1/31/2015

Q & A with Winter Ultra Endurance Athlete Charly Tri

Image Credit: Tina Stiller

With the completion of the Arrowhead 135 earlier this week and several other really tough ultras coming up, I wanted to talk to a veteran of this type of demanding fatbike racing.  Charly Tri of Rochester came to mind having competed in both the Arrowhead 135 and the Iditarod Trail Invitational.  The extreme cold combined with the long distances of these races can be tough on equipment and even tougher on the athletes that compete in them.  I got in touch with Charly and he was happy to answer some question so we can find out what it takes to race a Winter Ultra.

How do you prepare mentally and choose the equipment/clothing for the extreme cold that both the Iditarod Trail Invitational and Arrowhead 135 are known for?

"Well that is a 2 pronged answer I guess. Mentally I try to put myself into scenarios and think about what I would do. For instance, I had planned what I would do if I broke through ice and found myself soaking wet in nowhere Alaska at sub freezing temps (cry and yell a lot). Equipment and clothing would involve a lot of reading, testing, read more, test more, ask other guys I know, test more, repeat. It is funny, but as people moan about cold temps coming, riders doing this rejoice...more testing!"

Image Credit: Sveta Vold
Being an endurance athlete, how do you adjust for your asthma in the extreme cold?

"I am not sure I am the guy to ask, as I still have issues! My first Arrowhead I dropped out with an asthma attack at -20F not knowing I even had asthma. I had my suspicions, but nothing like that! Mayo Clinic has been one destination along with the drugs that brings. The Coldavenger has been a big step in the right direction for sure. I wear it anytime it is below freezing. I remember one Arrowhead all I did was focus on keeping my breathing steady and relaxed. Also, finding triggers are a big issue. I have found to stay away from processed sugar and alcohol. Processed food in general is bad news, better to stay away from it. I am human though. I forget, do things I shouldn't, pay for it, and learn from it."

Image Credit: Charly Tri

How has your asthma affected you in past years' races? What have you learned to manage it and has using the ColdAvenger cold weather facemask helped you?

Image Credit: Charly Tri
"Oh, I have DNF'd out of 2 Arrowhead 135's and 1 Tuscobia 150 because my asthma was so bad I could barely stand or worse. Iditarod I had issues coming out of every checkpoint, took 1/2 hour or so for the breathing to calm down and settle into a nice pace. The Coldavenger makes the cold possible for my lungs."
 




The brutal cold was definitely a factor at last year's Arrowhead 135. What were some of the lessons learned that will help you this year?

"Well, last year had plenty of cold days so plenty of time to test. I ended flatting about an hour into the race at close to -30F. I found out that tubes are awfully stiff at that temp and the seam will burst really easily when filling quickly with a co2:) Took me a bit to figure out why my tube wasn't taking air as it happened silently. Also found out that I have at least one friend in Ben Doom, whom stop to help. At those temps the nature of your equipment takes on a whole new dimension. I could probably write a few pages on how things change at those temps as is pretty crazy. Just imagine having to unfold a tube using the force of both hands as it is so stiff. Pretty nuts, and as long as you come out the other end healthy, pretty cool. My race ended early at the 1st checkpoint as I was battling sickness though which was pretty disappointing." 

Image Credit: James Stull

What are the coldest and most challenging temperatures/weather conditions you have raced in and what helped you through it?

"-30F would be the coldest air temp. I went on some rides last year when the windchill was around -50F. What got me through it? The fear of dying I guess. Also, the thought that I need to master those temps to prepare for the time it is even worse. You can't fool around or take things for granted. Honestly, I wish I had more opportunities to ride and train in those temps. I am jealous of those Fairbanks guys. You know, it is not like I started riding at these temps overnight. It has been a progression." 

Image Credit: Charly Tri

You have to rely on your experience, knowledge and equipment to get you through the Arrowhead 135 and Iditarod Trail Invitational. What was the most valuable lesson learned as an experienced veteran during these brutally challenging races?

"Most valuable. Train and test. Look for those absolute coldest days, and if it means waking up at 3am to finally get a ride in at -20F the do it. Pushing yourself through crappy weather in training gets you ready to push yourself through crappy weather in races. Leave your bike out overnight on the coldest nights and see if it still operates correctly in the morning. Do the cables still work well? Do your axles turn without a lot of added force, pulleys? Brakes still retract? Tires still hold air? If you can't ride all night at silly cold temps, you at least can make sure you bike tries it." 

Image Credit: Tom Morgan

With the large number of calories burned during races of this magnitude, how do you fuel up before and during a race to give you the energy you need?

"I have a steady diet of butter and ice cream leading up to a race. Kidding, kidding. I really don't eat differently. I will make sure I am full all the time the day or 2 before, but you can only load your body with so many calories. Also, you body adapts, especially the long the effort. It learns to feed off your own fat stores more (I have a lot). I am always surprised how much less I eat than I anticipate in these really long races. Now, you need to eat, regularly, but it is not like you need to stuff your face at all moments. You need to ride your bike a lot. I find my asthma is effected by processed sugar, so I tend not to fill my feedbags with such things. I have found recently though, it is something good to have on hand." 

Image Credit: Tom Morgan

How do you keep dehydration becoming an issue when you are out on the course for many hours at a time between checkpoints?

"I drink.
You want more?:) I bring a 100 ounce reservoir. That is enough for between checkpoints for me in most ultras. For Iditarod, I also brought an insulated thermos to carry hot water. My theory is if I ran out of regular water, I could stuff my Camelbak full of snow, and melt it down with with the hot water quickly. Never had to do it, but it I was prepared to. Also, you need to bring the ability to melt down snow."

Image Credit: Adrienne Gillespie

I've heard stories of racers encountering wolves out on the Arrowhead 135 course. Have you experienced this in the past 5 times you've competed?

"I wish, but don't wish at the same time, but no. Seen tons of tracks. Two years ago the snow was coming down extremely heavy, I saw fresh tracks as I had my head down at one point. Had I been looking up I am sure I would have seen one. In all of Iditarod I saw one moose, at night. I don't have any good animal stories, sorry. But, my plan for Iditarod is if it gets to cold is to slice open a Tauntaun's belly and sleep inside." 

Do you have a training regimen to get you ready for the Arrowhead 135 and Iditarod? How do you work it in to your schedule with work and having a family? Both must be very supportive of your endeavors.

"My wife is amazing. She is a marathon runner that understands much of the "why" in what I do. She is great and I could not do what I do without her. That being said, it is not uncommon for me to leave the house late at night in order to sneak in a ride. Rochester Cycling is also very accommodating to my silly attempts at trying to kill myself. I have a plan I often follow leading up to events, much based off of Joe Friel's book."

Image Credit: Charly Tri

Your choice of bike, components and equipment are very important to being successful during these extreme winter endurance races. What bike/equipment choices do you think give you an advantage over the competition?

"I don't think of my gear choices as an advantage as much as seeking out the best. Thanks to 9:ZERO:7, Bike Bag Dude, Nextie Rims, and Wolftooth Components I have extremely light equipment that is able to take a huge amount of abuse. Reliability is what I value above all else, but I, like everyone it seems, also strive for a light set up. The rest of what I ride has been acquired over the years, often as Xmas gifts and such. I want absolute confidence when I start again on the Iditarod Trail or any other ultra race. My sponsors, especially 9:ZERO:7 make what I do possible." 

Image Credit: Tom Morgan

The cold temperatures that the Arrowhead 135 and the Iditarod Trail Invitational are famous for can wreak havoc on the functionality of your bike's components. How do you avoid these problems and have they ever played a role in cutting your race short?

"The cold has tried to wreck my race, but equipment wise it has not yet. Changing a tube at -30F is an experience I would rather not relive. But I seek out cold days to test, test, test."

Thanks again for doing this. I really appreciate it. I know how important having sponsors for my own site can be and I make sure to promote them every chance I get. Without them I wouldn't be able to do what I do and I'm sure you would share the same sentiment with regard to your racing.

"THANKS DUDE!!"

Charly placed sixth at the 2015 Arrowhead 135 with a time of 15 hours 51 minutes.  His next challenge is the Iditarod Trail Invitational which starts on Sunday, March 1st.

1/29/2015

Product Review: Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition & T-Way Wrench


I never go on a ride without being prepared for the unexpected and carrying a compact and versatile multi-tool that has leverage is a must for me.  I've used other multi-tools in the past but they didn't compare once Fix It Sticks came to the market.  Ever since finding out about them at Interbike 2013, they are all I carry and have come to the rescue on many occasions whether I was riding my mountain bike, fatbike or cyclocross bike.

Now that the new stronger steel Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition is available, it has even more versatility and the bits I need for all of my bikes.  The set doesn't take up much space in my seat pack or frame bag and when I need them for a task I snap them together to form a T-wrench.  With two position wrenching (see photo below) I have plenty of leverage and reach to get the job done.

It's nice having Fix It Sticks' variety of replaceable bits with me out on the trail or gravel roads.  They have come in quite handy on many occasions from adjusting the height of my saddle or realigning it after a crash, removing a skewer (no quick release) to change a flat and tightening a loose cleat on my W√∂lvhammers, just to name a few.

Strong Neodymium magnets hold the bits in place while wrenching and I can add any standard 1/4" bit from my toolbox to use if the need should arise.  This flexibility not only works great for use on my bikes but also for tasks around the house.  The set comes with eight of the most commonly used bits for road and mountain bikes.  It is the ultimate compact multi-tool with all of the leverage and torque I need to get me back in the saddle and riding should a repair or adjustment be needed.

Specifications
  • Includes 8 interchangeable bits (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Torx 25, Phillips #2)
  • Accepts any standard ¼” bit
  • All steel construction
  • Neodymium magnets hold the bits securely in place
  • Maximum torque: 54 Nm
  • Weight: 118 grams

Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition sets are available from Fix It Sticks and can be ordered form your local Penn Cycle shop for $35.99.

The Fix It Sticks T-Way Wrench is a great new shop tool and bases its design on the original Fix It Sticks.  It features a permanently secured T-shape with a longer shaft and a speed spinner for quicker wrenching.  This longer shaft allows for exceptional leverage and reach for everything from building a bike to swapping out pedals.  Just like the Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition, it accepts any standard 1/4" bit should I need more than the 7 interchangeable bits that it comes with.  It implements those same strong Neodymium magnets to hold the bits in place too.


The T-Way Wrench is my go-to tool when working on my bikes at home.  The torque is incredible and the reach gets me into most places to do my wrenching.  I love the speed spinner on the long shaft for tightening or loosening screws and bolts quickly.  Simply hold it between two fingers and spin the top of the T.  With its variety of bits and 3 ends to hold them it really is an extremely useful shop tool for under $30. 


Specifications
  • Permanently secured T-shape for shop / garage use
  • All steel construction
  • Speed spinner for quick fastening
  • Includes 7 interchangeable bits (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Torx 25)
  • Accepts any standard ¼” bit
  • Neodymium magnets hold the bits securely in place

Fix It Sticks T-Way Wrench is available from Fix It Sticks and can be ordered form your local Penn Cycle shop for $29.99.

Disclosure:  Fix It Sticks provided the review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

1/21/2015

Cuyuna Lakes MTB Crew & MN DNR Unveil Master Plan for Trail Expansion In Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area


On January 8th the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew held their Annual Meeting unveiling the Master Vision for Trails within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in coordination with the MN DNR and Crow Wing County.  This vision is expected to cost around $6 million but the CLMTB Crew estimates that it will bring $21 million of economic impact to the area each year once constructed.


For more details on the Cuyuna Master Vision for Trails visit MN Trails' article Cuyuna Crew Has Mountain Bike Vision.  Watch the video below to see the full Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew 2015 Annual Meeting that was streamed live and learn more about the Cuyuna Master Vision for Trails (presentation starts at 55:18).

1/15/2015

New Fatbike Events in Minnesota This Winter


New fatbike events continue to be announced around the state proving that "fatbikes are not a fad".  They are definitely here to stay and trail access is growing, including cross country ski trails that are starting to accommodate them for one-day events where they would normally not be allowed.  I have compiled a list of events that are brand new this year and hopefully they will continue in upcoming years.  With more cyclists getting into riding fat, the success of these events is sure to spur many more new races and rides for fatbikers in Minnesota in the future.


The Fat Wednesday Fat Bike and Snowshoe Race Series will be taking place Turtle Lake Regional Park in Shoreview over 4 dates, January 14th & 21st and February 4th & 18th.  On site registration starts at 6 pm, Novice/Recreation bike race starts at 7 pm with the Open bike race starting at 7:30 pm.  To download the registration form, click here.  Visit the Fat Wednesday Fat Bike and Snowshoe Race Series Facebook page for updates.

From Jeremy Sartain (race organizer):
Where: Turtle Lake Regional Park, 4979 Hodgson Road, Shoreview MN. Main park entrance by public boat launch.

Cost and Registration: $20 per event.  $70 for the series. Cash or check only please (checks made out to ‘SAS’). We will not race if conditions are deemed dangerous by Ramsey County Parks and Rec or by me. Extremely cold temps, white-out conditions, complete lack of snow can all contribute to a cancellation. Please follow us at http://www.facebook.com/fatwednesday for grooming details and more. I’ll post on this site too, but FB is a quick upload on the fly and will have information there first.  In the event of a cancellation, we will reschedule for the following Wednesday and any entries will be forwarded to the next race.

Racer Details: All event participants must have a rear flashing light. A headlamp or bike mounted light on the front is highly recommended. Helmets are mandatory for fat bikers. You can ride any bike you want (MTB, cross, unicycle – just no motors).  Categories for bike races (subject to increase depending on attendance): Open men and women ( 1 hour plus race), Recreation/Novice (approximately 30-40 minute race).  Snowshoe is a mass start and will be approximately 5km.  Swag prizes for top 3 female and male in each race division each night. Raffle prizes for all.

Course: Mainly on Turtle Lake with some fun technical sections. This track will be maintained over the winter so feel free to ride and/or snowshoe outside of race nights. I will add a new feature to each race.  Single loop for snowshoe, multiple loops for bike – number of loops will be determined each evening depending on conditions.

Freewheel Bike just announced Fat Thursdays Super Fat Crit Series at Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge in Spring Park.  Racing starts January 22nd and will continue "every Thursday until the snow melts".  Like the flyer says, registration starts at 6:00 pm and racing starts at 6:30 pm.  Visit the Freewheel Bike Facebook page for updates on the series.





The  River Bend Nature Center in Faribault will be holding Get To Know Fat Bikes & Ride on February 14th to support and promote Winter riding.  They will be packing all of their cross-country ski trails (10 miles) for fatbikes to ride for one day only.  Demo bikes will be available for short rides and there will be tours every 90 minutes.  Ride your own fatbike on the trails by purchasing a $5 Day Pass ($3 for River Bend members).  For more information contact Kaytlan Moeller at the River Bend Nature Center by calling 507-332-7151.  For driving directions to the River Bend Nature Center, click here.

The Three Rivers Park District is having its Snowdown Fat Bike Fun Race on February 15th from 1 to 4 pm at Cleary Lake Regional Park in Prior Lake.  This will be a fat tire circuit-style race on a 12 foot wide packed trail. The 5k Beginner race starts at 1:15 pm and the 10k Action Race will begin at 2:15 pm.  Preregistration is only $12 or register in person the day of the race for $15.  Raffle prizes will be drawn after the races.  A limited number of fatbike rentals will be available for raceday, call 763-694-7777 for availability.

Brookview Golf Course in Golden Valley is hosting the Brookview Meltdown on February 21st.

Race Information
When: Saturday, February 21, 2015
First Race Starts at 10 am
Where: Brookview Golf Course, 200 Brookview Parkway, Golden Valley, MN 55426
Check In: Friday, February 20, 12:00-8:00 pm and Saturday, February 21, 7:30-10:00 am
Format: Categories will include Beginner (1 lap), Sport (2 laps), and Expert (3 laps). Each lap is approximately 3.5 miles. Races will be timed using computer chips with a mini-wave start format. Bike tires must be a minimum of 3.8” wide.
Fees: $20 per participant for pre-registration (limited to 160 participants)
$25 registration day of race (if space is available)
Registration and Payment to Brookview Golf Course
Questions? Call 763-512-2305

Visit the Brookview Golf Course Facebook page for updates.  Download the Registration Form for flyer and release form.


The Frostbiter: Fat Bike Race for Easter Seals will be held February 21st at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino in Grand Portage.  Online Registration is now live for this event.

From the Frostbiter Facebook page:
The Frostbiter: 20 and 40 mile fat bike races on beautifully groomed trails! 8am start for the 40, 9am for the 20. Lunch at noon. $50 entry goes to the Easter Seals Foundation (http://www.easterseals.org/), or FREE with $100+ in pledges. Do 1 or 2 x 20mile/32km loop on groomed snowmobile trails. Lunch at the lodge included! +Special rates Friday evening at the Lodge. +prize(s) for big pledge getters. More info to come, but SAVE THE DATE!

Nicollet Bike is presenting the first ever Nicollet Bike Fat Bike Gravity Fest on March 1st at Mount Kato in Mankato.  I spoke with MAMB Member Clay Haglund briefly about this event and he told me it would be a "Gravity Based Fat Bike event/ride/Super D race. Only $20 for lift ticket. We will have a dedicated lift to use with the bikes, we can only use this lift. Lift will be run on slow mode for safety reasons of loading and unloading with a bike. Only one person with a bike per chair will be allowed.  Waiver will need to be signed to participate."

From the Facebook Event page:
If you love Fat Biking and Love riding Downhill then this is THE EVENT for you!

What: Nicollet Bike Fat Bike Gravity Fest
When: Sunday March 1st 2015 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Where: Mount Kato Ski Area Mankato MN
Why: Cause it's going to be awesome!
Cost: Only $20 for lift ticket with Time Trial included

Come ride down Mt. Kato and have the lift take you and your fat bike back up. A specific course and trail will be set aside for us to use and a specific chair lift. Open practice time will be from 12:00 until 3:30 with a downhill time trial held at 3:30. Time trial is included with lift ticket purchase. This Time Trial will be run as a Super D, meaning that some pedaling and a very small amount of uphill will be included. However, overall this will be primarily a downhill event.

Please contact Nicollet Bike Shop with any questions. 507-388-9390



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Bemidji Area Mountain Bikers are hosting the 1st Annual Northland Fat Bike Rally on March 1st at Lake Bemidji State Park in Bemidji.

From the MN DNR:
The first annual Northland Fat Bike Rally is planned to begin late-morning and end mid-afternoon on Sunday, March 1st. The race is free, with 10K and 28K options. The race will begin with a mass start on Lake Bemidji and head up Rocky Point Trail and traverse out to Fish Hawk Trail and back. Northern Cycle will be on-site to answer any questions you have about Fat Biking or to help get your rig ready. Non-racers are welcome--please come out and learn all about this growing sport! More event details will come in January along with a map of the planned race route. This is the only time during the winter that park trails will be open for fat biking. For additional information call the park office at 218-308-2300. 

More information is available on the Northland Fat Bike Rally Facebook Event page.

1/08/2015

Miesville FiftySix Returns for Second Year


The Miesville FiftySix returns for its second year (formerly known as the Miesville Grinder) on Sunday April 19th, 2015.  This is a ride through some of the best scenery that country gravel roads close to the Twin Cities can provide and according to the organizers, "The route consists of more than 90% gravel roads through Dakota County."  Like its namesake, the route will be 56 miles starting and finishing at Jack Ruhr Stadium (home of the Miesville Mudhens) in downtown Miesville.

The idea for this ride was that of Marsh Jones who realized the area around Miesville, New Trier, Vermillion and Welch was "...one of the few places within 45 miles of the metro that had enough gravel roads that were interesting enough to make a complete ride".  After last year's successful turnout for the Miesville Grinder, Marsh has passed the torch to Sean Pease and Angela Hop as the Miesville FifySix event organizers. 


This free and unsupported gravel ride will travel through areas North and West of Miesville, including passing by the Little Log Cabin Pioneer Village, Alexis Bailly Vineyard and Chimney Rock Scientific & Natural Area.  From there the route heads South across HWY 50, through a stretch of Minimum Maintenance Road before turning East through the rolling gravel roads of  New Trier.  Then riders will take a short stretch of paved road which turns into gravel again as it descends into the Miesville Ravine. Climbing out of the ravine turns the route into easy rolling farmland before heading up a big hill for a second fast descent into Miesville Ravine Regional Park.  A short ride along the Cannon River leads through the floodplain towards another big, but scenic climb out of the valley on the Orlando Trail.  One more long and fast descent heads toward the valley floodplain and river on the Welch Trail before the final long climb of the route.  Rolling hills flatten out as the route makes its way back towards Miesville.


The Miesville FiftySix is a free ride with no support and no signs.  You are responsible for you, so bring everything you will need.  Printable cue sheet will be made available on the Miesville FiftySix website.  This will be a mass start with the first mile being blacktop.

If you want in doing so is easy, just send a postcard with your full name, date of birth, email address and emergency contact information (name and phone number) to:

Miesville FiftySix
8490 Forestview Ln. N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Ride will be capped at 250 participants.  A waiver will need to be signed the morning of the ride and then you will receive your ride number and packet.


Rules


  1. You are in charge of yourself.  100%! This is an unsupported ride
  2. You must send in a postcard to register.  You will be added to the list.  The list will be posted.
  3. Everyone must wear a helmet.
  4. Be prepared for anything. Weather. Mechanical issues. Hydration. Food.
  5. Keep the course clean.
  6. Be respectful and uphold all traffic laws.
  7. Communicate with other riders.
  8. Ride safely and use good judgement.
  9. Don’t be a Dusche (German for shower, English for something not like a shower).  
  10. Expect nothing; but if you need something, ask.


After the ride be sure to stop in at Miesville FiftySix sponsor Kings Bar & Grill.  It's a great opportunity to relax and have a cold beer or one of the best burgers around with fellow riders.

This low-key ride is a great opportunity for those that love gravel and those that want to try it out and experience some great scenery while riding with others.  Whether you are an experienced gravel rider or would like to give gravel a try, I encourage you to sign up for the Miesville FiftySix and crush some gravel.  I'll See you on April 19th!

For more information and updates, visit the Miesville FiftySix website and Facebook page.

1/02/2015

2015 Minnesota Gravel Grinders


Rural Minnesota is home to quite a few long standing gravel road races and with the growing popularity of the sport, rides to introduce those new to gravel are beginning to pop up, too.  With varying terrain, minimum maintenance roads, elevation changes, great rural scenery and unpredictable weather in the Spring and Fall, these events are sure to be fun and challenging.  Almost all of them are free, but unsupported requiring the participants to be their own repair and support crew.


This season's calendar will include all types of  gravel races and rides from around the state.  Some of these have registration cutoff dates, have a rider cap, or more information and registration details that are yet to be announced.  Below is a list of all of the gravel events in Minnesota that I'm aware of in chronological order.  I will continue to update and add events to this post as they become available.  If you are a race or event organizer and would like your event listed here and on my 2015 Minnesota Bike Tours, Rides, Races & Events Schedule, please send me an e-mail


Northern Exposure Ride V1-January 17, 2015
Solemn Lutheran Church
Hawley, MN
Approximately 30 miles 

Southern Exposure v1-February 21, 2015
Solem Lutheran Church
Hawley, MN
30-35 miles 

Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville-March 28, 2015
Lakeville, MN
Approx. 80 miles 
100 rider cap 

Dirty Girl Women's Gravel Ride-April 11, 2015
Jack Ruhr Stadium
Miesville, MN
Approximately 50 miles 

Ragnarök 105-April 11, 2015
Red Wing, MN
105 miles
105 rider cap
Registration closed 

Mammoth Gravel Classic-April 18, 2015
Cyclova XC
St. Croix Falls, WI
100, 70, 35 miles 
Facebook Event Page 

Miesville FiftySix-April 19, 2015
Jack Ruhr Stadium
Miesville, MN
56 miles
250 rider cap
Postcard registration
Facebook Page 

Dickie Scramble-April 25, 2014
Elgin, MN
Approximately 75 miles
Registration open to day of race.
Facebook Event Page  

Penn Cycle Group Ride Tailgate Series-Gravel Ride-May 3, 2015
Caron Park
Faribault, MN
56 miles 

Alexander 380-May 15, 2015
Spring Valley, MN
380 miles
Postcard registration is now open

Almanzo 100/Royal 162-May 16, 2015
Spring Valley, MN 
162, 100 miles
Postcard registration is now open 

Driftless Dessertion 2015-June 6-7, 2015
Cyclocarbon
Rochester, MN 

Box of Frogs-June 7, 2015
Mississippi Riverfront
St. Paul, MN
60+ miles
Facebook Page 

Westside Dirty Benjamin-June 13, 2015
Chaska, MN
100 miles
Registration  

Woodticker 200-June 13, 2015
HLS Parish Center
Hawley, MN
200 miles 
Facebook Event Page  

RiotGRRRaveL-June 20, 2015
Hastings, MN
50, 30 miles 
Online Registration
200 rider cap 

Innuendo Gravel Grinder-June 21, 2015
Climax, MN
200, 100 miles 

French Lake Gravelfest-July 18, 2015
French Lake, MN
Facebook page 

Dirty Lemming-July 25, 2015
Watertown, MN
100 mile, 100 km
Postcard registration opens April 1st
100 rider cap 

Gritty Goose Gravel Grinder-August 1, 2015
Monticello, MN
65-70 miles
Online Registration   

Tour de Save-August 1, 2015
Riverside Park
Northfield, MN
62, 25, 10 miles & 100k gravel
Facebook page
Online Registration   

Fiddlin' Fifty-August 22, 2015
Balkan Township, MN
Approximately 50 miles
New Website
Facebook Page 
Event Flyer 
100 Rider Cap
Postcard registration closes July 1st 

The Heck Epic-August 22-23, 2015
Two Harbors/Ely, MN
220 miles 

Dirty Girl Adventure Gravel Ride-August 23, 2015
House of Coates
Coates, MN
30 miles 

River Valley 100-August 30, 2015
Mankato, MN
100 mile paved, 100 km paved,
100 km gravel ride, 100 km gravel race
Registration 

Legendary Laurentian-September 5, 2015
Giants Ridge
Biwabik, MN  

La Crosse Gravel Classic-September 6, 2015
La Crosse, WI
56 miles 
Online Registration


The Gravel Conspiracy-September 11-13, 2015
Duluth, MN
Route to be determined
Registration opening in March
75 rider cap 
Facebook Event page  

Back Forty F**k Festival-September 12, 2015
Denmark Twp, MN
80 miles
Registration 
Facebook Page   

Inspiration 100-September 12, 2015
Garfield, MN
100 miles
Postcard registration opens July 1st.
Facebook Page  

Tour of Filmore-September 27, 2015
Lanesboro, MN
75 miles 

Heck of the North Gravel Cycling Classic-October 3, 2015
Two Harbors, MN
110, 55 miles
Online Registration begins May 1st.
Facebook Page 

Woodchipper 100 v4-October 3, 2015
Viking Park
Hawley, MN
100 miles 
Facebook Event Page  

Goodhue Gravel Grinder-October 4, 2015
Dennison, MN
Approximately 50 miles  

The Filthy 50-October 11, 2015
Stewartville, MN
52 miles
Online Registration 

Dirt Bag-October 18, 2015
Clearwater, MN
Facebook page

1/01/2015

Fatbike Group Rides in Minnesota


Fatbike group rides are happening all Winter long and to help you find out the what, when and where so you can join in, I have put together a list of bike shop rides, regular weekly rides and links where others are regularly posted.

Shop Rides


On Sundays from 12:30 to 2:30 pm the Hub Bicycle Co-Op has their Weekly Fat Bike Ride that meets at their store at 301 Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis.  Ride Description:

The ride will be a moderately paced 10-15 mile ride going to places such as the Minnesota River bottoms, Theodore Wirth Mountain Bike Trails, exploring the Mississippi River Bluffs and Minnehaha Creek.  Our definition of a fat tire bike is loose. You just need to be able to ride in snow on a variety of terrain. We will adjust distance due to weather conditions and will not ride if it's below 0 degrees F. Our goal is to create community, have fun, and stay riding during the long Minnesota Winter.


On Sundays at 9:00 am at Wirth Lake Beach in Minneapolis, Erik's Bike Shop hosts their weekly Sunday Morning Fatbikes at Theo ride.  The ride pace is set by the group each week and ride distance is usually 5-10 miles.  Ride description from the Erik's website:

*STARTS NOVEMBER 9th!!!!* This ride will start before the snow flies and carry through the thaw of Spring. You'll meet and ride at Theodore Wirth Park Mountain Bike Trail as long as conditions permit. Due to the initial wetness leading into Winter and the thaw in the Spring, expect to have various route changes and ride paces because they will be chosen by you, the riders! Fat bikes are strongly recommended, but 26+, 29+, and 2.4+ may get the job done. The goal is to have a blast and talk about all things bike related with a bias to all things Fat.


Freewheel Midtown Bike Center holds their Sunday Funday Ride at 2:00 pm on Sundays led by Jacob Haskins.  Ride description:

Departs Midtown at 2:00pm. Goes to the River Bottoms or other fun places. 20 - 30 Miles, speed is dependent on the group, always no drop. Check Facebook or call the store (612-238-4447) to get the most current information.


Milltown Cycles in Faribault holds its weekly Fat Tuesday shop ride every Tuesday this Winter from 6:30-8:30 pm.  Ride description:

We'll head out from Milltown Cycles by 6:30 - bring your lights!

Image Credit: Nicollet Bike Shop

Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato has its weekly Fat Bike Mountain Bike Ride every Tuesday during the Winter at 5:30 pm.  For more details visit their Facebook page or call the shop at 507-388-9390.  Ride description:

Ride will leave the shop at 5:30. Lights required. Ride will be a mix of single track, ATV trail, and pavement. Once we have snow on the ground this ride will switch to Fat Bikes only.


Michael's Cycles hold a Wednesday night ride usually at the MN River Bottoms or Murphey-Hanrehan at 6:30 pm.  They also have a Saturday morning ride out of their Chaska store at 8:00 am.  See the Micheal's Cycles Facebook page or the Michael's Cycles-Chaska Facebook page for updates on weekly rides.

Group Rides


COGGS (Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores) holds its weekly Monday Night Fatbike Ride at various locations in and around Duluth.  Rides start at 6pm and take place at locations like Hartley Park, Brewer Park, Lester Park, Piedmont and Minnesota Point Beach.  Keep up-to-date on each week's ride details by visiting the COGGS Monday Group Ride Fourm  or the COGGS Facebook page.  Ride description:

The MNR is an easy-paced, no-drop mountain bike ride. The ride starts at a different trail each week. Please call the shop (218-724-8525) to get the starting location. From 9/15/14 until 4/6/15 – weather dependent – the MNR becomes a Fat Bike ride. COGGS will run the show during this period. Please check their Facebook or website for location.

The Carver Lake Slow & Fat Ride takes place on Mondays at 6:00 pm weather permitting.  This is an easy pace ride and lights are required.  See the MORC Group Rides Forum for weekly updates.


Faturday at the MN River Bottoms happens weekly on Saturdays at 10:00 am.  Riders usually meet up at the Lyndale Ave. parking lot or the Bloomington Ferry Unit parking lot.  Check the MORC Group Rides Forum or the MN Fatbike Group Rides group on Facebook for weekly updates.

Join the public group, MN Fatbike Group Rides on Facebook to view group rides throughout Minnesota or post up your own ride.  And finally, you can always check the MORC Group Rides Forum for new ride postings in the Twin Cities.

If you would like your fatbike group ride listed on this post, send me an email with the following details:
  • Day and time of rides
  • Ride schedule continues through (date, month, etc.)
  • Ride start location
  • Duration and distance of ride
  • Type of ride (casual/fast - drop/no drop)
  • Type of trails or terrain for ride route
  • Helmets and lights required?
  • Fatbike rentals available?
  • More information on group rides can be found at...(Facebook page, website, calling the shop, etc.)
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