Chequamegon Trail Update/Jimmy Mac MTB Hall of Fame Induction

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Yesterday Bill and I rode the complete Chequamegon course. The sections from Hayward to past Mosquito Brook were officially closed, but I figured that I was there on an official capacity, so the sign didn’t apply to us. It turns out that it is in way better shape than everyone around here has led me to believe. Chris Campbell and the trail guys have obviously spent a ton of time out there, by the amount of sawdust on the grass, and there really are only a couple trees across the trail that need to be removed by “real tree guys”.

There are also just a couple ponds on the course. Two that will be a problem. But when we got up to Telemark and gave Gary Crandall the trail report, he said they were going to be cutting alternate routes around the ponds.

The soil here does drain amazingly well. It is supposed to be raining the next two days, but I doubt that is going to be changing much out there. That is as long as they don’t get those crazy straight-line winds that caused the initial damage.

One thing to note is that the whole trail is significantly bumpier than in previous years. If you have a chance, you need to put on some tires that you can ride with low pressure. I’d suggest 20 psi or less for the average Chequamegon-ite. Bill has 2.25 Continentals on and was riding 18 psi. He rolled his rear tire over a couple times, but didn’t flat.

The 2nd half of the trail from OO to the finish is in good shape. They have been logging a fair amount from the top of the Firetower to the finish, so the roads have been graded a ton. I’m sure they will leave the roads in as best shape they can by Friday. Right now they have brought it a few truck loads of gravel to fill in the soft, muddy spots.

I’m totally up in the air about how I’m going to do. I can ride the race, but not sure about actually racing. We rode the course yesterday in about 2:40. It is a little different than in previous years. They cut a bit of the 2nd section of Birkie Trail out. A couple days ago, first day off-road, I rode up the Firetower climb in 3:04, which was 41 seconds off Brian Matter’s Strava KOM. My fastest time is 2:27. But yesterday, I rode up the hill in 2:32. That is just 5 seconds slower than the fastest I’ve ever climbed the hill, with a Garmin. And I wasn’t going full-on. That makes me feel much better about my ability. I know I won’t be able to ride with the leaders, but maybe better than I’d hoped. We’ll see.

Changing the subject, Jimmy Mac is getting inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame tonight, in Las Vegas, at Interbike. He asked me to introduce him, but I’ve been traveling way too much and couldn’t see going to Interbike. There is way too much walking in Las Vegas for a gimpy guy like me. If I could walk better, then, for sure, I would have went. Anyway, if you’re out at Interbike, you should go by the induction ceremony. It is at Ballroom L, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. There will be complementary beer and begins at 5:30pm. The induction ceremony will run from 6:15-7:30pm. Guess it’s been raining a ton there too.

Back to Northern Wisconsin. It is cold and rainy here today. Supposed to be that way until the weekend. The start temperature for the race is going to be cool/cold. I just passed 9000 miles for the year. That is missing pretty much all January and most of June and July. I’m starting to feel better riding. I think the weights I’ve been doing for my abductors are helping. I’ve been lake swimming the last couple days. Frog-kicking is good for my hip, I think. And the crawl stroke is good for my shoulder, so I guess I’m going to have to be swimming way more this fall. I’m not much into swimming, but that is just too bad.

Lots of people are showing up here soon. There are going to be at least 12 staying here, maybe more, you never know. Maybe it’s time we build another building here at Dennis’ compound.

Almost the only tree left across the course.  They are hiring professionals to remove this.

Almost the only tree left across the course. They are hiring professionals to remove this.

Rosie's field.  The damage is apparent about everywhere.

Rosie’s field. The damage is apparent about everywhere.

There are tons of leaves on the first section of Birkie trail.

There are tons of leaves on the first section of Birkie trail.

And a couple of these water puddles.

And a couple of these water puddles.

This is what we're racing for on Saturday.

This is what we’re racing for on Saturday.

Some of the previous winners.

Some of the previous winners.

I've ridden this seat exactly 3 times.  It seems like a seat that they sell for this much would be better than this.  I have the exact same seat on my road bike and have the same issue.

I’ve ridden this seat exactly 3 times. It seems like a seat that they sell for this much would be better than this. I have the exact same seat on my road bike and have the same issue.

12 thoughts on “Chequamegon Trail Update/Jimmy Mac MTB Hall of Fame Induction

  1. Jim Ochowicz

    Sure there’s even a need for an ATB? Place looks like a highway, or did you omit the rocks and mayhem to sucker folks into thinking it wasn’t technical?

    Keep it in your shorts come race day, I want you fit enough for the TSEpic next year

  2. Brent Findlay

    Rained most of the day here in Wausau, so I’d expect more of the same up there. I’m up from Little Rock for my first Cheq and am curious to see how my southern legs deal with the cool forecasted temps.

  3. Jason

    Plenty of people race cross bikes there. It is rough enough though that mountain bikes are still much faster.

  4. euro

    You’re nuts to ride this event in your current state. I hope we don’t see a post a day later from the hospital bed, after you received the news that you are permanently disabled.

  5. jp

    everyone has that issue with that saddle, if it isn’t already actually broken where its saggy and rippled, it will break soon enough. the specialized saddles are a pretty good way to go, you should try some out.

  6. Gr

    Specialized Toupe does the same thing – gets soft and saggy in the middle. I had to ditch them after a few months (171lbs) of use.

    I’m looking for a narrow nose saddle that does not bend in the middle.

  7. Brian

    Hey Steve,

    Based on your recon today, do you think mud tires will be necessary? Or do you think some good all-around tires would be good with the re-routes around the water. I’m rolling Conti x-king 2.2’s right now. Thanks and have a good race.


  8. Jack

    Brent – as veteran of Cheq (and fellow vet of Ouachita!), I recommend that you avoid dressing too warm. It will be freakin’ chilly when you wake up, but temps will climb fast. Besides, you will have 2,000 people to keep you warm.

    My biggest challenge with Cheq is getting used to the cold dry air. I’m always feel like my lungs are burning when I race in these Fall Midwest events .

  9. Jack

    Personally, I would not use mud tires on this course regardless of the rain especially if they add more gravel. Tire pressure will be key. Steve loves to run very soft, but the non-gravel sections will rattle your bones this year.

  10. Charles Dostale

    I didn’t know Frise won that a couple of times. I would have though all that dirt on his bike would drive hime crazy. Do you know how long it took him to clean it after ? Probably longer that it took him to race it.


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