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

Gandy Marathon Fee Increase on July 1st!

Hey Folks!

Just a quick reminder that the fee for the Gandy Marathon is about to go up on July 1st.  We've had a huge surge of interest in this event over the last week and it looks like this event is going to be a truly great time.  This is one of the most inexpensive marathons available, so please put it on your list.  Remember there is a full, a half, or a 5k to choose from!  So sign up now and save yourself $10!  You're going to want to start planning your year around this race!

To register, click here!

Sasquatch Update


Hey Everyone,

I wanted to give out a quick update on the 2014 Sasquatch series.  With the completion of the City of Trails race we are now 3 races into our 6 race series.  Based on the race results, shirt order bonus points, and bonus points for the City of Trails the standings are as follows.

On the men's side, with my absence and Alex' participation he pulls into the lead.  Tom Kelby also continues to surge and is now sitting tied for second.  Just two points back Sean Cudd is just waiting to pounce.  There is a bit of a gap back to 5th, but then we have a bunch of folks all crowded around 20 points.  A few more races in this could look very interesting!  Remember, the current plan is for the 5th race to be a handicapped race which could blow things wide open, the finale counts for double, and you get to drop your lowest two races.


On the ladies' side Emma Kelby has a pretty solid hold of the lead.  Then we have a great group all duking it out for 2nd through 5th.  We've had great turnout on the ladies side this year and we should be in store for a great run through the second half of the series.


So what is coming up?  Well, we were going to be offering 5 bonus points for participating in the William O'Brien 10 miler this weekend.  Unfortunately due to the wet conditions at William O'Brien they have postponed the race until September.  I was really looking forward to the race personally as a Forest Lake Nordic Alum I certainly spent enough time at that park and always like going back.  Instead I think I will be at the Milltown 5k just up the Gandy from St. Croix Falls on Saturday morning.  No bonus points but think about coming out knocking out a speed 5k anyway.  Milltown Miles

After that we have our next official Sasquatch Dash on July 26th.  Ben Jonjak is working on getting us into Big Rock Creek Retreat and maybe a few other fun things as well.  So be sure this is on your calendar and stay tuned.

My final note is to think about your fall calendar and consider the Birkie Trail Marathon (9/27/14) or the Gandy Marathon (10/11/14).  Several of us did the Birkie last year and had a blast.  I'm in for the full again this year with it being my A race.  The Gandy is a first year event and being put on by our friend Eric Olson so you know it is going to be a good time.  I'm in for the half and looking forward to seeing what I can do with a half marathon on a flat limestone course.  Both races have a price increase on 7/1 so get your registration in now!

2014 Grandma's Marathon Race Report

After the race in front of the Party Bus
Grandma's Marathon is one of the premier events of the area along with the Twin Cities Marathon and the American Birkebeiner.  These are more than just races, they are a whole weekend of fun, camaraderie, and a great excuse to party.  There is nothing more fun than entering the central vortex of excited/nervous energy that 10,000+ competitors create.  I love how marathons cut through all the petty differences people cling to, and just allow people to help each other survive the race.

Throughout the week, it looked like the weather might be a little rough.  Rain was predicted, and with the thunderstorms that had blown through in the previous days, you had to be a little nervous.  But as I drove across the bridge heading into Duluth, the weatherman on the radio predicted a high of 60 with light rain.

"Perfect!" I said to myself.

This year I've already done two marathons, but I hadn't really run much since Eau Claire.  The Eau Claire Marathon is a great event, but it doesn't match the spectacle of Grandma's, and you approach those two races with a different mindset.  Lately, all I try to do is run the first half of a marathon hard, and then take it easy for the second half (usually by keeping company with Eric T.).  But at Grandma's you always shoot for the best time possible.  Eau Claire was on May 4th, and since then I'd run two 15 milers, a 12, a 10k, and a 5k.  I'd spent most of my training hours on my bicycle.  I had, however, used the time I ran to work on my speed (except in the 15 milers).  I'm not very fast, but I'd been making myself run some 8 minute miles in every run in the hope of making a 9 minute mile feel easier.

But even with two marathons under my belt this year, I had no idea how I was going to feel at the big race (that's part of the fun).  Sometimes you feel miserable at the start and set a PR, and sometimes you feel great and totally wash out.  At this point in my marathon career, the best thing I can say is to just not waste energy worrying about it.

Leading up to the race, my wife and kids came out to enjoy the day.  It was super cold on Friday though, and we were left scrambling to find any warm clothing that we could:
This was my wife's first trip to Superior, but unfortunately there was a fog on the lake so she still hasn't really seen it.  Still we went into the sports bar across the slip bridge to watch Costa Rica beat Italy in their World Cup match (the current coach of Costa Rica used to coach one of Peru's best soccer teams).

Eric had told me that it's possible to just camp overnight at the DECC parking lot.  "Bring a sleeping bag and a pillow and we'll do the rest," he said.  That sounded good to me, and sure enough, the second I pulled in to the parking lot I saw Eric's big, gray party bus.  He's modified a school bus into an awesome camper, and it was a good thing we had it because it was so cold that evening.  Camping at the DECC is THE way to do this race!  It puts you right down in the center of the action, lets you sleep in the morning of the event without having to worry about navigating traffic, and allows you to stay after the race to fully enjoy the post race party!  I had two weddings to attend right after the run, so I had to split...but next year I want to make this a four day event--and I'll be sorely disappointed if I don't see Lone Wolf's Big Orange Beast (BOB) parked next to the party bus (c'mon Jeff...that motor home was CONSTRUCTED for this)!  If I can't get BOB to come, maybe Cyclova is going to have to just invest in a vehicle like that!  This is a pre-made party people, it's the biggest thing around!  I kept trying to convince all the young guys and gals on the team to come up for this.  Seriously folks, you'd be surprised how many of the marathoners stick around to dance after the race (and before)...come out, bring a bicycle, enjoy the fun...heck, even do the marathon if you feel you need to!  Let me say it again in case I haven't been clear--It's a FOUR DAY PARTY!!!  The Birkie would be like this too if it wasn't always -165,000 degrees on that weekend.

My wife did the 5k along with my mom, which allowed for some fun pictures:
At the start (Sofia didn't run).
Daddy and Ariel waiting for mommy.
Sofia getting a good view with the help of Eric T.  Sofia's quote, "I'm very high!" (that guy on the right of this photo looks like he's getting "hangry").
Sofia sprinting to the line with mommy.

Ok...so just tell me that seeing all that doesn't make you come out and run!

After the event, my wife and kids went home and we went to bed for the next day's event.  I slept great in that camper and woke up feeling good to a cool, misty 40 degree day.

We headed up to the start line, and my race strategy was the same as it always is: go as fast as possible for the first half, then just survive to the finish.  Actually, that's not the smartest race strategy, but sometimes these marathons get really hot, so I always like to get as much done as possible while you still have the advantage of the cool morning air.  The gun for Grandma's goes off at 7:45, and it's a lot easier to run hard at 8 am than it is at 12 or 1 in the afternoon.

I hadn't done a sub 2 hour half marathon in more than a decade, so I was kind of hoping to be able to do that at Grandma's.  In fact, my best ever half marathon happened at Grandma's when I ran a 1:29 en route to a 3:29 finish.  Yeah...again, maybe not the smartest race strategy, but my goal was to do a sub 3:30 so I got the job done.

We hung around at the starting area for the last jittery hour before the race.  This naturally included a trip to the port-a-pots.  They always put the port-a-pots in a big square, so you're best off finding a line that is on one of the corners of the square.  Those lines move faster because they have access to 6 or 7 toilets, as opposed to the 2 or 3 you get in the other lines.  We got in line, but it didn't take long to realize that we'd made a mistake because the guy at the front of our line kept glancing around behind him as he waited.  That was all well and good except that every time he'd glance around, a port-a-pot door would open and somebody else would go and take it.  I don't know what this guy's deal was, it was as if he was trying to say, "yeah...I'm at the front of the line for the toilet, but I'm so darn cool that it just doesn't impress me...I wonder what's going on over there?"

Seriously folks, this is the kind of thing that can throw you into an unreasonable rage just before a race.  EVERYBODY has to go to the bathroom and if you're not going about the bathroom routine in an orderly and efficient manner, you're inconveniencing a TON of people.  I finally started yelling, "don't look back here, look over there! There's nothing over here that should interest you!"  When a door opened I shouted, "there...go Marine go!"  It still took about 8 more lost opportunities before the doofus deigned to shuffle forward and get his job done (I think I'm going to have to write a whole article on port-a-pot line etiquette).

But we got through that, and before you knew it, the gun had gone off and we were pounding the pavement.  The cool weather made you want to run hard just to warm up, so I took advantage of that to go as hard as possible.  The first miles go by in a blur, as you wind down a scenic road that runs along the lake.  You're in the countryside for a lot of Grandma's marathon, but there are a lot of people along the way who come out to spectate and cheer.

I did the fastest 10k I've done in a long time, and as the half approached I knew I was going to do it in under 2 hours.  I crossed the halfway point and decided to try and keep the pace going for a mile or two, but as I ht mile 14, I was consistently seeing a 9+ pace rather than a 9- pace.  That was OK.  I figured that the longer I could keep it under 10, the better.  Miles 13 to 18 went well and then I felt myself slowing again.  I was hurting by 20, but that's to be expected.  Marathons are kind of funny.  It can truly be said that the whole race takes place in miles 20 to 26.  You can think you're having a spectacular run, and then lose two hours in miles 20-26.  That's when the pain catches up to you and the people that can push through it separate themselves from those who can't.

Well, Grandma's makes it easier on you because you're running through town and there are a lot of people to cheer you on.  I started looking for frat boys giving out beer, and found a group of them around mile 21.  I was hoping to get a can, but these frat boys had planned ahead and were handing out plastic cups with just a little tiny bit of beer in the bottom (I was sorely disappointed...when did frat boys start remembering to buy glasses so they could ration their beer?).  I managed to mitigate this problem by grabbing TWO of the glasses, much to the joy of the frat boys, "that guy took TWO!"

The beer gave me a lift and allowed me to elevate my pace and get over Lemon drop hill where I ran over and grabbed another beer from a spectator.  "I need beer!" I said.  "Ok," the lady said, handing me her plastic cup.  I sipped on that until about mile 24, and by then I felt I was going to finish.

I was having trouble calculating my finish time (because I was tired, not because of the beer), and was pretty sure 4:30 was attainable.  Still, every now and then as I hit a mile marker and did the math, I thought a 4:19 might be possible.  I took as much momentum as I could running down the hill that leads into the DECC and kept glancing at my watch.  If I really pushed it...maybe...I could do a sub 4:20!  I dug down, but the effort didn't last too long and I settled in to finish at 4:22.  I guess in the grander scheme there's not much of a difference between running a 4:19 and a 4:22...but marathoners like to see 1s and 9s more than 2s.  A finish time of 2:59 is infinitely better than 3:01 because when you are telling your time to people later you can say, "yeah I finished in TWO..." and the person who is listening to is overwhelmed with amazement at your athletic prowess.

It's all kind of silly, but that's the way it is.

Grandma's gives a great read out of your splits.  Here's mine:
Really a fun day, and the fastest marathon I've run in 15 years or so.  If I'd done the first half in 2:05, could I have finished in 4:15...meh...I'd rather go out fast and maybe someday the stars will align and I'll just carry it through to the end.

In the meantime, this race has me pretty psyched for the GandyMarathon!  On a flat course like that a sub 4 hour run might be possible (remember to register before July 1st to get the discounted rate).  I'd really like to see a dozen or so of our Cyclova people at Grandma's next year.  Like I said, you don't have to race!  Just plan on going up there and soaking it all in!  Grandma's is one of the best events around!

RESCHEDULED Ladies Group Ride and Bonfire in Big Rock Creek Retreat

On account of the monsoon-like weather we have been experiencing, the ladies activity for tonight has been rescheduled for this coming Monday! I updated the invitation below to reflect the new date. All other details remain the same. Cheers- Kristen

Ladies! I have found the fountain of youth- and, we can ride our bikes to it!

Join me on Monday evening, June 23rd, for a ladies-only group MTB ride at Big Rock Creek Retreat. Come experience epic riding while taking in all of the hidden wonders of this amazing new silent sports haven in the City of Trails, St. Croix Falls.

This is an opportunity you won't want to miss!
Scott at BRCR has graciously given us FREE trail passes for the evening AND he is busy preparing a private oasis for us to unwind in post-ride!

If you like bikes and spending time with cool women- R.S.V.P. to Kristen at kristenvelaski@gmail.com.



The Scoop:
As always this is a ladies-only, FREE event!

6 p.m. Meet at Cyclova XC
6:30 p.m. Caravan to Big Rock Creek Retreat (just 4 miles north of SCF on Hwy 87)
We will ride for 60-80 minutes. (While some terrain in BRCR is friendly enough for a cross-bike, most of the trails are rugged and require a mountain bike. We will be riding trails that need fat tires- bring your MTB.)
8 p.m. Relax around the bonfire and enjoy a refreshing beverage in the Upper Meadow of BRCR.


Looking forward to a great night out with the ladies!

(Message me (Kristen) if you would like more details or are interested in meeting the group at BRCR for either the ride portion or the bonfire.)








City of Trails 5k and 10k is this Weekend!

Hey Folks,

A quick reminder!  If you're not doing anything, you should come out to St. Croix Falls and do the City of trails 5k/10k.  Registration is only $25, and you can find everything you need to know on their web page here.

Also remember that you receive points in the Sasquatch Dash trail series for signing up and participating in this event (5 points for the 5k and 10 points for the 10k)!  Just send a confirmation of your participation to bj@cyclovaxc.com to get the points.

Our next Sasquatch event will be on July 26th and I'm thinking of getting some free camping involved.  More details to come!

See you on the trails!

Frederic Lions Bike Race Celebrates 27 Years on June 14th, 2014



FREDERIC--The Frederic Lions Bike Classic will be held for the 27th time on Sat. June 14. Started in 1988 by the Frederic Lions Club, the race has held on to be the  third longest running citizen’s bike race in Wisconsin.

The idea to host a bike race in Frederic started as a coffee table discussion in the winter of 1987. Terry and Jo Duea, Dave Dopkins, and Steve and Elisabeth Puetz collaborated on the concept of a starting a local bike race, after watching the success of a popular citizen bike race in Grandview, WI, Dopkins had participated in. The Frederic Lions Club came on board as a host organization. 

Over a quarter century, proceeds from the race have been directed by the Lions Club to the various charitable causes they support. This year’s race will be a 26.4 mile individual time trial and will bring racers to Frederic from all over the Midwest.

The race will start at the Frederic High School campus at 10:00 a.m., with registration starting at 8:00 a.m. The race route is an out and back course, going east on Clam Falls Drive, south on CTH I for 13 miles, turning around just north of STH 48, and returning by the same route to Frederic. The course has a total of 1300 vertical feet of climbing.

Top riders will complete the course in under an hour, averaging well over 26 miles an hour on what is considered a difficult time trial route. A new class was added in 2010--the single speed division. This class offers awards to riders who complete the course on bikes with only one gear. 2010 single speed winner was Ricky Wells, Strum, WI. Wells completed the course in 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 59 seconds, riding faster than several riders on conventional bikes with many gears available. The course records are held by Joan Carlson, Menomonie, WI--1 hour, 8 minutes, and 50.8 seconds (2010), Lance Niles, Onalaska, WI--58 minutes, 51 seconds (2009), Ricky Wells, Strum, WI--single speed--1 hour, 7 minutes, and 59.5 seconds (2010), and Andrea Potyondy-Smith, Champlin, MN--single speed--1 hour, 28 minutes, 33 seconds (2012). 

2013 winners: Tim Mulrooney, Minneapolis, MN, Michelle Bibeau, Pengilly, MN, Dan Johnson (single speed), Frederic, and Andrea Potyondy-Smith (single speed) Champlin, MN, are expected to return to defend their titles.

Past winners with a local connection include: 1988-Wendy Weinzierl-Griswold and Greg Nelson. 1993-Kevin Link and Jolene Selover Baillargeon. 

2000-Terry Baillargeon. 2001-Frank Lundeen. 2011-Dan Johnson (single speed).

Also of interest, author Michael Perry rode the race in the early 90”s.

Arthur Martin, Frederic, is the only person who has completed all 26 of the previous races, and is expected to keep the streak going this year. He has been spotted on several training rides around the backroads of Leader Land.

The individual time trial format features riders starting at 30 second intervals, with the goal of riding the course as fast as possible. Drafting, pack riding, and other team tactics are not allowed, so time trials are referred to as the race of truth. Just lungs, legs, and heart rates in the ozone. Time trial specific bicycles are designed for aerodynamics and some cost over $7000. Aero wheels alone may cost over $2500 a pair and run with over 200 lbs. of air pressure.

Race timing and results will be provided by Chimp Timing of Brooklyn Park, MN.

The Lions Classic is one of the 20+ events of the WiSport Cycling Series, which offers age group recognition in both road race and time trial divisions, at races held all around Wisconsin. For more information and an entry form: www.fredericlionsclassic.com 
sbtesch@centurytel.net 
715-327-4892 

!!Woolly / IMBA Trail Care Crew Summit in St. Croix Falls! June 26 - 29, 2014!!



Join the WBC & IMBA for 4 days of classes, presentations, networking, trail building & riding in St. Croix Falls!  Photo Credit:  IMBA
Really big things continue to happen in St. Croix Falls, the City of Trails - today, we're thrilled to announce another huge event for the Woolly Bike Club (WBC) - an International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Chapter.  The WBC builds and maintains the sustainable, erosion free, world class mountain bike trail network in St. Croix Falls - which draws thousands of cyclists to the St. Croix River Valley through all 4 seasons of the year.  We want YOU to be a part of this!  Feel free to attend all activities - or pick and choose those that are of interest to you!

June 26 - 29, IMBA is sending 4 professional Mountain Bike Trail Builders and Advocates to St. Croix Falls for a 4 day summit on sustainable trails - including classes, presentations, networking, trail building, and riding!  YOU are invited to be a part of the entire 4 day event - or any part you choose!  Click HERE to view the official press release, itinerary, and to register on the IMBA website - and see below for even more details.  Note that RSVP'ing (free) on the IMBA website will help the Woolly Club prepare appropriately...


Following is a summary of the events that are all part of this IMBA Trail Care Crew event here in Woolly Land:

Join us for exciting & informative presentations by IMBA at the St. Croix Falls Public Library Community Meeting Room!  Photo Credit:  IMBA
Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 6 - 8PM:  "Club Care" classroom session, 6pm @ Saint Croix Falls Public Library, Community Meeting Room, 230 S Washington St, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024.  RSVP'ing is appreciated. 
Who should attend & why:   Are you interested in becoming involved with the Woolly Bike Club?  Are you interested in learning about what goes into a sustainably built trail from a big picture perspective?  Are you interested in becoming involved in bringing thousands of cyclists to the St. Croix Valley?  If so, be a part of the "Club Care" classroom session!
 

Friday, 27 June, 2014:  Better Living Through Trails presentation, social, film screening, and silent auction. 
2 - 4PM: Better Living Through Trails Presentation@ Saint Croix Falls Public Library, Community Meeting Room, 230 S Washington St, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024. 
Who should attend & Why:  This presentation will be a highlight of the 4 day summit!  Here, we will discuss the massive positive impacts that quality trails have on the community and region - from a quality of life perspective & economic perspective - for both residents & tourists alike!  Many citizens, cyclists, hikers, government officials, parks officials, and DNR officials will be on hand!  All are welcome, be a part of it!  RSVP'ing is appreciated.  Please help us in spreading the word on this presentation to government officials, parks workers, and businesses!
4:30 - 6:30PM:  Happy Hour & Dinner @ Bistro On St. Croix, 115 North Washington St, St. Croix Falls, WI  54024.  Enjoy fine dining at it's best & mingle with trail enthusiasts at the Valley's newest top shelf eatery!  Top shelf beverages & food (priced very affordably), with a great river-view patio await you at the Bistro.  The Bistro is a short walk from the Library & right across the street from Cyclova XC - where the Silent Auction & films will be happening at 7PM.  All are welcome! 
7 - 8PM:  Silent Auction of GNAT's Project Steve photo exhibit.  All proceeds to the Woolly Bike Club!  We will also be screening a variety of cycling films on the 18' Cyclova XC big screen.  Be a part of this fun social event, pick up some cool art, and help raise some funds for world class trails in St. Croix Falls!

Learn how to & build trails at the IMBA Trail Building School Day!  Photo Credit:  IMBA
Saturday, 28 June, 2014:  IMBA Trail Building School Day
9AM - Noon:  3 hour Classroom session on IMBA, trail building theory, design, construction, and other tricks.  Coffee & donuts will be provided.  Please RSVP so we can have appropriate amounts of coffee/donuts.  Classroom session held at the St. Croix Falls Public Library, Community Meeting Room, 230 S Washington St, St. Croix Falls, WI 54024.
Noon:  Pizza lunch provided by the Woolly Bike Club, at the library commons park - right in front of the library / classroom area.  Please RSVP so we can have appropriate amounts of food. 
1 - 4/5PM:  On site trail work/field project at new Woolly trail site (work site to be announced in Saturday morning classroom session.  Learn how to build world class trails from IMBA's experts - all while helping to create the newest part of the Woolly trail network!  * You MUST attend the morning classroom session to participate in the field project.  Wear pants, closed-toe shoes, a hat, gloves and bring water.

Let us take you on a tour of the Woolly Trail Network & beyond, on Sunday morning!  Photo Credit:  Ben Jonjak
Sunday, 29 June, 2014:  WE RIDE!
9AM:  Meet at the Polk County Info Center on your mountain bike, we will roll at 9AM sharp.  The ride will include a loop of the Woolly trail network.  For riders looking for more, after riding the Woolly trails, we'll turn north on the Gandy Dancer State Trail and descend back into the St. Croix River Valley through Big Rock Creek Retreat.  All levels of mountain bikers are welcome!  Note, that if you park at the Polk County Info Center, please leave the few rows of parking closest to the Info Center open for tourists coming in and out of the building.