MTB Tour of the North(pt 2)

Second day Saturday. Still hot (near 90) and still lots of bugs.

Saturday morn.

After finding a nice coffee shop in Minocqua and spending an hour there I was off to my next trail ride. WinMan trails are a privately owned system. Skiing and fat bikes by winter, MTB by summer. Sadly I dont have any pictures from on the trail as the flies were just so bad. Could not stop.

The trail system is on a smallish footprint. The trails wind back and forth right next to each other.I did a pretty good sized loop in 35 minutes but there were trails I did not hit first time thru. The second time I got to hit another loop and also the slalom downhill section. They have it all there. Here is a map. I started both laps on the yellow and finished on different loops. It was busy, maybe 30 bikes there at 10am. There is no fee to ride there but dont leave without making some donation. This stuff is hard to maintain. Lots of berms. The climbing was there but it was switch backed so not as hard. You can see there was a lot of nam hours here building these trails.

After a few hours there I was kinda done for the day and just did the up north sightseeing thing. Our family used to come up here a lot and I backtracked to all the old stomping grounds. The bike paths up here have grown quite a bit. Miles and miles of paved path between many small towns. I’ve been on them 10 years ago and I think they have doubled since. Lots of families on them.

The road riding up here is also second to none. Beautiful country roads with lakes on both sides. I always wanted to just come up here with the road bike. I just might.

I decided to spend the nite in Eagle River. There is a old school trail I was told about a few years ago. I’ll give that a try on Sunday morn before I head home.

The Hidden Lakes trail is not like the others I rode this weekend. Like I said its a old school trail. More like a hiking trail. Not maintained. Always in the rough. Again, no pics due to the insect population but I found some info on it.

This is about the best link on it.

Compared to the fast flowing man made trails I’ve been riding on this was twice as hard, twice as technical. No switchbacks here. You went straight up huge elevation changes. Rocky and roots all the way up. Needless to say it was hike a bike for me. But it was not the trails that kicked my ass. By this third day in the heat I was not keeping up with hydration. And it all came to a head halfway thru this trail. I just had nothing left to sweat out. I was in a bit of trouble. I knew I was going to make it out but I was so sick. I did about 9 miles of the trail and bailed out on a road crossing. Looked at my phone and found my way back to the lot. I could not eat the rest of the day. And Monday morn was a bit tough still. But feeling better now.

Here’s my ride on Connect. It does not look that hard but it was.

But what a beautiful trail. Winding thru lakes and campgrounds. Many times right along the water’s edge. I will for sure be back to try this one again. It’s a true MTB trail. And I’ll be better prepared so I can do the entire loop next time.

So that my weekend. It was fun to hit all the different trails with several different types of trails. I just wish my fitness was better so could have rode with another but at least I got out there. I would not hesitate to do it again.

I think I need to invest in a CamelBak.


MTB Tour of the North(pt 1)

I’ve got a lot to write about I guess. Three days of riding in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. I’ll have to put this in two posts. But I’ll start with a couple things…    1) It was hot. Every day. Humid too. All three days. 2) The mosquitoes and flies were terrible. All three days. My pictures are limited. It was impossible to stop. The flies were the worse. I was getting bite under my helmet as I rode. It was really that bad that it kinda defined the weekend. 3) Im very tired today. I spent most of the weekend dehydrated. A little sick. Then with that didnt eat much. So I feel like I’ve been rung thru a ringer today. And I slept 10 hours last nite.


I left the house at 7am Friday and I arrived at Nine Mile in Wausau around 930. The second I pulled into the lot it starts pouring. Looking at the radar it showed a bit of rain for about 10 minutes and then clear so I went back into town to fill up the car and maybe get a bite to20180713_120624 eat. An hour later I got back to the lot and kitted up.

It’s been years since I rode here. At least 5 or more. I think the last time I was here was acually 2010 for a race. Not sure. Anyway, off I was into the assault of the flies. I did a pretty good lap for about 30 minutes and when I got back to the car I thought another quick lap would be the ticket. So I started lap two but after about 10 minutes I just could not take getting bite on my head from the flies anymore so I bail on some cutoff and got back to the car with less than a hour on the bike. It was just mentally tough with the fly situation.

Me and all my friends at Nine Mile.

I packed up in Wausau and headed to Minocqua. About a hour or so drive. I had a room in Minocqua and got there around 2pm and was able to check in. Then grabbed a fresh kit and headed out to the Bearskin Trail with the Checkpoint.


The Bearskin is a 17 mile point to point on crushed gravel. The Checkpoint rocked this. Its a State trail and you need a trail pass to ride it. I had one as we need one also to ride our local State trails back home. It was late afternoon and the trail was kinda busy but not too bad. I rode it about 10 miles before I flipped. As you will notice in the pic Im in the big ring. I pretty much crushed everyone else on the trail.


You pass some lakes and rivers. There was a lot of people there this weekend as it was very hard to find a room for Friday nite. People everywhere. This is a very easy and comfortable trail. I’ve done it a few times before on my MTB when I was up here. A really nice cruise. And the flies were not that bad here. I got a little relief from that.


The after the trail I tooled around town for a bit. The ski show was about to start but I was just too tired to think about that. Just checked out all the shops and looked for a coffee shop for the morning. I got back to my room, cleaned up and was to bed by 830 (for real). Another day tomorrow. The tour continued.  More on that later….


The Plan


The extra hour I have in the morning lets me get back to what I Im used to. Spending time by the lake and taking pictures. I’ve decided no amount of morning coffee sales can offset this. It’s a big part of my life. Im much happier when I can spend time here in the morning. So you can look forward to more pics in the future.

This dude landed next to me on my favorite bench and had breakfast it seems. I watched him pretty much eat the whole thing. First thing he did was bite the head off.

So… I had planned on heading up to Hayward this weekend for a fundraiser ride. But the ride was cancelled due to low registration. Which I find weird. But anyway, I am working on quite the plan to go up anyway but not all the way up to Hayward. It’s going to be a small MTB tour of the north. Im going to start at 9 Mile in Wausau Friday morn. It’s been years since I rode there. Then after a couple of hours in the woods Im going to head up to Minocqua to hit up the Bearskin trail on the Checkpoint in the afternoon. 30 miles of gravel limestone. Then I have a room in  Minocqua Friday nite and hit up WinMin trails on Saturday morn and the Raven trails in the afternoon.

Thats a lot of riding in two days. 4 trail systems. And that leaves Sunday still. Im still working on that day. But it looks like a epic weekend and Im pretty excited.

I leave early Friday and plan on being up in Wausau and riding by 10am. It’s a 2.5 hour drive. Get there and ride a couple hours then it’s about a hour and a half drive to the Bearskin in Minocqua for maybe a three hour ride on the Checkpoint.  Then on Saturday morn its less than a hour drive to the WinMin trails in Manitowish Waters. After some time there then also less than a hour to the Raven trails that puts me back near Minocqua. Not sure where Im staying Saturday nite or riding Sunday before I head home. I’ll nail that down in a day or two. Might be headed over to the Eagle River area. The bike paths up there are amazing and extensive. I would have no problem riding the Checkpoint on a 30 mile bike path to somewhere on Sunday before I head back home.

This is going to be a epic bike riding weekend. The weather looks good so far. In the past I’ve taken my laptop and such along to post something along the way but I’ve just come to the conclusion that its better to just unplug and thats what I will do. At least no computer. There will always be my phone.

This will be my last post this week. I have a boatload of stuff to get done in the next two days. I need to be locked and loaded end of day tomorrow. I leave town early Friday, like 6am (ish). Im headed up alone but thats fine by me. My window to do this stuff in summer is small and I gatta go when I get a chance. Friday will be my first day out of store since the Fat Bike Birkie early March.

Im sure I will Facebook and Instagram all the trouble I will get into… Will report here next week…


Weekend w\Pics


Finally a MTB ride on Sunday. It’s been like two weeks since. I hit up out local State trails we call Greenbush. It’s the biggest system around but not the best (at least for me). Im pretty sure I was the only one there which is weird as the weather was perfect for a Sunday morn. Needing more time on this bike I did form some opinions.

One is the wheel size. Being a 29+ guy for the last three years this is the first “normal” 29er MTB Ive had in years. I do notice the smaller diameter wheel which is weird cuz its not the much smaller than a plus bike. First off I do notice rolling over stuff. Being a bigger guy I just loved the way those big 29+ tires rolled over stuff. I notice I have to lean back or lift the front tire more.

But while thats a small negative there is a small positive. Gear ratio. The slightly smaller tire\wheel measures out to a higher granny gear ratio. And Ive noticed I can climb a bit better. And this is with the same driveline. Sram Eagle with a 30 tooth oval ring. While my climbing is “slower” Im 20180708_100308on the bike much longer on the killer climbs. Steep efforts that I claimed only half the time Ive hit every time on this bike. It is 5 pounds lighter too but Im sure its the lower ratio thats keeping me upright on the tough stuff.

I have to say that is helping me with my motivation. Walking up hills when others ride is a buzzkill that I’ve been experiencing for many years now. They still have to wait for me on top but Im there much faster now that I can stay in the saddle. And its not fitness either. Im in poor shape. When its selling season in the summer I just dont have enough time to ride as much as I want to. But that will come later. Fall is my time.

My ride time is now in the morning again. I looked how much coffee I sold between 9 and 10am and it just does not make sense to open any earlier than 10am. That will change in the future as I just have not put a big emphasis on the coffee part of the store being so busy with bikes. And of course available help plays in the decision too.

Friday nite\Saturday morn I commuted home with the Checkpoint. I plan on doing that again tonite. It’s just a extra hour on the bike that I would normally not get. It all adds up.

And I just had a good buddy call me for a nooner today and Im on board. Again just an hour but its all good.

So I better go, I have a ton of ordering to do before I ride…