoid getting lost. But I could see a rider or two in the distance as we left gravel roads and began the final – paved stretch to the finish and into the wind!! Fortunately, there was signage as we turned off the main road and hit a bike path into town.  Knowing that we were close I picked up the pace and at least felt like I zoomed through the turns into the finish area!! Immediately after dismounting this dude came running up to me, kind of startling me and shook my hand!  I was a little caught off guard but I do remember that race director Chris Skogen likes to shake every rider’s hand and says “Welcome Back!” It is a nice way to finish.  I found my team, we enjoyed a celebratory beer and then some amazing steak at Steve and Amy’s!

This was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.   I’m sure a flat and paved 100 miler would be tough, but the hills were just never ending and brutal.  Plus I may have been a little under trained!!

A few things got me through… Obviously, having teammates to catch up to and ride with off and on throughout the day made it hard to quit and knowing that my family was expecting me to finish.  But most importantly, looking down at the sticker on my bike that said “I ride for Clean Water” reminded me often of the kids who suffer daily to get clean water.  That reminder helped me reflect on my choice to suffer and the hope that I could help end their suffering.  As I consumed liters of clean water throughout the day they yearn for an ounce of clean water.

Will you help me help them? $50 is all it takes to provide clean water to a kid for the rest of their life.  In honor of my 100 mile bike ride would you make a $100 donation and change 2 lives forever?  It is super easy just click here.

PS I’ll do a separate post with pictures!!

How’s Your Water? Share Some.

Go get a cup of water.  No seriously.  That took you less than a minute right?

Is your water clear or brown? Maybe your pipes are older and it isn’t crystal clear, but it isn’t brown right?

Did you get your water out of a river? Or dig in mud to get it? Probably not, you probably turned a knob and out it came – cold or hot ready to drink.

Did you let it run for a few minutes so that it would be the correct temperature?

We are so fortunate to live in a place where we can simply turn a handle or push a button and get enough water at the proper temperature. it is so simple we don’t even think about it – unless there is a disruption.

This is not the case for people around the world.  Each morning women and children across the world walk miles to collect dirty water that will make them sick.   For $50 we can provide access to clean water for a person for the rest of their life!

This year I’m riding the Almanzo 100 bike race and doing the Minneapolis Half Marathon to raise awareness about clean water access and hopefully raising $2,000 that will help provide clean water access to 40 people!!!  Watch this video to learn more and donate today to help change someone’s life!


Help me change 40 lives this year!! 


Instagram a Marathon #tcmarathon

Last Sunday was a beautiful day for running a 10 mile race or Marathon.  After the 10 mile I didn’t go back out to watch the marathon, but I did find some amazing pictures via Instagram’s hashtag #tcmarathon.  I can’t figure out a way to search via the computer so I can’t create a link, but there were over 2,000 pictures posted throughout the day!!

I didn’t look at all of them, but here are a few of the best that I saw:

Finish Line:

Cheer Signs:



Local photographer Ben Garvin captured some amazing finish line shots that have been making the rounds.

Running with Purpose: A Short Story

I’ve been a runner since 8th grade.  I didn’t join the track team in 7th grade because I was afraid.  I don’t remember what I was afraid of, track is the only sport that you couldn’t get cut from!  I remember the first time I had to run around the cinder oval – it hurt and felt like forever.  Who would have thought that 20 years later (yikes!) I would have run two marathons, numerous half-marathons, and many many other races.
Throughout middle and high school and much of college I ran to be a part of a team. Sure I got picked on by the upper classmen because I’m a scrawny little guy..  but on the track I felt great.  It seemed natural to join the cross country team in college and that was as close knit as any fraternity I’ve seen.  Some of my best friends are from those 4 years.
Somewhere in college my body and I got addicted to running.  I couldn’t stop.  As I traveled to England, South Africa, New Jersey, Ghana I ran. Running is a great way to see the world and to explore it in a different way.  You see a different part of a city when you run at the wee hour than you do when the tourists are out in force!
As I moved around and settled in to life I kept running.  Running is such a huge part of my life that the times I’m not able to run hurt.  I’ve continued running because I enjoy the pure pleasure of the wind in the face and the dirt on the legs after a great run.  I’ve met many great people and had numerous deep friendships develop on the roads and trails in my life.
Why am I telling you this? Another passion of mine is concern and compassion for the international community.  During my studies in South Africa and Ghana I’ve seen some of the worst poverty imaginable. I’ve seen hope and progress, but the poverty still lingers.  The continent of Africa has captured my heart and won’t let go.  As a family we continue to pour our lives into sharing with others the skills we’ve been blessed with.
In 2007, at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon I saw something that would soon bring my running world and my passion for international issues together – a Team World Vision jersey.  After some research, I discovered that Team World Vision was raising money for clean water in Africa.
In 2008 I ran my first marathon raising money for water projects in Africa.  Each year since I have been involved with Team World Vision as I’ve done a variety of races.  This has become a better purpose for my running.  Connecting with others about the needs around the world, raising awareness, and supporting others as they run their first races… Why?
Did you know that people are still dying because they don’t have clean water?  This is 2013 and kids are dying because they don’t have clean water to drink.  The statistics will overwhelm you (783 million lack clean water, 6,000 kids die daily as a result of waterborne illness), but the solution is fairly simple.  $50 provides clean water for one smiling kid, for the rest of his/her life.   In the time you’ve read this several kids have died…  Would you consider supporting me as I raise money and awareness about the need for clean water?  I live in the City of Lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and these lakes are cleaner than the nasty water that many kids around the world drink, cook, and bathe in each day.
Please thoughtfully consider a $100 donation at this website.  It is safe and secure and would provide clean water for two wonderful children – maybe even some as wonderful as my Nadia and Caleb.
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