CyclovaXC at Glacier National Park

I love to see photos like this: our team guys hammering out tremendous adventures throughout the world! This is Ben at Glacier National park hitting some serious elevation! Nice work Ben, the first wave at the Birkie is starting to tremble at the sound of your approach!
Not only is our gear stylish...it can also be used to signal passing rescue planes!
Here he is sporting the classic green. I've been considering throwing a bit more of that orange in there if I decide to redesign the suit in a year or two. What are your thoughts on that?

Anyway, good to see our guys crushing the mountains!

Visitation for Bob Barabe to Be Held in Hudson on Wed., July 31st

We were very sad to hear that Bob Barabe passed away at home early Thursday Morning. If you've done a bicycle race in Wisconsin over the last twenty years, chances are you raced with Bob. He was a great guy and will be missed.

An obituary with guestbook to leave condolences can be found here. Visitation is 4-8 PM in Hudson, Wed. July 31st (see the previous link for more details).

Also feel free to leave comments below.


FREE Stand Up Paddle (S.U.P) Board Demo: Saturday, 27 July, 2013 from 2 - 7



YOU'RE INVITED, to a FREE Stand Up Paddleboard (otherwise known as S.U.P. Board) demo this Saturday, July 27 from 2 - 7 PM.  The demo will take place at the beautiful Lion's Park, just north of St. Croix Falls on the St. Croix River.  

We will have 2 of the industry leading companies in this category on hand - the super innovative Pau Hana with a demo fleet of a variety of S.U.P. Boards, and the absolutely beautiful Bending Branches Balance S.U.P. Paddle (and rumor has it that Bending Branches - an Osceola based company - will debut new, never before seen product at this demo).   

We will be stationed just south of the boat landing at Wisconsin Lion's Park.  Here is a checklist for your afternoon at the demo:
  1. When you arrive, you'll be required to sign a waiver.  
  2. We're expecting a lot of aspiring S.U.P. paddlers for this event, so we ask that you limit your paddle to 15 minutes per board.  We suggest paddling up-stream for 10 minutes along the Wisconsin shore of the river, and then enjoy a quick 5 minute paddle downstream back to Lion's Park.  
  3. S.U.P. paddlers are required by law to have a PFD (life jacket) on, so please bring yours if you have one (but we will have some on hand also).  
There will be special pricing available for people wanting to purchase S.U.P boards or packages on Saturday - as well as package deals (board, paddle, pfd).

For up to the minute info on this event, visit the Facebook Event Page!  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday afternoon!


Ladies Only Night 7-25-2013: Ladies Bike Maintenance Basics @ Cyclova XC

Join Katie, Kristen, and a fun group of ladies for some informal instruction on the basics of bike maintenance - not to mention complimentary refreshments!

Ladies, we are taking a break from the heat this week and staying indoors for an evening of social fun and education on the basics of bike maintenance. This will be a great time to pick the brain of bike tech and co-owner of Cyclova XC, Frank Lundeen! It is a great opportunity to ask questions for anything from how to change a flat tire anywhere, to practical essentials to carry with on the road/trail.  -Katie M.

ABCs of Bicycle Maintenance
Learn the ABCs of bicycle maintenance (air, brakes, chain) and be ready for a season of trouble free biking. Bicycle maintenance will be explained, demonstrated, and all questions answered. Open to anyone mechanically inclined or not.
Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Time: 6:30-8pm
Thirsty?  Beverages will be provided, so bring your friends!
Cost: FREE
About the Instructor:  Frank Lundeen grew up riding his bicycle on the roads surrounding Frederic, WI - as well as competing in road and mountain bike races across the country which led to his passion for cross-country skiing. He skied 19 consecutive months including the summer of 2002 in Australia – racing and training with the US Ski Team. He has worked in the bicycle & ski industry since 1997 and is now co-owner of Cyclova XC Bike, XC Ski, and Run shop in St. Croix Falls, WI.

Come and Do the Birkie Trail Marathon With CyclovaXC

Against my better judgment, I signed up for the Birkie Trail Marathon, and now I want all of you to do it as well. Seriously, let's FLOOD this race with CyclovaXC clad athletes looking to have a good time! But before I continue on how awesome it's going to be...let me relate how I got in this predicament.

As you know, I did the Eau Claire Marathon back on May 5th, and through fortuitous chance I happened to run the whole thing with Mr. Marathon himself...Eric Olson (he's Mr. Marathon because he does a marathon just about every weekend...it's unbelievable). All things considered, it ended up being a relatively painless marathon, so I've been thinking about doing another one this fall.

Mullin and I had talked about doing the Birkie Trail marathon. Apparently there is some kind of 3 race series including the Birkie, the Birkie Tour and the Birkie Trail run which, if you complete all three, earns you a free warm-up jacket or something. However, this year the Birkie Tour was cancelled, so apparently you can get the jacket just from doing the Birkie and the Trail run. Since we've already done the Birkie, the Trail run is kind of a no-brainer (especially when you consider that it's a very inexpensive marathon at only $50 through the end of July).

Well...even with all those incentives, I was still reluctant to sign up for the Birkie Trail marathon because my impression is that this has the potential to be a VERY DIFFICULT RACE.

Seriously folks, have you SEEN the hills out on the Birkie trail? They're not push-overs.

Most marathon courses are designed to be relatively flat. That was the attraction of doing the Twin Cities, I felt I could throw down a nice time after the base I laid down at Eau Claire. I don't think I'll be doing a "fast" time at the Birkie Trail marathon. In fact, I think this could be in the 6 to 7 hr range.

Soooo...I mentally decided on Twin Cities and promised Eric I'd run it with him (it's going to be his 10th Twin Cities this year). But then I foolishly waited like two weeks to sign up, only to have the race fill up! I didn't expect it to fill, that hasn't been the case with marathons lately...but oh well...maybe I'll get it on the schedule for next year.

Well, I was still "on tilt" about missing out on Twin Cities, so I rushed right over and signed up for the Birkie Trail Marathon without thinking about it too much. That's the trick for things like this, you should do it quickly without thinking about it.

Hopefully my brash and foolish act will open up the floodgates and we'll get a whole bunch of other crazy people to come and do the run/walk with us. It's going to be a chill, fun, 6 to 7 hour run/hike through the Northwoods. You can register here, please let me know the moment you do so!

Don't Forget! The Timber Swindler 5K is Saturday!

Hey Folks,
Just a little reminder that our race to support the Ice Age trail is this Saturday, July 20th! You can pre-register through Friday and then the price goes up $5, so please get your registration in! This should be a fun little run bright and early to give you plenty of time to get in two or three more workouts throughout the day.

All proceeds are going to the Ice Age Trail. We all love our local trails, and this is a really fun way to give some love to all the hardworking people who maintain them! Bring a friend or two, the more we can hand over to the Ice Age group, the better!

For more information about the Timber Swinder, including registration forms, click here!

See y'all Saturday!

Sasquatch Dash #4 Results and Report

Results

We are two thirds of the way there now.  This morning we launched from the St. Croix Falls overlook and crossed over into Minnesota to tackle the stairs and technical single track of the Minnesota Interstate Park.  The early morning thunderstorms may have kept a few people away.  The crowd was the lightest yet, but we had a solid hardy 8 folks show up to give the course a what for and it was in very good shape.
Unfortunately we had a few folks struggle with navigation some.  As such I am exercising race director’s discretion to push one result back a spot.  Based on the description of the actual run and the large gap to the next finisher I deem that fair.  Most of the remaining navigation errors resulted in arrivals at dead ends.  The next course will be marked.

Without further ado, the results of Sasquatch Dash #4
Alex pulls off another win.  Of three races he has participated in, he is perfect.

Alex’s win and Dallas’ absence today has shaken up the series standings a little bit.
These points are the total of the first four races and the bonus for the shirt pre-order.  However, the final series points will be the best 5 scores of the 6 races.  Dallas and Alex both have a zero for missing a race.  If we take the best three races plus bonus so far we get a little better feeling for how this all might shake out if the leaders all make the next two races (keep in mind the final race is worth double points).
As you can see, Alex’s series lead gets a little more commanding, Dallas and I sit tied, and Kevin Rogers is within striking distance with a couple of strong performances.  The rest of the top 10 could take any shape over the remaining two races.

Report

Now for a little race report from my perspective.  I was disappointed when I heard Dallas was flying in on the red-eye Saturday morning.  When I put the smack-down on him (payback for the smack-down I received two weeks ago) I didn’t want a built in excuse.  Having him miss out altogether though, even more disappointing.  Even with series rival #1 missing Adam was still there for the standing competition and I felt more prepared to put on a good race than I was last time.  Squatch two I felt ran well, Squatch 3, yeah, not so much.

Adam and I ran the course twice the preceding two Wednesdays so I knew where I could push and where I could recover.  Despite this run making it the longest run week since last November (24 miles, which isn’t much compared to the past two years) I was feeling rested and ready to go.

Off the line we had the lead pack of five with me, Alex, Jeff, Kevin, and Adam.  We hung together until we hit the incline up to Hwy 8.  At that point Alex opened a little gap, Kevin disappeared (sounds like he waited to make sure everyone else didn’t miss the trail up to 8), Adam started dropping back, and Jeff said he had enough racing.

The hill in downtown Taylors Falls is steep and takes a bit out of you.  Once we hit the railroad bed trail I just found a solid gear and focused on efficient running to recover.  I was surprised to have Alex not pulling away at this point.  I was a little concerned I was overdoing it, but I felt good (for being 1.5 miles into a race anyway) so I just kept at it.

Once we hit the first set of stairs down I learned that I have a knack for them.  I quickly found myself right behind Alex.  Note to self: next race I organize be all down stairs.  We hit the large stairs up and he pulled away a little bit, but on the long single track down I pulled him back again.  Given we were about 3 miles into a 5 mile race and he beat me by 2 and 4 minutes at the previous races I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Not feeling good in general, I had just run up 360 steps and 3 miles.  I do think he was sandbagging some to let me keep him on course…

I stayed right on him through the technical trails along the river.  When we reached the overlook area along Hwy 8 I knew we had just a little technical single track and stairs left so it was now or never if I wanted to make a move.  As we got into the overlook area I made a strong move and passed him.  I forgot how long the overlook area was and was a little worried I had gone to early since it really hurt and it was the technical stuff I was trying to open a gap on.  When I hit the stairs I threw all thoughts of self-preservation to the wind and let ‘er rip.

Between the overlook and the lower parking area there are a couple of trails that ultimately all end up in the same place.  Rather than trying to make sure people all used the same one we designated this as runner’s choice.  I had gapped Alex enough that we ended up on different trails.  Mine was a legitimate trail, though not the shortest one.  It sounds like Alex ended up bushwhacking and scrambling/falling down a short rock ledge.

I never looked back to see how big a gap I had gotten.  I honestly did not think I was going to be able to make my move stick.  We were going to have too much pavement and Alex is too much stronger than me.  As we entered the campground again I could hear him coming and coming fast.  He passed me with just less than ¾ of a mile to go and promptly put 37 seconds on me.  I still feel good about the move and was glad I was in a position to try racing tactically.


In all I think I ran a great race and am very happy with my performance.  One of the challenges with trail racing is that you can’t compare against other races.  So I think it was my best race this year, but I can’t back it up with any numerical evidence.  That is OK though because so far this series has been a blast to participate in and I am really looking forward to the next two races.  I need to amp the mileage up though because a very hilly half marathon on my current volume is going to be very painful.

Cyclova XC Ladies Night: 7-11-2013



"Ladies Only" Group returns this week!

Join us this Thursday night (7-11-2013) for an out-and-back hike to the Glacial Potholes in Wisconsin Interstate Park. Ladies meet at Cyclova XC at 6:00 pm and depart at 6:30 pm sharp.  Come explore the unique geography of the St. Croix River Valley, sculpted by glaciers over ten thousand years ago- right in our backyards! 

Please message Kristen if you are going to be late so that you aren't left behind.
Cell Phone 651-621-9471 or Email kristenvelaski@gmail.com

Sasquatch Dash #4 Saturday 7/13/13!



Just a reminder folks that the fourth installment of the Sasquatch Dash is coming up this Saturday.  We are half way through the series and the best is yet to come.

We are hitting up Minnesota Interstate Park for this edition.  I scouted out the course last week and was pleasantly surprised.  It has a little bit of everything and not too much of anything.  A little pavement, a little gravel trail, a little dirt single track, a bunch of stairs, and a little rocky technical single track.  Be ready to work hard, watch your step, and let 'er rip at various points.  This is the shortest of the events on the schedule so I expect it to hurt just that little bit more.

The Sasquatch Dash series page has been updated with the course map and GPX file.  Click here, then scroll down to the fourth race.

We will be meeting at Cyclova at 8:30 before heading over to the overlook to get the race started at 9:00.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

2013 Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 Course Details - Saturday, October 5, 2013

Beautiful & rugged gravel awaits you on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 course!

Since the postponement of the originally scheduled date for the Mammoth Gravel Classic this Spring, we've been having a ton of fun out on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 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, October 5, 2013)!

Note that this is not your average century ride course.  In fact, I wouldn't recommend anyone do this that isn't comfortable spending the entire day in the saddle.  Your fitness, navigational skills, and mental toughness will all be put to the extreme in this course.  Be careful out there folks, this event isn't to be taken lightly.  You MUST be self sufficient on your bike in any situation to consider doing this event.  Don't plan on there being any support on the course - if you need anything, you'll either need to bring it with or buy it (at one of only a few 2 gas stations) along the course. 

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.  There is no entry fee for this event, nor will this course go on the Gandy Dancer State bike trail - so no trail pass is required for the 100 mile course (a $5 state trail pass is required for the 35 & 70 mile courses).  All riders must fill out and sign the event waiver.  As a perk, everyone who signs a waiver, will receive some valuable coupons for great after ride food/drink, and be eligible to win some nice swag at the 4:30 PM swag drawing!  



Cyclova XC will be the site of registration for the Mammoth Gravel Classic.

Event Roll Out:  The 100 mile event will roll out from The Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls at 8:00 AM sharp.  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!  Note that roughly mile 16.5 is where the 100 mile course will diverge from the 70 mile course (which may look familiar if you rode last year's course). 
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.

Yes, civilization is approaching at mile 35:  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.  

At mile 44.9, the course will turn left onto Hoffman Road.  If you would like to take a rest / re-fuel stop (which I recommend), take a right (east) onto Hoffman Road, followed by the first left (north) onto South Russel Road.  Pine Street will bring you to Highway 70 and the town of Grantsburg.  If you take a left onto Hwy 70, you will find a nice grocery store, Holiday Gas Station, and a bar/grill.  If you take a right onto Hwy 70, you will find a neat 50's style style drive in restaurant.  This is Wisconsin after all, so if you adventure into the downtown area, there will of course be a good variety of bars, etc. 

From a safety perspective (not to be a downer), for riders struggling out on the course, Grantsburg is the logical place to drop out.  There is cell phone reception to call for help, warm places to hunker down, and/or you could ride Hwy 87 south back to St. Croix Falls, which is a 26.5 mile ride on a nicely paved shoulder.  
Holiday Station Stores always have an epic selection of meat products - super fuel for gravel riders.  Get some in Grantsburg!

Make a cautious run for the border:  After refreshing yourself & re-fueling in Grantsburg, it's time to head back down to Skog road, where you'll go west for 3 miles and then turn north (right) on West River road.  At mile 50 you will turn left (west) on Highway 70 into Minnesota for about 6 miles.  As much as I hate riding this road, there is no way of getting around it.  It is a busy state border crossing highway, and there are no other side roads that parallel it in this section.  Please ride on the road shoulder with caution.  You will cross the state border into Minnesota at the St. Croix River bridge crossing at mile 50.8.  At mile 54.6, riders will finally take a left onto Maple Avenue, a beautiful road, leading to a beautiful long gravel section!
Highway 70 will be the least popular section of the 100 mile course.  It is a busy state Hwy & a major state border crossing.  Ride with care on the paved or gravel shoulder.

Breath a sigh of relief, you're back on your way to beautiful gravel:  After turning left (south) onto Maple Avenue, you'll find that the paved portion of Maple Ave is short lived - only about 1 mile.  Mile 55 marks the beginning of a classic section of gravel roads - an impressive network of gravel that will take you almost all the way back to Taylors Falls - a 40 mile trek.  For the most part, these gravel roads in Minnesota are more maintained and less rugged than the gravel & sand that you've ridden through on the Wisconsin side of the course.  Just lock into cruise control and watch the miles tick by on this fun gravel section!
40 miles of classic gravel roads await you on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River.  Enjoy!

While there is still snow in woods, the gravel is generally free of snow and good riding on a MTB or WIDE gravel tire.

Toughest climb of the course at mile 83:   Generally, this is a very flat 100 mile course, with only 1,293 feet of climbing for the entire 100 miles.  It's the surfaces, elements, and wind that will likely pose the greatest challenges for riders.  However, beginning at about mile 83 on Reed Road (Cty Rd 81), right after passing by the main entrance to Wild River State Park there is a challenging section of short steep climbs (and fun curvy descents) that will test your legs. 
This picture taken at mile ~82.5 offers a sneak peak at the final rugged section of gravel, with a few notable climbs.  Enjoy, soon, you'll be back in St. Croix Falls!
Following the above mentioned climb, is a fun and curvy gravel descent! 




It's all downhill from here...  well, almost:  After the above mentioned gravel roller coaster ride on Reed Rd, riders will encounter some flatland gravel roads, with numerous turns - pay attention to these turns and stay on course.  Finally, at mile 93.8, riders will take a left on to Hwy 95 (St. Croix Trail).  This beautiful paved road will descent back into the St. Croix Valley, with a great view of the river and St. Croix Falls off to your left.  




While short lived (only about 2.5 miles), riders will enjoy the descent & views that Hwy 95 has to offer!

Navigating the "city", back to the start/finish area in downtown St. Croix Falls:  Far from a major metro area (we take pride in being a small town), navigating the Hwy 8 border crossing on a bicycle can be confusing.  

READ THIS THREE TIMES AND REMEMBER IT, AS I'M ABOUT TO SAVE YOU FROM RIDING ON AN AWFUL ROAD...  Hwy 8 is a 4+ lane highway with steep grades, curves, and lots of traffic - in short, in sucks to ride on.  Therefore, I don't recommend that you ride on it!  In Taylors Falls when riding through town on Hwy 95, take a LEFT (east) on the little dead end frontage street (known as 1st Street, just before the big stop light) that goes by the small gas station (you'll see it).  You'll only be able to go 100 feet or so down this road as it dead ends.  From here, ride the sidewalk east onto the bridge, and follow the sidewalk right across the bridge, and up the hill on the Wisconsin side of the river.  Follow the sidewalk up the hill until it ends on Hwy 87 (Washington Street) in St. Croix Falls, which you'll take a left on.  From here, it's a parade through quaint St. Croix Falls back to Cyclova XC.  Amazing gourmet food & drink await you right here in town, with many options within a 1 block radius of Cyclova XC.  Enjoy!

After the ride, don't forget about the swag giveaway & Gravel Conspiracy presentations at Cyclova XC, beginning at 4:30PM!  An epic ride of the legendary Big Rock Creek Farm will follow on Sunday morning at 10AM.  CLICK HERE for the full weekend schedule of events.

Thank you for reading - and see you out on the 100 course!

Armstrong's Participation in the RAGBRAI Does not Represent a "Return to Racing"

I tell you what, the general media never fails to irritate me with its blatant proliferation of false statements. The latest thing that's got me going is a headline which reads "Lance Armstrong Announces First Race Since Doping Confession."

I stumbled across this article because I have a Google Alert set up for Lance Armstrong. Whatever your feelings about Armstrong are, the stories generated about the guy tend to be pretty interesting. Anyway, today I clicked on the alert to see the "Return to Racing" headline. Well, I clicked on the article and it turns out Armstrong is riding the RAGBRAI. Sure, that's a massive event with thousands of cyclists, but it is in no way, shape or form a "Race." There are no numbers, nobody is keeping time, and there is no results list at the end.

This is a group ride. It's not a race. It's a magnificent, fabulous, fantastic event, but it IS NOT A RACE!

It drives me crazy that somebody got PAID to write the aforementioned article which called it a race. This is one of those cases where some idiot comes up with a scandalous headline just to get clicks. I suppose they thought the headline "Armstrong Decides to Participate in State Bicycle Tour" would have been a dud...too bad THAT headline would have actually been true while the other is a LIE!

Armstrong has NOT announced his first race since his doping confession. Seriously, are there no consequences for publishing things that simply aren't true?

Grrr....

But all this aside, the mention of the fact that it's RAGBRAI season really makes me think we need to organize a Cyclova contingent for this for next year. The word is an acronym which stands for "Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa," and the event is a total blast. I believe there are 10,000 registrants with another 20,000 or so participants on any given day. Over the course of seven days, you participate in a rolling party as you cross the decidedly NOT flat state of Iowa. Folks, if you think one day cycling tours are fun, you really have to give the RAGBRAI a shot. It'll be one of the best times of your life.

Enough talk, I'm in for next year, let's make it happen! Maybe Armstrong will be there "racing" it.

Update from Peru

Hey Folks!

Check this picture out! I was walking through the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru and I found this awesome sign. As many of you know, the Spanish word for bicycle path, "ciclovia," is the inspiration for our name. I've seen "ciclovia" on signs for bike paths throughout the city, but I saw this sign just outside of a bicycle shop. The fact that they'd added a bicycle and put "store" in English down at the bottom was awesome! Honestly, it almost doesn't make sense to merge the English and the Spanish here. Maybe in the upcoming days I'll go in and ask the guy as to what's going on.

It's great to be in Peru, but I'm missing the crazy bike quests and other spontaneous athletic events of the Cyclova family. The word is that Roberto is bringing a couple World Cup skiiers to Cusco at the end of July/early August, so I'll try to get up there and see if I can make a couple new connections for awesome people that I can Shanghai into training in the St. Croix Valley in the future.

Also, before I'm done, I want to make sure all of you get a chance to see Machu Picchu and all the other spectacular things that Peru has to offer. I'll be here until mid-August, so set a Kayak alert and if you find a cheap ticket to Peru, don't hesitate! Come on down! I'll pick you up at the airport and we'll do the Machu Picchu trip. You will not regret it!

Cheers!

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!