Oct 10

Fall Color, Hill, and Art Tour

Warning! Lots of pictures ahead!

What a weekend! I still can’t believe the weather we are having.  It was in the mid to upper 70’s all week and then we had 80* weather all weekend.  I know it won’t last, but we have to enjoy it while it lasts.

I started out the weekend with a long bike ride. I had really wanted to do the Colorburst Bike Tour this year, but it is next weekend – the same weekend as the Grand Rapids Marathon.  Thankfully though, I found maps of the routes on Ride With GPS (Thanks Jon for the ultimate replacement for MapMyRide).  With a bit of modification, I was able to plot a 75 mile course from our house to the 62 mile route and home again.  To plot the course, I used the new route creator in Garmin Connect (a feature that has been sorely lacking).  It worked great! It was the best results I have had with the course feature for the Garmin so far.

Any ways, I had an awesome ride. I changed things up and rode the roadie and took my time to enjoy the long ride. I really think that I need to get refit on the roadie though. Ever since I got the Black Rock, pulled the aero bars off the roadie, and tried to re-adjust it myself, it just hasn’t felt the same.  I feel like I only have a fraction of the power that I have on the tri bike. 

On to the ride.  Here is what it was like.

There were so many scenic dirt roads like this one. I kept to the paved roads though out of fear of getting a flat.


Stumbled across this beautiful nature preserve. The boardwalk cut across the water.


Wabasis Lake. Stayed tuned in the upcoming weeks for some planned fun at Wabasis Lake.

The covered bridge in Fallasburg Park

This bridge really cramped my average speed! But I couldn’t risk the $5 fine.

An old schoolhouse in the Fallasburg Historic District built in the 1840’s.

The Flat River

I had a blast the entire time. Well, almost the entire time. I ran out of fluids and it took a solid 10 miles before I got to the next town (Lowell) for a refill.  Thankfully, a fresh Gatorade, water, and Snickers bar saved the day.  When I got home, I discovered that my fading bike tan lines had been refreshed – crap. Who would of thought that I had to worry about tan lines in October in Michigan.

The ride ended up being a lot hillier than planned.  Lots of short, steep climbs, but they added up to 2,500+ft of climbing.  I wish I would have found this route before IMWI, it would have been good training.

Cycling 10-8-2011, Elevation - Time

After the ride, I collapsed on the couch with some pizza, pop, beer, ND football and Kona.

2011-10-08 17.51.48

ND won in a blow out and I eventually moved the Kona watching to the big screen.  With Kona on the TV and a thrilling Twitter conversation, it made for an awesome night.  Kona was absolutely thrilling.  Both my picks, Crowie and Chrissie, each won in thrilling races.  It was so incredible seeing both how amazing they raced and how humble winners each was.

Jennie did some shopping while I was riding and got Bailey a Halloween toy that has now already been ripped to shreds.

On Sunday, the color tour continued with a long run.  Jennie and I headed out around Reeds Lake.  After the first 6.5 miles, we stopped home and picked up Bailey for another 2 miles to round out the day with a new distance PR for Jennie!


Overlooking Reeds Lake (the lake the you aren’t allowed to swim in or risk getting a ticket – seriously)









Even the orange construction sign helped contribute to the fall colors.

We picked up Bailey for the final 2 miles. He was rearing to go. He even has his ears tucked back in the aero position.



Jennie and Bailey all tuckered out after the run.

After the run and some lunch, we headed down to Art Prize.  This was the last day of Art Prize this year, but our first time actually making it down to see everything. Art Prize is a contest throughout Grand Rapids where any artist can submit their work for voting. The community votes for their favorite pieces to get it down to the top 10.  After that, the top 10 are voted on and the winner receives a $250,000 prize.  This year, there were over 1,700 entries!

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This entire sculpture was made out of wooden coffee stirrers.  It was held together simply by weaving them together – no adhesive needed.

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This was an interesting one. The wall was full of colors and it had a bunch of different shaped lenses hanging from fishing line in front of it.

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When you looked through the lenses, you got a unique view of the art.

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This piece was called Containment and was an entire night club/bar built out of a recycled shipping container. It could be closed up and shipped anywhere in the country. I wonder if they can ship one to IMMT next August??

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This guy was creating woodburned art using only the sun and a lens.

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Luck of the Irish! We found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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Crucifixion – the overall winner. It a mosaic of individual, handcut pieces of stained glass. The winner this year was the runner up last year.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed all the pictures.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/10/10/fall-color-hill-and-art-tour


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  1. Jon

    I am liking the new design!

    You guys have got some great color this year. Looks like you guys had an awesome weekend!

    That wooden coffee stirrer sculpture? OMG that artist must have the patience of a saint. Tedious anyone? Very cool though. Very very cool. They must have built that on sight? I can’t imagine moving it.
    Jon recently posted..RanDUMB: Celebrity sightings and my biggest fan

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Yeah, the sculpture had to built on site because it was interwoven into the benches and permanent structures of the building. I am guessing that he must have only had about 2 weeks to get it installed because that is when artists could start setting up. I did find a video (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brilliant/have-sticks-will-travel-world-tour) and it looks like he moves and rebuilds the piece all over the country and each time he has to adapt it to the space. And you thought blue feathers were tedious 😉 haha

  2. Elizabeth

    So glad you had such a wonderful ride and run. I love all the pictures – I cannot wait for the trees to start turning down here in Georgia! Oh and I love Bailey’s eyes – I remember our black lab had brown eyes like that 🙂
    Elizabeth recently posted..Miles for Missions

  3. Matt Oravec


    Hey, did I honestly see a picture of you working out without IM GEAR ON??? HOLD UP! haha, you feeling alright over there 😉

    Dude, loved the pics. Great time of year to be a northerner 🙂

    As for the colors, you guys are a touch ahead of us, I think next weekend our trees will be about your colors. Looks awesome up there, what an epic ride for that tour! Holy crap man that one climb looked like it was just a slap in the face haha.

    Good job to Jennie too, getting her mileage up 🙂 Ummm either she wants to be a GR Marathon lifer as well, or she is realizing she needs to run to a lot more locations to get pics of you during your races 😉 (joking… well not really, man, you make her go all over the course!!!).

    Glad you enjoyed the weekend! These days are numbered!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Towpath Half Marathon Race Report – 2011

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I went to Art Prize with IM gear. Doesn’t that count? And I wore my IMWI bike jersey on the long ride. I don’t want it all out though! Actually, I still have a couple shirts that haven’t even gone through the wash yet. Our washer has an evil habit of chewing up my favorite clothes and I am semi-worried that it will ruin them. haha

      Hope the weather holds up and the colors turn for more nature walks next weekend. Those nature trails you have look absolutely awesome. I haven’t found anything like that around that allow dogs. Everything is no pets.

      Jennie’s running is sure coming along. It is so much fun to run with her and see her progress.

      Thanks again for the heads up on the commenting issue. I’m glad it was an easy fix.

  4. Lisa

    beautiful photos! i miss the array of fall colors that are present back east/mid-west. our trees all turn the same color of yellow-orange. it’s pretty, but not the same as the rich mix of colors you experience.

  5. Morgan

    Love the fall pics, it was such a beautiful weekend to do that color tour!!!

    We totally missed the coffee stirrer thing! Lots of cool things all around though, we were out and about for like 5 hours and clearly still missed things. I was less than impressed with the winning piece, I think that there were far better pieces that should’ve deserved to win.
    Morgan recently posted..3 Things Thursday

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I have to admit, I was semi-inspired by all of your great fall pictures to take some fall color pictures of my own.

      I honestly don’t think it is physically possible to see everything Art Prize has to offer. There were 1700+ pieces of art! I agree about the winner though. We actually felt the top 10 was pretty much all blah. It seems like you have to make the “art” huge and ostentatious in order to get recognized. Not art related per say, but did you and Spike see the Don’t Be a Meanie, Have a Grilled Weenie hot dog stand downtown??? I thought Spike would have good laugh at that.

  6. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    What a glorious weekend Kevin.

    First off, the colors are ridiculous. Like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles but in real life. I have to remind myself that you will have 6 months of ice and snow to prevent myself from being jealous right now.

    Covered bridges, old school houses…..nothing better than that.

    And because it is in the 70s close to 80s I am wearing a hoodie today. Everybody else is in shorts…..LOL!
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Emptying the gas tank

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Why does 6 months of ice and now make you less jealous??? That is when the fun happens! There are few things more fun than a long run through some fresh snow – the deeper the better. I’m even thinking of trying to find some used XC skis on Craigslist this winter to supplement my training. Plus, more indoor training time will hopefully motivate me to hit the weights Crowie style and bust out a new PR next year. 🙂

  7. Heather O

    LOVE the pictures! Did you Photoshop any of them? They are really really good….like in an artistic kind of way! Kudos!

    Good luck at the GR marathon!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      No Photoshop necessary for Mother Nature 🙂 I did use the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button in Picasa though that auto corrects the color levels of the picture.

  8. Matt Smith

    Loved all the pictures! Nice work behind the camera. That 75 miler looked like and amazing course with beautiful scenery as well as some great hills to workout on. Ya’lls run looked like a blast too. Way to go for Jennie making a new distance. That’s awesome! We should have come up to check out the art festival. Some of those looked really cool!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Apple Cider Century Flood Report

  9. DR

    Great photos, what a ride! and love the covered bridge
    but thats just cruel…no swimming in that lake? though in October its not such a hardship i bet its COLD!


  10. Alexa

    WOW that route is gorgeous! and those leaves are gorgeous!!! we have not had that much color change yet in WNY (probably because it’s still in the freaking 80s).
    Alexa recently posted..Chrissie, and some other things, but mostly Chrissie

  11. adena

    Love all the pictures. Fall is my favourite time of the year, it’s so pretty!

  12. Beth

    Those pictures are gorgeous! The colors are just starting to show up here in DC.
    Beth recently posted..HILLS and the Kill Bill Century

  13. BDD

    I love the views

  14. lindsay

    so let me get this straight. you have no mortgage, you spent $9,489 on IM gear, and $780 on a race registration membership… but a $5 covered bridge fine blows the budget??

    art pics were cool. so were the leaves. and i guess the exercise ones too.
    lindsay recently posted..september 2011: clemson

  15. Jeff Irvin

    Great pics there Kevin!

    And like the new layout … very clean and easy on the eyes!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Say Goodbye to Blisters …

  16. Grandma K.

    Wow, these are the best colors I have seen in a long time! You took some awesome shots.

  17. Mandy

    I have so many comments I probably won’t remember them all. ha

    Gorgeous pictures!! The $5 fine is pretty funny. I guess I should start running again!

    That art show is amazing, I remember your pictures from last year, SO COOL.

    Bailey is so stinking cute.

    Only 311 days until IMMT.
    Mandy recently posted..Friday Photos

  18. ELizabeth

    I love the pics. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. I am in awe of how brave Jennie is to lie down in the back yard like that…I would NEVER do that in my back yard. You guys must do a good job picking up dog poop. By the way, I always crack up at how far back on his head my Jack Russell’s ears go when we take him for walks.
    ELizabeth recently posted..It’s all I have to bring today: A race recap of the 2011 Steamtown Marathon—part 1

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