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  • The 2023 Gravel Race Calendar is Live

    The Nxrth's 2023 Gravel Race Calendar is now live! It's the perfect time to start filling spring, summer, and fall weekends with races all around the gravel community. Head to our Gravel Events Listing to browse through events that are organized by dates and states and start texting friends to plan memorable weekends. As race dates are constantly being added and finalized, we'll continue to monitor the gravel community and make updates as quickly as we can. If we missed an event, send us an email at info@thenxrth.com.

  • The Hodag Country Ramble Is a New Kind of Community Bike Adventure & Gears Up for Year 2

    The Hodag Country Ramble took place for the first time last September at Jeff Frane's parents' land near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Now the sophomore year was recently announced and event tickets and camping reservations are onsale. Learn about what made year one spectacular and what's shaking up for year 2. This year's Hodag Country Ramble takes place September 8-10, 2023. To learn more, visit the Hodag Country Ramble event page or follow Bike Jerks on Instagram. Interview with Jeff Frane. This is HQ’d on your family’s land, right? Tell me about the lay of the land there and what’s good about it? Yes, the Ramble is based on my family's land, 80 acres in the middle of the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods fifteen minutes from my parents house and fifteen minutes from downtown Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The land itself is pretty ideal for this sort of event as there are few neighbors and my Father takes immaculate care of it. Working that land is his passion. Two big mowed fields with lots of nice flat spaces to camp. We ask that the riders bring in everything they need, but there is a well and we bring in hand washing stations and porta potty's. There's a lake nearby for swimming or fishing and we do Friday nights Bandit Cross right there on the property. What was year 1 like and are there any changes for year 2? Year one went as well as it possibly could, the only bummer was the weather, it was raining pretty hard the morning of the big ride so most folks opted out of the longer route and dropped into the fifty miler. The course is mostly double track with a bit of gravel and some pavement sections so even fifty miles is a great work out, especially in those conditions. For most, the weather just made it more memorable and I think it's safe to say that everyone had a great time. Luckily the skies cleared up in the afternoon so we were able to have family dinner and our post ride celebration comfortably. We picked the date based on the best chances of no bugs and swimming weather which is a combination you don't often get over there. At least we got the no bugs first year, hopefully we'll get both in '23. The changes for year two came from rider feedback. One, we need to have more hot vegan options at dinner and bigger portions for all, and two, we need to change the check out time on Sunday. I asked people to be out by noon and we'll be extending that well into the afternoon so that folks who want to ride on Sunday can do so without feeling stressed about packing up. I'm also working hard on route development. Part of the reason for doing this is so that I can have projects to accomplish in Rhinelander and thus spend more time with my family. I've been combing the woods and maps all Winter. I've made some major tweaks to the fifty mile course to make it even better and will have a new long route as well. I want to make sure that repeat riders don't get bored. What kind of experience do you hope people have during the Hodag Country Ramble? Hodag Country Ramble is the prototype for what I hope is a new type of event that spread far and wide, the Ramble. I want events that prioritize community and grass roots. It's not only my version of the most fun bike weekend, but it's also a great counterpoint to the big corporate events that have come to dominate the formerly alternative space of gravel. "I think the most important thing is that it's not a race, so no rider's experience is prioritized over others. All experiences are equally valued and encouraged. Ride fast, ride slow, set a personal best, blow off the ride to go swimming and take photos, or stop a bunch to eat a million snacks." We don't care, we just want you to be there with all of us and to have the experience you want to have. What’s your favorite part about all of this? My favorite part of this was getting to share it with my family. While they follow my Instagram and Facebook, you can't understand the bonds of the cycling world without experiencing it yourself. That weekend they got to see this thing that I have dedicated my life to, and the best part of it too. Everyone who came was there with the best of attitudes and intentions. And then I also got the joy of getting to share my family and this place that means so much to me with all the riders. People from all over the country showed up to a little town in the Northwoods that otherwise they'd never ever visit. The route went through my old neighborhood and there was a rest stop at the house I grew up in. My Sister and Mother were so stoked to chat with all the riders at the aid station, and having attendees come up to my Dad to thank him for letting us be there and tell him that this property that he so lovingly cares for is beautiful. "Well those interactions were a highlight of my year and a real highlight of my life to be honest." I was on cloud nine the whole weekend, surrounded by friends old and new. A buddy of mine brought his teenage son to the Ramble and when asked what he was most excited about in 2023 he reportedly said that going to the Hodag and this year doing the fifty miler was the thing he was most looking forward to. This is real stuff. I get to be the facilitator of a great experience, I get to share my people with my family and my family with my people. What could possibly be better than that?

  • Your Fatbike & Coffee Adventures: Part 3 [PLUS WINNERS!]

    The Nxrth's January Fatbike & Coffee challenge just wrapped up a few days ago. We have loved following along with your trail coffee adventures on Instagram. Here we share the final installment of your Fatbike & Coffee adventures as well as this year's prize winners. #FatbikeandCoffee Supported By: Fatbike & Coffee Prize Winners All prize winners were randomly selected from those who entered the contest and shared their Fatbike & Coffee photos. First Prize Winner: Pratik Prajapati Wren Perseverance Adventure Bars Ruby Roasters Creamery Blend Ruby Roasters Cycling Water Bottle Second Prize Winner: Nikki Schmidt Winner: Donavon Schumacher Winner: Dan Cruikshank Winner: Dustin Marsh Ruby Roasters Creamery Blend Ruby Roasters Cycling Water Bottle

  • Last Day for The Nxrth Adventure-versary Tees

    In January, The Nxrth community turned 1 year old and is celebrating with an Adventure-versary tee for the month of January. Ending tonight, these shirts are tri-blend, ultra soft, and are guaranteed to make you look like a gravel superstar. Shop Now.

  • MARINETTE COUNTY WATERFALLS LOOP, WISCONSIN

    Central and Northern Wisconsin is loaded with super great and untapped areas to bikepack. Over time, Shane Hitz has explored many areas of this region by bike and put together numerous routes that pass through many areas that can only be explored by bike. They go through some of his favorite small towns with great places to eat and fantastic camping opportunities. Contributed by: Shane Hitz This Northeastern Wisconsin waterfall loop features 17 waterfalls on the route and a few more that are a short distance off and one waterfall requiring a short bushwhack to get to which pays off with a waterfall that few people have seen. Route surface ranges from good gravel roads to many miles of soft sand roads. 2.4" or bigger tires recommended. The route is great for a fat bike setup. There is some distance between resupply and restaurants so plan accordingly. Winter's Family Restaurant and 51st State Brewing Company are a must for food stops. Numerous camping opportunities including some great dispersed sites. Parking is available in Laona at Jar's Bar but there are other public ATV parking lots throughout the route. I did the route in three days on a fat bike, although it was two really long days in the saddle. Ideal time to do it is in the fall when the colors are at peak. Bikepacking Route Map: Shane Hitz is an adventure cyclist, route designer, and race director. You can read more about his adventures on his website. He is also the race director for the IRONBULL Red Granite Grinder, a gravel bike race in the Wausau, Wisconsin area. Disclaimer: If you choose to ride this route, you do so at your own risk. You are 100% responsible for being prepared for all conditions and making sure that biking these routes is legal. Before riding, check local weather, road conditions, closures, and property ownership. Obey all traffic laws and follow land use restrictions. Do not ride these routes without proper safety equipment and navigational tools. The accuracy of these routes cannot be guaranteed neither can we guarantee that these routes are on public property. TheNxrth.com and its contributors are in no way liable for the personal injury or damage to property that may result from cycling this route or any other routes on this website.

  • The First Adventure Race: Tim Kordula's Long Night With No Sleep on the St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra.

    Tim Kordula recently did his fiest adventure race, the St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra. Here he shares his story of riding through the night, racing a mouse, and meeting his wife at the finish line to celebrate his accomplishment. To learn more about the St. Croix 40, head to their website. Story by Tim Kordula: Last night and this morning was the St Croix 40 Winter Ultra and it was awesome! 40 miles in 10 hours on brutal soft conditions. It began with the required gear check at 8:30. After the gear check, I crawled in the bivy and waited for the start at 10:00 p.m. And then I was off to complete the first 20 miles. At 2:24 a.m. I hit the water boil checkpoint and then began the second 20 mile lap. This lap was brutal with all the bike, foot and ski traffic along with super soft conditions. A lot of hike-a-biking had to be done! I had a chance to race a mouse! The little fella came out of the woods and ran alongside me for about 20 feet. Then the sun came up and it was awesome!! At about 8:24 I approached the finish line and my wife was there cheering me on, of course I had a few tears in my eyes for what I had just accomplished and Laurie being there. For me this was an accomplishment I will never forget and I can't wait until next year! An adventure this long with no sleep and the brutal conditions takes a toll on the body. However, the body will almost go into a "zen" state and once it goes beyond a certain point, it keeps going. I can't say I have ever experienced the pain and fatigue as I did with this adventure! But every mile was worth it!! And I am looking forward to next year doing the St Croix 40 Winter Ultra once again!

  • Fighting The 2am Temptation to Quit: Raven Dewitt's St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra

    The 2023 St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra took place overnight on January 14-15. The race has fatbikers start in their bivy sack at 10pm, boil water mid-ride, and wrap up the 40 mile event by 10am Sunday morning. Raven Dewitt recently completed it as her first winter ultra and shares her story here. Registration for next year's 2024 race will open in August. For race details visit the St. Croix 40 website. Interested in trying your first winter ultra? Check out our series: 3-Part Intro to Winter Fatbike Ultras. All Photos by Scott Rokis. Used with permission. Story by Raven Dewitt: As I’m riding through the frigid temperatures, the ice, and the snow I am often confronted with the thought “I never could have imagined that I’d be here.” In 2020 I moved from Alabama to Minnesota, on a whim, without ever having experienced a real winter. As a dedicated bike commuter in the south, I’ve had to deal with all kinds of weather extremes, and in my mind, weather is weather. So a little snow couldn’t hurt, right? To my surprise, the most difficult part about winter riding was getting the layers right–I kept overdressing and thus overheating on my short work commutes. In 2021 I joined a local racing team, Corpsewhale Racing, and learned that several of my teammates participated in these things called “Winter Ultras''. So I followed their dots, read their race reports, and my interest was undeniably piqued. It seemed so insane, so intense, but also so rewarding. At the encouragement of teammates I signed up for my first winter ultra, The St. Croix 40. The St. Croix 40 is meant to be a bite-sized version of other winter ultras, which can be much too intimidating for a first-timer like myself. Forty miles in the cold and snow is much different than a short work commute, or forty miles in summertime. I realized that it was going to be a challenge, but it was one I was willing to tackle. So, I waited for the temps to drop, and the snow to fall, and got to practicing. Training for this race transformed my relationship with winter–before I merely tolerated it, but now I am in love with the season. Race Day I was nervous on the night of the race. The St. Croix 40 has you start out in your bivy sack and sleeping bag (at 10 pm!), and you must quickly pack up your things before getting on your bike and beginning the race. Once I was off on the trail it became very clear that the snow was EXTREMELY soft. Less than a mile in I was already working very hard, had to shed a layer, and was beginning to wonder if I was up to this task. Never have I felt so discouraged so early into an endeavor. The benefit of exerting myself was that I never got cold, save at the checkpoint when I stopped riding for about thirty minutes. The difficulty of the soft trail conditions changed everything. The expectations I had were completely obliterated. I began to realize that because I was going so slow, and fighting like hell for every single mile covered, that it was going to be a very long and arduous journey, IF I was able to make it. Your mind can go into some pretty difficult places when it’s the wee hours of the morning, dark, you are totally alone on a section of the trail and you feel like your body is trying to give up. I kept asking myself why I was doing this. If I was strong enough to finish. Many variations of “am I crazy?” kept bouncing around in my head. I do not usually listen to music when I’m riding, but I honestly think that music helped me get through the difficult parts. Shout out to Kate Bush and Carly Rae Jepsen for helping me power through some of the dark thoughts I was having before I got to the checkpoint. Finally, I reach the checkpoint, the halfway mark around 2 a.m. I struggled to boil water (another aspect of this race is that you have to prove you can actually use your gear) despite having practiced many times. It was windy, my lighter got cold (pro tip, do not set your lighter in the snow!) and I was starting to feel deliriously exhausted. There was a fire at the checkpoint that I didn’t dare stand next to, lest the temptation to quit grow even larger in my mind. I pushed those thoughts aside, got back onto my bike and rode, once again, into the night. From about mile twenty-six onward, I was actually beginning to feel delirious. Getting calories in at this point felt impossible. Thank goodness I had an insulated bottle of miso soup and hot chocolate since solid food had become totally unpalatable. My mind was fatigued from being laser focused on keeping my balance in the “mashed potato” snow, so at this point I actually started losing my balance quite a bit. Once I fell into a deep snowbank off the side of the trail. Somehow, though, I kept getting back up, and getting back onto my bike and going forward. This was when I started breaking down my remaining distance into smaller increments, “Just two more miles, and two more after that!” Somehow these mind games I was playing with myself helped my last ten miles be more bearable. At 6:29 a.m., after one of the most difficult nights of my life, I crossed the finish line. It took so much longer than I’d originally imagined, and was way harder than I thought it would be. I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. I was truly in disbelief that I was able to power through something that was so mentally and physically strenuous–but I did it! If you had asked me during this night if I would commit to another winter ultra I might very well have given you an emphatic “heck no!” but now that I have some distance from the race I really want to do another one. The winter ultra community is so special. Every single person who I passed or who passed me on trail never failed to say a kind word or something encouraging. That really meant the world to me when I was having some tough times out there. The volunteers were so kind and helpful despite it being the middle of the night. I cannot really put into words how accomplished I feel–finishing a task that feels impossible in the moment is incredibly empowering. I owe so much to my friends and teammates who lent me gear, gave me advice, worked on my bike, and believed in my ability to conquer this task. It was a learning experience in so many different ways, and I’ll definitely be back.

  • Your Fatbike & Coffee Adventures: Part 2

    January is winding down and so is our Fatbike & Coffee challenge. We have loved following along with your trail coffee adventures on Instagram. Check out the photos and adventures from around the community to see what everyone is up to. To join the challenge and win prizes, head to the Fatbike & Coffee page. #Fatbike&Coffee Supported By:

  • One Year of The Nxrth: Our Adventure Cycling Community by the Numbers

    As many of you know, we recently turned 1 year old at The Nxrth. We kicked this off as an adventure experiment in January of 2022 not knowing what to expect. After a year full of community, stories, and adventures we now look back at some of the number and highlights. Users Who Stopped in at The Nxrth in 2023: 29,286 When I think of cycling I think of two things: adventures and community. But community always comes first in my mind. That community might be as wide as the hundreds of people you ride alongside at an event, or it might just be that one friend or family member you ride with. I like the intimacy of a small circle of friends but I'm also a sucker for the group rollout and moving through the woods in a pack like wolves. The Nxrth is a growing community and I'm happy to have you be a part of it. I hope you've been able to make new connections with great people while connecting with our beautiful outdoor creation. Number of Pages Viewed Throughout the Year: 84,306 No surprises here, your favorite pages were ones that get you closer to great adventures and community. Gravel and bikepacking are the heartbeat of The Nxrth and I hope these tools continue helping connect you to new adventures. I remember in early 2022, Dave Schlabowske and I were emailing about the fact that there weren't any comprehensive gravel race calendars on the internet. In fact, it's extremely surprising that there aren't very many large websites that even cover gravel riding on the web. Sure enough, I browsed around and the national gravel race calendars simply can't drill down deep enough to thoroughly list every single local race and most other gravel calendars cover small geographies, but not fully covering The Nxrth's readership area. So we launched the Gravel Race Calendar last spring and it has since become our most popular page after our homepage. Here were our most popular pages of 2022: Gravel Race Calendar Wisconsin Bikepacking Routes Gravel Pizza Overnighter (stay tuned for a future announcement) People Who Joined Our Email Community: 812 It might sound silly, but this is my favorite part of The Nxrth. All of you in our email community are my little adventure family and I love getting to share my thoughts about adventure cycling gear, stories, and announcements with you over email. When I get a new idea for an event or resources, you're the first ones I share it with and you give me valuable feedback about what you want more of and how you like to ride. This is my direct line of communication with you all and I've gotten a mountain of email responses from so many of you. I respond to every email and 2022 has been filled with an outpouring of your adventure photos, questions, website edits, and suggestions to make things better. If you're on my email list, thank you! You have helped shape who we are and where we're going. If you're not on our list and want to join us, just head to the top of our homepage and come on in. What Kind of Riding You Do In our year-end survey, we polled our users on what kind of riding you do. This was a 'select all that apply' question and the results were interesting. Our readers skew toward non-racing and we also have a larger community of summer gravel adventurers than winter fatbike adventurers. In a few other survey questions (not listed here), our readers generally shared that they value community events more than competition and speed but there is still a big part of readership who thrives on the challenge and excitement of racing. Top 3 Bikepacking Routes When it comes to adventure cycling, bikepacking was my first love. Sure, I've always been an adventure cyclist, but bikepacking made me feel hard. I spend hours and hours in RideWithGPS and am like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to discovering new places, camping with my bike, and being with my closest friends and family. We added several new original bikepacking routes to Wisconsin and Minnesota last year and here were your favorites. I haven't personally ridden the Driftless Loop yet but was excited to add a route to Minnesota in the gorgeous Driftless region and hope to see more stories and ride reports from that route. 1. The Driftless Loop by Nicolette Reker 2. Coon Fork Overnighter by Josh Rizzo 3. Valhalla Beach Party by Dave Schlabowske Most Popular Posts: Your Reader Submitted Stories These are your top 5 stories of ripping through forested gravel lanes and pushing through frozen winters on your fatbikes. I love hearing the unique challenges we all face and the successes and failures we share at races or ultra adventures. 1. Sherry Mix Wins 2nd at Inaugural US Fat Bike Open [Finds Lost Wahoo]. Read more. 2. Caden Budd's Story: 15 Years Old, Wins First US Fat Bike Open, Beats Dad. Read more. 3. Close the Gap or Blow Up Trying: Claire O'Leary's Freedhem 76 Read more. 4. Learning From Failure on the Tuscobia Winter Ultra. Read more. 5. Recap: 100 Miles of Wide Gravel Boulevards & Narrow Winding Lanes on the Hungry Bear. Read more. Most Popular Posts: All Categories Of all ~150 stories we published in 2022, these were the ones you were most interested in from all categories. It includes the humble bikepacking strap, mapping apps, and 3 great stories about some incredible adventure cycling experiences you can have in The Nxrth's adventure region. 1. The Whole Dang State: The Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Bicycle Route Nears Completion. Read More. 2. Voile Straps vs Tailfin Cargo Straps: Which is Better for Bikepacking? Read More. 3. Arrowhead 135 is one of 50 Hardest Races on Earth. Ken Krueger Calls it Family Reunion. Read more. 4. Meet the Heywood, Your New Favorite Pay-What-You-Want Gravel Event. Read More. 5. Ride With GPS vs Komoot: Which is Better for Bike Adventures. Read More. Editor's Picks This is a mix of personal stories, event overviews, photo galleries, and how-to resources. We had such a beautiful mix of content this year and here were some of the stories, people, and events that inspired me most. 1. "The Filthy 50 Handed Me a Terrifying Challenge & I finished It: How Lisa Fell in Love With Gravel. Read more. 2. Intro to Winter Fatbike Ultras: 3-Part Series. Read more. 3. Scared & Alone for Endless Miles Through Storms in the Dark: How Kate Coward Gets Stronger with Age. Read more. 4. Arrowhead 135 is one of 50 Hardest Races on Earth. Ken Krueger Calls it Family Reunion. Read more. 5. Happy 5th Birthday, Straddle & Paddle: Remembering How the Adventure Came Together. Read more. 6. Deep Dark Portraits Under the Rain in the Woods: Josh Kowaleski's Grand Du Nord Photos. Read more. 7. Close the Gap or Blow Up Trying: Claire O'Leary's Freedhem 76. Read more. 8. Gravel Pizza Portraits: Bikepacking with 37 New Friends. Read more. Well that's a wrap 2023 is well underway and we've got a whole bunch of new projects we hope you'll love coming up later this year. If you want to get involved, we'd love to share your story, event, or bikepacking route. Drop us message at info at The Nxrth dot com and help share your adventures with others.

  • Your Fatbike & Coffee Adventures: Part 1

    We're 9 Days into our January Fatbike & Coffee challenge and have loved following along with your trail coffee adventures on Instagram. Check out the photos and adventures from around the community to see what everyone is up to. To join the challenge and win prizes, head to the Fatbike & Coffee page. Cover Photo: Josh Kowaleski @pointed_north

  • 1-Year Anniversary Shirts Available Through January

    The Nxrth just turned 1-year old and we're celebrating our first anniversary with this January-only Adventure-versary tee. If you joined us in year one and want to be a part of making year two a year with even better adventure resources and community, grab a shirt and support The Nxrth. Shirts are HERE (available until January 31). P.S. Want 20% off? Join our Patreon team of ongoing adventure supporters and get a 20% off coupon instantly. Learn More.

  • 2023 Resolution River Rumble Video Recap

    The Resolution River Rumble is a free and fun community fat bike ride to kick off the New Year on January 1st. Organized by Chad Velta via Facebook, this is the fourth year the event has taken place along the River Bottoms in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Chad cooks up his pulled pork to offer the group, and people bring everything from empanadas, deer, pizza, sweets and beer to fill out the spread. Katrina Hase made a fun recap video with riding, interviews, and pizza. Check it out and go join the ride next year!

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