Online Solstice Chase registration is closed. Race day registration WILL BE available!

Solstice Chase Race Day Information, CLICK HERE!

Sasquatch Dash Trail Run Series 2014

What is the Sasquatch Dash?

The Sasquatch Dash is a FREE, no-frills trail running series to show off some of the awesome terrain of the St. Croix Valley as well as provide an economical way to get some high intensity workouts. Everyone is welcome, but these are casual events on non-closed courses—so it's up to you to be on your best behavior. There will be 6 unsupported (this is why it's free) events ranging in length from 5 miles to 25km. All participants will be required to sign a waiver. Look folks, our race series is named after Sasquatch, don't expect to be coddled out there—if you want something to drink you better carry a water bottle; if you want to know your time you better be wearing a watch; if you want to know where you're going—you better keep up with the guy/gal in the lead (presuming s/he knows).

Series Rules:

Points are earned based on overall placing at each run for men and women. 1st-20, 2nd-15, 3rd-12, 4th-10, 5th-9,...13th and beyond-1. Points will be doubled for the 25k series finale.

2014 shirt will be a different color
The finish line will be a clipboard with a pen tied to it. Participants will be required to fill in their name on the sheet in their finishing order.

Your series score is the sum of your best 4 scores from the run series plus bonus points.

You can also earn 10 bonus points by pre-ordering our series T-shirt or 5 points by buying it after the pre-order period. To pre-order, simply send your name and size to bj@cyclovaxc.com by 4/15/14. Pre-order price is $15, after that it's $20.

Additionally you can earn 5 bonus points for participation in any of the following local events:

Prizes:

Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 men and women in the overall series. Prizes are going to be awesome...once we decide what they are.

Event Details:

Start time is 9:00 AM

Course marking will be cue sheets and GPX files you can upload to your GPS device. Keep your eyes peeled for future blog posts about the specific races, or follow us on Facebook.

Individual Event Details (future race locations will be announced with the results of the previous race):

Run 1:
Date: May 10th
Location: Wert Preserve
Meet at: CyclovaXC

Run 2:
Date: May 24th
Location: WI Interstate Park
Meet at: CyclovaXC
Course
Facebook Event

Run 3:
Date: June 14th
City of Trails 5k or 10k
We are terrible schedulers folks.  We had originally scheduled the 3rd installment for this date and then realized it was the City of Trails 5k and Rock N' River 10k Trail Run.  We don't want to make people choose so we are going to make those races part of the series.  But since it is a paid event (but only $20!!) and not under our control (but we trust Amy) we are going to just offer bonus points for this one. 10 points for finishing the 10k and 5 points for finishing the 5k.  Just let Ben (bj@cyclovaxc.com) know so we can check your results and tally your points.

Run 4:
Date: July 26th
Location: TBD

Run 5:
Date: August 23rd
Location: TBD
Description: Stay tuned for the details, but this run may be a handicapped race based on previous results.  This could be your chance to win the event and the associated points even if have finished last in every previous event!

Run 6:
Date: September 13th
Location: Race Course Information here
Distance: 25k.


Miscellaneous:

!!TRIATHLON EXTRAVAGANZA @ 6PM ON 3/20/2014 @ Cyclova XC Adventure & Tech Social Night - Tomorrow Night!!

You don't want to miss tomorrow night's all star cast of Ironmen (Mike Colaizy on the right, Jim Kelley in the center, along with friend) at Cyclova XC's Adventure & Tech Social night!  Photo credit:  Croixathlon

Thinking of doing a triathlon - or wanting to take your multisport events to the next level?  Maybe you're doing the Adventure Triathlon in Grantsburg?  Or, perhaps you want to simply come celebrate the coming of Spring with like minded outdoor enthusiasts while enjoying a tasty complimentary beverage...  In any case, you don't want to miss tomorrow night's Adventure & Tech Social night at Cyclova XC! 

Tomorrow night's Adventure Presentation will feature local Ironman, personal trainer (of Wild River Fitness Club), and all around great guy Mike Colaizy on the Cyclova XC Big Screen.  Mike will share his adventures from around the globe (including blood, sweat, & tears) in his quest to compete at "the holy grail of triathlon, on the beaches of Kona".  Mike will also talk about the interesting history of the sport of Triathlon, and take any questions.  Mike is a fun presenter, and this is a rare opportunity to hear the full scoop, along with accompanying photos on this Ironman quest!  

Our intermission, otherwise known as the "Apres Ski / Tri" bar will feature a menu of "refreshing spring beverages", for the whole family!

Our Triathlon Tech Presention will be led by Jim Kelley, a local Ironman veteran.  Jim will present "Introduction To Triathlon".  Topics will include: an overview of the sport of triathlon (swim, bike, run), various race distances, basic equipment needs for getting started, a simple approach to preparing yourself for your first race, and a question and answer session.  Jim has 35+ years of endurance sports experience, is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, and is an Associate Coach at E3 Training Solutions. 

See you at 6PM on Thursday, 20 March!  Don't miss it! 

For the full schedule of remaining Adventure & Tech Social nights, CLICK HERE.


Roots Rated Talks Mammoth Gravel Classic


Check out this fine story from Roots Rated about the upcoming Mammoth Gravel Classic on April 19th!  Please give it a "like," "tweet," "share," etc. so that a few more people can learn about the event (the more people there are out there, the greater chance you might meet somebody with an extra submarine sandwich when you bonk).  Remember folks, this is a FREE event, so get your gravel bike rolling and make sure to say "Hi-Ho!" on the Facebook event page!  See you on the 19th, don't be lame, no excuses accepted!

The Sizing Kits Have Have Arrived From Mt. Borah!

Hello Folks!

I just wanted you all to know that the sizing kits have arrived from Mt. Borah!  If you're thinking of getting one of our awesome "alternate orange" cycling jerseys/shorts, please come in and try them on so you can order the correct size!

I want to put in the order next Friday, so please swing by this weekend!  I don't think we'll have these by Mammoth Gravel Classic, but maybe we'll get lucky.  

For more detail on the jerseys, click here!  Please remember to send your size, quantity, and men/women's cut preference to: bj@cyclovaxc.com

Cheers!

2014 Mammoth Gravel Classic 35 Mile Course Details - Saturday, 19 April, 2014



Check out the full 2014 Mammoth Gravel Classic weekend schedule HERE.

The 35 mile ride will roll out from the Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls - 1/2 block north of Cyclova XC.  This beautiful out & back course will gradually climb out of the St. Croix River Valley to the Gandy Dancer State Trail and is suitable for any cyclist.  Once on the Gandy Dancer Trail, riders will enjoy the amazing bicycle only trail all the way to Cafe Wren in Luck, WI.  You'll definitely want to stop here to re-fuel, and then head back south for a gentle descent back down to St. Croix Falls.  This surface is ideal for nearly any type of bicycle (skinny or fat tires).

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
This 35 mile multi-surface (pavement and packed/crushed limestone) course can be enjoyed on almost any bicycle - literally ranging from a road bike with skinny tires through fat tired mountain bikes.   

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.  Photo Credit:  Heide Tupy
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! 
After the ride, don't forget about the swag giveaway at Cyclova XC, beginning at 4:30PM!  An array of cycling activities and camping is available at Big Rock Creek Retreat both Friday & Saturday eventings, as well as a ride of the epic Big Rock Creek trails on Sunday morning.  CLICK HERE for the full weekend schedule of events at Big Rock Creek Retreat.
The Gandy Dancer trail will be a fun homestretch cruise, literally downhill all the way from mile 17 to the finish!

2014 2013 Mammoth Gravel Classic 70 Mile Course Details - Saturday, 19 April, 2014


The lead group of the 2013 MGC 70 rips through a soft sandy area!  Photo Credit:  Kristen Velaski
The 70 mile ride will roll out at 9:00AM from the Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls - 1/2 block north of Cyclova XC.  This multi-surface course will be roughly 50% pavement, 25% gravel & sand, and 25% packed limestone.  Sections of the course are very soft loose sand, so mountain bikes are recommended for most - cyclo cross bikes for expert bike handlers who are comfortable riding through long sand pits - and note that we ABSOLUTELY DO NOT recommend anyone attempt to ride this course with a road bike.  While this this is a relatively flat course, it will surprise the heartiest gravel enthusiast - this is a difficult course, particularly from about mile number 17 through 25.  There are hungry bears in this area, and we will not have a course sweep - so you must take care of yourself out there - you must be self sufficient while doing the 70 mile ride.  A great new addition to this year's course will be the fact that we will finish by going through a new world class silent sport destination just north of St. Croix Falls known as Big Rock Creek Farm.  This privately owned 1600 acre nature preserve & retreat center has 26+ miles of trails on site, and the course will descend back into the St. Croix Valley through the property!

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, 19 April, 2014)!

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.  Photo Credit:  Heide Tupy
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.

You'll want your wide gravel (40mm or wider) tires for the 70 mile course.  Most people will likely even walk a short section about 200 yards long.  Photo Credit:  Ben Mullin
Tommy Krenz leads the charge in the 2013 MGC 70!  Photo Credit:  Kristen Velaski
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.  

After the ride, don't forget about the swag giveaway at Cyclova XC, beginning at 4:30PM!  An array of cycling activities and camping is available at Big Rock Creek Retreat both Friday & Saturday eventings, as well as a ride of the epic Big Rock Creek trails on Sunday morning.  CLICK HERE for the full weekend schedule of events at Big Rock Creek Retreat.
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!


2014 Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 Course Details - Saturday, 19 April, 2014

Beautiful & rugged gravel awaits you on the Mammoth Gravel Classic 100 course!  Photo Credit:  John Schletty

Over the past year, we've had a ton of fun exploring 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, 19 April, 2014)!

The 100 mile ride will roll out at 8AM sharp from the Scenic Overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls - 1/2 block north of Cyclova XC.  The 100 mile ride is a HARDCORE UNSUPPORTED RIDE.  Do not consider doing this ride if you're not entirely self sufficient in any riding situation.  Do not consider doing this ride if you're not comfortable spending a full day on your bicycle.  Do not consider doing this ride if you're not comfortable navigating yourself through tens of miles of untamed wilderness.  This is not a ride to take lightly.  You will be spending a whole lot of time many miles from anywhere, without cell phone reception on most of the course.  The course will not be marked, so we suggest using GPS navigation.  There are hungry bears in this area, and we will not have a course sweep - so you must take care of yourself out there.  This multi-surface course will be roughly 50% gravel roads, 25% double track firelane, and less than 25% pavement.  We absolutely recommend only riding a bike with 40mm wide gravel or mountain bike width tires on this course due to many very soft sand pits.  DO NOT bring your skinny tired bike.  The narrowest tire recommended is 40mm, such as the Clement MSO tire (our soft gravel tire of choice) - available at Cyclova XC.

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 100!
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.

You'll be grateful for your wide tires from miles 17 - 35!  Photo Credit:  Ben Mullin






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 long 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!
The Minnesota side of the MGC 100 course takes their gravel very seriously.  Above, Frank & Greg catch up the the "gravel groomer" on a ride - Summer 2013!  Photo Credit:  Greg Gentle
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!