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Maria Osowski's Epic Bike Fest Recap: Relax and Let the Bike Fly


Maria Osowski navigates the final corner after descending Mt. Telemark toward the finish of the SRAM Epic Bike Fest Full Gravel race, placing 2nd overall in the women’s division.
Epic Bike Fest recently took place in Cable, WI on June 10 and 11. Maria Osowski took second place overall in the women's division and just shared a personal recap of her experience. Epic Bike Fest features a combination of single track and gravel over two days, challenging riders on hilly terrain and ski trail sections.

Words by Maria Osowski

Photos by American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation


Looking ahead at races for 2023 with the goal of riding the stages race in Leadville, the SRAM Epic Bike Fest was an obvious choice for me. Having ridden and raced bikes for nearly 16 years, the Birkie and CAMBA trails have a special place in my heart.


Two big events back-to-back is fun and a new endurance challenge to tackle. I love to ride single track but have never been excellent at it. I love to ride the old-style trails and enjoy the new flow trails as well. Epic Bike Fest offered a great serving of both. The terrain and flow of the trails keep you on your toes and always looking out for the next corner. The ski trail sections were a nice place to hydrate and eat, but did not offer a flat course to cruise.


It's amazing how they can find so many hills.


The American Birkebeiner has put a massive amount of time and effort into the Trek Trails at Mt. Telemark Village in the last half a year. This was a very fun addition after a grueling 30+ miles. I was feeling fatigued in the last 10 miles and enjoyed the smooth flowy surface. I was a bit disappointed in my time, but sometimes we have to enjoy the ride and do what we are able.


Maria Osowski (right) and competitor Danielle Ravnikar await the start of the Full Gravel race at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead. Ravnikar went on to claim first place in the full gravel race.

Sunday’s gravel race was another day to ride trails and roads I know and enjoy. Gravel and cross country races like this, and the Chequamegon 40, are my favorite. Not exactly road races, but a bit more relaxed than single track. I had a goal in mind and was going to work to complete it.


After the roll-out and left onto Randysek Road the race was off with a healthy amount of climbing. The roads were in good shape and true to Cable area style there were several rough ATV trails, some single track, and bits of sand. I was able to stick with a gal I have ridden with before and soon picked up another gal and a few men.


Riders make the turn onto McNaught Road during the neutral roll-out.

We kept this group for nearly the entire race. It was a blast to go back and forth with these women, each of us taking a turn and jumping back in, not willing to let too many bikes between us and end up behind a big gap. Back and forth, each pushing the other to keep our riding strong. After the water station, with 22 miles left, the group began to break up. The stop took a fair amount of time and then a crash slowed us down.


After a small can of coke, I was feeling ready to keep going. I was able to ride ahead and put a really nice gap in at Camp 38 road. Sometimes you just have to relax and let the bike fly over the loose and soft stuff. In the end, I did not make my desired time, but no women did. It was a wonderful and adventurous course.


Thank you to the Birkie for continuing to host this event. The changes and additions of trails are a blast to ride. To be able to ride enough in a busy life of work and kids, events and schedules, and do well at this event is a good feeling. Always moving forward and setting new goals for the summer and winter. Looking forward to my next adventures on these trails and may have to come again just to play.


Epic Gravel Recap Video


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