We've been having a ton of fun out on the Mammoth Gravel Classic Courses over the past several months, since we had to pospone the original scheduled date - as the snow is finally melted! Click HERE for the full event info page and weekend itinerary. Following is a detailed account of what you will experience over the 35 mile course - as well as some advice and info you'll find useful on event day (Saturday, October 5)!
First things first, you probably all want to check out the course map. There will be minimal marking on the course, so you'll want to know where you're going. We have 3 different ways you can do this:
- View it on Mapmyride.com HERE
- View/download the PDF of the Route Que Sheet HERE (link to be posted soon)
- Download the GPX, KML, or CRS file for your GPS device (see the link on the right hand side of the screen) HERE
Registration: Beginning at 7AM, registration will be at Cyclova XC Bike Shop in downtown St. Croix Falls, WI. While there is no entry fee for this event, there will be a mandatory $5 (cash only) Gandy Dancer Trail Use permit, that all riders will be required to purchase. Along with this, all riders must fill out the event waiver. As a perk, everyone who signs a waiver, will receive some valuable coupons and be eligible to win some nice swag!
Event Roll Out: The 35 mile event will roll out from The Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls at 9:05 AM. Riders will gather in the overlook, and the roll out in a group heading south for a few blocks on Highway 87 / Washington Street. The riders will then turn left on East State Street (past the hospital), and follow South Vincent Street to the Polk County Tourism Center, where the riders will turn left. This first (and last) 1 mile section of roads will be the busiest (and only section of road) of the entire ride, so please respect auto traffic and obey the rules of the road.
|The event will roll out from "The Scenic Overlook", 1/2 block north of Cyclova XC & registration.|
"Interlinking" The Valley With High Country: After riders doing the 35 mile ride find themselves turning into the Polk County Tourism Center, they can take comfort with and enjoy the fact that they are done riding on roads for the next 33 miles! From the Polk County Info center, you will enjoy 1.5 miles of the beautiful "Interlink" paved bike trail gradually meandering its way to the Gandy Dancer State Bike Trail - which is a nice firm crushed limestone surface.
On the Interlink Trail, you will pass under Hwy 8 through a tunnel, go through a city forest known as Regal Park, see the famous Woolly Mountain Bike Trails on either side of you, and also see the spectacular Ice Age State Hiking Trail.
With about 260 feet of climbing in the first 2.5 miles of the 35 mile route will be the majority of climbing for the entire course. After climbing to the Limestone Gandy Dancer trail, you'll enjoy the relatively flat high farm country rail road grade!
|The "Interlink Trail" is paved and links St. Croix Falls to the Gandy Dancer Trail. (Note this pic was taken during autumn)|
Getting Your Gandy Dancer On: After the climb out the River Valley to High Country, you'll enjoy spinning a comfortable gear and watching the mile markers tick by. You'll enjoy the generally peaceful - car free trail, as well as the fabulous crushed limestone trail surface. The trees will literally canopy over the entire trail for much of the ride - creating a tunnel right over the trail. From mile 2.5 through 17, you'll be in the zone - only interrupted by the occasional road crossing. Do exercise caution at all of the trail road crossings, particularly the 2 highway crossings.
|Relax & enjoy the ride on the Gandy Dancer Trail!|
The best coffee shop on the planet: Bold statement, yes. However, I challenge you to identify a better coffee shop with better coffee, food, and service. At mile 17 of the course, you'll find yourself on the north side of the town of Luck, right on the Gandy Dancer bike trail. As you approach the intersection of the Gandy Dancer Trail and 260th Ave (there will be plenty of signs), you'll see Cafe Wren (up the slight hill to your left/west). Ride your bike the 1 block to Hwy 35, and then ride around the front of the buildings and around the back side of Cafe Wren. We recommend you park your bike in the back of Cafe Wren, perhaps in one of their nifty bike racks and get yourself some caffeine and nourishment - you won't regret it! Cafe Wren is a strong supporter of cycling and other silent sports in general throughout the region - and is the place to go for a destination ride in north west Wisconsin!
|Cafe Wren is one of the best coffee shops around - and you should stop there for a quick pick me up!|
|Inside Cafe Wren, you'll find a wonderful assortment of everything you want, in a enjoyable atmosphere!|
The downhill Gandy Dancer cruise: After you're done at Cafe Wren, go around back and turn south on the Gandy Dancer trail. From here (mile 17) through the finish, you will enjoy a gradual downhill ride on the beautiful limestone Gandy Dancer State Bike Trail (which you'll know well by now). The crushed limestone surface of this trail is nearly as fast as pavement, and you'll enjoy the peace of no auto traffic. Do exercise caution at all of the trail road crossings, particularly the 2 highway crossings.
At about mile 32, you'll find yourself veering right onto the final section of the Gandy Dancer / Interlink Trail through the parks of St. Croix Falls - you'll be surrounded by the epic single track of the Woolly Mountain Bike Trails on this section. This final section of pavement is a fun downhill ride that will leave you with a huge smile on your face!
|The Gandy Dancer trail will be a fun homestretch cruise, literally downhill all the way from mile 17 to the finish!|