Jun 23, 2010
The first annual TRANS WISCONSIN MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE
June 18 2010
Day 1 Friday
We started near the small town of Hazel Green WI. At the Illinois/ Wisconsin border at 9 AM. 13 riders.
The first day was full of ridges and hollows up and down all day, very scenic. Was riding alone all morning, hot and sunny than right after noon just after pausing for lunch in Cassville it started to pour rain. I waited out the worst of it at a small campground along the river. I saw a group of riders go by and decided it was time to leave even though it was still raining. I caught up with Steve & Dave (The Iowan's on single speeds) Andy (From Missouri and multiple Leadville 100 veteran) and Chris (from Duluth) about a mile down the road and stayed with them the rest of the day. Although Chris was taking it pretty slow and easy and dropped back the rest of us made it to Mt Sterling by about 8pm. Steve and BIG Mike (Joe's brother) pulled in about an hour and a half later. We camped in a city picnic shelter. Andy called a BP gas station 3 miles down the road and asked if they would deliver any food up to where we were and the woman there said she lived in town and her husband would come and pick us up and drive us down to the station so we could get something to eat. So Steve and I went down to Senaca and got pizza and brought it back. Thanks to small town hospitality.
11 hours of riding and 110 miles.
Day 2 Saturday
Left Mt Sterling at about 6am with Steve, Dave, Andy and Mike. Very hilly section into Viroqua WI. Got there about 11am. While waiting for our food at a restaurant I noticed my chain looked like h--- so I went to the bike shop and had them put a new chain on it and while there noticed I needed new rear brake pads also so they put them in but couldn't get them working right took them an hour, Then when I left the chain was really skipping so I went back to the bike shop and had a new cassette installed. Set me back an hour and a half. The rest of the group had gone on ahead. The next section was the Kickapoo Valley trails; they were ok but not very well marked. I caught up to the rest of the group at Rockton bar and we finished the trails together. We went all the way to Norwalk where we caught the Sparta-Elroy trail which was neat. A really long tunnel in the middle. Got to Sparta about 7pm. Left Sparta about 8 or 8:30 pm and rode onward into the night. The first part was fun, a group of 5 of us doing a night ride, until we hit the overgrown snowmobile trial. A little hard to navigate and deep sand. We got through that and were a few miles south of Black River Falls and decided to bivvy for the night on the side of the road at 12:30am.
18.5 hours and 140 miles.
Day 3 Sunday
Cold night in the tents. Got up and left by 6am. Myself, Steve and Dave. Hit the trails just north of Hwy 90 and got lost immediately. Again deep sand that you had to hike a bike through. Finally got to Hatfield about 11am and had breakfast at a supper club. While there Mike and Andy caught up to us. Andy kept going but Mike had breakfast. Steve wasn't feeling well so I went on ahead alone. I stopped and talked to a camper at the county park and he said the trails ahead were in good shape, hard ground and nothing like the trails to the south. Well he was wrong, although they were better there still was some hike a bike sections. Caught up to Andy here but couldn't stop and talk because the bugs were too bad so kept pushing on. Took a detour to Rock Dam Lake, nice city park there and shelter to get out of the sun for a little bit and drink a pop. Onward into farm country, soon got into Amish country and farm dog country, I think in some areas I was getting chased by farm dogs at every house I passed, and it was usually 2 or 3 dogs at a time. Pulled into Thorpe at 5pm. About a 2 mile detour, and went to McDonalds and who do I run into there but Steve, Dave and Andy. They were just finishing up their meal and were going to get a hotel room for the night. I had planned on keeping going so after eating I headed North up to Perkinstown. Neat Amish country buggys and bicycles, pulled into the Kathryn Lake Federal campground at 8pm.
14 hours and 113 miles
Day 4 Monday
I had seen a well pump at the campground so after sleeping in till 6am I got up and made some oatmeal for breakfast but than when I went to the pump to fill my water I see a sign saying the well is closed because of contamination. I was in trouble very little water left. I filled up my filter bottle from the lake and headed out by 7am. I only got about a mile and found a gas station and was able to buy some Gatorade. Onward onto the national forest roads some of my favorite. Started onto the Sheep ranch road and saw the dead end sign but thought it looked like to well of a used road to be a dead end, must just be a washed out culvert that I can jump across. Well 4 miles up the road the bridge is missing and I could see where someone had walked down through the grass to the river so I followed and the river was to wide, deep and fast flowing to cross and I could not see any trails coming out the other side of the river. So it was backtracking to county road M and find an alternate route. Made it up to Cty road D where I could again pick up the route and looked and looked for Forest Road1523 and couldn't find it. I think I finally did find it (it was mapped wrong and the sign was missing) but it was overgrown and impassable. So again it was find an alternate route. Made it through and the next sections were good dirt roads. Stopped for lunch at Kennah about 2 miles off the route. It was a 1 store town (sporting goods) and all they sold for food was pop and candy bars. So I had a pop and a power bar and headed back onto the route about 12:30. Soon after it started to rain and kept up for the rest of the day. It was cloud burst after cloud burst for the next 5 hours. After the Skinner Creek road you were supposed to cross Cty W and go north on the UP Creek Road. When I got there again there was a dead end sign and I wasn't going to fall for that again so I went further west and picked up the Price Lake road which put me back on route. It was on this road where I got another cloud burst and the road was so wet it was getting really soft almost like the soft sand on the ATV trails earlier. After I got out of there and up to Hwy 70 it was still raining and my thoughts were to get to Hayward as straight forward as possible, unfortunately I did not have maps except for the area just around the route so my thought was to head north to Hwy 77 and than head east to Hayward unfortunately it was a lot further than I realized. It was a long, long haul up a county road to Hwy 77 in the pouring rain. I was feeling ok and really moving along at a fast clip but was approaching 100 miles for the day and didn't know how much longer I wanted to keep this up in the rain. When I got to Hwy 77 I was in the town of Clam Lake and still 40 miles from Hayward. I found a convience store to get out of the rain and buy some food and again I run into Steve and Dave. They had pulled in just minutes ahead of me. There thoughts were to go north to Ashland so they could at least dip their tires in Lake Superior and say they had crossed the whole state, so we checked the weather and the rain was going to continue till night fall so we decided to get a meal at a restaurant and a hotel room for the night.
112 miles and 10 hours.
Day 5 Tuesday.
Got up and went to the convience store for some donuts and left town by 7am. A short 35 miles to Ashland and we were dipping our tires in Lake Superior at 11am. We found a café and ordered a meal while we waited for Steve and Dave's ride to pick us up. They were going to drop me in Duluth on their way back to Iowa.
Thanks for the ride guys it was much appreciated.
3 hours and 35 miles.
Overall the ride was a great learning experience. I had never bike camped before.
Saw lots of wildlife, Doe's and fawns, Turkeys, Sand Hill cranes, Trumpter swans, Cows, Horses, Pigs, Farm dogs etc. The hills and River valleys south of Viroqua were amazing! As were the forest roads further north.
4 Days 2 hours and 510 miles