This event called “gearfest” has gone completely over the top. Huge crowds, doing a dozen events all at the same time, some with multiple heats over two days leading up to a single race. Near bedlam most of the time. We loved it!
Traffic past our windows for two days….in cars, on bikes, on foot….back and forth, because some events started here and went to there, and because some parking was here and some was there.
They’ve announced the event will change name for next year, to Midwest Outdoor Experience. What began some 9 years ago as a very modest demonstration of kayaks and backpacks, has turned into a massive happening that provides hands-on testing, professional demonstrations, and multiple race events. All with an outdoor emphasis.
Fun snowboard and snowtube opportunities on trucked-in snow. Kayak and canoe testing in the park’s smaller river and low-dam pool, with additional pro kayak demonstrations in an above-ground pool built for the event.
An amazing new gymnastic-type event was here: slackline. Those who do it are called….slackers! Not completely new, because this was billed as the US National Championship! It’s balancing and doing some extreme gymnastics on a 2″ web line stretched only tight enough about 2′ off the ground that there’s some bounce available. Ryan even got in a demonstration on a lower version for beginners (check out his smirk).
Trick bicycles: the guys were hopping them onto picnic tables!
Nothing is simple anymore: the bike race that ran past our front window included a pair of logs across the path! Some chose to get off and carry their bikes across, some managed to ride them. Some managed to fall.
It was a better day to be competing in something rather than watching, because there was a constant, biting cold wind. Yet, there were no complaints, because everything was SO intense!