Monday, December 30, 2013

Great Conditions

Ski Trails: all groomed and tracked
Snowshoe Trails: Great. No more slush.

Fat Biking:

  • Super. Finally solid. Rode trail Z clean for the first time ever tonight.
  • Dog Lake: Very nice.  Traction finally.
  • Mist Lake: Not bad. The Long Bog was tough.  No reason not to try it unless you're afraid of a little walking and a few coyotes.

  • Bradley Park, Tomahawk: Ready to ride
  • Washburn Lake, Rhinelander: Solid trail all the way around
  • Hanson Lake, Rhinelander: Rumors of plenty of solid trail
  • Sunnyvale Park, Wausau: Probably great too.  I'll find out tomorrow.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Foggy and fun

Ski trails are all tracked including Loop Road.  Snowshoe trails are frosty and tracked.
The Big Bog loop is super for fat bikes, but the trail to Dog Lake was still too soft today.  We'll check back after the thaw-freeze.

Paul and Pace

Andrew and Pat on the Big Bog

Paul on Heartbreak Ridge

Andrew and Beth on the Bumpy Bog

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Ski Trails: Machine tracked today
Snowshoe trails: Still beautiful

Fat Biking
A&Z: Really fun, actual traction!
Big Bog Loop: Solid but slippery
Dog Lake: Too much walking, but better by the weekend
Mist Lake: All hiking
Bradley Park: 80% ride-able, but 100% groomed

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

3 Inches of Powder

Underdown snowshoe trails were all dragged since the last snowfall.

Skiing: Good
Snowshoeing: Beautiful
Biking: OK, but wait for the weekend

Bradley Park: Bigger berms than last year
Sunnyvale Park: Looks fun
Beth's Bog

Bridge Lake

Big Bog

Ice Age Trail

Dog Lake

Lots of this on the Long Bog

Braxton Pond

Long Bog

Mist Lake

Slush in the tracks should freeze up nice tonight

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

X-Mas Trails

  • X-country ski trails were all perfectly tracked today except for Loop Road.  
  • I rode the Big Bog loop tonight - still solid and slippery, quite fun.  Someone else had ridden to Dog Lake ahead of me.  I'm sure it had its moments though I only saw one major snow angel on the Bumpy Bog.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Conditions Until It Snows Again

Ski: All trails tracked and skied in except for Loop Road which has truck tracks.
Snowshoe: Really great.  Tracks all the way around the Mist Lake Loop.

Fat Bike
Big Bog Loop: Ready to ride.
Dog Lake: Really tough
Mist Lake: A hike all the way
Sunnyvale Park, Wausau: 75%

Friday, December 20, 2013

Underdown Snow

Skiing: OK
Snowshoeing: Great
Biking: OK

Some ski trails were tracked with a bit of powder on top.  Trucks are still driving Loop Road.  Snowshoe trails have a good tread and will be signed to Mist Lake Saturday.  Fat biking is good on A&Z and fair beyond.  Ride slow and in the gutter on the RASTA boardwalk.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not Too Cold

Underdown ski trails were dragged this week and skied in a little this weekend.  Snowshoe trails have tracks and signs to Dog Lake with logs and brush removed.  Underdown is not ready for fat bikes yet, but could be soon once things set up.  A & Z are ready to ride, but just barely.
Bradley Park in Tomahawk was a fun ride Saturday, and I had an interesting ride on the Merrill City Forest crane marsh south-east of the Underdown.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Frozen Trails

I hiked the Big Bog loop and put signs out today - probably the earliest ever.  Lakes are frozen solid and a few inches of crunchy snow are on the ground.
Ski trails haven't seen any maintenance, but are snow covered.  Loop Road is still getting truck traffic.
Fat bikes gave the single track a try, but found ATV tracks on the ski trails a better bet.  Trail A is OK for fat bikes, but that's it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

274.5 Hours

That's how much time Underdown volunteers donated this cycling season.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ride Trial X

It has a new start and new finish.  Paul, Steve and Andrea helped me finish it this weekend.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2014 Course is Clean

Ride it Saturday night.
I feel like playing in the dirt on the X to C hill during the day.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ghost Ride

Saturday October 26th @ 6PM

A night ride that covers all the trails that weren't in this year's race, but will be in the 2014 Thunderdown.

Thunderdown Cup 2013

Rhinelander 351
Wausau 348
Duluth 105
Green Bay 81
Ohio 75

Alone in the Underdown: A Haunting

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Much like 2012, but with lots of new boardwalk and funky improvements!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Great Time to Ride

Weather is cooling.  Leaves are turning. Trails are mowed again.

Steve did a ton of mowing yesterday, and today Jason and Kelly helped me finish it all up.


*Jason and Kelly gave trail W a great new line around the root nest on the 22nd, and a funky new line at the top of homestead will be done October 1st.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Saturday September 21st: Tomahawk 90 gravel ride 
Meet at Sarah Park at 9AM.

Sunday October 6th: Thunderdown Pre-ride
10 AM

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 WEMS Championship

Saturday October 12th, 2013
Underdown Recreation Area

  • 10 Hour: 10AM to 8PM
  • 6 Hour: 1PM to 7PM
  • 3 Hour: 3PM to 6PM
  • Sunset: 6:20PM 
 There will be pitch black racing!

This race counts as 2 races for series riders who have completed four other WEMS races this season.

  • 15-ish miles for 10 Solo, 10 Duo, 6 Solo
  • 9-ish miles for 10 Team, 6 Duo, 3 Solo
  • The course is much like last year's layout, but over 200 feet of boardwalk has been added since we saw you last.  All racers will ride trail CC, our latest and greatest. The long course will ride Oktoberfest this year.

The first 100 racers will receive one of the brand new WEMS water bottles.  Registration includes your daily trail pass! Registration

  • Camping is available on site for a small fee.  No reservations necessary.
  • The closest gas is in Gleason, but the best snacks will be found on the north end of Gleason at Prairie Pines.
  • The best burgers and pizza are found at the Lighthouse on X south of Gleason.
  • The best swimming hole is where J crosses the Prairie River on the way to Bloomville.

Wausau will put the Thunderdown Cup on the line while Rhinelander looks to take it back.  Register your town by 3PM on race day.

  • Thuderdown winners will again receive growlers, pints and more.
  • WEMS series winners will receive their awards and prizes from Hammer, Giant, Primal, Velocity and more.
  • The Velocity wheel set will be given to a lucky series rider.  Every race entered by a series rider earns one entry in the drawing.
  • Bonus prizes and post-race festivities!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Odd Jobs

Underdown trails are in great shape, although they always seem tougher on a hot day like today.  There are no group projects on the horizon, but there are a few things to do before race day.  Help is much appreciated.  Post a reply if I don't see you first.

  1. Mow Oktoberfest (T, S, TT)
  2. Mow G, U, W, F, V area 
  3. Figure out water bars on I
  4. Cut roots on G & H
  5. Mow White Lightning (I) and start-end of LL
  6. Rake through skidder tracks once they finish getting the logs out (U)
  7. Monitor log jobs that might happen on X, M & KK
  8. Remove leaves once they fall

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Honey Badger BURGR

274 Miles, 191 Gravel
Merrill, Gleason, Summit Lake, Hazelhurst, Phillips, Prentice, Ogema, Rib Lake
Download PDF Here

I didn’t set out to build a giant ride, and it’s a good thing that I didn’t realize how long it would be or I might not have set out to ride it yesterday.  The plan was to link the gravel gems of five counties, and that led to a 285 mile ride that took me 24 hours to complete.  I’d been apprehensive about riding through the Averill Creek wolf pack and hoped to pass them before dark, but the route proved so much longer than expected that I didn’t reach wolf territory until 2AM.

I didn’t get eaten and didn’t even see the wolves in the Newwood fog.  Everything went just right on the ride.  It never got too hot or cold, and clear skies gave me the light of a full moon.  Running my Jetlite on low gave plenty of light and made it through the night with power to spare.  I was able to ration the battery by riding by moonlight on the easier roads, but it probably wasn’t necessary. 

With towns along the way for resupply, I’d taken a wad of Hammer Gels, a bag of honey badger burgers and four bottles that never went completely dry before another town was in sight.  I found three of the towns completely shut down in the dark, but somehow managed to get what I needed.  Once I asked some local kids where to find water in Ogema at 9:30PM and was directed to a church left wide open, and in Rib Lake I bummed a bottle of water off a fisherman who happened to be out at 11:30.

Morning Deer
I ate a variety of food so my guts and my head stayed good the whole time, and my legs stayed solid all the way because  I kept a sustainable pace that I should have discovered long before I got so old.   I got to ride some great roads and really enjoyed my time out there.  Only one road gave me doubts, but most Wisconsin gravel is fast and good.  I found a great variety of remote roads and sometimes went hours without seeing a soul.  The route links a good chunk of the Bearskin with the Pine Line Trail and even passed the future location of Merrill’s River Bend Trail.

Town Hall Road

Morning Coyote (on the last hay bale)
With the reconnoitering now complete, I don’t know if this route will ever turn into an event, but if it does I think a strong group under race conditions could use the finished cue sheet to get it done in about 21 hours as long as they don’t stop for meatball subs.  We’ll have to see. 
Some things are hard to resist.

Ormsby Dam

Ormsby Pond

Is that a honey badger?

Bad Kitty

Neva Fire Lane

Crossing the Eau Claire River

Summit Lake

Moccasin Girl Road

Crossing the Prairie River

Camp 6 Road - Enterprise Block

Hat Rapids Dam

Wisconsin River

Crescent Road

Crescent Road

Nose Lake Road

Complete set on Old K

Bearskin Trail - Harshaw Trestle

Bearskin Trail

Hazelhurst - Why 2 for $3, but one for $2.19? Lost #4 on the road anyway.

Tomahawk River

Price County Road

508 Gates Lake Road

508 Gates Lake Road

Gates Lake Road for Grouse

Gates Lake Road for Ducks



Pine Line

Pine Line

Getting Water at the Church

Tesch Road

Self Portrait