Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Honey Badger BURGR

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