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!UPDATE on 10/4/2013!: 2013 Mammoth Gravel Classic 70 Course Details

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

!UPDATED 70 MILE EVENT COURSE as of 10/4/2013! 

We've been having a ton of fun out on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 70 Course over the past several weeks - despite Mother Nature's best efforts to thwart our efforts!  Note that this is an updated 70 mile event course, as the original course was still under several inches of snow - prior to the snow fall today (Thursday).  This new course will remain out the the Sand Barrens for a greater portion of the time, and regretfully will not go by Cafe Wren in Luck (which is a definite highlight of the normal course).  Following is the detailed course profile on the 70 mile course...

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, April 20, 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 will be at Cyclova XC's new store in downtown St. Croix Falls
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 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.  Here is last year's pre-rollout announcement.

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 16.4, 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.

You came for epic gravel, here you go:  From mile 17 to 35, will be the most challenging portion of the 100 mile course.  At mile 17, riders will turn south onto 300th Street, a beautiful gravel road.  From here, there will be roughly 6 miles of nice gravel roads.  Then, at mile 24.6 or so, you will ride off of the gravel road onto a beautiful yet rugged gravel/sand firelane.  The following 10 miles will almost exclusively (aside from a short section of pavement at mile 28) be on this great firelane which parallels the St. Croix River.  This section of the course is by far the most rugged section of the course - you will be in the middle of no where and enjoy the solitude experienced in this area!  This is the softest section of the 100 mile course, and it's due to this section that we only recommend riding mountain bike width tires in this event.  Ride a cross bike if you'd like to spend a lot of time walking...
A sense of heading into the heart of nowhere will overwhelm riders after turning onto 300th Street at mile 17.





The rugged firelane from miles 25 to 35 will excite and challenge adventurous gravel riders!
While mostly flat, there will be a few small & punchy soft surface climbs on the firelane section.

Pavement, at long last:  At mile 35.1, riders will turn left onto the paved West River Road, after 18 continuous miles of rugged gravel and sand (and perhaps some snow/ice).  This will likely be a welcome break for many.  Note that if you are a glutton for punishment, there is a snowmobile trail paralleling W River Rd (it's within 50 yards of the road the entire time) that goes on for several more miles.  In any case, mile 35 will signal the beginning of a section of pavement that will allow for some recovery.  Mile 39 will mark a right turn south onto a beautiful paved road known as Shogren Road.  

Welcome Back To The Gravel & Sand:  Mile 43 marks the return of the gravel & sand - and what to me is quintessential "Sand Barrens" country.  For those of you who did the 2012 Mammoth Gravel Classic, this section will look familiar to you - this was the tough section of last year's course, except in reverse.   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.  
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.
The gravel slowly transitions to patches of sand, as the miles tick by.
Stu Benson riding the gravel at about mile 48, in the middle of no where...

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 at Cyclova XC. 
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 2013Mammoth Gravel Classic!



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