Chris Locke discusses his inaugural Fat Bike ride in Bruce...which could be the start of something grand!
What started as an exploratory ride to gauge interest in a fat bike race located in the Blue Hills turned into a great social event. Eleven adventurous riders all from the Saint Croix Valley came to Rusk county for the ride. The Beast was held on January 17th, 2015 and set off at about 10:05 from Christie Mountain northwest of Bruce.
Setting off from the parking lot on fat bikes we rode down highway O then started climbing right out of the gate. We peddled our bikes up the Fire Lane which is a Rustic Road designated by the state of Wisconsin. This has to be one of my favorite places to ride in any season. The roads are pretty much all gravel and the hills are challenging enough for anyone to get a good workout.
The first stop was at the intersection of the Fire Lane and Perch Lake Road where we paused to take a group photo. Again this was set up as a social ride not to see how fast it could be done. Then we turned right onto Perch Lake Road where the real climbing began. Rolling hills and winding turns were prevalent and the downhills were fast and slick. A few riders almost went down and had their bikes almost sideways. Later we happened to come along a Subaru that was in the ditch on a sharp corner with a lady inside. A man in a Suburban with a tow strap was attempting to dig her out. We all stopped and helped get the car out of the sticks. The lady was very appreciative so I feel like we made a good impression and were good ambassadors for fat biking in the Blue Hills.
Back on our ride we came to another social stop at Buck Lake Road. We stopped and talked a bit and I offered up a swig of Southern Comfort out of a flask with only one taker. Oh well, at least there was one. When we headed out there were some great downhills punctuated by sharp uphills as we descended into and then back out of a pretty substantial valley around the Murphy Flowage aria. It wasn't long before we came to another stop where I was offered a shot of Fireball and 2 shot blocks
by Jason my drinking buddy on the ride. I found that fireball was the perfect snow biking drink because it warms you up in 2 ways. Also the flavor combo with cherry shot blocks was quite pleasing. Back on the ride we hit Breakneck Road and then Dejung Road. I decided against riding up to Wagner Road because it is a snowmobile trail in the winter and I didn't want to mess up a trail because it was too warm for Fatbikes. Dejung is a reasonably straight shot with long, tall hills. The road was not plowed as well as the others to that point so it made it a little more challenging. Just before the Wagner Road intersection we stopped again and heard a few snowmobiles in the woods. This was just about the only traffic we had seen other than the car in the ditch. It's a great place to get away from everything and just get next to nature.
Next up was the Fire Lane witch was also not plowed down as well as the first section. The road has been worked on the last few years so it is much wider than the others which means you can see the landscape better from the hilltops. We saw a few more cars in this section but still nothing too serious. A few more stops and we were back to the southern section of the Fire Lane. All down hill back to county O and Christie Mountain.
We were all pretty hungry at that point so we went into the Chalet for lunch. The line was long to order but everyone seemed to be fine with it. The place was packed with skiers and snowboarders. It was good to see all the people up there; they really have a great local business. I'd like to thank the folks at Christie Mountain for letting us use their place as our base camp. They are always so inviting and I'm glad we could bring them some business in return. After eating and socializing a bit more we all headed back to the cars to pack up the bikes. We said goodbye and headed home after a great day with great people who all share an awesome common interest. Snow biking is a great way to explore the outdoors in the winter. You don't need to go fast to enjoy it. In fact, sometimes the slower you go the more enjoyable it is and the more cool things you experience. See you all again soon and if anyone is interested in exploring the Blue Hills on bike, ski, or snowshoe, contact me and I can point you in the right direction or show you around myself.