Katie's "50 Miles of Epicness" Write-up

The Two Headed Monster Adventure
Katie Weinberg Bruns

It’s been planned for weeks now….. or at least a day depending on who you talk to. Goal is Danbury, one way or another, the classic, “You’ll do whatever it takes… walking, riding, or crawling to that finish line.”

One group plans on running the entire Gandy Dancer Trail starting in St. Croix Falls.

“Who caused this?” Lisa’s dad said, with a wide eyed quizzical look as we were describing the adventure. It began, we believe, with the one and only Greg Norman, informing the idea master of Eric Olson that he would like to ‘Run 50’ before ’50.’ So, here we all are. The bat sign is lit to the crazy masses of the St. Croix Valley, and we answer the call.

The running group started the snowy trail at 6:30. Yes, a solid 1-2inch base layer of pearly white snow, with a crisp layer on top, so you are able to hear each foot print crunch through, trying to reach the limestone we all wanted so desperately to see that day. That is all I really know of their story… so onto ours.

It began that Friday evening. Or possibly over a few beers the weekend before. Lisa making eye contact with me over her IPA, “You know what would be awesome?” And I respond, raising my eyebrows over my own glass…. "That’s typically how one of our adventures begin."

A week later, we stand freezing in Charlie’s drive way, as he graciously let us try out his Salsa Tandem bike, giving us detailed instructions on how to ride and fit… I am nodding my head, thinking, “what the what have we gotten ourselves into.” We get it down though, that night, going around the block at least 10 times, repeating our cues, and making sure ‘communication’ is spot on. Or, at least enough to get riding in a straight line, because we figure we will have plenty of time to figure out the details on a 50 mile ride the following day. Bound and determined to prove our doubting husbands wrong, and that this was indeed… an awesome idea.

We start our Epic adventure later than the runners, little past 8, as we hook up the burly, yes, a burly, carrying our two back packs and a few coats, and any other apparent necessities (#fireball) for the day. We set out on the trail to try the snow for the first time. “Holy moly, can we do this? This is freaking hard.” I say with a heavy breath as I look over at Lisa, a fleeting thought occurs that we could just drive up and skip the whole thing…. Only fleeting though, if you know either one of us, those thoughts may come quick, but they pass by even quicker. And off we go, crushing through the snow like an awkward plow.

Notes on a tandem: The front person, the Captain, is in charge, they steer, tell you when to stand, sit, break, turn, farmers blow, breath, spit, etc. And, the back, the Stoker, pushes the pedals and enjoys the ride, the ‘power house’! It really does take a lot of communication, everything from pace, to standing, to wanting to stop.

What you hope for:

Captain: Ready

Stoker: Ready (balancing both feet on pedals in back)

Captain: Go (captain starts pedaling and smoothly transitions to the bike and steering in a straight ace line)

What actually happened:

Captain Lisa: Kate, ready?

Stoker Kate: ummm, hold on, yep. No. yep, hold on, let’s move the right pedal forward again. Okay, yep, nope, slipped off. Okay, Ready!

Captain Lisa: Alright, HERE WE GO, pedals, we go a little righttttt, then lefttttttt, then pedal, pedal, straighten out.

Both: Sweet! Better than last time!

And, this my friends, is what got us to CafĂ© Wren, where we enjoyed a warm cup of coffee (maybe with a treat of Bailey’s to sweeten it up) and some lovely Almond Joy Rolls that tasted as divine as ever. After, we did a switch of Captain and Stoker, had the realization that there was a cover to keep the snow out of the burly-- the entire time packed in back, and then off we went traveling another 15 miles to meet the gang at Lewis. Only one small mix up of the stoker (me) ‘loosing’ the pedals, on the one and only hill we call ‘lemon drop hill’ in honor of Grandma’s Marathon, as I sat enjoying the ride with my feet straight out, encouraging Lisa, as she is wondering why this is so hard.

Lisa commandeered the right for the rest of her time as captain to repeatedly call back, “Are you pedaling?”

The sun broke through the clouds, highlighting the trail, the breeze was just a whisper, and the temperature a dreamy 37 degrees; and in the distance, we finally saw a few specs, yes, that is them, the RUNNERS. We rode through the line of runners with Cher, “Turn back Time” blaring on the portable speaker we brought, stoker hands up and ear to ear grins on both heads of the monster as we were not only having a blast but finally connected with the group.

We all made a pit stop at the Sundown Saloon. Nice little tavern right off of 35, on the out skirts of the quaint Lewis township. People gobbled up burgers, soup, and beer as we all filled one another in on our mornings. The group of runners being a solid 9 with two more wonderful ladies joining the fun at the bar, being the energy boost for the final 20 miles.

Every one of those people impressed and inspired me. Watching their appreciation for what they had already accomplished in these conditions combined with their determination on what was left to devour.

The rest of the day on the tandem flew by, we enjoyed the breathtaking views of the various lakes in Northern, WI, watching as the sun slowly crept to meet the tree lines and the yellow and orange rays shined off the fresh cover of snow. As we covered a wide variety of topics, stories, and feelings shared, a true testament and bond of friendship. I cherish these moments and these are the times I feel my true self.

 During this time, Lisa exclaims, “We should Ice them.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Defines the Art of Being Iced:

Being Iced refers to when one unknowing suspect comes across a bottle of Smirnoff, (I.E: the shower, a pillow, a stairway, in the Middle of the Gandy Dancer Trail outside of Webster.) Once the unknowing suspect, becomes ‘knowing’ they must step back from whatever they are doing, open the bottle, kneel and finish the entire bottle as if surrendering to the master mind of this trick. They have then officially been iced.

Jim, who finished strong at mile 30, retrieved the truck from Danbury and was able to get us the necessary supplies. So, the fearsome foursome (lucky Jill joined our group of master minds in Lewis) made a line of ‘Ice’ across the pathway and within a half hour the unknowing suspects came running and walking about. Brian, was first, thankfully, as he gets to the line and completely understands the awesomeness that has just occurred. Drops down to a knee and starts the process. All of them were troopers and enjoyed the refreshment combined with a Bloody from Dan the Man Campion who came fully decked out with a crate of supplies and beer on the back tire of his fatty, riding from Danbury to meet the group.

The dusk melted away and night sank in, temperature dropping at least 5 degrees, the chills for us bikers set in, and the monster with two heads was done for the day. We looked on as we saw the headlights glow, and the runners, hopefully a little refueled from the refreshments, embarking on the most crucial point of the day, their own personal trials and tribulations of whatever humanity they had left. It was impressive to watch and be a part of. Knowing that they were all cold, wet, and tired. Knowing that they have been out since 6:30 AM, and most of all WONDERING what stories Eric had left to tell.

We waited excitedly and impatiently at the bar in Danbury for some sign, constantly texting our weathered travelers. The veteran runners were the first to walk in, all having already completed a 100 mile event this past year, smiles and signs of another accomplishment splattered on their faces. And then the second, the first timers, all walking in, a wave of relief washing over their bodies, and visibly all of ours in the bar as well. Soaking in what had happened, what ground was covered; then of course, focusing on getting DRY!

The rest of the night was filled with the Danbury Casino Seafood buffet, laughter, and good conversations. The heroes of the day being anyone in the world that went outside and took advantage of that sunny, beautiful, almost wintery day. Proud to be a part of an adventurous community filled with outstanding friendships, people that push each other to their limits, for nothing else but the satisfaction of a day well spent.

I am grateful for a body that moves, a mind that somewhat works, a spirit that thirsts for adventures, and of course friends to lead the way. (Shout out to my amazing husband and his determination--- loved watching him push his limits and accomplish this challenge. Another shout out to my partner on the two headed monster and adventures Lisa Thanig, for always pushing my limits and making it another memorable adventure for the books). 

 Thanks for reading. Adventure on.

Solstice Chase 2/3rds Full! Fee Increase Tomorrow! Register Now!

Hey Chasers!

The Solstice Chase is 2/3rds of the way to its field limit and there is a price hike tomorrow, so please click here to register now and save!

Check here to see if you're registered, and if not, get on it!

Our Friend Eric Olson on Endurance Path Podcast

You all know Eric, and if you've ever run with him you've probably heard all these stories already :). But he tells them well, so here you go again. Enjoy! Featured on the Endurance Path Podcast.

Winter is COMING! CyclovaXC Team Night is Friday, Nov. 10!

I woke up to snow on the ground which means we all have to start getting serious about our Birkie preparation! Tomorrow, for one night only, we'll be closing out some fantastic ski inventory at prices too low to advertise. So if you're looking to upgrade your equipment, or just get a jump start on the wax you'll need for the upcoming ski season or you just want to get some early Christmas shopping done, Cyclova is the place to be tomorrow! Pizza, camaraderie and skiing, what more can you ask for?
Steve Edling, David Leske, and Duane Lee enjoy a sunny winter day on skis
RSVP (to help us get a head count for food and beverages) and be a part of the anticipatory conversation at the Facebook Event.

Team Night Event Schedule (Thursday, November 10):
6:00PM:  Team night starts - Pizza and refreshments will be provided
6:10 - 6:40PM:  Frank Lundeen, Cyclova XC co-owner presents new products and product highlights of the 2016-17 ski season. 
6:40PM - 8PM:  Cyclova XC Staff and reps from select ski vendors on hand to help Team Cyclova members with their race xc ski product needs.
Cyclova Green Machines: (R-L) Duane Lee, David Leske, Mike Colaizy, Tony Lushanko, Tommy Krenz, and Steve Edling celebrating post-race at the 2015 Noquemanon Ski Marathon

Sunday November 12th is Altra Day At CyclovaXC

Hey Everyone!

We have a really neat event coming up this weekend! Dan Maxon of Altra Footwear will be coming to discuss what sets Altra shoes apart from all others. It's always great to hear from the people behind the products, and this will be a neat and informative presentation. The talk is from 1:30 to 2:30 on Sunday, November 12th. Come for the talk, and then stick around for a fun run after!

If you're interested, please mark "going" on the Facebook event page.

Also, don't forget that Cyclova Team Night is happening on Friday, November 10th. Stop by for great deals on cross-country ski wax and equipment! Find out more about team night here.

Beat the Dark--Cold, Wet and Fantastic!

We had a wonderful group of people turn up for the 2017 "Beat the Dark." Considering how poor the conditions looked on Saturday, I was surprised that we had as big a crowd as we did. Although the forecast called for cold temperatures, the rain finished before we started and we were able to ride a (mostly) snow free trail! 

In the end, only 4 riders did the whole 100 mile course to "Beat the Dark," they were: Patty Bobzin (our Solstice Chase poster girl), Jason Kunshier, Ben Mullin and Dallas Wynne. The ride was a LOT tougher than last year with a wet and tacky course, but it was firm enough not to rut up with our passage.

Most of us decided to go to Cafe Wren or a little beyond. I think there were a few metric centuries on the day which is also very impressive in those conditions. If you have photos, please put them on the Facebook page at www.BeatTheDark.com. It's surprising how many smiling faces you see even when it's snowing and raining and 36 degrees. Biking is awesome.

Please continue to spread the word on this event. It's a very easy ride to organize and on a good forecast year I don't see why we couldn't have a couple hundred people coming for this.

Don't forget about our Cross-Country ski "Team Night" coming up at Cyclova on Friday November 10th! For more details click here.

Also on Sunday the 12th all you local runners need to come and hear a tech talk from Dan Maxon of Altra Footwear. I'll be posting an event for that shortly.

Unfortunately Andy Liebner had to cancel the roller ski clinic scheduled for the 12th.

See you all soon!

Beat the Dark--Trail and Snow Conditions

Hey Everyone!

St. Croix got a bunch of snow last night! This is a big difference from the 70 degree day we had last year! Years ago, snow would mean no-go, but now there are new things called FAT BIKES, so snow now means NO PROBLEM!

Here's a picture and course report from Dallas:

Course update as of noon today from the Gandydancer trail in St Croix Falls. 1.5" of heavy snow over a firm trail surface. Any knobby tires should be fine. It will be interesting to see what happens overnight tonight. The good news is that the forecast rain will likely finish before we start. Looking forward to a good day with friends. See you there.
These conditions are going to make it very difficult to do the whole 100 miles and back before the dark, but I wouldn't put it past a couple of our guys to make it. We've got folks training for rides that will be way more intense than this, so this is a perfect day in many ways.

Also, this might be a perfect day to go and rent a fat bike from CyclovaXC, or even purchase one. You don't want to miss this free ride!!!

If worse comes to worse and we determine in the morning that the Gandy is impassable, we can always do the first part of the Mammoth Gravel Classic course, so plan on coming tomorrow morning for a fun day of riding and playing in the snow with your friends!

Thanks for the trail update Dallas!

How To Dress For 'Beat the Dark!'

Wow! So the forecast for "Beat the Dark" isn't quite the nice summer day that we had last year. Oh well, it's going to get cold and snowy sooner or later, you might as well get used to it! Also, this being an "out and back" makes it a perfect opportunity to test out your winter riding gear. If you nailed the clothing, awesome! If you missed, you can head back in early none the worse for wear!

Athletes often discuss training and nutrition, but apparel is oftentimes just as important for achieving your fitness goals. It doesn't matter how fit and fueled you are if you're freezing cold. Bearing that in mind, here's the forecast for "Beat the Dark."
The good news is the overnight low is above freezing, and the fact that it's raining means there isn't likely to be much snow on the trail, haha! The bad news is there are no hills on the Gandy to block out the headwind (that's an inside joke between me and Chris Locke--hills don't really block headwinds). In some ways, 41 degrees and raining might be the most difficult conditions to dress for. Moisture is what makes you cold. When you're exercising in sub-freezing conditions, you want to insulate yourself so that you're warm but you don't sweat. If you sweat, you get cold eventually. But if you manage to stay dry, you can spend hours out in the cold with little discomfort.

The trick with rain is that a lot of rain gear doesn't breathe at all so you end up soaked from perspiration. If you have semi-breathable rain gear, you're going to get wet from the rain, so it's a balance without any real great solution, but there are ways to deal with this.

First of all, your polypro or wool base layers are vital because they'll keep you warm even if they get a little damp. A good set of winter riding boots will be important too because your extremities get cold faster than anything else (toe warmers in the boots make for a much more comfortable day as well). On your legs, you can probably go with just your bicycle shorts, plus leg warmers or tights. Your legs pretty much take care of themselves, it's your core, head, hands, and feet you have to be worried about. It will also be a good idea to bring along an additional base layer, gloves and hat to change into at the halfway point. Here's your checklist:

  • Good riding boots (with wool, or sport tech socks)
  • Wool or sport tech base layers
  • A windproof breathable top--or a straight rain jacket depending on how it feels that morning
  • Extra top, socks and gloves in your gear bag
  • Lots of toe warmers (you can put these on your legs or stomach if you get cold--not right on the skin though)
Swing by Cyclova if you have questions on any of this, Steve Clark rides his bike to the Birkie every year and camps in the parking lot, so if anyone knows how to dress for Sunday's conditions it's that guy.

With temperatures and conditions like the forecast predicts, this looks to be an epic day. Don't bail out just because the weather is bad. The pre-ride atmosphere in the parking lot is always more jovial when everybody knows we probably should have all just stayed in bed. Come out and give it a try. However, these are potentially serious conditions, so make good decisions about when to turn back. Don't feel like you have to complete the whole event, especially if you don't have your clothing dialed in and you start feeling really cold 20 or 30 miles out. Come for the camaraderie and the fun, and let's all help each other get back safe and warm to someplace that serves beer!

Here's the Facebook event, see you Sunday!

New Bike Jackets Available At Cyclova XC

Keep your bike protected from those salty winter roads with a Bike Jacket, now available through Cyclova XC!

What is the Bike Jacket? The Bike Jacket is weather gear for your bike! The Bike Jacket was designed for 2 purposes… 
  • Keep your wheels and drivetrain covered and protected from the salty winter elements as your bike spends time on that car rack going to and from the trailhead.
  • Cover up those wet and dirty wheels before packing your bike in your car for the trip home.
It comes in 2 pieces; 1 for the front wheel and 1 for the rear wheel, which also covers your entire drivetrain. Both pieces use a clear vinyl center to avoid blocking your taillights.

Fat bike season is near and with that comes wet and salty roads. We see bikes in the Cyclova XC service center with corrosion leading up to costly repairs. The wet salty road conditions in the winter can quickly corrode bottom bracket, wheel and free hub bearings while quickly corroding your chain. Save yourself time from bike washes after every trip to the trail and costly corrosion repairs in the service center.

Stop into Cyclova XC and check out the new Bike Jacket.

2017 Cyclova Team Night: Ski Season Kick-Off! Sale on XC Gear!

The word is there is snow up at ABR, so it's time to start thinking cross-country skiing! Whether you've done 30+ Birkies, or you're planning on attempting your first this year, CyclovaXC would love to help you achieve all your skiing goals this winter.

If you're thinking of upgrading your ski equipment, please consider coming to the 2017 Cyclova team night on November 10th, 2017 starting at 6PM. We will be closing out select inventory and also placing orders for hand-selected equipment for you, so November 10th is the best time to get outfitted for the 2017-18 ski season!

Please RSVP (to help us get a head count for food and beverages) and share the Facebook Event with anyone you know who needs some skis!
Steve Edling, David Leske, and Duane Lee enjoy a sunny winter day on skis
Team Night Event Schedule (Friday, November 10):
6:00PM:  Team night starts - Pizza and refreshments will be provided
6:10 - 6:40PM:  Frank Lundeen, Cyclova XC co-owner presents new products and product highlights of the 2017-18 ski season. 
6:40PM - 8PM:  Cyclova XC Staff and reps from select ski vendors on hand to help Team Cyclova members with their race xc ski product needs.

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS:  EXTRA SPECIAL PRICING on select products is available this one night only (no exceptions) - and you must be a Cyclova XC ski team member with Cyclova ski gear (ski suit or jacket) to qualify.  Specific discounts and specials (up to 60% off of MSRP) will not be announced until this night at the event - and will include skis, poles, apparel and wax.  Many of the specials will be a one time, special order, pre-paid basis only. 
Note that the team discounts offered at this one time team night are too steep to publish, but know that discounts will be double the normal team discount or greater - in short you don't want to miss out on this - and this is the time to stock up for the season!  We will require cash or check payment to get these maximum discounts.  

Not on the team?  Know that WE WANT YOU!  We want you to be part of the most fun ski team out there!  We practically invented the concept of a "fun citizen ski team" - and we do it well.  Since day one, Cyclova XC has simply been about HAVING FUN and BUILDING COMMUNITY around our sports.  Skiers of any level, any age, any gender, and with ties from anywhere in our region are welcome - as long as your focus as a skier is to have fun!  To join the team simply contact us or stop by the store and order yourself a ski suit or warm-up jacket!
Cyclova Green Machines: (R-L) Duane Lee, David Leske, Mike Colaizy, Tony Lushanko, Tommy Krenz, and Steve Edling celebrating post-race at the 2015 Noquemanon Ski Marathon

This is just the start of a big weekend for CyclovaXC on Sunday, November 12th we have a big presentation:

Dan Maxon of Altra Footwear is coming for a tech talk. I'll be posing a follow up article with full details on this, but we expect him to arrive and discuss the new Altra running shoes we are now carrying at Cyclova. Anyone who is curious about the background of Altra shoes or the tech side of running will be interested in this presentation. Dan will arrive during regular business hours. 

Come for one or both of the presentations! Again, I'll post more details on CyclovaXC soon!

The Altras are IN!

Hey everyone!

I'm pretty excited about Jim Kelley's efforts to emphasize the "Run" in Cyclova's "Bike, Ski, Run" tagline! We've just received our first shipment of Altra running shoes. Altra has made a name for itself with their "zero drop" design, which means the heel and forefoot are at the same distance from the ground. According to Altra, this natural balance aligns the feet, back and body posture for less impact. It also strengthens the Achilles and lower calf muscles that have been weakened over a lifetime of running on elevated heels. And, it does this without sacrificing cushioning. For now, Cyclova is carrying the Lone Peak 3.5 for trails and the Escalante for the roads, and we can special order other models.

I brought a pair of these down for a special order in Eau Claire and I kept checking the box because it was so light I thought one of the shoes might be out on display (it wasn't). Pretty cool! If you've been curious about Altras or you're already a convert, please swing by and check out the selection at CyclovaXC!

Keizer Lake Fundraiser Moved to Sunday

Heads up!

The Keizer Lake fundraiser scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Sunday due to a foreboding forecast. I just talked to Dan Campion, and apparently there are 11 miles of trails out there to be played upon. Go out there and check it out this Sunday! For all the details click here!

Keizer Lake Trails Fundraiser This Saturday, October 21!

Hello Everyone!

Our friend Dan Campion sent me this information about what should be a really fun event up in Webster this weekend. Dan has been working very hard for the last few years to develop the Keizer Lake Trails, and the more options we have to ride, the better. This is a donation only fundraiser, so toss the bike into the truck, head up to Webster, and be ready for a great time! Please help share the Facebook event. For more details, check this flyer:


Bring your bike - old or new - into the ace mechanics at Cyclova XC this October, and enjoy a 25% off discount off a Major Tune Up!
While it's a wonderful time of year to enjoy riding your bicycle - many folks are either getting their fat bikes ready for Winter or putting their Summer bikes away for the Winter.  Either way, NOW is the best time of year for a tune up.  Get your Summer bike ready for next Spring or your Fat Bike ready for a great Winter!  As far as Fat Bikes go, every day we are getting shipments of amazing new fat bike accessories, parts, and gear (from brands like 45NRTH, Bontrager, and Terenne)  - the selection and availability will never be better!

Bring your bike in NOW to beat the rush and enjoy a 25% discount off of our most popular tune up package - the Major Tune Up!  For the full scoop on our Major Tune Up and all of our other bike services, check out our Bike Service Page.  This offer is good now through the end of October 2017.  

** Offer valid 10/13/2017 - 10/31/2017.  Discount only applies to Major Tune Up Charge, not to parts or other labor charges.  Bring your bike(s) in for a free estimate.

Solstice Chase Price Hike October 15th--Start Area Change

Hey Everyone!

Before you know it we'll be up to our neck in glorious SNOW! Isn't it wonderful! This is just a quick message to remind you all that the next price hike for the 2017 Solstice Chase is on October 15th, so register here now and SAVE

As always, the field is limited to 300 participants, so register now to be sure to get your spot!

Our big announcement is that the 2017 race will still be on the Woolly groomed singletrack, but the start/finish area will be at the Trap Rock Brewing Company. This is a new brewery opening up in St. Croix that we're excited to let everyone know about. Riders should report to the following address on race morning:

520 N. Blanding Woods Rd. 
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

We still have space for sponsors, so anyone interested in getting involved should contact Ben at bj@cyclovaxc.com. To check out our sponsorship packages, click here.

If you want to come and check out the area prior to the race, consider our FREE gravel ride: Beat the Dark! This is a 100 mile gravel ride on the Gandy Dancer trail the day that daylight savings time ends. The objective is to do the 100 miles before dark, but because it's an out and back course, riders can turn back whenever they wish. Be sure to check out the Facebook event here! We're looking to have around 100 riders for this so please spread the word!

If you're looking to upgrade your ride for the 2017-18 Fat Bike racing season, be sure to visit or call the experts over at CyclovaXC. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your business keeps the St. Croix cycling community rolling!

That's it for now! Thanks folks, see you soon and DON'T FORGET TO REGISTER!

Bicycle Racing, Apples, and Mud, Oh My!

CENTURIA—The 9th edition of the Baker Orchard Cyclocross Bike Race proved to be just what cyclocross should be—muddy and challenging.

Just under 200 racers found conditions similar to what the Europeans would call a great day for a cyclocross race.

Saturdays all morning drizzle made racers deal with the elements, and put on a great show for spectators.

Complete results for all classes can be found at www.cx-mn.com
Elite Women’s class racers line up for the start in the orchard
Start of the Men’s Elite class race
The Log Step Run-Up was difficult when wet
Corey Coogan Cisek, Minneapolis, MN was the Women’s Elite Class winner
In the Kid’s Race, a little help from dad is needed when the barriers are half as tall as you are, but the future stars give it Olympic effort.
What your bike looks like after the race
Cleaning up a bike before loading it up for the trip home, a welcome feature of cyclocross races    

Greg Atkinson Wins the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon!

It's always great when one of our friends wins a major event. Through the years, Tammi Braund has emerged victorious on numerous occasions at the Gandy Dancer Trail marathon. On Saturday, October 7th, the torch was passed to Greg Atkinson who took the podium with a time of 3:03:52 and nearly a 30 minute advantage over 2nd place.

Greg is a regular participant and multiple series champion of our Sasquatch Dash runs, and he's always the first to shout out encouragement as you see him flying by you on the trail (maybe because he never seems to be out of breath). A couple years ago, Greg broke his collarbone at the Mammoth Gravel Classic, but was still out running only a few weeks later.

A few weeks ago, I rode with Greg and Steve Meyer during the first part of the Skull-n-Bones gravel challenge and Greg mentioned that he was hoping to have a good race up at the Gandy. Then Greg and Steve peeled off to finish the 100 mile course, Greg on a fat bike no less, as I happily elected to take the short route back home. Greg puts in a ton of work running and training in our area, and it's gratifying to see all that hard effort pay off. Winning a big marathon like this is a huge deal, so the next time you see Greg, make sure to congratulate him on a tremendous effort!

CyclovaXC Celebrates 6 Years!

It's October again, and that means it's time to celebrate another anniversary of CyclovaXC! It's hard to believe it's been 6 years. The time has certainly gone by in a blur, but there are a lot of good memories which are always an indication of time well spent.

The best thing about being part of a bike, ski and adventure store is that you get the opportunity to meet a lot of happy, healthy, goal oriented people. Almost everyone who walks through our doors comes in with a smile, excited about some challenge they wish to conquer. When we first opened back in 2011, fat bikes were still a novelty, and gravel riding had just begun to take off. Now we see riders from the St. Croix Valley attempting world class endurance races all over the country. 

Last year our local community came out and threw us a wonderful party to celebrate our first 5 years of operation. We're fully aware that as a little bike shop we will not be able to survive without strong ties to our local adventure community, and we enjoy doing everything we can to bring great events to our area. 

As always, send us your adventure stories, send us your events and we'll help spread the word. Everybody needs a little epic in their life. Thanks for coming to us when you're looking for a bicycle. We really appreciate these last six years and we look forward to sharing your running, biking, and skiing adventures in the future!

Beat the Dark and Solon Springs Ride on November 4 and 5!

Hey Folks!
Mike Colaizy is leading a free 100 mile ride on the Gandy from the Polk County Information center (on 8 and 35) to Danbury and back before dark. This ride traditionally happens on the first day after daylight saving time expires and early darkness sweeps across our land. Sunset on November 5th is 4:55 with last light around 5:15. This is challenging but doable for experienced cyclists. 8 hours of riding with 1 hour of food and rest stops would require an average speed of 12 mph to “beat the dark.” It’s an out and back so all participants can cut the ride short and return whenever they want.

Be sure to indicate you're coming on the Facebook Event!

This is going to be the last great century ride of the 2017 season!

On Saturday that same weekend is the great Solon Springs 100k/50k hosted by the legendary Patrick Ross. I see no reason for riders to not do BOTH of these rides!

After this, put 'em away and dig out the fat bikes and cross-country skis!

OMG! Skull-N-Bones was HOT!

Today was the 4th annual Skull-n-bones gravel challenge, Chris Locke's beautiful gravel ride along some of the most challenging roads of Northern Wisconsin. I ran into these two crazy characters and they kept me company for the first 23 miles before peeling off in pursuit of a century. I haven't been on a bike enough so I was content with "only" doing 50. 

We started off on a humid but relatively cool morning. Everything was great until the sun came out and melted our collective faces off.

Actually it wasn't the sun so much as everywhere. Everywhere was hot. Heat radiated from the road. The water in your bottles scalded your throat when you drank. The air on every descent was like a furnace. Had the heat been coming from the sun you could have potentially escaped by crawling into a shadow or a culvert or finding a swampy pond of water to soak in for a while. But there was no escaping today's heat. It was stifling. You didn't feel it on your arms or forehead so much as deep in your subconscious mind. The heat came in the form of a headache that radiated and throbbed until you felt it pounding in your fingers and toes.

In other words, it was a totally awesome day for a bike ride!

I pedaled along, every now and then getting passed by a pickup truck of bear hunters. You could tell they were bear hunters because they had kennels in the back with exhausted, overheated dogs hanging their heads out the window. The bear hunters always waved. The dogs waved their tongues.

At about 30 miles I still felt good and I ran into Chris. Even though this is an "unsupported" event, Chris takes good care of us. He filled up my water bottles (I had three) and it was a good thing too since I drained the last one just as I pulled into Bruce. I met Chris again at the Fire Hall just as he was on his way out to make sure everyone was OK.

But the enduring memory of this ride is the beauty of it. The roads are absolutely fantastic and it's always a joy to ride your bike through early fall colors. Everywhere you look seems like a postcard as sunlight bounces off vibrant leaves and sparkles in hidden forest ponds and streams. 

This ride is hilly though! Man... I was alone for a bit over half and it took me 5 hrs. I checked my time from 2015 when I rode with Micah and saw we only managed 4:30 on that day (obviously Micah was kind enough to ride at my pace). That's with another 30 to 45 minutes of stops, so this thing becomes a long day. I'd like to see a bigger crew of Cyclova folk out there next year. I think some people are scared off at the idea of a 50 miler as not being "Epic" enough...but this is a tough 50. I've ridden the 100 before too, I was too tired to lift a beer afterward. 

I hope all the riders make it in safe and sound! I'll be looking forward to whatever tales Steve and Greg will share. My guess is they'll both be in the market for lighter gravel bikes after today. Fortunately I know where they can get some.

Skull-N-Bones This Saturday, Sept. 23rd!

Hey Everyone!
Coming up this Saturday is what I consider to be one of the great events of our area: Chris Locke's Skull-N-Bones Gravel challenge. And boy...is it a challenge. For my money the 100 mile course is tougher than Almanzo (that's right...I said it). It's going to be a beautiful weekend, so what better way to get out of your head than grab your bike, get up at the crack of dawn, and ride until the sun catches up with you?

Here's the Facebook page if you're planning on going. Registration is early, but I'm not sure what the official start time is. I just sent a text message to Chris to find out. Hope to see you up there!

To read about last year's event, check out the excellent write-up by that Walter Rhein character in Silent Sports.


Fun Roller Ski Clinic with Andy Liebner

We had a nice time chatting with Andy Liebner on Sunday, and the guy knows his stuff when it comes to skiing technique. He was also testing some poles with feathers down the side to decrease their wind drag. The best thing about Andy is that he's always trying something new in pursuit of a technical advantage. His recent podium finishes in Argentina show he must be doing something right. 

In addition to feathered poles, Andy also encourages people to train on roller skis by pulling around a tire:
As far as I'm concerned, Mullin has about as good a ski technique as anyone, but he was pretty impressed with Liebner's tricks and drills. 50 KM is a long way, so anything you can do to increase efficiency with each ski stroke adds up considerably by the time you hit the end of the race. 

We'll try to get Liebner back to do another ski clinic in November as a lot of our skiers were out at Chequamegon this weekend. As I said before, skiers of all fitness and ability levels can benefit from having an expert examine your technique and walk you through some efficiency drills. As for me, I think I most enjoyed hearing Andy's stories from his racing days. Thanks Andy!


2018 Trek Farley 5's are in stock at Cyclova XC - and these speedy adventure machines are going to blow your mind!
At Cyclova XC, a whole lot of expertise & thought goes into into every single product that we stock.  Check out this blog post from way back in 2012 for a bit of background on our philosophy on assortment & presentation.  The fat bike world is really starting to mature, and there are countless exciting advances happening in this exciting niche!  For 2018, Trek has really stepped up their game, with a laundry list of cutting edge features on all of their fat bikes - including their price point fat bike - the very capable 2018 Trek Farley 5 at the affordable price of $1729.99!

Over the past decade, the fat bike has been continuously reinvented.  Literally dozens of pounds removed, handling vastly improved, rolling resistance cut in half multiple times, and flotation drastically increased.  Trek's 2018 Farley line up embodies the latest in these most meaningful fat bike innovations!

Now, we will focus in on the hot new 2018 Trek Farley 5 - all sizes now in stock at Cyclova XC - your fat bike experts and hosts of the 2nd biggest fat bike on the planet - the 45NRTH Solstice Chase
The intelligently designed frame is stout to provide absolute efficiency, accentuated by front & rear thru-axles, and even included great details like ports for internally routed dropper seat posts!
The frameset is the foundation of any bicycle, and the Farley 5 frame checks all of the boxes you want to check!  Following are highlights of this great frameset:
  • Stout & Stiff Frame:  This Alpha Platinum Aluminum frame is intelligently shaped through Trek's tube shaping process.  You'll notice the tubes all vary in shape, diameter, and thickness - even different from one size to the next!  In short this frame is absolutely stiff where it needs to be stiff, but allows a bit of "cush" where you want it to!  This ensures that all of the energy you put into the pedals goes into propelling you further into your adventure in comfort!  
  • Carbon Fork & Thru-Axles:  How are your wheels attached to your fat bike frame?  This is a critical element to any bike being efficient, handling well, and and riding smoothly!  The 2018 Farley 5 frame pairs up the the amazing Bontrager Haru OCLV Carbon Fork - a torsionally stiff, smooth riding, beautiful rigid carbon fork.  Wheels are attached to the frame & fork in the best possible way with full on 15mm & 12mm thru axles for the front and rear respectively.  These large diameter thru-axles drastically increase the stiffness & torsional rigidity of both the front & rear end of the bicycle - meaning increased efficiency & more precise handling (thru axles are a massive upgrade from standard quick release levers)!
The Farley 5 has a killer drivtrain - note the beautiful Race Face Aeffect crankset, and the Shimano "one by" drivetrain.  This drivetrain ensure you have all the gears you'll ever need, with only a rear derailleur!
The component kit on any bike is always critical, and the Farley 5 doesn't disappoint! 
  • Drivetrain:  The Farley 5 has a rock solid drivetrain which will perform flawlessly, go the distance, and ensure flawless performance (whether you're sweating in the Sand Barrens on a hot August day, or riding a sub zero frozen river in January)!  Highlights of the drivetrain include the beautiful Race Face Aeffect crankset & a clutched Shimano "one by" drivetrain.
  • Brakes:  Hydraulic brakes are the ticket any season of the year, especially Winter!  SRAM's new Level hydraulic disc brakes ensure more than enough stopping power in any condition. 
Come on in while the gettin' is good.  We just received a full size run of Farley 5's, and they likely won't last long!
Particularly on Fat Bikes, tire & wheel technology is of paramount importance!  When it comes to fat biking on soft surfaces, especially snow, it all comes down to tire contact patch.  While this is a complex discussion of physics, I'll boil it down to the following points which the Farley 5 delivers on:
  • Tire Tech & Rim:  The Farley 5 is spec'ed with a smart combination of 27.5" x 4.5" tires mounted to an 80mm wide rim.  On the front you'll find the all new gnarly Bontrager Gnarwhal, while on the rear you'll find the fast rolling Bontrager Barbegazi tires.   Both tires are built around a super supple, fast rolling, grippy 120 tpi (thread per inch) casing, with an especially aggressive tread on the the front end.  As a bonus, the Gnarwahl tire on the front is studable, and can use any brand of "pocket style stud", in stock at Cyclova XC.  For riding groomed singletrack in the winter, generally studs aren't necessary, but they can be a lifesaver in transformed snow where ice is present.  It's important to note the importance of running fat bike tires at very low pressures - otherwise you'll never enjoy the benefits of riding fat.  While riding on snow, you'll usually want to be running between 4-6 psi of air pressure in these tires (even less if the snow surface of soft).  In the end, more tire surface area / contact patch = more fun!
Every size of the Trek 2018 Farley 5 Fat Bike is in stock at Cyclova XC!  Come on in for a free test ride and to experience the latest in Fat Bike technology professionally fit to your body!