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

Elm Creek Weekly Time Trials - Race Report and Call For Participation

A short turn around between my last race report and this one.  Elm Creek hosts a set of 5 km time trials all winter long on Wednesday nights.  This year, due to the holidays, two of them have been shifted to Tuesday night.  Last week was one, this week is the other.

Plea For Participation

Before I talk about last week's race, I'd like to encourage you to do this week's race.  Tuesday, December 30th, 7:00 pm, Elm Creek (due to my tardiness in posting this, tomorrow).  Normally these races are an individual time trial.  This coming week, Fulton Brewery is hosting a team event.  The race goes off as usual, but finishers score points for their team.  It sounds like there will be some minor prizes.  More importantly however, there will be beer.  Beer I say.  And cool CyclovaXC people.  And skiing.  You can't ask for much more than that.

Specifically I'd like to make a shout out for the ladies to participate.  The "rules" state that a team MUST consist of 3 people and both genders.  I'm not sure what happens if we fall short on having ladies participate if we only get points for two gentlemen (term used loosely) or if we don't score.  In any case, it is definitely the more the merrier.

These races are really low key and are a great way to try your hand at racing if you haven't before.  If you can get yourself around Elm Creek twice, you can definitely participate.

Again, you race, just like any other mass start individual race, but depending on your finishing place, you score points for the team.

More Info On The Race Here

Race Report

OK, back to the exciting part.  Tuesday night happened to be a good night for me to be at Elm Creek, and despite the pain, I like racing.  If we begin with the excuses, despite not doing anything aerobic on Monday I was carrying fatigue into this race.  I skied 3 or 4 laps of Elm Creek over the weekend (note, estimate may be off by an order of magnitude, ok, definitely off by an order of magnitude) including the 10k race and then I shortchanged myself on sleep Monday night trying to finish a Christmas present.  Yeah, those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them... until next time when I need something new!

Planning on doing both the skate and classic races and knowing that there would be hardly anytime between the conclusion of the skate race and the start of the classic I started my warm-up by checking the kick on my classic skis.  One easy lap checking out the kick of my Swix Universal Klister in the soft slushy stuff showed that it would be sufficient.

I switched gear back to skate and did another lap or two with Frank and former Forest Lake teammate Andrew Elvester.

At race time about 25 of us lined up near the parking lot and we were off.  I started on the front line and quickly found myself being passed by the crowd.  Having already gone out too hard once this year on Saturday I figured it would be best to just ski my own race and let the chips fall where they may.  Partway through the fist lap a young lady in a Michigan Tech suit gracefully passed me.  When I ski hard my technique goes to crap and I feel like I'm just floundering in the snow.  I tried to mimic her smooth style and it helped somewhat, but she still skied away from me.

Frank took off like a rocket, but somewhere around the start of the second lap it looked like he was coming back to me.  I got within a few meters of him at one point, but then he apparently recovered and pulled away again.

I managed to charge hard for the line and just nip one guy at the line.  Not my best race, but a nice solid VO2max effort for a Tuesday evening.

Now I signed up for both races, and since the skate race started 5 minutes late and took 15 minutes, I had about 10 to run to the parking lot, change boots, grab my classic skis and get back to the snow.  My hands were still shaking as I tried to switch boots.  As I got back to the snow they were announcing that as soon as they had all five participants for the classic race it would start.  Oh great, all five of us.

The second race I started on the front line again.  There were only five of us, so it would have looked silly otherwise.  Two college guys I think, a college gal, and one other gal, plus me.  With the long gradual downhill start it was all double poling.  We all shot to the track, and then hopped out of the track on the off trail side which had the best glide having not been mashed to heck.  The two college kids flew away from me.  At the bottom of the first lap the young woman passed me as well.  Thankfully for me, her skis appeared to be slick and I was able to kick better and was able to open a gap and from there soloed my way into a solid 3rd place finish (only five of us remember).

Summary

I skied around for a while after the race as well.  I was pretty spent after two hard 5k efforts.  It was definitely a solid high effort workout with low expectations/anxiety and a chance to rub elbows in a race setting without it being anything more meaningful than an $8 weeknight race.

I would encourage folks to look into these if you are looking for an excuse and some extra motivation to get a hard workout in.

Gear West Holiday Tuneup - A Race Report


It is that time of year again that you have all been waiting for.  Ben's ski race report season.

While everyone else in the CyclovaXC family was organizing, volunteering, or participating in the Solstice Chase back in the valley, I was avoiding fat biking like the plague (I'm sure if I contract fat biking I'm sure I'm going to love it and I can't afford another endurance junky habit at the moment).  Instead I headed over to Elm Creek to participate in my first ski race of the season.

Set-up

At one point late summer/early fall I was about as fit as I have been in the last ten years.  This was a very good sign leading up to ski season.  Then I hit stretch of big events, business travel, and illness resulting in quite a precipitous decline in my fitness.  I'm back in the saddle and trending in the right direction again, but I'm not back to where I was before so I needed to set some realistic expectations.

These first races of the season always hurt like crazy.  I seem to get flooded with lactic acid easily when I elevate above marathon pace for these short 10km races and my technique goes to crap as I start to flounder around.  This starts of cycle of working harder to go fast which floods me more, which makes it harder, etc.  Something I definitely need to work on.  A solid warm-up helps.  On this particular morning I didn't quite get 30 minutes of warm-up which is still probably too short for me.  Next time...

Race

The race itself is 4 laps of the snow-making loop at Elm Creek.  With over 200 km of skiing there this "winter" prior to the race I'm reasonably familiar with that 2.4 km loop.  The race was organized into 4 waves with the 10 km men going at 8:30, 5 km boys going at 8:31, 10 km women at 8:32, and finally the 5 km girls at 8:33.

I lined up in the 3rd row of about a dozen or so people across.  The starting field at Elm Creek is pretty dang short and 50 m later we were onto the trail which can accommodate 2 skiers abreast tops.  I made it through without witnessing any incidents.  Gandy Marathon winner Mark Swiontek, participating in what I think was his second ski race, started closer to the back and indicated there was some amount of carnage in the field.

The predominantly downhill stretch around the "Whale Tail" went out pretty quickly.  By the steep uphill back to the start area I found myself behind masters stud Dave Christopherson.  Just a ways up ahead of Dave was Clayton Keim in no mans land off the back of the lead pack.  Both of these guys have been better skiers than me so I was optimistic that I could stick with Dave and ride a good draft to an awesome result.

Catching my ride on lap 3.

That optimism lasted for about a lap and a half.  We were closing in on Clayton and then I fell off the pace and lost contact.  For the next lap and a half I hemorrhaged time and places as a few people pulled past me.  I finally was able to catch a ride around the end of lap three and was eventually able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and put in a reasonable effort for the last half a lap.

Driving for the line.

Results

The posted results are wrong.  While I see Clayton and Dave finished together, I unfortunately did not finish at the same time.  I was about a minute back losing all of that ground in the last 6 km or so.

Me and my ski buddy post-race, pre-Team Mullin practice.

Initially I was a bit bummed looking at the results.  I had hoped to be a little better than the result even given my rebuilding.  Once the results were up I put on my nerd hat and put the results (with my correct time) into my race correlation spreadsheet.  For what it is worth, the correlation to last season is mostly improved.  The only race with a reasonable number of co-races that this wasn't relatively better than was Pepsi Challenge last year which was likely my best race of the season.

Next Up

More skiing at Elm Creek, that is what is next.  I'm already over 300 km there this year.  Let me tell you, that is a lot of laps.  I'm pretty sick of it, but very thankful we have somewhere.  Keeping at Elm Creek they have a weekly series of 5 km races on Wednesday nights.  The next two weeks they are on Tuesdays to avoid the holidays.  I'll be out there tomorrow (12/23) doing both the skate race at 7:00 and classic race (assuming I can find something to kick with) at 7:30.  You should come on out too.

Next week, 12/30, is a team race.  I'm trying to talk as many CyclovaXC peeps into it as possible.  That includes you!  Did I mention there will be beer?

Be sure to keep up your snow dances.  I'm just waiting to get back out on our local valley trails.

Bring It!

Midwest Fat Bike Racers Open the Season at Big Rock Creek Retreat (photos)

Stuart Benson, Shafer, MN, leads the 21K field off the start. Benson would eventually finish 3rd overall in that race
ST. CROIX FALLS—156 fat bike racers took on the challenging trail system of Polk County’s newest outdoor recreation facility, Big Rock Creek Retreat, just north of St. Croix Falls, Sat., December 20.

The second annual race, titled the Solstice Chase, had competitors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan in two tough races, one 42 kilometers long and the other 21, at the 2015 season’s first race of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series.

Women’s 42K winner, April Morgan, Hopkins, MN, came to the race as the defending World’s Champion fat bike racer, and her off-season training paid off as she led her race from the gun, taking home the gold medal.

The Great Lakes Fat Bike Series will have 8 races spread over the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, with the final race, the Fat Tire Birkie, in Cable, WI, in early March, when the World Champions of 2015 will be decided. More information on the series is at: www.greatlakesfatbikeseries.com

SOLSTICE CHASE PODIUM RESULTS

42K Men’s race: 1—Jeff Hall, Farmington, MN One hour, 50 minutes, and 56 seconds 2—Brandon Moore, Prior Lake, MN 1:50:58 3—Josh Bauer, Richfield, MN 1:52:00

42k Women’s race: 1—April Morgan, Two hours, 13 minutes, and 4 seconds 2—Danielle Musto, Grand Rapids, MI 2:14:20 3—Megan Burr, Minneapolis, MN 2:16:47

21K Men’s race: 1--Eric Odem, Maple Grove, MN One hour, 4 minutes, 21 seconds 2—Adam Altman, Chippewa Falls, WI 1:04:34 3—Stuart Benson, Shafer, MN 1:05:29

21K Women’s race: 1—Kyla Anderson, St. Cloud, MN One hour, 18 minutes, 40 seconds 2—Janis Ray, Eau Claire, WI 1:31:14 3—Ann Buerman, Pinckney, MI 1:32:34
Jan Sobes, Wayzata, MN, leads a group

Complete results are available at: www.itiming.com


Fat bikes are a relatively new version of the couple hundred year old bicycle. They are an evolution of the now 30+ year old mountain bike, combining the mountain bike’s low gearing, that allows climbing steep hills, with very wide (4 inches), soft, low pressure tires that float over trail surfaces even a mountain bike would sink into. A new world of winter biking has been made possible with the fat bike, from icy roads to trails that previously have been impossible to ride. Like everything else, when the first one was built, it was fun, when the second one was built, there was a race.

The host venue, Big Rock Creek Retreat, has over 1500 acres of scenic forest land, with many miles of trails used seasonally for mountain biking, cross county skiing, hiking, and birding. The Solstice Chase race was one of the first events to make use of the 150 ft. long, 2500 square foot, barn, built in 1925, that been undergoing extensive remodeling to serve as a convention/wedding/celebration facility. For more information: www.bigrockcreekretreat.com

For more information on area fat biking opportunities: www.cyclovaxc.com

Photo credit: William Johnson


Megan Burr, bronze medalist in the women’s 42K race

Danielle Musto, women’s 42K second place on the course

April Morgan (right), eventual winner of the women’s division of the 42K race and defending 2014 World Champion, gives Rick Cleary, River Falls, WI, a lesson in fat bike cornering on icy, frozen ground
At the half way point of the 42K race, the trio (left to right) of Jeff Hall, Brandon Moore, and Josh Bauer were locked together in the order they would finish


A White Christmas and Deals to Share at Cyclova XC!



Good afternoon Cyclova XC family and friends,

As I write, the most beautiful and welcome snow is covering downtown St. Croix Falls! With any good fortune we will soon be skiing and fat biking on a nice fresh base of snow here in the valley!

Christmas is only days away! Some of you may be prepared, but for those that need a little help finding inspiration we invite you to stop in Cyclova XC on Christmas Eve to take advantage of some awesome deals we are sharing with you for the holidays. Everyone loves a good deal on outstanding products that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved one.

We have a large variety of winter apparel to keep your loved ones warm and toasty this winter. Wool base layers and socks, hats and balaclavas to brave the elements in, and a great selection of gloves, mittens, and bar mits to keep your fingers nimble while skiing and fat biking. Light the way for night adventure with one of our great headlamps which also convert to bike lights that secure to handlebars. We have snowshoes, cross-country ski packages, and fat bikes to play in the snow with and Yaktrax to keep your feet securely on the ground while on a winter hike or run. Looking for great stocking stuffers? Check out our great selection of ski brushes, scrapers and wax products for all snow and weather conditions, or our bike accessories, tools, and frame bags. Adorn your loved one with a team woollie- which come in various designs and are so popular that many team members own more than one! Fat bike rentals are available or purchase a gift certificate to be applied toward any purchase. Our staff would be happy to help you find the perfect gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life!

Team Woollie, 100% Merino wool


Now, let's get to the special deals we are offering on Wednesday, December 24th 
from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.!

Special #1: Buy 3 hats on a single purchase (excludes headbands, ear muffs, and balaclavas), get the 4th (of the equal of lesser value) for FREE!
Special #2: Buy 3 pairs of socks on a single purchase, get the 4th pair (of equal or lesser value) for FREE! 
Special #3: Buy a full ski package (any combination of skis, boots, poles, and bindings) and receive 10% off the total package.

Happy Holidays from the Cyclova XC staff! 
Be filled with cheer this season and always!

2014 Solstice Chase Race Results

The 2014 Solstice Chase is a wrap!  With 156 racers, a couple hundred spectators, and a beautiful day - it was a fabulous day!  Thank you for being a part of it!
The 42k Solstice Chase race - moments before the start!  Photo Credit:  Kristen Velaski
The 2014 Solstice Chase is in the books.  After hundreds of hours of preparation, racers from across the Midwest showed up on mass (156 of you to be exact) and a couple hundred spectators/volunteers/community members showed up to be a part of it.  This event simply wouldn't be possible without our volunteers, sponsors, and the generous support of Big Rock Creek Retreat!  Thank You All.  

We are getting a few photos trickling in, but would like more.  Please email over all of your photos of the event to share with us (bj@cyclovaxc.com), and we'll gladly publish them.  Please also share any feedback that you might have on the event - so that we can improve it for next year, and beyond!

There will be more re-cap web posts to come, but for now, here are a few fun photos of the day.  We've also gotten requests from folks on where results are at.  We use the premium timing services of I-Timing - results literally are live online during the event.  Following is where they are posted:
For a PDF of the results, CLICK HERE
To search for someone, CLICK HERE
A casual, post cool down pic of the men's 42k Solstice Chase top 3 in front of the amazing race venue - at Big Rock Creek Retreat.  From left to right:  Josh Bauer (3rd place), Brendon Moore (2nd place), and Jeff Hall (1st place).  Congrats gentlemen!  Photo Credit:  Frank Lundeen
After a fun weekend in St. Croix Falls, Danielle Musto (the 2013 Solstice Chase champion - and 2nd place yesterday in the 42k race) and company packed up their Fat Bikes into their Fat Bike rig and drove back to Grand Rapids, MI.  Mission accomplished in St. Croix Falls, WI - the City of Trails!  Photo Credit: Frank Lundeen
The 2014 Solstice Chase is a wrap!  With 156 racers, a couple hundred spectators, and a beautiful day - it was a fabulous day!  Thank you for being a part of it!

!!SOLSTICE CHASE - $5 Off PROMO CODE - Register Now - Fun, Fast Course - Good Fat Bike Times!!

The Solstice Chase Course is rolled, combed, and in fabulous condition - come join us for a fun, firm, & fast ride and a big fat bike party at Wisconsin's biggest wedding barn!
The I's are dotted, and the T's are crossed - it's going to be a fabulous Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race!

The entire course was rolled and combed last night, and will be again on Friday afternoon - and it's in great shape.  Riders at our weekly Fat Wednesday group fat bike ride last night all enjoyed the course surface - some went so far as to call it "hero snow" (a reference to "hero dirt" during the Summer months)!

We want everyone to come enjoy the Solstice Chase - a fat bike race, a community festival, and a celebration of Winter!  For that reason, we're offering up those on the fence additional incentive to register.  Head on over to www.SolsticeChase.com, click on register, and use the following PROMO CODE for $5 off your entry fee!  The PROMO CODE is "RIDEFAT".

For continuous updates on the event, and the full scoop on everything, go to www.SolsticeChase.com!   Remember to bring with the whole family - we have all kinds of fun stuff happening throughout the day!  See you on Saturday!


Solstice Chase Race Course in GREAT CONDITION - !!!FAST & FUN!!!

Mother nature has set the table perfectly for a fast & fun Solstice Chase!
SOLSTICE CHASE RACE COURSE UPDATE:

The 2014 Solstice Chase race course is in fabulous shape.  Racers who competed in last year's Solstice Chase had their wish granted - the 2014 Solstice Chase course will be FAST, FUN, SNOWY, and very friendly to both riders and spectators!  For the full scoop on the course - including maps, gpx files, etc, CLICK HERE.

Last week's record breaking temperatures and heavy rain melted ALL of the snow that we had - from our 14" snow storm in November.  Thankfully, the rain and warm temps also melted nearly all of the ice - right down to the bare ground - eliminating most of the potentially dangerous ice.  What's left is the nicely maintained trail surface, covered in a beautiful 1.5" blanket of fluffy snow!  In short, this race is going to be fast!

From a bike & tire perspective, I recommend a ~4" fat bike tire, with moderate to agressive tread, aired up to a relatively low air pressure (I'll be riding 4" 45NRTH Dillingers with about 6psi of air pressure in them).  Studded tires wouldn't hurt - I'd say if you have a studded tire set available, you won't regret using them.  In the end, the most important thing in getting good traction is running as low of air pressure as possible - so resist the temptation to run higher air pressure - there is no need for anyone to run more than 8psi.

If you're curious about the course, join us for our weekly group fat bike ride tonight.  We'll meet at Big Rock Creek at 6PM (rolling at 6 sharp) tonight at the main barn (which will be the race headquarters).  For the full scoop on how to get there, check out this post.  Be sure to bring a light, as we'll be riding in the dark!

Check out the photos below to see what the course currently looks like - and if you haven't done so yet, head on over to SolsticeChase.com to register for the race, and get the full scoop on the event!

We look forward to sharing a fun day with you on Saturday!
The above bridge above going over Big Rock Creek is tacky.  If you take a moment, you'll be struck by the beauty of this amazing creek - which flows into the majestic St. Croix River!
On my course recon / pre-ride yesterday, there were more turkey tracks than 45NRTH Dillinger tracks - that will change on Saturday!
Preliminary course marking is done - but we will be out working on the course and race venue around the clock over the next several days!
One of my favorite spots on the course, the dam wall in the central spillway area is always beautiful!
Fat biking at Big Rock Creek Retreat is like a waltz through time - through bygone eras...  Carbon Salsa Beargrease meet pick up trucks from the 40's!

CALL OUT: Elite Racers Competing At Solstice Chase - Alicia Fisk of St. Croix Falls, WI!

Alicia can be found most days out riding the famed Woolly Trails in St. Croix Falls.  Here, she strikes a pose on the Woolly bride feature.  Photo Credit:  Alicia Fisk
The Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race is a celebration of Winter, a community festival, and yes a BICYCLE RACE!  As this is a big scale bike race drawing people from across the country, and the first event of this year's Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, we're excited to be welcoming a number of elite/pro racers to this year's event!

I've really enjoyed getting to know Alicia, her husband Matt, and their children since opening Cyclova XC here in St. Croix Falls!  Matt and Alicia are at the core of the Woolly Bike Club - and making both World Class mountain biking and fat biking happen in St. Croix Falls.  In addition to giving much to the community and raising a family, Alicia somehow manages to train and race mountain bike at an elite level.  This year, she was 2nd in the ladies Elite/Pro Minnesota Mountain Bike Race Series - with many top finishes throughout the season!  Alicia is certainly a racer to watch when ever she is on the start line!  

I recently spoke with Alicia about the Solstice Chase, and her fat biking season.  Following is what she had to say about the event:
"Excited to be racing fat bike this year and even more excited that hometown Solstice Chase is the first in the GLFBS!  I'm also pumped that the GLFBS will include several races in the Twin Cities area and hoping to catch the Fat Bike Birkie."

To learn more about Alicia and all of her adventures, check out HER BLOG

Remember, the Solstice Chase welcome fat bikers of all stripes - from first timers to pro's.  This year's course will be more rider friendly, with more fat bike specific single track (more "flowly" and less steep than last year), and course conditions look to be pointing toward very fast times on the course.  

For the full scoop on the Solstice Chase, click HERE.  To register, CLICK HERE!  If you are a pro racer interested in competing at the Solstice Chase, email frank@cyclovaxc.com

We appreciate you reading our blog posts.  Reading CyclovaXC blog posts pays!  For that, we'd like to offer you a $5 off promo code for the Solstice Chase!  Go register for the Solstice Chase now, and use the following promo code to receive $5 off of your entry fee:  RIDEFAT

Alicia ripping it up, Woolly style on her fat bike!  Photo Credit:  Alicia Fisk

CALL OUT: Reigning WORLD CHAMPION Competing At Solstice Chase - April Morgan of Minneapolis, MN!

45NRTH racer April Morgan at the start line of the 2013 Solstice Chase - showing off her 45NRTH Dillinger tires!  Photo Credit:  45NRTH
The Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race is a celebration of Winter, a community festival, and yes a BICYCLE RACE!  As this is a big scale bike race drawing people from across the country, and the first event of this year's Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, we're excited to be welcoming pro racers to this year's event!

I've really enjoyed getting to know April, and her husband Tom (Tom works for one of Cyclova XC's top vendors, and is my all star guy there that makes things happen for Cyclova XC) over the past few years.  The cycling world is a tightly knit community, and if you pay attention, you're bound to meet some extraordinary folks - like April & Tom! 

April is a very fun person that puts a smile on everyone's face - even as she puts the hammer down and drops you!  She is very gracious and humble - in a wonderful way.  In talking with her about her riding and racing experience, often, you have to really work to find out that she is indeed the REIGNING WORLD FAT BIKE CHAMPION!  I believe modesty is a true mark of a champion - and we are thrill to have April - reining World Champion return to the Solstice Chase!  

I recently spoke with April about the Solstice Chase, and following is what she had to say about the event:
"I'm really look forward to the Solstice Chase event this weekend! Sounds like the course conditions are shaping up for a fast day on the trails!!  Winter fat biking has quickly become my favorite part of the riding season.  I really love the fun & festive atmosphere at these races and I can't wait to enjoy a bonfire and post race beer with all my racing buddies. Let the GLFBS season begin!"

To read more about April, and all of her cool adventures, check out HER BLOG.  
April Morgan after winning the Fat Bike World Championships in Marquette, MI - January of 2014!  Photo published with permission from April Morgan.
Remember, the Solstice Chase welcome fat bikers of all stripes - from first timers to pro's.  This year's course will be more rider friendly, with more fat bike specific single track (more "flowly" and less steep than last year), and course conditions look to be pointing toward very fast times on the course.  

For the full scoop on the Solstice Chase, click HERE.  To register, CLICK HERE!  If you are a pro racer interested in competing at the Solstice Chase, email frank@cyclovaxc.com

We appreciate you reading our blog posts.  Reading CyclovaXC blog posts pays!  For that, we'd like to offer you a $5 off promo code for the Solstice Chase!  Go register for the Solstice Chase now, and use the following promo code to receive $5 off of your entry fee:  RIDEFAT
April ripping it up aboard her 45NRTH equipped Salsa Beargrease!  Photo published with permission from April Morgan.

CALL OUT: Pro/Elite Racers Competing At Solstice Chase - Evan Simula of Marquette, MI


Evan Simula, of Marquette, MI is the latest Elite/Pro Racer to sign up for the Solstice Chase!  Who will be next!
The Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race is a celebration of Winter, a community festival, and yes a BICYCLE RACE!  As this is a big scale bike race drawing people from across the country, and the first event of this year's Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, we're excited to be welcoming pro racers to this year's event!

I had the pleasure of meeting Evan Simula while on a mountain biking vacation back in June with my great friends Dave and Brian.  Evan graciously offered to show us around the mountain biking mecca that is Marquette, MI.  We were amazing by the sheer volume of trails in Marquette, and how the mountain biking culture went to the very core of the city.  We enjoyed Evan personally giving us a guided tour of the highlights of the extensive trail network around town - while trying our best to keep up with him.

Evan is an aerobic monster with a an extensive background in downhill mtb racing.  In short, he's got it all!  In addition to riding for fun, he's worked on all kinds of cool projects, such as being one of the stars of the celebrated fat biking film Cold Rolled, involvement in trail building, playing in a great bluegrass band, working at Sports Rack (a great bike & ski shop in Marquette), and working at the amazing Blackrocks Brewhouse.

Evan is currently training and preparing for the 2015 Rovaniemi 150k extreme Winter race in Finland.  This is the ultimate tough guy event.  Check it out HERE.

Following is what Evan has to say about the Solstice Chase:  "Very excited to kick off the GLFBS at the Soltice chase! The area looks amazing and I'm sure to trail will be even that much better!
Hoping to see a bunch of new faces this year with Fat-bike racing exploding across the country!"

Evan races his fat bike year-round!
Remember, the Solstice Chase welcome fat bikers of all stripes - from first timers to pro's.  This year's course will be more rider friendly, with more fat bike specific single track (more "flowly" and less steep than last year), and course conditions look to be pointing toward very fast times on the course.  
Not interested in riding?  Be a part of it all by volunteering, spectating, ringing a cowbell, chatting with the many bike vendors (45NRTH, Twin Six, HED, Locally Geared, and Salsa Cycles) on hand, or have amazing food or drink from Cafe Wren & A Wandering Fire!

For the full scoop on the Solstice Chase, click HERE.  To register, CLICK HERE!  If you are a pro racer interested in competing at the Solstice Chase, email frank@cyclovaxc.com

We appreciate you reading our blog posts.  Reading CyclovaXC blog posts pays!  For that, we'd like to offer you a $5 off promo code for the Solstice Chase!  Go register for the Solstice Chase now, and use the following promo code to receive $5 off of your entry fee:  RIDEFAT


Sign Up For Balsam Vinter Fest Ski Race on January 24th!

Balsam Vinter Fest is coming on Saturday, January 24th!  This race was an absolute blast last year as basically everyone we know who skis in the St. Croix Valley showed up at the start.  The D.D. Kennedy skiing area is a tremendous resource that remains a bit of a secret within the skier community.  Let me tell you though that it's a great set of ski trails: nicely laid out with good flow and some steep climbs to keep you honest.

This will very much be a Cyclova team event and I believe the funds from this race go to trail maintenance, so it's for a good cause.  To sign up, or to get information, check out this form!  See you on the 24th!

CALL OUT: Pro Racers Competing at the Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race!

Jeff Hall has been a fixture in the national mountain bike racing scene for decades - and he'll be gunning for the win at the 2014 Solstice Chase!  Photo Credit:  LaMere Cycles
The Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race is a celebration of Winter, a community festival, and yes a BICYCLE RACE!  As this is a big scale bike race drawing people from across the country, and the first event of this year's Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, we're excited to be welcoming pro racers to this year's event!

The first pro racer that we'll announce will be racing at this year's Solstice Chase - with more to come is....  JEFF HALL!  Jeff Hall has won more mountain bike races in the Midwest, across the US, and internationally than you can shake a stick at!  He is one of the gentlemen of the racing world, a family man, works full time at bike industry supplier QBP (where I used to work), and still manages to crush it on his bike!  We are thrilled to have Jeff competing at the 2014 Solstice Chase - welcome Jeff!

Remember, the Solstice Chase welcome fat bikers of all stripes - from first timers to pro's.  This year's course will be more rider friendly, with more fat bike specific single track (more "flowly" and less steep than last year), and course conditions look to be pointing toward very fast times on the course.  

Not interested in riding?  Be a part of it all by volunteering, spectating, ringing a cowbell, chatting with the many bike vendors (45NRTH, Twin Six, HED, Locally Geared, and Salsa Cycles) on hand, or have amazing food or drink from Cafe Wren & A Wandering Fire!

For the full scoop on the Solstice Chase, click HERE.  To register, CLICK HERE!  If you are a pro racer interested in competing at the Solstice Chase, email frank@cyclovaxc.com

We appreciate you reading our blog posts.  Reading CyclovaXC blog posts pays!  For that, we'd like to offer you a $5 off promo code for the Solstice Chase!  Go register for the Solstice Chase now, and use the following promo code to receive $5 off of your entry fee:  RIDEFAT

Jeff Hall in action!  Coming to a race near you!  Photo Credit:  Jeff Hall

The American Birkebeiner is in Good Hands

Last week I attended the "Beer with the Birkie" fundraiser event at Eau Claire Wisconsin. There were a lot of familiar faces whom I've seen annually at Hayward, or only read about in magazines and on various web pages.  Let me be the first to tell you that this was a unique and wonderful event, and those of you who are on the fence should absolutely plan on attending the event in Iola on Wednesday the 17th.

Essentially what's going on is that the Birkie Board and Ben Popp are being very pro-active in taking steps to ensure the future of the American Birkebeiner. It's easy to sit back and think "well, that's a huge race...of course it's going to endure," but the reality is that the Birke has major challenges to overcome every year in order to be the greatest ski race in North America.  Getting to the top is hard, but I'd say that staying at the top is even harder.

We all know of the various problems that Telemark has had over the years. Just imagine how stressful it must be to plan a major event like the American Birkebeiner and have there be some doubt over the availability or viability of your starting area. This isn't the type of event that allows you to make changes at the last minute, things need to be in place and ready to roll months in advance.  Also, the logistics not just for the racers, but for emergency and first response vehicles is a huge concern for an event like this.  Add in the fact that the Birkie takes place in winter (with the additional complications of cold weather and storms) and you maybe start to get a picture of how much planning goes into this event.  Having helped to organize some smaller events myself, I can't even imagine what Ben Popp and the Birkie Board of directors have to deal with.

Essentially what's going on right now is that the Birkie is generating some funds to stabilize some of the factors which have been a concern over the last few years.  They're strengthening the foundation of the race and setting up the future so that the Birkie might continue with the fewest complications possible.  As a participant and fan of the Birkie, I absolutely love to see this happening. This is one of those rare cases where the people involved are going above and beyond the call of duty and are putting forth a ton of effort into an intelligent and well-conceived plan.

The "Beer with the Birkie" night in Eau Claire was a celebration at the Northwoods Brew Pub in Eau Claire Wisconsin.  Drinks and food were served, and we had plenty of time to mingle with other skiers and Birkie fans.  After that, Ben Popp and John Garret walked us through some of the Birkie's immediate objectives.  The fun stuff happened at the end when various prizes were auctioned off (including a special, lifetime annual entry package to all Birkie events).  According to Amy Rowley's recap, the Birkie office raised $16,670 just for that evening!

The current fundraiser has a goal of $650,000, and they're already 37% of the way there!  The Birkie office is very transparent about what this money is for (just go to the web page, or attend the event at Iola for more details).  If you want to participate and donate something to the Birkie, the best thing to do is go to the event at Iola (tickets are $50).  However, if you simply want to make a cash donation, feel free to contact Amy Rowley and ask how you might help out (amy.rowley@birkie.com).  They also have a charitable contribution form you can fill out here.

At the Eau Claire event, they mentioned that a recent study concluded that the economic impact of the American Birkebeiner resulted in an influx of 32 million dollars annually to our region.  That is a staggering figure, and this race is truly a cultural and economic treasure.  I know that CyclovaXC likely wouldn't be in operation were it not for the American Birkebeiner.  But the financial impact of this race is such a small part of it. I'm very grateful for the friends I've made through the Birkie and the good times we've shared together.  The Birkie is the event that I circle on the calendar every year. It is gratifying to see that the people in charge of the event are working so hard to preserve it. They are doing excellent work.

If you would like more details as to what this campaign is all about, read this excellent article titled "Honoring the Legacy: Ensuring the Future" on the Birkie web page.




Solstice Chase 2014 - A Call For Volunteers!!!

The time is drawing near - Solstice Chase 2014 is almost here!  Be a part of it & volunteer!  Photo Credit:  David Gabrys
The 2014 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race - not only the first event in the famed Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, but also a community event (by the community, for the community) is only 10 short days away!  We want everyone to come and be a part of this celebration of Winter! 

While hundreds of hours of work has already been put into the this year's event, it's the volunteers on the event day that make this event possible.  

We've already had several generous folks reach out to us and graciously offer to volunteer (you all will be getting emails or calls directly to confirm your duty and shift times) - but we do need a lot more folks.

We guarantee that you'll have a great time working the event, while also serving your community, and helping to bring hundreds of fat bike enthusiasts and their families to the St. Croix River Valley!  The event this year will be incredibly spectator friendly with a plethora of tasteful amenities - you'll want to spend all day with us!  A few highlights include:
  • The grand Wedding Barn at Big Rock Creek Retreat will be our base of operation this year.
  • Racers in the long race will be going by the barn 4 times - allowing for amazing spectating opportunities!
  • We will have a vendor / sponsor village set up in front of the barn.  Stop by and say hello to them - and try out a demo fat bike from Twin Six
  • Cafe Wren will be serving amazing hot drinks, pastries, and BEER at the bar inside of the barn
  • A Wandering Fire will have their mobile WOOD FIRED PIZZA OVEN at the event - and will be serving up amazing pizzas all day!
  • The upper level of the barn will be partially heated - and there will be an additional warming area in the maintenance building, as well as a changing area for athletes.
  • Numerous bon fires will be burning all day in the race headquarters area.
  • Help us celebrate Big Rock Creek Retreat's official Falls Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting - happening at the start line at 9:45AM - 15 minutes before the race start!
To volunteer, simply email frank@cyclovaxc.com, with "Solstice Chase Volunteer" in the subject line. 
Join us for a bike Fat Bike / Winter Party!  If you're not riding, volunteer - we guarantee you'll have a great time! 

Cyclists Wanted to Help Escort Santa in Osceola, WI!


 I just received this fun announcement from Grow Osceola, they're looking to have a parade of cyclists with bicycle decorated with glow sticks to escort Santa in a night parade. Doesn't that sound like fun?  But bring your 45NRTH boots because it sounds a little cold!

If you're interested in participating, here are the particulars:

Lighted Bike Brigade. 
Decorate your bike and escort Santa into town. 
Staging area will be behind Bill's Ace Hardware @ 4 PM, Sat. December 6th
Leave @ 4:30 for a 10-15 min route around town. 
Arrive @ Osceola Lanes back patio.open to ideas- thanks for the support!

If you have questions or comments, you can write to Grow Osceola on Facebook.  Those of you who go, please take pictures and send them for publication here!  Thanks!

Birkie Fundraising Event in Eau Claire on Thursday, December 4th

Hey Folks,

There's a pretty neat event that I plan to attend in Eau Claire this Thursday, December 4th.  The Birkie office is doing a fundraising campaign to establish a permanent start area and improve the finish line experience.  ABSF Director Ben Popp will be there and food and beverages will be provided.

Events like the American Birkebeiner need a tremendous amount of financing to operate.  I've been involved with a couple smaller races, and I know how the expenses pile up.  I can't even imagine taking on something as big as the American Birkebeiner.

Tickets for the fundraising mixer this Thursday are $50, and you can but them at www.birkie.com/future.  The event is limited to 90 guests.  

Here's all the facts once again:

What: Birkie Fundraiser/Mixer
Where: Northwoods Brew Pub and Grill, Eau Claire, WI
When: Thursday, December 4th, 6-9 PM
Why: Because I'm going to be there (I'll be arriving about 6), and it's awesome to support the Birkie

For further questions contact Amy Rowley at amy.rowley@birkie.com or call 715-634-5025.  See you Thursday!

For more information on the fundraising project, click here.