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Like Our Facebook Page!

The Cyclova XC Facebook Page
The Cyclova XC Facebook Page
Cyclova XC wants you - to "Like" our Facebook Page that is!  You see, we've had both a Facebook Group and Facebook Page since late 2009 now.  We've put most of our energy into the Group and have built that to over 380 people, while our page has 41 people who have "Liked" it.

Unfortunately for us, Facebook has decided to drastically change their Groups, rendering it less applicable to Cyclova XC and other organizations / businesses like us.

So please head on over to the Cyclova XC Facebook Page and click "Like".  This will ensure that you're kept up to speed on the latest goings on in the bike, xc ski, and trail run world - as well as with our new retail store opening up on October 1!

SKI TRAIL PROFILE: Interstate State Park, St. Croix Falls, WI

The "Point Trail" along the St. Croix River bottoms offers breathtaking scenery and flat terrain for an easy ski.

Here in the Midwest, many of our state parks are truly hidden gems that most Nordic skiers aren't aware of.  While many of our State Parks may not be glitzy destinations like some venues, many of them do offer grooming that rivals any trail with nearly 20k of classic ski trails.  Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin is one of those parks.

While in the summer this park is a hiking mecca, one of the most popular campgrounds in the Midwest, and a popular hill climb for road cyclists - during this winter, this place is a classic skier's dream!

Wisconsin Interstate Park (note there are 2 Interstate Parks - one on the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides of the St. Croix River) is a truly magical place - it is one of the most beautiful spots on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.  The terrain within the park is one of a kind dramatic glacial terrain, ranging from massive stone cliffs hundreds of feet high to meandering trails along the river bottoms - and everything in between!  There is certainly something here for all skiers.  As a bonus, the park borders downtown St. Croix Falls, where a wealth of culinary after ski delights can be found at any of the 3 wineries, or other restaurants on Washington St.

Finally, don't miss the amazing Candlelight Ski Event that the park puts on each year in February.

Location:  Park at Interstate Park Ice Age Center, just south of St. Croix Falls on Hwy 35.  Interstate is about 1 hour from Minneapolis.  Click HERE for a Google Map.

Trail Distance & Technique:  19.7k of Classic only ski trails.  There are also several k's of snowshoe and multi-use trails as well.

Terrain:  There is a huge variety of terrain at Interstate.  Beginners can stick to the lower trails including the Point and Quarry Loops - or the Skyline trail from the upper Ice Age Center.  Advanced skiers will be challenged by parts of the Skyline and Beaver Dam Trails while the Bluff Trail will challenge the most advanced of classic skiers.

Grooming:  Grooming is done by Interstate State Park Staff.  Generally, the trail is prepped to be in prime shape for weekends, which are the park's highest traffic days.  However, the trails are maintained for mid week users as well. Trail conditions are generally good to very good.

Lighted After Dark:  No

Fees:  No trail fee is required, but you will need either an annual or day Wisconsin State Park vehicle sticker.

Woolly Trail Group Ride in St. Croix Falls on Saturday!

Come to St. Croix Falls on Saturday to ride some of the best single track in the Midwest!

This Saturday evening, May 28 at 5:30PM is your chance to get a guided ride around the new world class Woolly mountain bike trails in St. Croix FallsKeith Velaski and other members of the Woolly Mountain Bike club will be on hand to guide riders through the new single track network.  This ride is also a timely preview of the trail network as the Woolly Mammoth Mountain Bike Race is coming up on Saturday, 11 June.

To take part in the ride, simply show up at the St. Croix Falls High School parking lot, on top of the hill in St. Croix Falls, WI.

The trail network is extensive, but not marked with signage yet.  However, with the recent Clif Bar IMBA Grant that the Woolly Club received, trail head and trail marker signage is now in the works. 

BIKE TECH: Avoiding Kit Funk While Traveling

Washing off your bike kit in the sink will ensure comfortable, funk-free riding while traveling.

Traveling light is a key to traveling in comfort.  Lugging around hefty luggage simply is not anyone's idea of a good time.

Part of traveling light means bringing minimal clothing with on your trip - including cycling clothing. 

If only doing a few pieces of laundry (your sweaty bike kit as an example), simply washing it off in the hotel sink is likely your best bet.  Following is the method I've used a number of times which has resulted in a nice clean kit:
  • Slosh your kit around in some warm water
  • Lightly ring it out, focusing on the chamois in your shorts
  • Repeat a few times
  • Hang up the jersey and especially the shorts to dry (chamois side out) right away after you're done washing them

While this make take a few minutes out of your cycling vacation, you'll be glad to have a nice clean kit the next day when you climb back on to your bike!

Thoughts on the "Knockout Birkie" Story

This article is a response to an article I just read on Birkie.com, if you haven't read that article, click here (it's worth it).

The article is about a skier who accidentally got punched in the face just before the race started.  He got "punched" by a dude who was warming up by swinging around his arms without looking.  Now, I've done that hundreds of times I suppose and reading this story made me cringe.  One tends to swing his/her arms pretty hard and I could see how contacting with somebody's face could cause considerable damage.

But all of this raises the question...how useful is it to swing your arms around like a madman before the start of a race?  I don't think that's a warm-up in the sense that it prepares your muscles for exertion.  I think it's more something that you do to get the blood flowing through your quickly freezing fingers.

Also, I realize that people get pretty worked up at the start of major ski races, but is it really so hard to condition ourselves to take a quick look around before we start swinging our arms like lunatics?  How hard is it to understand that the Birkie has thousands of people milling about a very small place, and you aren't afforded the same luxuries of space and behavior that you can get away with at smaller races?

I realize it was cold at this year's Birkie, but I can't remember if I swung my arms around even once.  Actually, what I did to stay warm was stick a couple of Farm and Fleet toe warmers on my thighs.  Having done that at this year's Birkie, I might start doing that at EVERY race because I was TOASTY warm at the starting line (and I didn't have to cold-cock anyone to get that way).

Seriously folks, skiers have enough problems with snowmobilers and other riff-raff to deal with.  We can't be knocking each other unconscious. 

Hincapie, Hamilton, and Landis Accuse Armstrong

This last article regarding George Hincapie's grand jury testimony against Lance Armstrong is the the first one that really got me to sit up and take notice.  It's been easy to dismiss Landis based on the fact that the guy has been known to change his position mid-sentence.  Even Tyler Hamilton's accusation was shaky since he's another disgraced cyclist in the midst of his own personal nightmare.  I simply can't imagine the emotional toll of going through a two or three year legal battle that threatened to wipe away everything you've ever worked for professionally.  You've got to think that the pressure is going to get to these folks eventually and that they'd be willing to sell out their own mothers (much less Lance Armstrong) to make the pain stop.

However, for George Hincapie, who has never failed a drug test to my knowledge, to testify at a grand jury that he saw Armstrong doping is...disturbing to say the least.

I've never thought it was right to presume that Armstrong was guilty just by suspicion.  I really hate these "court of public opinion" trials since, let's face it, the public opinion is wrong (or at least easily manipulated) a high percentage of the time.  If Armstrong is guilty, then spend your energies finding the proof, not just smugly declaring your absolute "knowledge" of his guilt without constructing a concrete argument.

Until now, there simply hasn't been any proof.  Even accusers such as Frankie Andreu seemed to have some sort of agenda that went beyond a desire to express the truth.

But George Hincapie?  

Until now, Hincapie has done nothing to suggest that he's anything other than a pretty stand-up guy.  Even if you read the article, they couldn't get a quote from Hincapie confirming the testimony (although he didn't deny it either).   Oddly, there seems to be a kind of melancholy honor in Hincapie's statement which attempts to put the emphasis on the future of the sport of cycling and not the past.

But along with the honor, there is the scandalous implication of guilt, which is what the media is going to pounce on.

Until now, all anybody's been able to produce against Armstrong is the testimony of a bunch of bitter, discredited individuals.

That's not the case anymore.

There's Always Time For Training!

If there's one thing I've learned over the past, appallingly busy weeks, it's that training time is NOT a low priority pursuit.

Every now and then when you get super busy it's tempting to just hit the sack instead of taking your evening run.  I guess the thinking is that you need the rest more than the exercise and by just sleeping you can increase your productivity and work and (hopefully) get through the week.

But the truth is that when you cut exercise out of your weekly program, the whole structure falls like a house of cards.

Although these days I don't have quite the competitive fire that I used to, I find that if I don't get my weekly training hours in, I start feeling really sludgy.  A failure to maintain a basic fitness level just takes the joy right out of life.  After a couple weeks, you find that even your ability to think has dulled.

I suppose in our high-pressure society it's easy to overlook the benefits of exercise.  I remember talking to some co-workers about bicycle riding after work once long ago, and they replied, "if you have energy to do that, then you aren't working hard enough here."

What a terrible thought.

But heck, even if we were all slaves and our owners broke us on the wheel and discarded us when our bodies were spent, somehow I doubt that we'd be as productive as happy, healthy employees who gave eight hours to their labors and spend the rest of their days maintaining their own personal health and well-being.

People are always going to grumble I suppose, and sometimes it's going to be hard to find the motivation for training time.  But at the end of the day, training time is just as nourishing as eating.  It's not a luxury item you can eliminate, training time is vital!

We Need Another Party at the Sawmill Saloon!

I have to admit, these days the whole cycling, running, skiing enterprise is getting to be more and more about the beer and burger afterwards.  However, the common thread that runs through both the competition and the celebration is the sense of camaraderie!

When Frank and I started on this wild CyclovaXC adventure, the first thing we did was have a big party up at the Sawmill saloon.  Actually, Sawmill has been a launch point for a great deal of adventures, and it has always been a good luck charm.

Maybe one of these days we'll have to organize some sort of bicycle adventure that treks from Frank's house to Sawmill and back over the period of about a week (if we can ever get the time off that is).  I feel "The Quest for the Sawmill" would be an entirely appropriate purpose for that kind of wild, self-supported ride (and we could drop off at all the other local bars along the way).


Bikes Make Life Better!

PeopleForBikes.org's latest video will put a smile on your face and make you want to rip a hot lap around the block!

Bikes are fun!  From your first ride without training wheels as a child to anyone out and about - time spent on a bicycle is a good time. 

Simple - beautiful - fun...

Can you imagine a way of doing a better universal good for yourself than spending some time on your bike?  Think about it - bikes are a solution for many of the world's crises:  obesity, health care expenses gone out of control. global warming, the cost of petroleum, wars over petroleum, over stressed (and worked brains) that need some stress relief...  This list goes on and on. 

This is the summer for you to get off the couch, out of your car, and explore the world by bike.  You'll be amazed at what you find out there when you get off the beaten path on your bike.  You'll discover things that few people see, meet interesting people, and live life like it was meant to be lived.

In the mean time, check out the great new above video from PeopleForBikes.org.  Also, jump on over to their website and check out all of the cool resources and sign their pledge which will result in cyclists having a greater voice in today's political world.

Making the world a better place - one bike at a time!  That's a mantra to live by!

IMBA CLIF Bar Trail Preservation Grant Goes To Woolly Mountain Bike Club

Jeff Evans, Mike Lundeen, and Keith Valeski on a rainy trail work day - Woolly Trails in St. Croix Falls, WI.

Word first broke back on May 6 on the Woolly Mountain Bike Club Facebook Page (yes, you should go there and click "like") that they had won the CLIF Bar Trail Preservation Grant through IMBA.  Today it became official news on the IMBA website, along with 9 other worthy IMBA clubs from across the country.

The Woolly Mountain Bike Club truly embodies the spirit and values of IMBA, as can be seen in our recent interview with Keith Velaski.  Specifically, this IMBA grant was awarded to the Woolly Club because it "promote(s) environmental education and inspire conservation in the mountain biking community".  Congratulations to the Woolly Club on this well deserved honor!

CLIF Bar awarded 10 IMBA clubs these grants, with the Woolly Club being the only Midwest based club on the list.  The other grants primarily went to clubs on the east coast, west coast, and inter-mountain west regions.  

According to the IMBA press release, this $500 grant will be used to "install trail signs and a trailhead kiosk".  The combination of a trailhead kiosk and trail signs will help a whole lot more people discover the world class mountain bike trails in St. Croix Falls and allow for "unguided exploring of the trails". 

Stay tuned for a Cyclova XC group ride on these great trails as well as future official Woolly Club trail work days! 

Bjorn Selander In The Giro d' Italia White Jersey!

Bjorn Selander (facing camera) and father Dag Selander speak to the media after Bjorn captured the Giro d' Italia White Jersey.  Photo credit to Livestrong

I haven't been around forever, but I have been around the world of road cycling for some time now.  I've seen some amazing Midwest based riders rise from the ranks of the local junior peloton to the national or international stage.  Riders like Matt Kelly, Andrew Broas, TJ Woodruff, and certainly others come to mind.  These folks have all done amazing things, some even including World Champion titles.

One such humble gentleman who just recently stamped his authority on one of the biggest global stages is Bjorn Selander.  Bjorn is a true gentlemen on and off the bike, and an all around great guy whom I've known and raced with since the '99 - '01 era (he was a junior then and I was in my early 20's).  I've  spent time in a couple of breakaways in local races like the Frederic Road Race, Firehouse 50, and others - a true pleasure to be sure - he was always willing to do his share of work and take his turn on the front. 

We cyclists in the Midwest, particularly the St. Croix River Valley have much to celebrate - Bjorn took over the coveted White Jersey of the Giro d' Italia - the best young rider jersey.  He captured the jersey when his team (Team Radioshack) put in a great team time trial in the opening stage, bested only by team Columbia / HTC.  Bjorn is currently in 12th place in the overall General Classification - amazing!

Congratulations on an amazing Giro so far Bjorn!  We're all rooting for you!

Team Kit Re-Order

Hello Everyone!

Man, it just hasn't started to feel like spring/summer yet!  I know there are a ton of you on our club who are out there biking year round even though there's a foot and a half of snow on the ground...but sadly, I'm not one of those guys.  As terrible as it sounds, I'm truly a fair weather cyclist.  I have trouble going out for a ride on a rainy day even when it's 95 degrees out.

Because of the dreary weather, I've been caught up in post-Birkie hibernation mode.  Heck...I've only been out on my bike ONCE (unthinkable)!

Still, the reality is that we're right in the middle of the cycling season, and we've been getting a bunch of emails, calls, etc., asking me if some more bike kits are available.  The answer is that THEY ARE...they ALWAYS are!  The deal we have with Mt. Borah is that we can do reorders forever!

However, they're pretty nice at Mt. Borah and instead of calling them fifty times throughout the summer and asking them to print up one or two jerseys each time, I'd like to line up one big order.

Sooooooooooooooooo....if any of you out there are interested in getting a Bike Kit, please let me know your size before the end of this week so I can get it sent in!

For current product availability and pricing, check out our TEAM APPAREL PAGE.

Just send an email to cyclovaxc at gmail dot com!

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the mothers on CyclovaXC, I hope you have a great day!

All the babies of the world (like cute little Sofia in the above photo) appreciate you!


Beyond Birkie Fever Cover Preview

Hey all!

So I just got a hold of the official cover for "Beyond Birkie Fever."  I believe you can click on the above image to enlarge it if you're curious (I wrote about this book before here in case you want some more information on it).

In all honesty, this book is a large part of the reason why we've been a little slack on our posting lately...but rest assured things will get back to normal in the upcoming months (some of you guys could submit some articles/photos while we're treading water...Tommy???).

But getting back to "Beyond Birkie Fever," I'll have a whole bunch of review copies of this to give away, so if you're interested in reading it and writing a review, just write me at cyclovaxc at gmail.com.


Mario Cipollini: "Modern Cycling Lacks Machismo!"

Mario Cipollini has been vocal on his belief that modern cycling "lacks machismo".  Photo: © Bettini

Back in the day, "Super Mario" Cipollini used to show up to the start line in flamboyant (illegal) team kits, with beautiful women at his side.  It created a spectacle before the start of the race, creating exposure for himself and his team.  He also oozed confidence which messed with the heads of his competitors.

At the finish line, the result was often "Super Mario" crossing the line first - using both speed, aggression, and "machismo".  This machismo he speaks of was just as important for him off the bike as it was on the bike.  Whether he won or lost, his competitors were his competitors and it was his goal to always win.  It was always "game day" for Mario.

In a recent interview with French newspaper L'Equipe, Cipollini said, “I lived a very different cycling.  At the beginning of a sprint, I felt like a gladiator, ready to do anything to keep my place. And when I lost, I wasn’t capable of going to congratulate whoever had beaten me, like Andy Schleck did at the Tour. Me, I’d hate him because he’d taken the bread from my mouth."  Think of this what you will, but the fact is that few people have won more bicycle races than Cipollini - this is a formula that worked for him!

Whether you were a competitor or a race official, Mario demanded respect and didn't take guff from anyone!

In the same interview with L'Equipe, Cippolini continued, “Seeing Schleck and Contador embrace on the Tourmalet after crossing the line and then seeing Contador affectionately pinch Schleck’s cheek during his interview was unreal for me,” Cipollini commented. “Logically, Schleck should have been raging, he had just lost the Tour after all.  After the chain slip incident on the Port de Bal├Ęs, he should have attacked the Spaniard day after day, in front of the microphones and on the air too, without giving him time to piss!”

Mario says he can't find true machismo anywhere in the modern peloton.  In summary, he finished the L'Equipe interview by saying, “I read an interview with Umberto Veronesi, a scientist, a reputed oncologist and Minister for Health,” Cipollini continued. “In five hundred years or more, human beings might have both sets of genitalia, male and female. I don’t want this evolution to have started already in cycling…”

What do you think, does modern cycling lack machismo?  Is today's peloton boring and not aggressive enough in and out of competition?  Mario thinks so.  Regardless of where you fall on this issue, you have to admire "Super Mario" for speaking out.  He is as memorable off the bike as we was on it!