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Come Pre-Ride the Skull-n-Bones on Friday, August 1st

Bike America!
Hey Folks,
Chris Locke and I are going to pre-ride the Skull-n-Bones course on Friday, August 1st in order to set the Cue sheets.  Anybody who is interested in doing a free, unsupported gravel ride tomorrow is welcome to come along.  It's supposed to rain of course, but that's not going to stop us (why do people keep asking me if I don't want to ride just because it's raining?).  

We'll be leaving from the Bruce Firehall at 7 am.  There's a map on the Facebook event page if you don't know where it is.

Please let us know if you're coming, we'll see you out on the gravel!

Sasquatch Dash #4 Report

Another great crowd turned out for the 4th Sasquatch Dash of 2014.  This race was held at Big Rock Creek Retreat in Remembrance of Blair Klein.  Blair was the owner of this property, and it was his vision for how that property should be preserved that is allowing us to use it as a recreational area today.

It was a sweltering hot morning just like last year's Sasquatch 25, which was great because the Pau Hana Stand-up paddleboard rep was coming a little while later to show us some boards to play with in the pond.  We headed out for the challenging, hilly route that went along the Southern fence line.  They have been doing some selective logging out in the back, so the roads were a little muddy, but not so bad that footing was dangerous.

Our route brought us back by the rustic cabin and in along the road that parallels Big Rock Creek.  Here's the map we used last year when we used this same course as a ski race.  The markings on here aren't quite the same as the route we used, but it's about 90% similar:

When we skied it last year, we did two loops before returning along the river.  Unfortunately two of our racers yesterday missed the final turn and ended up doing the big lap twice for this run as well.  They get the record for the big mileage day after putting in a 15 kilometer effort!

I'm really sorry that a couple people missed that turn (although most of them just came in to the finish area on the parallel Southern road you can see on the map).  We marked the course on Friday and then pre-rode it with people who didn't know the route to make sure it was OK.  However, the confusion came because in the morning light, the arrow that marked the "going out" route kind of bled through the paper.  When you came up on it as you were heading towards the finish, it looked like an incorrect left turn.  We'd pre-ridden the course in the evening, and without the morning sun shining through you couldn't see the problem...sigh.  If we do this route again, I'll make a couple chutes with marking tape to avoid any confusion.  Special thanks to Dallas as well for doing a sweep of the course on a fat bike!

Our series leader Alex missed the final turn, but Marcus, who was the first to sign in, conceded Alex was ahead by about a minute.  After finishing, Alex ran back out and changed a later sign in order to help send runners back in if they missed the earlier turn.  That was a heroic effort on the part of Alex, and I propose we award first place finish points to both Alex and Marcus.

After everyone was accounted for, we had the opportunity to play around on the stand-up paddle boards.
Rick got everyone going.  The poor guy was working on about 2 hours of sleep, and kept apologizing for being grumpy (although I thought he was as friendly as always).  Quite a few people stuck around to try out the boards and it felt good to get in that ice cold water after the run.

So, all in all we had another successful Sasquatch run.  I would have liked things to run a bit more smoothly, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  For the next event, Ben is planning on doing a "reverse start order" type race where the faster runners will start later and have to chase down the runners who start early.  The idea will be to have everyone finishing at more or less the same time.  Whether or not we do it this way will depend on finding an appropriate venue, but it is a fun little concept that should make for a unique running experience.

Thanks to everyone who came!  See you next time!

Shout Out to the Skull-n-Bones Gravel Challenge!

Hey Folks!

Our Friend Chris Locke is organizing a great Gravel Challenge on September 20th, in Bruce WI, and we thought we'd help get the word out.  As per usual, this is a FREE ride, so bring your friends and be prepared to have an awesome time.  There are 100, 50, and 25 mile routes with roll out at 8:00 AM at the Bruce Fire Hall (later times for the shorter distances).  This is going to be a fun, chill ride!

For more information click here.

And to join up on the Facebook event, click here (also share that event page please).

See you on September 20th!

Kids on Bikes

If there was a Strava File for kids...It would declare this young band of Cyclova XC riders the Kings and Queens of Mileage! 

Here they are looking fierce, (above) L to R: Luke Velaski, Justin Wynne, Abby Wynne, Ingrid Lundeen, Doran Velaski, and Charlie Livingston. This amazing crew biked from St. Croix Falls to Centuria for a tasty reward at the bowling alley and then biked back to St. Croix Falls in a cold drizzle. HARD CORE! With a few short rest stops along the trail, a stash of Honey Stinger Waffles, and the smell of french fries wafting down the Gandy Dancer Trail this group rallied to the finish! Riding eleven miles is a feat worthy of honor! The kids were stoked about their achievements and couldn't wait to ride again!

The idea behind the Kids Gandy Ride was to get a group of kids together for a fun destination ride that would hopefully inspire them to want to ride more. The Gandy Dancer Trail is the perfect rail-to-trail path to enjoy with your kids- no traffic, firmly packed limestone surface, with less than 2% grade.

Here we are enjoying some deep-fried deliciousness at McKenzie Lanes in Centuria.


A few days after our group ride, my son asked me to ride with him to Grandma's house which is on the Gandy just south of Milltown. It's about an eight mile ride from SCF one way. Before we left town we shared a smoothie and a burger at the Dalles Bakery and Coffee House. Charlie was feeling especially "pro" this ride because I loaned him a sweet Cyclova XC kit to rock all the way to Grandma's house!

We got a little "hangry" around mile 5 and I was thanking the heavens that I had tucked a Dalles House monster cookie in my jersey pouch before we left SCF! I broke that precious little bribe into four pieces and it brought Charlie back from a melt-down a few more times before we arrived at our destination!

I had mistakenly told Charlie that Grandma's house was between Mile Marker 7 and 8 so when we arrived at this marker and realized Grandma was still a half mile beyond here we had a small disagreement. Thankfully I had a single piece of monster cookie left in my pouch and he was spinning the pedals and smiling minutes later.

Tips for parents to get kids riding:
1.) Keep it fun- start small and incorporate destinations with little rewards like an ice cream shop or a park to play at.
2.) Pump them up- Stroke their ego! Let them know how tough they are and how they ride their bikes faster and farther than other kids their age!
3.) Pack a few snacks- when attitudes are challenging, give them a cookie. Because let's face it, even adults smile when they get a cookie!
4.) Get them together with other kids to provide some healthy, fun competition and encouragement- there was much less whining on the Kids Gandy Ride than the day I was riding solo with my son.
5.) Get them a few cool cycling accessories to make them feel really rad when they ride their bikes- we have a hamburger-shaped bell, riding gloves with flames, a few handed-down cycling jerseys- other great items include streamers, baskets, and spoke ornaments. Let them trick out their bikes and ride with pride!

I am exceptionally proud of all the kids that have been riding with us this summer! The reward of helping them achieve goals and set personal records exceeds limitations! As any parent can imagine, there were moments of whining, a few tears, some close calls with the "Hangry" monster, but overall there were smiles, shouts of acclamation, and pride! Each ride gets easier for them and they have new confidence.

8.5 miles of Gandy Dancer!

Get your kids on bikes with you today! Join us for the next installment of the Kids Gandy Ride. Watch the blog for details.

Sasquatch 2014 #4 July, 26th: In Remembrance of Blair Klein

Hey Folks!

Just a quick reminder that the next great Sasquatch adventure is happening on Saturday, July 26th at Big Rock Creek.  This race will give us the chance to show off one of the best recreational areas in the area.  This race is also being run to commemorate Blair Klein who owned the property for many years.

As always, the event is a free 10k where you run to a clipboard to record the finishing order.  I'll go out on Friday and mark the course with the same red flags we've been using on our previous runs this year.  I'll be out there in the evening around 5 if you want to come and check it out.  If you need some more general information about Sasquatch Dash, you can click here.

After the race there will also be a stand-up paddle board demonstration as well as some other fun stuff which I mentioned in the group email.  If you don't get the group email, please send a request to bj@cyclovaxc.com.

See you this weekend!  It's going to be a blast!

To the right is a map that should help you get to BRC.  If you have any issues, you can check their web page here.

The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Spirit of '75

Ok, this marathon was one of those last minute deals.  We're all blaming Lushanko.

"Hey, there's an awesome trail marathon in 4 days, sign up!"

"But I haven't run since Grandma's!"

"Awww....you'll be fine.  Eric T. is coming!  C'mon, I reserved a campsite!"


Man am I dumb!  How dumb I am became increasingly clear after I convinced J-Stamp to sign up for this as well and he posted the trail profile on Facebook.
But...whatever, you do all this training for the exact purpose of being able to sign up for a marathon a few days beforehand and run it without specifically training for it.  Normally I'd say such behavior is a little irresponsible, but I've already done 3 marathons this year, and ran a pretty good 4:22 at Grandma's...so how bad could Eugene Curnow be?

We arrived at Jay Cooke state park on Friday, and let me tell you, that place is a revelation.  After going there, I am kind of left scratching my head and wondering why people take trips to far off corners of the world.  The park is actually beautiful, with a raging river running through the center which has carved out a labyrinth of spectacular rock features (many of which we'd have the opportunity to run through).

Soon after we arrived, Eric noticed that he, Lushanko, me and J-Stamp were all born in 1975!  Edling would have been excited to hear that since I think he mentioned that was one of the best years of his life.  Those of you who can do math now know that we are all spry young 25 year olds!  I hope none of my buds regrets too much giving away our age.

The start time for this event was 6 AM, and we loaded up onto the bus at 4:30.  After a hilarious forty five minute routine about how school buses don't have seat belts...our driver eventually took us to the start.  We got our numbers, pinned them on and BOOM, the race was off.

The trail started off fairly wide with a few washouts.  We climbed up the ski hill and were afforded a beautiful view of the city getting lit up by the morning sun.  Lushanko, of course galloped off like a madman, and J-Stamp dropped the hammer as well, so Eric and I were left to bring up the rear (which was according to plan).

About 7 miles in, Eric decided that this would be his last trail marathon.  The terrain was so rocky that you really couldn't run (at least I couldn't, the guy that won somehow managed to maintain 8 minute miles).  We crossed boulder fields, repelled down ridges (seriously, they had ropes tied to trees), and crossed several rivers.
At first I didn't like the river crossings, but I soon found out it was really refreshing to get your feet wet.  When that happened I started looking forward to dunking them in even when I could avoid it.

Even with all these obstacles, the competitors who knew what they had gotten into kept talking to us about "the power lines."  That turned out to be a series of mud walls like this:
Oh, and it's not like there was just 1 hill like this.  There were a series of 10 or 15, with maybe 2 or 3 that required you to grasp for weeds on either side of the trail and drag yourself up on your hands and knees.

Eric didn't really delight all that much in the mud, and at one point he slipped and went face first into a patch of something that looked a lot like poison ivy.  He was a little grumpy for about thirty seconds, but there's a reason Eric has done 59 marathons, and he quickly righted his mental ship and talked himself out of the dark place (plus he had me along which always makes the day seem better).

We mainly walked and finished in 8:15.  I enjoyed the day, but this event is no joke.  It's sort of like a Tough Mudder...but for actually tough people (and it doesn't cost $175, and they don't hit you with cattle prods).  My wife met me at the finish line and I crossed in the company of the two pretties girls I've ever met:
Another great day in the books!  It's good to have friends who motivate you into signing up for ridiculous endurance events like this!  Knowing what this event is all about, is it likely that I will do it again?  Hmmmm....well, nobody ever accused me of being smart.

Gals & Gravel Night- Monday, July 14th

Join the Cyclova XC Women's Fitness Group for 
Gals and Gravel Night on Monday, July 14th!

Get ready to grind some gravel with other local women cyclists on Monday, July 14th! We will meet at the Franconia Sculpture Park (Just a few miles across the river and up the hill from Cyclova XC) Click here for map. The route is approximately 10 miles, primarily on gravel roads with two short connectors of pavement. There will be a rest stop on the course with a special surprise that you won't want to miss!  After the ride we will explore the sculpture park and relax. 

Catch up with some awesome local ladies that love to ride bikes!

How it will go down:
6 p.m.- Meet at Franconia Sculpture Park, bring a mountain bike or gravel bike.
6:30 p.m. sharp- We roll out (we'll head south to 285th which is about a 3/4 mile ride on pavement to turn onto gravel) Click here for ride route map.
8 p.m. (possibly earlier)- Return to sculpture park and relax!

As always, this is a FREE event for LADIES only and is a no-drop ride (The group stays together the entire ride, no one gets left behind.)

Please RSVP to kristenvelaski@gmail.com (so I have a rough estimate of numbers and people to wait for- but feel free to just show up that night if you are feeling spontaneous!)

Feel free to email me with questions about the group and events! Or email me to say "Add me to the Cyclova XC Women's Group" to receive invitations to women's events. 

Cheers~ Kristen