Cruisin on the 7 hour, 400 mile drive up to Cable, WI
Its amazing how the roads and scenery change as soon as you go from Illinois to Wisconsin.
The Hell-ement was all packed up and doubled as my bed for two nights. Cozy.
Riders pouring in around 5:45 am at Lakewoods Resort
The Mariachi looking all to clean at this point....thats about to change
Dennis Grelk's Tandem setup
Charlie Farrow's beautiful Gunnar....pre broken spoke
Tim Ek's new Spearfish looking dialed!
The checkpoint at mile 60 was a true god-send....I was so mentally exhausted at this point
Thats more like it....rained on and off all morning, soaking the trails
My riding partner for the day Steve Fuller getting a congrats on his finish from Mr. Joe Meiser
The finish line celebration
This bike was so dialed in all day....Such an amazing ride!
BEER AND PIZZA!!!!
Shower and changing area after the race....never felt better
This was on my mind all day....
Two great dudes. Zach from Salsa Cycles and Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles. Thanks to you guys for the food and laughs at the checkpoint, I needed it!!!
The Chequamegon 100 was more than I could have ever expected. I was unprepared for the race to say the least. I hadn't ridden a mountain bike in 2 years on single track. I didn't have a mountain bike 3 days before the race. I built my Mariachi on Wednesday night. Got a short ride in with my boss Bob on Thursday morning. Then drove up to Cable on Friday evening. The bike felt great but I was nervous to how I would handle some technical single track with a new bike. I arrived in Cable around 11:30 pm and got some stuff together, reorganized the car, and fell asleep in the back next to my bike...how romantic. I slept surprisingly well and awoke to my alarm at 5:15 am to see some cars also getting ready for the start of the race at 7 am. I got up and kept organizing, changing, pumping up tires, etc. Soon, I saw some familiar faces from Charlie Farrow and Tim Ek of Duluth. Charlie was laughing as usual and Tim had his game face on. I let them be and snapped some photos of their rigs and went about my business. I also spotted Dennis Grelk on a tandem, Rafal Doloto from Nebraska on a geared rigid 29'er, and Steve Fuller on a Dos Niner. We rolled to the finish line after leaving our drop bags with food and water for the 60 mile checkpoint with Zach from Salsa. A quick speech was made from Joe Meiser and Tim Krueger of Salsa and then we were off....flying down a gravel road and then ducking into some single track. The first 10-20 miles were tire to tire trying to pass people when the opportunity came about. This didn't go without getting passed a few times as well.
Shortly into the race I was riding behind Steve Fuller and said hello and we began to chat about his Dirty Kanza and Trans Iowa and all the goodness. He stopped for a food break and I kept riding. The first section was around rock lake....and it held up to its name. This trail had rocks everywhere and was kicking my ass on the rigid SS. After mile 30 came a surprise checkpoint revealed itself to me and I chugged a quick coke and had some doritios and then headed off into the pouring rain. We cruised down more of the fireroad we came in on and then were shortly onto some more single track where I met up with Steve again. We cruised together most of the day and it was nice having someone to talk to and help the miles go by. Also, Steve road in front of my for a majority of the early sections of the race setting a comfortable but snappy pace. We both agreed that we wanted to take in the beauty of the area, finish at a decent time, and enjoy the day....so thats what we did.
Mile 50 until the checkpoint at mile 61 were the longest 11 miles of my life. I started to get cramps at mile 40 when the humidity really picked up from the rain. I was sweating heard and losing salt. So, I kept it under control with liquids and food and kept pushing. The single track miles just seemed to DRAG on....it felt like 10 miles on the road was 1 mile in the woods. I was mentally fried and said out loud several times: "WHEN WILL IT END!!!". Just about this point I saw a Salsa tent and we rolled into the checkpoint. I was relieved!!! I needed a break. Steve and I chilled for 30 minutes here to get some energy back and more to regain some mental stability.
We took off and headed back up the "Birkie" trail that I had heard everyone talking about all morning. I had no idea what it was....just an open rolling plain with a small trail cut through the middle of it. It was VERY bumpy and had some really big hills on it. I didn't mind this section because I felt that we were actually making up some miles. Steve told me that he was fried and that I should just go on....so I did....but he kept coming and would catch me as I had to walk some of the climbs. After riding some more beautiful single track we thought the end was in sight when we hit a long stretch of a fireroad right outside of Cable.....no such luck. The last section of the Ojibwa trail was ROUGH. We were fried and the trail seemed that it was newly carved. There wasn't a lot of flow to it and I was still battling cramps. I had lost Steve miles back and was trying to stay mentally strong and just get the race done with. Just as I thought I was hitting a breaking point I was on the last section of fireroad back into town. I crossed the finish line at 12 hours and 16 minutes. Shook hands with Joe from Salsa and waited for my friend Steve to cross the line. When he did I was greeted with a big hug and felt honored and proud to have ridden with him and to have completed this event. It was a lot harder than some of the other gravel events I have ridden and tested me mentally more than a lot of them as well. You have to stay focused every second of the race to pick your line through the single track...it wears on you after a while.
The post ride party was at The Rivers Eatery in Cable and they had New Glarus beer and brick over pizza....just what the doctor ordered! I changed and met Rafal from Nebraska and some great guys that Steve rolled in with from Iowa. We hung out all night, drank beer, and laughed. What a great event!!! I was proud of myself for finishing and regaining some mountain bike skills I haven't used in a very long time. The rest of the year is going to be spend on 35mm tires or wider.....fuck those road bike things, they are worthless. Fat is where its at!!!....just like my women....
A big thanks to Joe, Tim, Zach and Ryan from Salsa. Ben from Milltown. Twin Six. Lakewoods, the rivers eatery, and anyone else involved in helping out with or sponsoring this event. CAMBA did an excellent job of grooming their trails and making some of the best single track in the midwest. We raised enough money for the event to make even more single track in that area to make the race even tougher next year...wow, tougher?! Thanks to my buddy Steve for riding with me and keeping my hopes up whether you think you did or not, you helped me through it! Chin up, Zipper Down. Don't let it loaf.
- JB, Slender Fungus