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Free Weekend on Gandy and Stower 7--June 6 & 7

Free Fun Weekend on the Gandy Dancer and Stower 7 Lakes Trails June 6 and 7

POLK/BURNETT COUNTY--Recognizing the WIDNR sponsored Free Fun Weekend, state trail passes for bike riders will not be required on the Stower 7 Lakes, and the Gandy Dancer State Recreation Trails, June 6 & 7. 
Both trails normally require a Wisconsin state trail pass for bike riders 16 years of age and older. The passes, available locally, are good on all state trails.

The Stower 7 Lakes Trail, the newest Wisconsin state recreation trail, opened in 2010 and offers a very scenic 14 mile ride from the trailhead in Amery to just outside of Dresser, passing next to Nye, Deronda, and Wanderoos. Take a look at www.amerywisconsin.org  

The Gandy Dancer State Trail has been operating for 18 years and offers a longer 47 mile route from its trailhead at the Polk County Information Center in St. Croix Falls to Danbury. Four villages and unincorporated Lewis are located on the trail in Polk County, and they are all less than six miles apart. Siren and Webster are on the trail leading north to Danbury in Burnett County.

The Gandy Dancer Trail follows the Soo Line railroad corridor that founded and served the small towns in Polk County. In Frederic, the 1901 Soo Line Depot was refurbished and serves as a rest stop for the trail as well as the museum of the Frederic Area Historical Society. The Frederic Depot is the last remaining depot of this rail line, and is open as a trail rest stop weekends from Memorial Day through leaf season in October. 
Trail maps and more information for the trails are available at the Polk County Information Center 800-222-POLK www.polkcountytourism.com The Burnett County Visitor Center www.visitsiren.com www.amerywisconsin.org and the Polk County Parks office 715-485-9294

Siren Inferno and St. Croix Sasquatch Dash This Weekend

There are two running events close to home next weekend, the Siren Inferno and the first Sasquatch Dash in St. Croix Falls. We do our best not to put the Sasquatch Dashes on conflicting dates, but it always seems like we miss one or two.

The Inferno has three events called: The Inferno (19 miles), The Blaze (13.1 miles), and The Spark (5k). Proceeds go to support the Siren Volunteer fire department.

The Sasquatch Dash is a free 5 miler, here's the course information.

Looks like there are no excuses, plenty of options and distances to choose from. So lace 'em up and see you out there!

Come to the Cyclova Friday Night Hill Ride!

There won't be any snow...we hope
Hey Everyone!

Charlie Strantz will be leading one of his really fun group hill rides from CyclovaXC tonight at 6 PM. It is a no drop, 32 mile loop, and it's going to be awesome. Charlie does a wonderful job leading a ride. He'll keep the pace reasonable, the group together, and pick a challenging route with minimal traffic.

If you want to come, just be at CyclovaXC Friday at 6 PM and be ready to ride! 


Mullin's 2015 Almanzo 100 Report


I wasn't positive I was going to ride Almanzo this year even after it was resurrected from the dead.  But in the end Starr was able to get the day off so we made our plans and were off to the Maple Springs campground Friday afternoon.

Camp CyclovaXC at Maple Springs Campground.  Getting ready to eat spaghetti.
We met up with the rest of the CyclovaXC contingent at the campground.  We enjoyed Eric's spaghetti feed, a few carb loaded beverages, sat around until after dark, tweaked a few things on the bikes, and then shuffled off to bed.

Laminating cue sheets.
Having already tackled a few gravel centuries now including the Mammoth a few weeks back, my nerves were pretty low and I had confidence I was going to finish the ride.  I haven't really done any dedicated training other than getting on the bike fairly frequently.


Outside of the usual goals for an event like this which include finishing and having fun I really only had three goals.

  1. Keep the rubber side down

    If you'll recall from last year's report, I crashed just after mile 30 last year.  That put a very different tone on last years ride.  This year I wanted to avoid that.
  2. Ride "hard"

    I'm not a bike racer.  I suck at bike handling (see crash last year or basically every mountain bike ride I ever do), I don't have thousands of miles of biking on my legs, I haven't trained to race 100 miles, etc.

    That said I wanted to make my first attempt at doing a ride like this up to the best of my abilities.  This was going to mean riding smart, conserving energy, fueling right, minimizing stops, and pushing at the end.
  3. Ride every hill

    Lame shoulder and all I rode all of them last year.  I picked up a smaller chain ring before the event and installed it so I better make use of it.

I'm going to break it down into legs and try to keep the rambling down as best I can.

Clean bike ready to roll.
Spring Valley -> Preston

Starr and I picked up our numbers Friday evening while everyone else had to do it Saturday morning.  Unfortunately that meant we let them out of our sight and then couldn't find them in the crowded main street.  Thus I started "all alone".

Even the CyclovaXC kit is hard to pick out in this crowd.
Last year I hammered hard off the line to keep up with Dallas, Keith, and Kristen.  That was SCARY for my crap bike handling skills, that many people, and loose gravel.  This year I just went with the flow.  I did catch and pass Lisa and Alisa shortly after getting on the gravel.

Somewhere a little later Mitchel caught me.  I didn't know he was coming so it took me a minute to figure out who was talking to me.  I think I saw him pull over with Tyler a little later but I rolled on.

I then managed to meet what I consider an internet celebrity.  OK, celebrity might be stretching it, but I still thought it was cool.  I can't remember how I ran across her blog, but I've been following Emily Korsch's blog for the last year or two.  She is a damn impressive adventure racing, gravel grinding, ultra running, endurance nut.  I saw a Gear Junkie/WEDALI kit and thought to myself, "hey, Emily races with people on that team."  I then look to my left and there she is.  After a semi awkward self introduction as an internet stalker I was able to have a nice little conversation with her and Erl.  Fun stuff!

Emily Korsch on the right.  Image by Todd Bauer (I didn't ask for a selfie with her, that would really have been awkward)
Anyhow, plugging along.  I was super pumped when I finally made it past death corner from last year without mishap.  I rolled past the hose that was out again this  year.  Last year I stopped there to wash my wounds and for Dallas to help me with my bike.  My thought was to grab water in Preston to top off.

I slowly rolled through Preston but didn't see any obvious water.  I still had about half of my 3 bottles on my Warbird so I thought I was probably good until I reached Forestville.  A little worried, but probably OK.


Rolling out of Preston you head south for a few miles of pavement.  Unfortunately the wind was straight in my face and the crowds were thinning out considerably so I was riding alone.  About a mile out I finally spotted Micah in the distance.  It wasn't until we rolled off the pavement and up the really pitchy climb on Jay Road that I finally caught him.
Micah powering up Jay Road
We rode within a few hundred meters of each other pretty much from there to Forestville.  This included a quick stop to fill one of my bottles from a nice family along the way which in the end I didn't use before we got to Forestville, but it quieted the little voices in my head that were going to worry about it.

We rolled into Forestville at about 4:30 of elapsed time.  To that point I had been off my bike for about 2 minutes total.  Just over a minute for a quick trip into the weeds to dehydrate, and then another minute standing over the bike filling my bottle.  I was feeling tired and sore at this point.  So my race plan was executing fairly well.  It would now be time to tell how many matches had been burned and how many hills were left.

Forestville->Cherry Grove

Micah and I stopped at Forestville for approximately 14 minutes per my data.  We then had another momentary stop before leaving the park as all of Micah's sheer power popped one of his rear spokes and he took a moment to twist it around another one.

As we climbed out of the valley it was starting to warm up.  The sun was starting to shine and I wasn't really appreciating it.  I'm not really a fan of the heat.  Those next few hills out of Forestville are pitchy and long too so you aren't getting any fresh air and working pretty hard.

There really wan't much else to report on this leg.  I thought Cherry Grove was more like mile 80, so when I rolled in at 75 I was a little disappointed.  I wanted to get a little further before taking another break.  I did want that Coke though so I drank half and then poured the other half in my third water bottle for a little pick-me-up later.  I also ate a handfull of Oreos and potato chips.  No whiskey shots for me.  Looks like a 7 or 8 minute stop.

I knew Frank was in race mode when I saw how much Hamm's was left in Cherry Grove.
Cherry Grove->Spring Valley

Micah and I rolled out for the final 25 miles together.  Still pretty darn sparse at this point.  I was encouraged to get to the river crossing and still see Todd Bauer there.  As Sam Olson observed on FB today, I am apparently not the only person considering using number of times seeing the race photographer as a measure of performance in an event.

Photographing the photographer at the creek crossing.

After the MMR climb out of the river I lost Micah.  I thought he had drifted off the back.  Sounds like I didn't catch that he was taking a nature break.  Oops.  I figured he was a big boy though and could make it to the finish on his own.

This started about a 10 mile lonely stretch.  Quite some distance in either direction to see anyone.  At points if there was a hill or turn, I couldn't see anyone.  As I rolled down the descent towards what I knew were two quick turns and then Oriole I was finally gaining on someone.

Not much to see there.
Nor up there.

Then I turned and saw Oriole.  Talk about carnage.  After almost 40 minutes with no one around, there were probably 30 people walking up the hill in front of me.  I wanted to stop and take a picture, but per goal 3, I had work to do.

Holy cow.  I wheezed, and puffed, and my heart pounded, but I rode that bad boy.  Yes, I only averaged 4.6mph, yes my HR was at 180 (95% max), yes it probably would have been more efficient to walk it.  I only saw one other person ride it when I did.  We celebrated our badassness together at the top.

My reward for climbing Oriole was the near onset of calf cramps for the remaining 10 miles.  They never quite locked up, but they were close.  I spent a lot of time stretching them at every opportunity.  I also rewarded myself with the remainder of the Coke I grabbed in Cherry Grove.

The final climb by Deer Creek was tough.  I almost didn't make it.  I knew from there though that we had a few miles of rollers, mostly south into the wind and then a couple miles of pavement to the finish.

I had a nice chat with I believe Glen from Rochester in the last few miles and he offered to pull me on the pavement as I was just about spent.

I rolled across the finish line with 7:24:59 of elapsed time per my watch.  Strava says roughly 7:01 of moving time.

Post Race

Post race I rolled right over to the car to clean up.  I was crusty from a combination of dried sweat and dried limestone dust (cement).  Micah rolled over just a few minutes later and chastised me for not waiting for him.  I tried to make it up with a coolish adult beverage.  Frank wandered back from his walk to DQ for first dinner and we hung out watching finishers cheering in Todd, Lisa and Alisa, and Eric.

Moments after Eric finished the sky let loose and it poured.  And the wind howled.  I got nervous for Starr still out on course.  I come by the worrying honestly.  I ended up going to check to make sure she was safe while everyone else went to start on first dinner (second for Frank) at the pizza place in town.

Moments before finding the girls.
Now I shouldn't have been worried.  When I found her she was all smiles still.  And Kim was still with her which was a complete shock to Eric when I told him.  Kim was positive she was going to drop at the campground.  To find her at mile 90 tired, soggy, dirty, but smiling was a surprise.  Anyhow the ladies didn't want anything and were planning on finishing the race.  I headed back for first dinner and then Eric and I went to the finish to await our ladies.  I don't think there were two more proud boyfriends than us when they rolled in, both finishing their first century ride, let alone a gravel century on the Almanzo course.

A pair of accomplished ladies.

Pizza, long drive home, picking up sleeping kids, unloading a very wet and smelly car, before finally showering and sleeping in time to get up to work the Woolly registration table in the morning.


I know everyone loves my numbers.  Ben Jonjak and Jeff Wolf said so.

One of the reference points is the "Training Effect" calculated in SportTracks.  This essentially calculates a cumulative training effect of any given workout based on time at a given HR.  This ride set a new record in my training log.  It is followed by the Mammoth Gravel Classic from October 2013, last year's Almanzo, and then the 2013 Strada Fango.

As far as goals go, I kept the rubber side down, rode "hard", and rode every hill so it was definitely a success.  Last year had an elapsed time of 8:47 and a moving time of 7:48.  Compared with this year of 7:25 and 7:01 a pretty good improvement.

What's Next

Just today I've been talked into a trail half marathon next weekend in Rush City.  This is one of the Treasured Haven Farm runs I've seen advertised on the sides of trucks for a while and am finally going to try out.  Check it out if you are looking for something to do on Saturday.

Otherwise the first Sasquatch Dash is in just under two weeks.  I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you are too.

Polk County Government to Address Gandy Dancer Changes

Hello Folks,
There are a couple of Gandy meetings this week. If you happen to have free time and an interest in the Gandy, it would be great if you could attend these. The Wednesday meeting seems more critical.
Thanks everyone!

6PM, Polk County Gov't Center, Balsam Lake

The Polk County Board will vote yes-or-no on whether or not to allow one antique car parade and one ATV parade on the Gandy Dancer in 2015. This is an interesting situation whereby the County Board Members will not be able to discuss or amend the proposal.

9AM, Polk County Gov't Center, Balsam Lake

The Polk County CDRE Committee will discuss rewriting the Gandy Dancer State Trail Master Plan.

This will be an interesting meeting and I encourage anyone and everyone with an interest in the Gandy to attend.

Vintage Solstice Ride Coming June 20th!

Here's a wonderful event coming up soon sponsored by our friends at Locally Geared. Read on:

Enjoy the ride of time past on the Gandy Dancer Trail, Saturday, June 20th at 10:00 am. Dress up and ride a vintage bike of your choice. 

The ride will start at the Polk County Visitor Center, but you can join the ride anywhere between the trail head and our destination, Cafe Wren in Luck, WI. 

There will music, beer, food and vintage bikes at Cafe Wren. 

Ladies will have the opportunity to have their hair and make-up done to look the part as well at the Polk County Visitor Center and at Cafe Wren, for an additional fee, by Menagerie Hair Salon.

This will be a free event for all ages and abilities, but a trail pass is required to ride on the Gandy Dancer Trail. 

Trail map:

There will be many fun prizes to win in our drawings as well: Gift cards from Locally Baked, Body of Knowledge Massage Therapy, Locally Geared and more.

Check out the Facebook Event here.

2015 Adventure Triathlon Recap

Photo by Amy Sotis

by Cory Pratt

The Grantsburg Adventure Triathlon has become has become a must do event for me. Inspired by Brodie Schock two years ago I jumped in and gave it a try. The first year was filled with snow and sleet followed by a bit of sun and a persistent headwind. It was tough but we came back for more. 

The course itself has morphed each year due to an attentive group of organizers. The initial event was about an eighteen mile gravel, sand, and pavement bike course. The kayak portion was about three miles on the St. Croix followed by a trail and road run of around eight miles. Due to high and fast water last spring the entire course was changed and the bike and kayak portions were shortened. The fast river may have led to a few record times otherwise. However, the directors wisely decided to move the kayak portion to Crex Meadows on Phantom Lake. This year the course was lengthened closer to the original distances but remained very close to the course from last year.
Photo by Brodie Schock
This morning started with a blinding drive up Hwy 87. The sun was shining brightly off the polished frame of Brodie's Crossrip elite. Man that is a great bike! The caravan of Brodie, my sister Ana and I made our way to the race. Upon arrival we dropped our kayaks at the landing and took in the great view. We made our way to the start area where we ran into Jamey and Amy Sotis. Nate Ferris, Rebecca and Steve Stenberg and the now famous Tammi Braund. It was good to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. 

As the waves of the race were turned loose I found myself appreciating the course and friendly racers. I saw at least one other Cyclova XC jersey in the crowd. Many greetings and wishes of good luck throughout. Meeting Jamey, Amy, Nate and the Stenbergs during the race made the trip through the wilderness even better. A few mishaps were witnessed and one unfortunate racer in a unique wooden kayak got a cooling swim in along the way. The Schock and Stenberg kids were awesome at cheering us on as we moved between transitions. 

On year three I think I finally have hydration and nutrition dialed in. After many races over the years I think I have come to recognize Tammi's foot strike cadence as she reels me in and flies past. That lady can run! It was about mile three of the run when I heard her closing in. As usual she flew by and pulled away at a steady clip. As usual Tammi is a great sport and wished me luck. The support from families of friends at the finish was amazing. 

Watching everybody finish followed by many congratulatory fist bumps and high fives was impressive. One finish in particular was note worthy. As I watched Jamey Sotis reeling in the finish line, I wondered how I would stop him if he were carrying a football. He's one tough guy. He gave me a fist bump at the finish that rivaled some of the best punches I've witnessed. But it didn't hurt. I'm sticking with that story. There was a kid's race following the adult race. Many of the families we knew had their kids in the race and several left with hardware. This is probably the most important part of the event. Setting a good example for our kids in all ways including fitness. Also to encourage them and support them when they show interest in pursuing fitness related activities. Teaching them to be good sports and enjoy the outdoors in an area so rich in resources will hopefully carry on for generations to come.
Photo by Brodie Schock

Stower 7 Half Marathon Recap

Photo by Jeff "howlin' at the moon wolfman" Wolf
Oh what a beautiful day for a 13.1 mile run! Today was the inaugural Stower Seven Half Marathon put on by the friends of the Stower Seven Trail. This represents another great family and health oriented activity on our tremendous, local, non-motorized trails! Fantastic work!

They had a good sized turn-out for a first year event, and the organizers did a wonderful job with frequent water stations, traffic control, and timing. Everyone I talked to said they'd be coming back next year. This is one of those courses where you don't have to worry about getting lost since you just follow the trail (which is good for guys like me).

There were a lot of familiar faces at the start which is great. The absolute best part of events like these is meeting up with active, fun, adventurous people who are willing to do something silly like run a half-marathon. Whether it's biking, running, or skiing the local group of adventurers always gives you some new ideas for different kinds of challenges. Also, it's a treat to meet new people with the same positive attitude towards life.

Noticeably absent today, however, was Ben Mullin. Ben always uses the technical approach to his race reports, and based on the Facebook comments, there are a lot of people who prefer to see the write-up in the form of a statistical analysis. So, I decided to summarize my race in a fancy spreadsheet so those of you who love the technical side of training can be satiated by this article. Here you go:
You're welcome.

As you can see from the lovely, sunshiney picks, we had a perfect day. The organizers must know somebody...every time Cyclova starts up an event we get hit with 86 inches of snow.

On the bus ride out to the start, one of the other competitors warned us of a mean Rottweiler that lived at about mile 12 that had bit him on a prior training run (I actually saw that dog out there, but one of the benefits of being slow is that he'd already had plenty of other people to chew on, so he just grunted and let me go by).

The gun went off and Eric, Jeff and the rest took off like they were in a hurry or something. I ran along with Lisa and Katie, who amazingly could maintain a 9 minute pace while keeping up a nice conversation. I prefer running at a 12 minute pace so I can concentrate on my stories better. Katie ended up with some hardware at the end, winning her age class (and setting a course record in her age class). She now owns the course record for her age class in this half marathon AND the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon (speaking of that the fees go up on May 15th, so REGISTER NOW, it's the best race in the universe).
I always try for around 2 hrs for halfs, and finished this one in 2:05. That involves a lot of mental arithmetic around 7 miles where you think things like:

"can I make 2 hrs?"



"I have 50 minutes to run 5 miles...I can make it!"

"Wait a minute...it's SIX more miles...there's no way...plus that .1, wait...how far is a half-marathon again?"

Every one of these thoughts is accompanied by brief accelerations (caused by enthusiasm that you might make your goal, followed by major, extended decelerations (when you realize there is no way it's going to happen).

But hey, it's all good, Lisa and Katie went flying past doing cartwheels and somersaults all while chatting, and I limped in and collapsed on the line like always. I don't have a picture of that. Here's a picture of me at the start when I was still fresh:

After the race, we headed out to Caribaldi's for margaritas and good company. What a fun day!  I sincerely hope that the Friends of the Stower Seven continue with this event. It's always tough to start a new race, but once something has been on the calendar for a year or two, the numbers start to grow. Cyclova will certainly be willing to help promote this in the future!

Special Bonus--Adam Lushanko's write up:

Started with local Mark Swiontek and a couple other guys and said to myself, "I went out too fast again." Did the first 5k in around 20 min.  At mile 4 I was already hitting a minor wall and knew then there would be no PR. My two new goals were to stay in 4th and run under 1:40. I achieved them both. It was a mental toughness race. The last 200 meters, the woman's champion made a strong challenge to take 4th overall, but somehow I stayed in 4th. I didn't want to give up on my no getting passed go after getting passed left and right at Zumbo. Awesome after party, can't wait for next year's addition!

Congratulations to the organizers and all the finishers!

Here's the web page with the results. Bookmark it for next year!

Climbing the Ladder: A Recap of the Chequamegon Dead Horse

Photo Credit: Joshua Stamper
What a treat to open my inbox and find this wonderful story from Dallas Wynne on the Chequamegon Dead Horse. Thanks Dallas! Keep 'em coming!

by Dallas Wynne

As we travel through life it seems that some are happy to enjoy predictable experiences with predictable outcomes, while others continuously pursue the next great challenge. For cyclists that have ventured beyond the paved path to the local coffee shop, the need to go farther can become a constant call. Once you have experienced adventure cycling, the natural progression is to find the next distance or challenge.
This weekend the Chequamegon Dead Horse in Seeley, WI was the next rung on the ladder. The double metric would take into the wilderness of northern Wisconsin on atv trails and fire roads while carrying everything on our bike.
Our group departed the OO trailhead on at 7:30 am on a beautiful sunny 60 degree morning. The miles began passing quickly as we rode through the rolling fire roads near the trail that hosts the Birkebeiner Ski race, and on farther east into the Chequamegon State Forest. By midday we stopped in Clam Falls to fill water and acquire any last minute supplies. We turned south and began the muddy slog through the Dead Horse ORV trails and remote fire roads to reach our camping destination by 6 pm with 70 miles completed. Our secluded camping spot along the river was an amazing location to share stories and dinner around a fire before good night sleep under a full moon.
The morning of day 2 began much like day 1, after coffee and a quick breakfast we were packed and on the road. At 9:00 Sunday morning we stopped at a bar in Loretta, WI for second breakfast, and water which are both equally important to a long day in the saddle. Now we were traveling west through logging country and by noon we only we had only 35 miles left. Near that point we turned on to Venison Creek Road. After a quarter mile of climbing over and under downed trees we reached a dead end in the trail at the bank of a creek. We briefly discussed our options and decided to carry bikes over the river, and push onward in hope of finding the other end of the trail. The minutes that passed as we walked our bikes in search of the trail was the very heart of our purpose for being here. We were off the map and no one knew what would happen next. ADVENTURE! Far too quickly we we found the other half of our trail and completed the ride back to the cars to finish with 65 miles on the day. I had taken this ride to gain confidence at bikepacking, but what I learned is that adventure could be waiting around the next curve in the road and I plan to follow.

Woolly Race Seeks Volunteers

Hey Folks,
I just got this message from the Woolly club and thought I'd pass it on to any and all interested parties who are willing to work to help pull off one of the area's best events. All the relevant information is below.

I wanted to reach out and see if you had been notified that we are still in need of volunteers for the Woolly Mountain Bike Race in Saint Croix Falls on Sunday May 17th.  This does not need to be an all day commitment, whatever time you want to allow would be great!  We do recommend a min 4 hr time commitment if you want a volunteer t-shirt and lunch on site.
Please forward to anyone you know that might be interested in helping out a worthy cause!  This is one of the highlights of my year - seeing friends, old friends and new friends.  We were the number #1 attended race on the MN MTB Series last year with over 450 paid racers.  This is a very fun event to be involved with!

Please email woollyvolunteers@gmail.com with your name, phone #, email address, hours available to volunteer, position desired and T-shirt size (if you are available for a 4+ hour shift).  We will confirm receipt of your email and follow up with specifics of what you will be doing.

Current needs are:
  • 1-2 more registration/t-shirt sales volunteers (7:30-1:00)
  • Need 4 volunteers for am feed zone shift (8:30-12:30)
  • Need  minimum of 1 more volunteer for am shift (8:30-12:30) and 5 more volunteers for pm shift (12:30-4:30) for course marshalling - More would be awesome though to be able to put two people at each location.  These are minimum numbers with only 1 person at each crossing. 
Let me know if you have questions and thanks!

The Gandy Needs Your Letters One More Time!

UPDATE: Apparently the committee has decided not to discuss the Gandy issue on the morning of the 6th, so there is no need to go to this meeting. However, letters are still appreciated.

Hey Everyone!
I know you're all exhausted from hearing about the threats to increase ATV use on the Gandy (I know I am), but we have one last meeting to be worried about. A committee will be meeting on May 6th at 9AM at the Polk County Board Room, and it would be a huge help if you could all send letters encouraging them NOT to allow special permits for motorized use on the trail.

If you can make it to the meeting, wonderful! Otherwise, a letter mailed to these three addresses will be huge (just copy and paste the whole list into the "to" field):

dana.frey@co.polk.wi.us, william.johnson@co.polk.wi.us, craig.moriak@co.polk.wi.us

If you'd like more information on this issue, please read this and this article on Singletracks.

We'll keep you posted as to the result, thanks everyone!

Tammi Braund Wins Eau Claire Marathon!

Tammi Grabs a drink at mile 14
Tammi Braund of Cushing, WI won the Eau Claire marathon on Sunday, May 3rd in a time of 3:03:46, just two weeks after setting a personal best marathon time (2:58:40) in the Boston marathon. I believe this marks 2 marathon victories in 4 marathon attempts (she's also the champion and course record holder of the inaugural Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon).

Sunday was a great day for a marathon. A cool morning gave way to some hot temperatures later in the afternoon, and it really felt like a summer day for the first time this year. Initially my plan was to run this event with Eric T. Olson (who would go on to finish his 66th marathon). However, my wife had a work trip to New York, so I was relegated to cheering duty (after the Chippewa 50k, that was just fine).

At 7:30 I loaded my two beautiful little girls into the trusty Burley and headed out to find a nice place to spectate the race. 
We ended up camping out on the lawn of the DMV. There were some flags in the yard, so I checked to make sure they didn't say, "we've just sprayed pesticides all over this grass...don't let your kids play here" (they didn't say that...they were buried cable flags), and we hunkered down for a nice little picnic. I'd brought a couple nutella sandwiches which the girls insisted they didn't want earlier that morning, but I'd new they'd eat when they got hungry enough (like 5 minutes later).

We didn't have long to wait until overall men's winner Scott Hayden came by looking smooth. He'd go on to win the overall in a time of 2:46:00 almost 11 minutes ahead of 2nd place:
The women's race was a bit more fiercely contested, although Tammi did go on to win by almost 4 minutes. At mile 14, Tammi was sitting in second place behind Kayla Anderson, and at times throughout the day she trailed by as much as 45 seconds (you can check result statistics here).

I gave Tammi a big cheer when I saw her and handed her a gatorade, but she wasn't feeling all that good. At that point she didn't think she could catch the leader and seemed a little dejected. Tammi actually physically stopped to drink the gatorade, then asked if she could take the bottle (of course you can take the bottle Tammi!). I kind of laughed at how polite she is. I've been known to snatch bottles of water (well...ok...beer) out of the hands of spectators during marathons without them even being offered! I'm slow too, some of those guys chased me down and tried to get those bottles back (I can fiercely contest beer ownership...possession is 9/10ths of the law as they say). 

Tammi took off and we set around to wait for Eric, who came along shortly thereafter.
After Eric drank all the rest of the beer, water and gatorade that I'd brought (JK...he took NOTHING), I loaded the girls back into the Burley to move off down the course.

The Eau Claire marathon is actually a great event for spectating. It makes a big circle throughout Eau Claire and goes over a couple nice, scenic railroad bridges.

I probably could have been a better support guy for Tammi, but the two beauties kept me kind of busy. This year, the end of the course went right down water street, and as I rode down it I realized Tammi must have already finished.

At the finish area, I ran into Tammi and got the good news that she had won. She said she caught up with the woman in first around the 21 mile mark. Marathons are crazy events, people can fade huge in the last couple miles. Tammi did amazing to pull out the victory.
There was a lot going on at the finish area, huge crowds and a lot of fun activities for the kids. This is definitely a great event and one to have on the yearly calendar. By the time everyone finished, the whole family was wiped out and we slept like rocks for the whole rest of the day.  My eldest daughter even scored some sweet sunglasses.
It would have been fun to race, but it was awesome just to hang out and cheer everyone (I ended up riding for around 2 hrs, so that was plenty). What a thrill to have Tammi win it! Congratulations Tammi and everyone who participated in the Eau Claire Marathon!

Mullin's Running In The Ruff 10k Race Report


When I last left you, I had just completed my first ultramarathon and I was discussing learning to walk again and Almanzo.  The learning to walk thing came back pretty quickly actually and I had sort of forgotten about this race.

The day after Chippewa Starr and I couldn't resist the beautiful weather and had to hit the Woolly trails.  And by hit, I mean we spun as easily as possible for about 40 minutes.  We also took a leisurely stroll of about a mile and a half.  Just something to get the joints working and blood flowing.

My first run was Tuesday evening and I went for just under 3 miles on the Allemansratt trails in Lindstrom.  Mile one was pretty painful, but the rest of it was pretty nice once the joints stopped protesting.

Allemansratt trails in Lindstrom.

After a CyclovaXC Wednesday night sprint ride where my legs felt pretty sapped, the rest of the week was a progression of 4 and 5 mile runs where I felt pretty good.

Starr did this race last year.  It was a complete mud fest.  Think 100+ yard long stretches of knee deep water, shoe sucking mud, etc.  This year, it wasn't going to be like that.  MUCH much drier.  I'm pretty familiar with these trails, though I hadn't done the course in this direction before, nor have I ever run hard here before.  Add in some warmer temperatures and one week post 50k, I didn't have many goals other than to run to the best of my abilities on the day.


The race starts on some flat rails-to-trails snowmobile trail for just under a quarter mile before diving into the gnarly, pitchy single track.  Just like with any other local race, this race also had a pair of little kids sprint off the line.  Unfortunately for me, they still made it to the single track ahead of me and I then had to pass them without breaking an ankle or getting whacked in the face with a branch.

I was in roughly 12th upon entering the single track, not counting the two that only barely came up to my elbow.  I just focused on running clean and not breaking anything through the first half a mile or so of single track.  People were already starting to string out and a few already fading from too fast a start.  I think I passed two people in addition to the short people.

Upon exiting the single track, the rest of the race was going to be either on double track or "wide single track".  You can reasonably get two people side by side on most of the trail, but there is only really one good line.  I picked up another three places or so through about 2.5 miles.

I was monitoring my HR through here and it was in the low 180s.  With a max of 192 I was pretty sure I was over doing things.  I ran a 5k a few weeks ago and averaged 180.  I tried to back off at this point, but that is pretty hard to do.  There was a gal and a guy who I was yo-yo-ing behind by 0 to 10 meters or so through about mile 4.

About mile 4 I managed to latch on and stick finally.  I was tempted to pass, but still seeing 180+ ever time I checked I knew I was running at about my limit.  At 4.75 miles (about 1 mile from the finish on this short course), there was a trail intersection that wasn't attended.  It was where the 2 mile and 10k course diverged and there really should have been an attendant.  I had moved into the middle and the guy in front started down the 2 mile course.  I yelled at him to come back.  Given that the three of us were essentially running together I eased up to let him get back in.  He surged and I thought he was going to pull away.

That surge was short lived however and a quarter mile later I pulled into the lead of the trio.  I knew exactly where we were going at this point and was just letting my legs run out.  I really didn't think I was running much faster than I had been previously, but in post race review of the data I apparently was.  I also had apparently pulled quite a gap as we hit the bridge over the Rum River I took a quick look back and there wasn't anyone there.

I didn't pull out a full sprint for the finish as there was no need.  I strode it out though and finished the 5.6 mile (10k) in 46:46.

Post Race

Full results aren't posted yet, so I'm not certain of my final overall place.  I suspect I was around 6th.  I ended up 3rd in my age group.  2nd blew me out of the water around mile 3.

The end of the day I'm pretty pleased with the race execution.  I impressed myself with the level of effort I was able to put out for that length of time.  I'm pretty sure that level of effort would have been faster had it not been 1 week out from a 50k, but that's ok.

What's next?  Tuesday night, weather permitting, I'm hoping to hit the track in SCF for a little 3000m time trial.  I'm setting some benchmarks to measure myself against over the course of the summer and fall as I eye the 2016 Birkie.  I'll be throwing something up on FB here on that I think if anyone wants to join me.  Otherwise it really is Almanzo next followed by a Sasquatch Dash and then... not sure.