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2013 Mammoth Gravel Classic 70 Mile Course Details - Saturday, October 5, 2013

A scene typical of the toughest part of the 70 mile course, from mile 18 - 25.  (photo taken 4/10/2013)

We've been having a ton of fun out on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 70 Course over the past several months - as the snow has finally melted after having to postpone the event this Spring!  Click HERE for the full event info page and weekend itinerary.  Following is a detailed account of what you will experience over this challenging course - as well as some advice and info you'll find useful on event day (Saturday, October 5, 2013)!

First things first, you probably all want to check out the course map.  Well, we have 3 different ways you can do this:
  • View it on Mapmyride.com HERE
  • View/download the PDF of the Route Que Sheet (will be posted soon)
  • Download the GPX, KML, or CRS file for your GPS device 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!  
Cyclova XC will be the site of registration for the Mammoth Gravel Classic.

Event Roll Out:  The 70 mile event will roll out from The Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls at 9:00 AM.  Riders will gather in the overlook, and the roll out in a group heading north on Highway 87 - for about 2.3 miles.  This will be the busiest 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.

After rolling through town, riders will ride along Hwy 87 going north, until turning onto the famed River Road.

Spinning Out The Legs:  For about 10 miles, riders will enjoy and warm up by riding the beautiful River Road.  This road meanders along the shore of the St. Croix River - the state border & one of the most beautiful rivers on the planet.  This is a relatively smooth paved road, with a moderate amount of auto traffic.
Riders will enjoy about 10 miles of the River Road on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 70!

Sample Platter:  From miles 12 through 17, you will be getting a veritable sample platter of the types of gravel & sand you will be experiencing throughout this ride.  This section of the course is on & off pavement to gravel to blacktop to sand.  Bon appetit!
Mark & Stu ripping it up on an early gravel section!  Note the wise choice of fat tires on Mark's bike.

Main Course of Gravel & Sand:  The namesake of the Mammoth Gravel Classic, miles 17 through 24 will bring you through the heart of the "Sand Barrens".  These are roads that likely have literally never had a bicycle ride down them until this Spring - and will provide a true bicycle adventure!  While looking at the course profile and the fact that this course only climbs about 900 feet, it is the sand and gravel which will make for a good tough day in the saddle for all.

This 7 mile stretch of gravel & sand will test the will and skill of every rider while amazing you at how remote this area is - you will find yourself in "the middle of no where"!  This is where the folks on a mountain bike with wide tires will have the advantage.  You may want to stop and listen to the sound of nothing for a while - except for the sound of bicycles passing by.  There are a few short uphills in this area of the course, where most riders will likely need to walk the 50 or so yards up these short hill.   Finally, from about mile 22 through 24, you'll find yourself on a low travel road / firelane which is literally a couple of Jeep tracks through the sand with grass growing down the middle.  Suddenly, you'll find yourself popping out on to County Road "O", and some beautiful firm gravel overlooking part of the Fish Lake wildlife preserve.
Stu Benson riding the gravel at about mile 18 - approaching the middle of no where...
The gravel slowly transitions to patches of sand, as the miles tick by.
This my friends, is the "Sand Barrons".  This is the top of a short hill - that most will walk up due to the soft sand.

Firm Surfaces & Refreshments Anyone?:  As mentioned above, at about mile 24.5, you'll find yourself popping out onto County Road "O", and onto some nice firm gravel.  This firm gravel will be welcome after emerging from the previous sandy section. 

County Road "O" will be gravel from about mile 24.5 - 27, and then it turns to pavement.  From here, there will be 13 miles of pavement leading you to the oasis that is the Holiday Service Station in Cushing, WI.  There, we encourage all riders to stop, fill up there water bottles, and purchase what ever they need.  I'm a particular fan of their huge section of beef jerky, beef sticks, and Slim Jim's.
The assortment of beef sticks is impressive and welcome for the weary cyclist!

Rolling hills & the final gravel:  After refreshments in Cushing, riders will make the beautiful trek from Cushing east to the town of Luck, on beautiful 260th Avenue.  This is a fantastic paved rolling road, with a really fun Rustic Road section of gravel at mile 45.75 of the course.  Watch for the neat Rustic Road sign and the 1 mile section of roller coaster gravel - savor this gravel, as it's the final gravel section of the course.
Mark Fisk heads into the final section of gravel, on 260th Ave!

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 49 of the course, you'll find yourself at the end of 260th Ave, Hwy 35, and the Gandy Dancer bike trail.  Directly across Hwy 35, and about 50 yards to the south (right), you'll see 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 49) through the finish, you will enjoy a gradual downhill ride on the beautiful limestone Gandy Dancer State Bike Trail.  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 59.5, you'll find yourself veering right onto some little back roads, which you lead you to a river valley descent through an epic place (Big Rock Creek Farm) - an experience you will never forget!  This final section of the course will leave you with a huge smile on your face!  

After riding through Big Rock Creek Farm, you'll take a left (turning south) onto Hwy 87, and enjoy about 3 miles of smooth pavement back to Cyclova XC in St. Croix Falls.  At this point, you're welcome to hang out, enjoy the great deals and special menu the Winery & Grille has the for the weekend, and get ready to check out the art & presentaiton on the Gravel Conspiracy at Cyclova XC.  See the full weekend schedule HERE (link to be posted momentarily)!
The Gandy Dancer trail will be a fun homestretch cruise, literally downhill all the way from mile 49 to the finish!
See you in St. Croix Falls for the 2013 Mammoth Gravel Classic 70!

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