SOLSTICE CHASE 2015: Race Day Venue Info - Parking next to start/finish, Food, Heated Changing Area, Demo Bikes, & More!!

This is the place to learn all about the 2015 Solstice Chase!
The Solstice Chase, the first event of the 2015 Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, is much more than a fat bike race - rather, it's a community festival, a celebration of Winter - and it's for everyone!  We have been hard at work this year to ensure everyone has a great time at the event - and wants to stay for the day!  

Following are all of the details on the race day venue at Big Rock Creek Retreat - 3 miles north of St. Croix Falls, WI.  For the full scoop on everything related to this event or to register to race, go to the event website at www.SolsticeChase.com!

Directions:  CLICK HERE FOR THE GOOGLE MAP.  The address is:  1674 WI Hwy 87, St. Croix Falls, WI  54024
Parking:  Once again this year, parking for the first 150 cars will be right at the race venue next to the start/finish area.  From highway 87, follow the driveway back into Big Rock Creek Retreat - follow the signs to the parking area.   See the map below to view where the parking area is in relation to everything else!  
We do expect the parking lot to fill up, so ask folks to car pool.  Once the barn parking lot is full, racers and spectators will be parking in the big field parking lot  at the venue entrance - out on Hwy 87 - note that this is a 1/2 mile walk back to the race venue, and periodic shuttle service will be available. 

Everything is easily accessible from the start/finish of this year's Solstice Chase!  Parking right at Race HQ, Heated mens & ladies changing areas, amazing food, vendor village, DJ, and more!
Following is a list of the amenities & events at the 2015 Solstice Chase.  Plan on spending the day with us for a BIG FAT BIKE PARTY!  Come early, stay late - stay in St. Croix Falls - or book a cabin on site at Big Rock Creek Retreat
  • The grand Wedding Barn at Big Rock Creek Retreat will again be our base of operation this year.
  • There will be a heated changing area - a room for the gals, and a room for the guys in the building at the lower right corner of the above map.
  • Racers in the long race will be going by the barn 5 times - allowing for amazing spectating & cow bell ringing opportunities!
  • We will have a vendor / sponsor village set up inside of the barn.  Stop by and say hello to them all including 45NRTH, HED, Sven Can See, Advocate Cycles, and Podium Wear - and try out a demo fat bike from Advocate Cycles
  • Cafe Wren will be serving amazing hot drinks, pastries, and BEER at the bar inside of the barn!  We think Cafe Wren rivals any coffee shop / bakery on the planet - and expect you'll agree!
  • A Wandering Fire will have their mobile WOOD FIRED PIZZA OVEN at the event - and will be serving up amazing pizzas all day!
  • DJ ESP / Woody McBride, our event DJ, will be rocking the venue with fun tunes - including some of his own original techno mixes!
  • 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 - at each of the race feed zones.  Get out there and cheer on our racers - make some noise (can you say cowbell?)!
  • Join us for the awards ceremony (overall only, no age groups), awarding of the $1000 elite racer cash prize, and huge swag give away.  The awards ceremony will be in the barn area after the last finisher of each race finishes.  We estimate that the awards for the 21k race will be at 1:30PM or so, and the awards for the 42k race will be at 2:30 or so (awards ceremony could be sooner or later, based on when racers finish).
The huge parking lot is right next to the barn / race hq! 
Wisconsin's largest wedding barn - at Big Rock Creek Retreat will be the epicenter of the 2015 Solstice Chase!  The start/finish line will be right next to the barn - as will be wood fired pizza & our sponsor vendor village.  Registration, hot drinks, beer, pastries, awards, and more inside!  DJ ESP will have tunes rockin' the entire venue! 
The view from the bridge going into the barn will be a popular spectating location - with a superb view of the start/finish line!

This is the place to learn all about the 2015 Solstice Chase!

!!$1000 CASH PRIZE MONEY @ 2015 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race!!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  2015 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race to feature $1000 cash prize purse - sponsored by St. Croix Falls, the City of Trails!  This is likely the biggest cash prize to ever be awarded in a fat bike race!

Elite racers in the long 42k Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race will have a huge extra incentive to go fast - $1000 in cold hard cash!  The top male and the top female in the 42k race will each take home a $500 cash prize. 

We expect a huge elite racer field in this year's Solstice Chase - which in part will bring in a massive influx of citizen racers, fat bike enthusiasts, and spectators!  The $1,000 cash prize is sponsored by the St. Croix Falls Tourism Committee, which encourages fat bike enthusiasts to stay and play in St. Croix Falls - The City of Trails!

The Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race is both a fat bike race and a community event.  While we put great focus on having great amenities for our racers such as amazing coffee & pastries from Cafe Wren, wood fired pizza from A Wandering Fire, a heated barn, and amazing spectating (spectators will see the racers in the long race 5 times from the start finish area).  CLICK HERE to check our all of the amenities and details on the 2015 Solstice Chase!

For the full scoop on the 2015 Solstice Chase Fat Bike Race, go to www.solsticechase.comFor up to the minute updates, frequent the Solstice Chase Facebook Event.  

Cyclova XC Thanks Kristen Livingston!


We're sad to announce that Kristen will be leaving Cyclova XC.  She has moved on to pursue other opportunities.  We'd like to officially thank her for her years of service here at Cyclova XC, and wish her luck in future ventures!  Best of luck Kristen, you'll always be part of the Cyclova family!

Solstice Chase Fee Increase on December 1st! Sign up NOW!

Hey Folks!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that your training for the 3rd annual Solstice Chase is going well!

I'm pleased to announce that we are currently sitting at 220 entrants for the Solstice Chase! Today is the last day to register at the $45 entry fee, so click here to sign up now! In a few days we'll be making a HUGE announcement about the prize for the top overall male and female finishers (you're going to be very happy).

Don't forget to visit SolsticeChase.com to check for updates. We'll be sending out an email with final instructions approximately a week before the event.

We're expecting a wonderful turnout so bring your friends and family along to spectate/party/cheer and be prepared to have a blast! See you on the 19th!

Fantasy Skiing and Real Skiing With Cyclova XC

Fellow Skiers and Nordic Enthusiasts,


I have two fun opportunities I would like to invite and encourage the Cyclova XC ski family to participate in.  One is a virtual competition and is real life.

Fantasy Cross Country

First lets start with the virtual competition.  I'm sure many people are familiar with fantasy football.  Noah Hoffman, one of the elite US skiers has created the cross country equivalent.  It might not be quite as full featured as ESPN's fantasy football, but the sport is definitely way better.


This is all free, but Noah and his sponsors have teamed up for some pretty sweet prizes.  There are both weekly prizes and some season long prizes.

He has also included the ability to make your own league.  I've created a Cyclova XC league.  I'd love to get some folks online and playing.  It will get you incentivized to get online and check out the latest World Cup news, reports, and results.  I even hear that you can watch the races this year online if you have certain NBC stations through your TV provider.

So, go check out the website, make a team, and then sign up for the Cyclova XC league.  The password is stcroix.  The first World Cup weekend is this coming up and the teams will lock on Friday so don't delay.  If you miss this weekend, don't worry, you can get in for the next World Cup weekend.

Fulton Brewery Team Race and Happy Hour

Can't relate to the elite level skiers in virtual competition?  How about getting on your own skis and racing and then drinking beer with your teammates?  I think everyone can get on board with that.

For the second year Fulton Brewing is sponsoring a Team Race on December 16th at Elm Creek.  There is a 5k skate race and a 5k classic race.  Do one ($8) or do them both ($14).  The winning team as determined by the scoring system wins a prize.  But in reality everyone wins, because everyone gets beer.


Last year Frank, Mitchel, Alisa, and myself represented Team Cyclova XC.  It would be a blast to have an even bigger team this year.  Worried you aren't fast enough to be on the team or race?  Non-sense.  This is a super welcoming race format and a low key event.  If you can ski 5k you can participate and we want you to be there!


Most of us haven't been on snow yet (I'm hitting Troll for the first time in the morning) but they are making snow at Hyland and Elm Creek now, so even if Mother Nature doesn't provide us with the natural stuff we should still be getting ready for some early season racing in just a few weeks.

I hope to see you out there.

Cyclova XC CLOSED on Thanksgiving & Black Friday

Cyclova XC will be closed on Black Friday - we'll be enjoying the outdoors with friends & family - you should be too!

NOTICE:  Cyclova XC will be CLOSED on Black Friday & Thanksgiving (November 26-27)

Cyclova XC was founded on the simple principles of having fun (though biking, xc skiing, and outdoor adventure) building community around those activities.  Because our amazing customers embrace these same ideals (they're enjoying the outdoors with friends & family over the holiday - not shopping), Cyclova is usually a lonely place on Black Friday.  We want our staff to be able to enjoy this same luxury - of enjoying the holiday with friends & family, all while on a fun outdoor adventure!  For this reason, Cyclova XC will be closed on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Our one requirement of staff enjoying the day off on Black Friday is that they take a few pictures of their outdoor adventure of the day and share with us a few words about it.  We'll be posting stories on each of our staff's Black Friday adventures right here on CyclovaXC.com!

We always look forward to seeing all of our great clients - while out on a ride, ski, run, or here in the store - perhaps we'll see you in the great outdoors on Black Friday!

CXC Nordic & Biathlon Dryland Clinics at SNAP Fitness in St. Croix Falls - 12/8/2015 & 1/12/2015


We are thrilled to announce two great Nordic events here in St. Croix Falls - in partnership with CXC, Snap Fitness, and Cyclova XC.  

Bruce Manske, one of the gentlemen of Nordic skiing (and of CXC) will be heading up a XC Ski and Biathlon clinic with 2 opportunities to attend - first on Tuesday, December 8 and second on Tuesday, January 12 - both starting at 6PM at Snap Fitness here in St. Croix Falls.  

Instruction will be available on XC skiing, biathlon, and rollerskiing.  Additionally, there will be ample opportunity to try out the Concept 2 SkiErg Machine and electronic biathlon rifles by Eko Aims.  Also featured will be a virtual biathlon relay race by event participants!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Mullin's Icebox 480 Race Report


Prep

About two months ago while visiting a running specialty store between a wedding ceremony and reception, Starr and I saw a poster for this race.  I gave her the elbow nudge trying to get her interested.  At the time she didn't seem too thrilled with the idea.  Fast forward a month and Jim Thanig posted on Facebook that he was doing it.  With the idea of having other people there as added ammunition I got her talked into this crazy timed race thing.

Aren't all races timed you say?  Sure, but most races have a set distance and they time how long it takes you to get there.  Not the Icebox.  This is a timed ultra event where there is a set time and you see how far you can run.  In this case 480 minutes, or 8 hours.

The race is held on the single track at Whitetail Ridge in River Falls.  For the first 6.5 hours you run full 7 mile laps.  Starting with an hour to go they open a one mile loop which you can do instead.  The key is that you only get credit for completed laps.  If you start a 7 mile loop and run 6.5 miles but aren't back when the horn sounds, you don't get credit.

To say I was trained for this race would be a lie.  Sure I ran a 50k in April in a hair under six hours.  Sure I've had a few 4-5 hour bike rides in the last month or two, I even had a 9 hour day on the bike during the Gravel Conspiracy.  But I'm not even quite averaging 8 hours a week of total aerobic effort.  With the wrap up of bike season and the transition to ski season I'm probably only running 20 miles a week.  So to think I was prepared to go out and run for eight hours on technical trails would be silly.

Goals

I wasn't going to let being unprepared stop me though.  I did set a few goals ahead of time.

  1. Don't get injured - ski season will soon be upon us and the Birkie was only 105 days away.  There was no way I was risking ski season for a silly running race.
  2. Have fun - I certainly wasn't doing this to win so I better have fun.
  3. 32+ miles - Assuming I wasn't risking injury or having fun, I wanted to set an all time distance record for running.
A late entry to the goal list came when Adam Lushanko threw his hat in the ring on the Wednesday or Thursday before the race and said he wanted our traveling trophy back.  So adding goal number four was beat Adam, or at a minimum, make him earn it.

Gear

Having only one other ultra under my belt, the Chippewa 50k this past spring, I'm still not quite sure how to prep for these types of things.  The lap style race made it easy to pack lots of things in your "drop bag" and have it waiting for you once every 7 miles.

The start temp of 32 degrees had me really wondering what to wear.  Ultimately I decided on my ski tights, a long sleeve base layer under my CyclovaXC tech t.  I wore my FITS socks I picked up at the Birkie Trail Marathon.  I opted for the stylish buff instead of a hat.  In my drop bag I put shorts, another shirt, a couple of hats, a few changes of socks, my cycling jacket, and two pairs of shoes.  In the end I changed my shoes once, and wore everything else all day.

Nutritionally I got a little crazy.


OK, half of that was for Starr.  I did pack a ton of that, and I even carried two of the GUs for the entire race.  But I ended up consuming two packets of Tailwind and the rest from on course Hammer Gels and then a few chips, a pickle, and some grilled cheese on the last lap or so.

Race



The race starts in the parking lot and within 100 yards dives into the single track.  The race relies on some courtesy and self seeding to not cause too much traffic in the opening miles.  Besides, you've got 8 hours to run, you probably aren't going to win just because you got the hole shot.

I started somewhere in the middle I think.  It was easy to get anxious right away with someone right in front of you.  But despite a few offers to let me by I just took it easy for a while until there was daylight between them and the next group up the trail.

The first lap passed with a moderate amount of passing and being passed.  I was feeling fine, but the thought of running another three, four, or five more laps was a little daunting.  At the end of the first lap I grabbed a gu, dropped my gloves off, made a quick trip to the port-o-potty, then refilled my bottle and kept moving.

Right at about the first mile you pass by the start lap area again before heading up the big hill.  It is one of several areas on the course where you can see people some distance behind you or ahead of you.  I was a little surprised to see Jim and Katie starting into their second lap but not see Adam yet.  As I was getting to the lap I saw him walking back up from the port-o-potties.  His lack of urgency to get back on the course had me a little worried that he had checked out mentally.

Waving to the camera less than a mile into the race.
By the end of lap two I was starting to feel the run.  I was now at 14 miles in about 2.5 hours which was my longest run by distance or time since the Chippewa 50k back in April.  Starting into the third lap the hills were starting to get bigger.  I was keeping my HR really low and I found it harder to keep it down and was doing more hiking.  People were getting more spread out on course too and I was spending longer periods of time alone on the trail.  One of the sections where you can see back a ways on the course I saw Adam chugging along.  I gave a nice shout out to get his attention.  He seemed in good spirits.  It was hard to tell exactly how far behind he was at that point.

As I finished the third lap things were starting to be pretty uncomfortable.  I was having some aches and pains that I was mentally trying to judge if I was just hurting or if I was getting injured.  I decided to change shoes at that point.  For a little while the new shoes felt like I was running on clouds.  It only lasted a mile or two, but it was nice for a while.

As I was nearing the end of lap four, having now run a marathon so far, I was starting to think about when to call it a day.  I was serious about not wanting to get injured and wanted to be safe rather than sorry.  I thought I might be catching up to Starr so I thought maybe I would run until I caught her and then finish out the lap with her.  That didn't work out so well.

Putting on a good smile for the camera.  This is either lap four or five so the smile is taking some effort.
I ran, I shuffled, I jogged, but I never caught up to her.  Around mile 6 I was really starting to shuffle and decided I was absolutely done at the end of the lap.  Not that the pain was too much to fight through but I really wanted to not cause injury.  Remember, I was now approaching a run 3 times longer than anything I had run since May.

So with a mile to go I told the folks I was power hiking behind that I was done at the end of the lap and was going to run it out and started really running, not shuffling.  Wouldn't you know it but my legs felt WAY better.  My heart rate went almost immediately to threshold level effort, but my legs felt great.

At 6 hours and 33 minutes I ran into the lap area having completed 5 laps and 35 miles.  My longest run ever by 4 miles and only 33 minutes longer than my 50k.

I rolled into the lap area just after Katie and Jim which surprised me because I thought Starr was behind them.  Turns out she had just run up the big hill about a mile into her fifth lap.  Obviously I hadn't caught her.

Jim and Katie were among the growing crowd hanging around between 2 and 2:30 for the 1 mile laps to start at 2:30.  As much as my inner competitor wanted to use that last hour and a half, or even just wait and use that last hour for short laps, I stuck to my guns and hobbled to the car to change into street clothes.  Could I have run farther?  It doesn't really matter because I didn't.  I ran 35 miles and I'm pretty proud of that.
Jim and Katie logging a few extra miles.
Katie and Jim started cranking out 1 mile laps at 2:30 and rocked out 4 of them to bring their daily total to 32 miles.  Adam finished his fifth lap some time shortly after 2:30 I think.  I told him I had the trophy in the car and he should go crank out a few more laps.  He did just that putting in another 3 miles to get his daily total to 38.  I got a little nervous waiting at the finish for Starr.  There was under 15 minutes to go and I wasn't sure where she was at.  Thankfully with about 9 minutes to spare she finished her fifth lap to make 35 miles.

Adam going for the win.
Neil Soltis also did five laps to join the 35 mile club.  One person I didn't even realize was at the race until I saw them doing the 1 mile laps (they must have passed me while I was at the aid station or something) was Steve Clark.  He was an absolute animal and took tenth overall with 46 miles.

Relief evident as she finishes 35 miles.
Analysis

So I easily met my original 3 goals.  Almost a week out from the race now as I write this I feel fine.  I have only run once but I have no lasting injuries.  The day was pretty fun.  And 35 miles is definitely an all time PR.

Adam accepting the traveling trophy.
A little while after the race finish we had a little awards ceremony next door at the Rush River Brewing Tap Room.  Since I called my day at 35 miles I was only able to make Adam work for the trophy, not hold onto it for myself.  I have to really hand it to Adam on this one.  He will freely admit that one of his struggles is usually going out too hard and fading.  Adam really paced this one well and had plenty of energy left at the end to crank out those extra miles to take the win.  I'm going to have to watch out for a smarter racer when we toe the line again... assuming I can convince him to race again now that he is holding the trophy.

Mullin's What's Next

What's next?  That should be obvious.


OK, there are a few things before then.  I might run a Thanksgiving 5k.  The Dash and Dine 5k by Front Runner starts less than a mile from my house.  I'm curious if I've got any extra gears from the higher training load this summer.

But then, seriously, it is ski season.  Workouts are cranking up, ski specific fitness is the focus, let it snow!

A pair of happy 35 milers.

Adventure and Tech: Thursday, November 19th at 6 p.m.: Peru Expedition and Fat Bikes and Trail Grooming



Sun Gate, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu. Photo Credit: Ben Jonjak

6 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at Cyclova XC:

Adventure: Ben Jonjak, co-owner of Cyclova XC, presents on the Cyclova XC Peruvian Expeditions, from Mancora to Machu Picchu! Come and hear the agenda for the Peru guided tour which features all the major sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A slideshow will showcase the most recent trip this past summer. Adventurous souls will be recruited to join the 2016 expedition!

Tech: Frank Lundeen, co-owner of Cyclova XC, discusses the trends and technologies in the rapidly expanding fat bike industry. Learn about the history of fat biking, tech tips, and the winter gear that bites back at our harsh Midwest winters. Get the low-down on trail grooming techniques and machines, the volunteers behind our trails, and the benefits of riding on groomed snow versus back-country powder. They say "Fatter is Funner"- come find out why!
  
Woolly Bike Trail Groomed Single-Track. Photo Credit: 45NRTH
As always these events are FREE and open for all to attend! There will be an intermission between the two presentations with snacks, beverages and plenty of time for socializing! For the full Winter-Spring 2015-16 Adventure and Tech Social Series line-up click here. 


Alternate Cyclova Ski Tight--Winter Gear Order

Hey Folks!
I just got the rendering for the new CyclovaXC skiing tight. I decided to make a more sleek option, although both tights will continue to be available. Price on these will be $82.5. This tight is designed to go well with our existing top. If you're interested in getting new tights, send me an email (bj@cyclovaxc.com) with your size by Thursday, November 12. I want to put this order in on Friday.

Also, if you're interested in ordering any of our other Cyclova gear, let me know. Be sure to include size, quantity, name of item, and color.

Thanks!