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

Solstice Chase Price Hike--Black Friday Discounts

Hey Folks,

Just a quick reminder that Sunday, November 30th is the last day to register for the Solstice Chase before the next fee increase. A big thank you to all who have already registered--that really helps us for planning and for funding the event!

In honor of the fact that today is Black Friday, I have created some limited use discount codes. If you haven't registered, just click here, and then put in the code at the appropriate place. Each code is worth a different amount (use only one code per entry), but hurry since these codes are only valid for the first 5 people who use them!

Here are the codes:
BLACK
FRIDAY
BLIZZARD

Register now! The snow is here and this race is going to ROCK!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Trail Groomer at ABR
Hey Everyone!

To me, nothing represents the holiday season like a big red cross-country ski trail groomer! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! Eat plenty of turkey, we'll ski it off tomorrow (wear your blaze orange when you go)!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

!Fat Bike Wednesdays & Thursdays! Ride Woolly In St. Croix Falls!


The wood feature in the section of the Woolly Trail known as Big Oak is a major attraction year round!  Photo Credit:  45NRTH
Mother Nature gave us a gift this November - she blanketed the St. Croix Valley in 12+ inches of snow on November 10, and Winter has set in.  The Woolly Bike Club was ready for the snow, and Jason's Fat Bike Grooming Machine (known as "Bjorn") has been hard at work.  The result is what I expect is the best Fat Biking on the continent at this point in time.  Don't take my word for it, check out what 45NRTH has to say about their riding on the Woolly trails this past weekend - or as seen by CBS news / WCCO TV last January.

Do I have your attention now?  Great!  While any time is a great time to ride Woolly, there will be frequent group rides on the Woolly Fat Bike trails all Winter.  Members of the Woolly Bike Club, Cyclova XC staff, Locally Geared, and other community members will be out Fat Biking the Woolly trails every Wednesday and Thursday nights at 6PM.  We will meet at the recently established Trailhead at the bottom (west end) of the Big Oak trail.  HERE is a link to the location on Google maps. 

Summary:
What:  Group Night Time Fat Bike Rides on the Woolly Bike Club groomed singletrack
When:  Every Wednesday & Thursday night, rolling at 6PM sharp
Where:  Meet at the Woolly Trail Head, at the bottom of Big Oak.  HERE is a link to the location.  
Equipment:  Fat Bikes only (must have tires 3.7" or wider, with 10psi or less of pressure), Must have a good bright light as it will be dark, Dress for the weather, Bring a good attitude .

Note that World Class mountain bike trails & groomed Fat Bike Trails don't happen on their own.  The Woolly Bike Club's volunteers have been hard at work for 8 years building the trails, partnering with the local municipalities & land owners, and making things happen.  Doing all of this costs money.  Support Woolly by joining IMBA and choose the Woolly Bike Club (WBC) as your chapter of choice.

Questions on the rides or the gear?  Stop on by or reach out to the Fat Bike experts at Cyclova XC right here in St. Croix Falls.  We have more fat biking expertise, passion, and equipment in stock than almost anyone!

The map of the amazing Woolly Fat Bike Trail network.  Note the Trailhead location at the west end of "Big Oak", noted by the red "T" symbol.
Groomed Woolly singletrack - a fat biker's dream...  Photo Credit:  45NRTH





(Winter) Biking the Kids to School

I've been waiting for this day!

My eldest daughter started pre-k this year and, because we're a 1 car family (some would say we actually own less than one car) I had to figure out a solution for getting my girls to school. Well...you can see the solution I came up with pictured above!  Looks AWESOME doesn't it?

I've been pulling the trailer with my two girls all autumn, but this morning I was a little concerned when I looked out the window to see a couple inches of snow covering the ground. The first thing I had to do was swap out the factory Bontragers the bike came with in favor of some studded commuters from 45NRTH.  Behold the GRAVDAL!

Theoretically everything seemed like it would work, but since I hadn't actually tested these tires in slushy, icy, slick roads, I was a bit concerned.  I'm happy to report that these studded tires are MONSTERS!  You do have to corner with care, but if you're just hammering away in a straight line they grip like tiger claws (and I know having been a tiger in 6 of the 14 past lives I can remember).

Anyway, I showed up to pick up Sofia and chatted with all the moms who were there to pick up their kids. Of course, they were all super jealous about my sweet ride, and lamented the fact that they had to get back into their climate controlled SUVs to go rolling back home.  Meanwhile, I mounted up my Crossrip, threw a sleeping bag over my princesses, tucked them in with a blanket, gave them a handful of snow to munch on, and BAM, instant awesomeness!

So far, I'm loving picking up my girls from school in the Burley...we'll see how my attitude changes when it gets to be minus one zillion.

Drive safe people!

Tyre Girl Discusses the Gandy Marathon

Those of you who came to spectate the inaugural Gandy Dancer Trail marathon might have seen a friendly, enthusiastic lady participating in the event while dragging a 22lb tire. For those of you who don't know, that was Tyre Girl! Tyre Girl runs marathons while dragging a tire to raise awareness about our impact on the environment (read more about Tyre Girl on her webpage here).

Tyre Girl started out approximately an hour before the regular marathon start, and I caught up with her around the halfway mark to chat for a bit. It was great to talk with her and see all the people running by shouting out encouragement, excited to see her out there challenging herself with that heavy tire! Let me tell you though, Tyre Girl is one tough cookie -- she kept up an impressive pace while dragging that dead weight behind her. No matter how hard it got, she had a smile for every volunteer and words of encouragement for all her competitors. Half the reason to run marathons is to meet fun, motivated, interesting people, and Tyre Girl certainly is one of those!

While in the area, Tyre Girl was kind enough to give a presentation to the Luck Community School. She also wrote up her experience and posted it here.

She also wrote this very funny piece about her experience at the marathon written from the perspective of the tire.

Please have a look at both of those articles and give them a like, share, tweet, etc!  I know that we'd love to have Tyre Girl back for the 2nd annual Gandy Dancer Marathon, so send her your support!

2014 Rails to Trails Marathon

One of these days Eric T. Olson is going to get me killed. Our latest adventure was the Rails to Trails marathon in Norwalk (near Sparta). Mentally I've kind of switched over to rollerskiing, but I figured I could probably fake it through one more marathon this year. I was pretty sick at the Gandy Marathon, so I was hoping I could have a bit more fun at Rails to Trails. However, I haven't been running a lot lately. I never like to be irresponsible about these events, but after 6 marathons this summer, I figured I could tough out number 7.  Besides, the Packers were on a bye, so what else was I going to do on a Sunday morning?  Might as well run a marathon.

Initially our plan was to head down on Saturday night, but Eric and I both got busy and we eventually decided to make the drive Sunday morning.  Fortunately Saturday night was the switch-over to daylight savings, so we had an extra hour of sleep (if it hadn't been for that, I don't know if Eric would have had an hour of sleep at all).

My telephone started blaring at 4 AM, and soon I found myself piling in to Eric's Suburban, hoping the mercury would rise with the sun.  We reached Norwalk with no problem, grabbed our bibs, then leaned back our chairs to catch a few minutes of needed sleep before the race start. We set our alarms for 7:55 figuring that would allow ample time to arrive for the 8:00 gun.

The second alarm that morning came all too early, and bleary eyed, we reluctantly peeled off our warm ups to trot over to the start to stand shivering and await the start.  The gun went off, and we headed out down the Elroy-Sparta limestone trail which is similar to the Gandy Dancer trail.

The course is two out and backs, but the first turnaround comes after about a mile and a half. I elected to wear a Smartwool long sleeve shirt, Smartwool short sleeve shirt, singlet, hat and gloves. I got a little warm, but it was a good combo for the most part, although I probably could have done without the short sleeve shirt.  We had a strong tailwind after the first turnaround and I pulled off my hat and gloves and stuffed them in my shorts. I'm glad I didn't discard them, because I would need them on the way back when I became fatigued and couldn't go fast enough to keep warm.

We hit the turnaround and came back through the starting area to reunite with Eric's girlfriend who snapped a couple shots before we headed up the trail. Three miles further along, we came to the tall wooden doors of one of the trail's three tunnels (the only one we'd be going through in the marathon).

Folks, this tunnel is cool.  It's three quarters of a mile long and pitch black inside. Water drips from the ceiling and down the walls. It would have been difficult to navigate except that race organizers put lights every hundred yards or so. Even so it was decidedly dark. Eric had me read the sign at the tunnel, even though I was already bonked from running so not much sunk in. The tunnel was built in the 1800s at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars (what that translates to in today's money is hard to fathom). It was built over a three year period, mostly by blasting. You get a real sense of age running through that thing, and it's highly recommended.

Eric and I kept going at a nice clip, hitting the halfway point at around 2:03 or 2:04.  I always like to maintain that pace for 16 miles or so and then start slowing down to 11 or 12 minute miles, however upon hitting mile 14, my clutch started to slip and I couldn't get any power.  The mind was willing, but the more effort I put in, the slower I seemed to go.  Eric was feeling good, so I sent him on his way and settled in for a long day of suffering. By now we were back in the headwind so that was awesome too.

I started run walking and hammering fluids and orange slices at all the aid stations.  After a couple miles I felt better.  The patch between mile 14 and mile 20 was really tough, but once you hit mile 20 you start to feel like you can finish.  I crossed through the tunnel again, and found that the trail was mainly downhill the rest of the way, so I was able to run all the way in.

I was a little perplexed by how I felt out there and I'm not sure exactly why I didn't feel better. I think that running the Gandy Marathon sick took more out of me than I might have realized.  Also, it probably would have been better to do at least one long training run between the Gandy and this one (I only did short runs). Still, I couldn't decide if I couldn't get it going because I was fatigued or under trained. Eric had a great run and was all smiles at the finish. I was glad I didn't bother him by making him wait so long.

I was just glad to finish, and it's nice to meet a new marathon. I crashed at about 7:30 last night, and I was encouraged to wake up this morning with very little soreness. If you're not going to be fast, at least being able to recover quick is good!  All in all, the Rails to Trails marathon was a well-run, lovely event, and we had perfect weather.  One more marathon in the books! That makes 62 lifetime marathons for Eric, and 17 or so for me (I don't have an exact count). A great day with good friends! That's going to be the last marathon for 2014.  Will I do 7 in 2015?  Right now I'd say I highly doubt it, but we'll see what happens when the summer comes again.