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Bike, Run, and Rollerski Trail Profile: Gandy Dancer Trail

Back in high school late one Spring, during the odd after lunch recess, when the little kids would play and the high school kids would oddly not know what to do, I remember seeing an army of dump trucks driving by on the highway outside of Frederic, WI. Little did I know that these dump trucks were hauling an endless amount of crushed limestone onto the old Soo Line Rail Road that many called the Gandy Dancer Line.

Since then, I have spent much time cycling, rollerskiing, and running on this "Gandy Dancer Trail" which runs all the way from St. Croix Falls to Danbury (and then on north to Superior but in rough gravel).

The Gandy Dancer Trail Rest Stop Depot in Frederic, WI

The Gandy Dancer Trail is just what the doctor ordered if you are looking to get away from any and all auto traffic and simply find your zone while out cycling, roller skiing, or running. It is flat and it is straight, but you'll find yourself passing through many beautiful places along the way. Every 4-10 miles you'll find quaint little towns like Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederic, Siren, Webster, and Danbury which offer places to fill up a water bottle and get some food (as well as camp).

This 48 mile crushed limestone trail is a great place to get out and ride, whether it's in your backyard or a destination. The trail surface is suitable for any bicycle tire ranging from a skinny (700 x 23c) road tire to a fat mountain bike tire. The surface is surprisingly hard and you can roll right along on it. Additionally, the surface is great for running as it is softer than pavement and easier on your joints yet is hard enough to run a good fast pace on.

Friend of Cyclova XC Tommy Krenz out on his off road rollerskis on the Gandy Dancer Trail

While I've done many short joy rides on this trail, I've also done many hard core long distance workouts. Quite some time ago now (probably about 2000), friend of Cyclova XC Tommy Krenz, occasionally others, and I were doing very long roller ski workouts on the trail every weekend. We got in the habit of starting at St. Croix Falls and skiing up to Luck or even Frederic and back on our big old Elpex Off Road Rollerskis. Needless to say, that ~40 mile rollerski got us in shape (in hindsight I'm not sure it trained me to go fast, just slow for a really long time). There are also many funny and ridiculous stories that came of those workouts which we won't mention here.

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