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- We Made a Small Batch of Frame Bag Charcuterie Boards
I wanted to do some gravel charcuterie rides but didn't have any hardwood that fit in a frame bag (or any hardwood actually) so I designed one for my own rides plus a few extras that I'll put in our web store soon. Details here. My friend Tim Brudnicki from Tree Purpose of Eau Claire, WI helped turn this idea into reality and here are the details. If you have any thoughts on whether these seem neat or if I'm just overthinking this, shoot me at email at josh at the nxrth dot com. NOTE: We only made a small batch and they will be for sale HERE to our Patrons first in the next few days. They are the special team of supporters who are helping build more adventure cycling resources up north. If there are any left, we'll make them available publicly after that. About the angled cutout I've tried shoving a few different pieces of wood into my frame bag but always run into two problems. First, my bike is very small which makes my half frame bag also really small so it's hard to find a piece of wood that fits and second, the angles of a bike aren't conducive to wood with right angles. So we cutout the corner giving it a nice angle that mirrors the common angle on a bicycles down tube. About the notches Not everybody rides with a frame bag. We put notches along both sides so that it's easy to strap to anywhere you have room on your bike such as under the saddles or on a cargo cage. About the wood The wood is from a black walnut tree that came down about a mile from my house and probably lived a jolly life. It was milled, kiln-dried, and machined in Eau Claire. Black walnut is great for cutting boards because it is hard wood and has tight pores that resists bacteria and is easy to clean. About the Sizing One size fits most.These are 4" x 11". If you're looking to show up at your in law's house with a big spread of exotic meats, cheeses, crackers, olives, and organic jalapeño cranberry spread, this is probably going to be too small. Also, if you're wanting to put this in a half frame bag and don't have 4 inches of vertical space, you're out of luck. 3 Ways to Carry it On Your Bike Have fun with it. Ride like a hooligan and eat like royalty. 1. In Your Frame Bag This board was born for frame bags. You're going to slide it in and just feel good about having a little living piece of the northwoods tucked right in where it fits beautifully. 2. Strapped Under Your Saddle Every saddle is different: rail length, rail angle, room between the rails and the seat post, etc. So the fit will be different for every bike. But no worries. We're gravel bikers. We're ok running to garage for a few Voile straps and taking the time to get it right. 3. Strapped to a Cargo Cage If you're lucky enough to have triple mounts on your fork blades, you're going to look real nice with a charcuterie board and a chunk o' meat hanging on for dear life under a pair of bikepacking straps. Want one? These will be available HERE to Patrons first in the next few days. If there are any left after that, we'll put them out to everyone.
- A POEM TO THE DANGLE MUG MIDNIGHTER
Last week we announced our first "Dangle Mug Midnighter", a June bikepacking overnighter challenge for everyone up north. In order to celebrate the loving companion that is our dangle mugs, we wrote a poem to all the dangle mugs out there. Dangle on, friends. To join us, check out the Dangle Mug Midnighter. In the realm where adventure rides, Midst bikepacking trails and countryside, There hangs a mug, clipped with care, Dangle mug, on journeys we share. Pedals spin, wheels whir and hum, As landscapes change, our spirits thrum, The mug, a companion, steadfast and true, Swinging with us, a view brand new. Morning sun or twilight's embrace, Dangle mug brings warmth and grace, Clipped to the bike, it takes a role, Savoring moments, stirring the soul. Brewing tales of the open road, Caffeine-infused, a traveler's ode, With each sip, a story unwinds, In the wilderness, where freedom finds. Dangle mug, a symbol of wanderlust, On handlebars, it quietly thrusts, A reminder of joy, a simple pleasure, As we pedal onward, beyond measure. So let it dangle, this spirited mug, On bikepacking journeys, a cozy hug, Through trails unknown, our spirits soar, Dangle mug, companion we adore.
- REVIEW: Untapped Now Has Bulk Maple Syrup Energy Bottles
Untapped from Vermont recently announced new bulk versions of their popular maple syrup energy gels. With 16 one ounce servings each, they allow you to stock up and reduce the need for single serve packets. To learn more about their bulk bottles, visit Untapped. I'm pretty hooked on maple syrup energy for cycling, especially the salted varieties. They have many of the exact same nutrients that come in artificial gels while being all natural and easier to digest. But nearly all of them come in single use individually packaged containers of one ounce. They're small and the packaging is sticky and impossible to get off if you get it on your hands while cycling. Untapped's new bulk bottles delivery more servings in a single container while pretty much eliminating the sticky mess that comes with tear off packets. How Untapped Bulk Bottles Work The bulk bottles have a pretty neat design that pre-measures one ounce at a time. This makes it really easy to control how fast you use up syrup servings and minimizes spilling while pouring it into your reusable container. Your first bulk bottle comes with a free soft flask (a $14.95 value). The soft flask is great because it easily packs down when empty but can hold all the way up to 5 servings. The material is impressively strong and also spill proof. The maple syrup can't come out unless you're sucking on it and instantly stops when you're done. With the flasks being five ounces, the bulk bottles' integrated one-ounce reservoir almost seems unnecessarily small. In practice, I almost always filled the flask up either half or all of the way and had to re-squeeze the one ounce pre-pour reservoir three to five times to get the syrup out that I needed. My preference would be to either have smaller flasks to more easily carry only 1-2 servings with me at a time or have even larger sized bulk bottles that fill the flask more than three times. Using the Soft Flask on the Bike I love the ritual of preparing my tires, chain, bottles, and energy the night before my early morning rides and I like measuring out my maple syrup using the bulk bottle that easily fits in the back of the fridge. I had no issues with spilling whatsoever (have I mentioned how impossibly sticky maple syrup can be?) though I'd love to see how long the soft flask lasts and I imagine it could get a puncture if I shove my keys in my stem bag without thinking. The cap is slightly hard to open while riding. It usually requires two hands but so do all of the tear off packets. The translucent siding is also nice to know how much syrup I have left at a glance. Pros and cons Between the pre-measure feature of the bulk bottle and the durability and spill-proof nature of the soft flask, this is a fantastic system for those who go through a lot of syrup. Buying in bulk is also a cost savings. The bulk bottle is about $1.56 per ounce whereas a 10-pack of one ounce packets is $2.00 per ounce or $1.85 per ounce in a pack of 20 one ounce packets. As mentioned previously, I'd like to see these be even larger, especially since they're accompanied by a 5 ounce soft flask. I also imagine that at this size, the packaging of a thick plastic bulk bottle probably isn't much less than a corresponding amount of several of the ultra thin single serve packets. Untapped bulk bottles come in Salted Cocao, Salted Citrus, Salted Raspberry, Coffee, and Unsalted Maple. To learn more or shop bulk bottles, visit Untapped.
- Iron Mountain, Michigan Gravel Guide: NOW LIVE
Today we're sharing our very first Upper Peninsula Gravel Guide for Iron Mountain. Located on the border of WI and MI, Iron Mountain is a doorway to a mixed catalog of gravel adventures, lakes, rivers, and perfect towns to spend the weekend. It is now available to Patrons on our Adventure Team Tier. To get access, join our Adventure Team tier on Patreon. Photos by Dylan Juchemich @jukendorf We collaborated with Andy Cabrera from U.P. Sport & Spoke to get local knowledge of gravel roads in varying distances and great stops along the way. In this guide you'll find everything you need to plan an entire gravel weekend (and much more) in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Inside the Iron Mountain Gravel Guide 8 quintessential Iron Mountain gravel routes 329 miles of woodsy U.P. gravel to explore 3 top lodging picks 2 recommended campgrounds Breakdown of 7 best restaurants 3 spots for evening drinks 3 spots for coffee 6 non-bike activities to make it a full weekend adventure Photos of Iron Mountain Gravel Biking
- Bike Fit Friday with Paulie at GO PHYSIO (4 of 4): The Biggest Mistake Everyone Makes With Bike Fit
Paulie from Go PHYSIO has the been around the block a time or two and I asked him what's the most common mistake people make when setting up their own bike. Here he discusses the relationship between the rider and the bike and why LOOKING fast does not always equal RIDING fast. About Paulie Glatt: As a competitive cyclist with a history of low back pain, Paulie has a great understanding of how critical a proper bike fit is to our experience on a bicycle. He rides Road, Gravel, Mountain, Bike Packs, and commutes by bicycle throughout the entire year. His longest race was The Day Across Minnesota, a 240-mile gravel race that he completed in 17 hours. To learn more about Paulie or to schedule a professional bike fitting, visit GO PHYSIO. Hey Paulie, what's the biggest mistake people make when setting up the fit on their own bike? Paulie Glatt: Trying to look like the pros tends to be one of the most common mistakes I see. Looking fast does not equate to riding fast. More often than not, this approach results in discomfort, poor efficiency, and limits a rider’s ability to endure long rides. In general, riders tend to overlook their physical limitations. Factors like hamstring mobility, core strength, and hip range of motion need to be considered for a proper fit. An ideal bike fit is about more than achieving recommended joint angles and getting your knee over the pedal spindle. It’s not about simply molding a bike around a rider. It’s about the relationship between the rider and the bike. Usually both can be improved. Every rider leaves my studio with a few recommended exercises.
- Gravel Pizza: There Are Now 12 Gold Tickets Left
For the 2023 Gravel Pizza Overnighter, we added Gold Tickets which include an additional Friday night camping, slow roll social gravel ride, and a stop for drinks and apps at Boondock's Bar before. We want Friday night to be an intimate community night and are limiting ticket sales to 30 and there are now 12 left as of noon on Tuesday, May 9. If you'd like to join us for Friday night, grab a ticket while they last.
- Ultimate List of Bikepacking Straps
Bikepacking straps are an essential part of a gear kit both for securing random things to random places as well as using for emergency repairs. There are now a crap ton of strap materials, lengths, styles, and features. Here we compile a complete list of options as well as some considerations for strapping stuff. What makes a strap a good bikepacking strap? Just got to hardware store and you'll find entire walls full of straps and cords. But are they all good for bikepacking? Probably not. Here are a few things we would consider non-negotiable for a great bikepacking strap that will last a long time and do their job of carrying things without a fear of failing. Non-marring materials that won't damage metal contact points Non-slip buckles that won't budge even after bouncing on janky trails for days on end. Variable length adjustment to lengthen or shorten the straps on the fly Micro stretching for secure grip is a big plus. Non-elastic materials that are anti-fatiguing What straps we left out In general, we left out generic webbing straps sewn to a generic metal buckle. Not because they're not worthy. They work great, but there are countless versions of them and this list is for straps that are either purpose-made for biking or have features that make them stand out of from traditional straps. We also left out a ton of straps that are identical to Voile. Many of them are probably similar quality and probably function similarly. But Voile Straps were the original and have become trusted by bikepackers around the world so we're going not going to get into all the Amazon and Home Depot brands that identically mimic Voile Straps. What About Bungees, Are They Good for Bikepacking? When you first start strapping things to your bike, it's normal to dig through the junk drawer in your garage start cobbling together some bungee cords. To be clear, I've used bungee on many trips and they can certainly do the job. But there a lot of reasons why they're a pretty awful solution especially when there are tons of inexpensive that straps that function way better and won't leave you stranded or constantly stopping to adjust bungees. 5 Reasons bungee chords are bad for bikepacking: Most of t hem don't have variable lengths. All they do is stretch which means if the strap is too long, you have to find really random ways to tie up the slack and this usually compromises their effectiveness. They have too much stretch and not enough tension. You have to bungees really tight to get enough tension on them to not lose your seat bag on bumpy trails and by that point, some of the elastic strands are prone to breaking. They depend on additional places to hook. Since they don't have variable lengths, you have to find places on your frame to hook them and you'll finish your trip with the pleasant surprise that your paint is gone on your frame. Elastic fatigues with time. The longer you own elastic straps, they more likely they are to lose their tension and just keep getting longer. The metal hooks will scratch your frame. 1. Voile Straps Voile Straps have a pretty good history for being the most popular bikepacking straps for a long time, and for good reasons. Their standard straps come in 5+ lengths and they're also available in XL (wider) versions as well as Nano (tiny and narrow) versions. Plus they come with nylon non-marring buckles and also make Rack Straps specifically designed for lashing gear to front and rear racks. In recent years, several companies like Tailfin, Restrap, Salsa, and Sea to Summit and have made some pretty clear improvements over the traditional Voile strap. But Voile straps continue to be ubiquitous in bikepacking circles and usually the first strap to come to mind for bikepacking solutions. Learn more at Voile Straps. Why Voile Straps Are the Best They've been making straps since before you were born and have unmatched length, width, and color options. 2. Tailfin Cargo Straps There are many Voile strap copycats and the Tailfin Cargo Strap might initially look like one of those but there are several differences than actually separate these entirely from Voile straps. First, the holes go further on the buckle end and the loose end which makes the useful cargo diameter reach larger and smaller than Voile straps. Next, the the buckle connection is more secure than Voile and less likely (or impossible) to slip under load like a Voile strap can. Lastly, the buckle is curved because these were specifically made for bikepacking and hence they fit perfectly up against curved frame tubes and Nalgene bottles. Tailfin's products are also notoriously monochromatic which means you can get these straps in any color that you like, as long as it's black. Learn More at Tailfin. Why Tailfin Cargo Straps Are the Best They're designed 100% for bikepacking with durability and function that outperforms traditional rubber straps. 3. Sea to Summit Stretch-Loc TPU Straps Sea to Summit makes a lot of excellent camping gear and their Stretch-Loc straps have have a fan base of bikepackers who just want the straps to stay put. Stretch-Loc TPU Straps are the only straps that have a Keeper Strap that holds the straps firmly in place when when you take your gear out. Every other strap frustratingly falls off when not in use but these just lock in place. They come in six lengths with two width options and three color choices. Learn more at Sea-to-Summit. Why Stretch-Loc TPU Straps Are the Best They are the only strap that stays in place even when you take out the cargo. 4. Restrap Fast Straps These are the the lowest profile straps on this list. They're incredible strong and nearly as thin as paper. Coming in two colors (black and orange), they lock down with a cam buckle rather than using a pin and hole like Voile Straps. Under heavy stress, they can slip a little so they may not be the first choice for strapping large heavy bags. But they're perfect for small and medium-sized loads and probably the very best pick for bringing extra straps for emergencies and just-in-case scenarios because they take up less than 25% of the space of Voile straps. Learn more at Restrap. Why Fast Straps Are the Best Fast Straps are extremely durable but only take up 25% the space of a Voile strap. 5. Salsa EXP Series Rubber Straps Salsa's take on a bikepacking straps puts the durability and function of other straps into one integrated piece. Every other strap has a separate buckle and strap piece that is susceptible to slipping or tearing. With these straps, slipping is impossible and tearing can only happen if the entire strap simply snaps. Apart from that, these are made similarly to other traditional rubber straps. Learn more at Salsa Cycles. Why Salsa EXP Series Rubber Straps Are the Best They're the only one-piece rubber strap that can't slip or tear 6. Titan Straps Okay, I said I wasn't going to include Voile Strap exact copies, but here we are.Titan Straps are a pretty player in the field of bikepacking straps despite not having any significant differences from Voile Straps. They come in three styles, Industrial, Utility, and MIni. Industrial straps are wider than thicker than Utility Straps and then the Mini ones are lighter duty version for smaller applications. Learn more at Titan Straps. Why Titan Straps Are the Best These are really heavy duty straps with multiple weight options and they function like the Voile Straps we're all used to. 7. Rivendell John's Strap Rivendell has been making John's Strap for a long time. Rivendell is known for vintage-y bikes and gear that look and function beautifully without caring about the endless marginal gains of incremental innovation. From their own product description they say this, "There are dozens of other general purpose straps out there, and most of them are slightly easier to use than this one. But this one is easy enough to use, and the goal isn't maximum ease of use, once a certain ease of use has been attained. Got it?" Enough said. Learn more at Rivendell. Why Rivendell John's Strap is the Best They're made in Sweden, have a nice looking stripe, and will probably still be working fine when you're nice and old. 8. Austere Manufacturing Cams and Cam Straps For starters, Austere is known for their cam buckles and you can either sew your own strap onto them or buy a strap that they've sewn on. These are concretely the most expensive strap buckle of it's kind you may ever see and they have a cult following. They're CNC machined from billet aluminum to deliver the ultimate in simple, lightweight, and elegant utility and sometimes, well, you just want the very nicest thing in a given category and this is probably it. They make them in lovely colors and if you've got access to a sewing machine, you can easily make your own strap. Learn more at Austere Manufacturing. Why Austere Cam Buckles Are the Best They feel fabulous in your hand, have been lovingly engineered by a boutique maker, and are impressively strong and light. 9. Surly Junk Strap If you think these just look like pretty long toe straps, you wouldn't be alone. But they say "Surly" on them and sometimes if it aint broken, don't fix it. Surly generously offers a couple of ideas for how to use these straps which include securing small dogs to your child as well as holding a splint in place while you drag your friend out of the woods after he breaks his leg. Learn more at Surly Bikes. Why Surly Junk Straps Are the the Best I'm not sure what to say here. They are probably just fine if you love things that are just fine. 10. All Mountain Style OS Strap This is a one-piece strap with no metal and comes in the highly fashionable color of black. It's not quite a copy cat of Voile Straps although at a quick glance, you might think it is. Here's why it's not: nubbins. Three nubbins to be exact. These go through the main loop then unlike traditional rubber straps that fold back in order to secure on the hook, they continue right through the loop and secure on a nubbin that sticks out right on the strap itself. But the nubbin advantage doesn't end there. There are two more nubbins on the side of the strap that keeps the strap keep from sliding off. It drives me nuts when strap strap keepers slide off so I love this feature. Learn more at All Mountain Style. Why All Mountain Style OS Straps Are the Best They've got three nubbins that secure straps without folding them backwards plus two more nubbins that hold the strap keepers in place.
- Bike Fit Friday with Paulie at GO PHYSIO (3 of 4): Crap! I Got a Bike Online & It's Not Quite Right
Have you ever bought a bike and then found out it's not QUITE the right size but you can't return it? Don't panic; today we're talking with Paulie from GO PHYSIO about some of your options. Let's unpack this question and discuss what you can do before and after buying a bike. About Paulie Glatt: As a competitive cyclist with a history of low back pain, Paulie has a great understanding of how critical a proper bike fit is to our experience on a bicycle. He rides Road, Gravel, Mountain, Bike Packs, and commutes by bicycle throughout the entire year. His longest race was The Day Across Minnesota, a 240-mile gravel race that he completed in 17 hours. To learn more about Paulie or to schedule a professional bike fitting, visit GO PHYSIO. Hey Paulie, I bought a bike online and it's just a little too big or too small. Can I just make up for it with saddle, stem, handlebar, and seatpost adjustments? Paulie Glatt: Frame sizing has become fairly inconsistent across brands so this happens quite often. The short answer is, it depends. The ability to modify seatpost setback and stem length/angle certainly allow for a decent amount of wiggle room when buying a stock bike, but some important factors need to be considered. For example, significant changes in stem length will affect how the bike handles. If your mountain bike stem goes from 40mm to 100mm in order to fit, you will feel like you are riding a different bike when you hit singletrack. Additionally, a significant change to the fore/aft of your saddle with a straight vs setback seatpost will change your position relative to the bottom bracket/crank arms which can influence muscle activation during your pedal stroke. Every rider has a different tolerance for these types of changes. In general, I caution against buying a bike before you are able to test ride it. I realize that this can be difficult with the growing popularity of direct-to-consumer brands, such as Canyon. And although I think some of these brands make a concerted effort to get riders on the proper size, their methods are far from fail-safe. That said, there are bike fitters who offer pre-purchase services to ensure that you order the correct size. GO PHYSIO utilizes a ‘fit bike’ and takes the necessary body measurements to help you determine your ideal size. You then bring your new bike into our studio for a proper fitting once you have received it.
- 8 Northwoods Bikepacking Events To Add to Your Adventure Wishlist
If you're looking to explore new forests, ride the most beautiful remote gravel roads, and meet other bikepackers, we've rounded up a list of 8 beautiful bikepacking events in 2023. From the farthest corners of northern Minnesota to way up in the Upper Peninsula, there's tons of variety and event formats to discover something new this year. 1. Gravel Pizza Overnighter The Nxrth's own community bikepacking event in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin. Ride The Nxrth's handpicked gravel roads, stops for cheese curds and beer, and camping at the gorgeous Wedges Creek pizza farm. This year we're adding an optional Friday evening of social gravel and fun. Learn more at Gravel Pizza Overnighter. 2. Tour de Chequamegon This bikepacking event is in its 7th year and rides Wisconsin's original bikepacking route created by Dave Schlabowske that first put Wisconsin on the bikepacking map. Three Days of riding, 106 miles, and fully catered meals with mechanical support and expert guides makes this a truly premium bikepacking experience. To learn more, head to Tour de Chequamegon. 3. The Wolf [Bikepacking Race] The Wolf is a three day bikepacking stage race coursing through the heart of the North Shore wilds. This is the event that will test your endurance and grit and maybe even set your eyes on bigger adventures like The Tour Divide. They ask that participants have experience with overnight style bikepacking or touring. Completion of a 100 mile gravel event is a must. To learn more, head to Heck of the North Productions. *The 2023 Wolf is sold out but you can join the waitlist or keep an eye on it for next year. 4. The Crystal Bear [Bikepacking Race] The Crystal Bear is a two-day, two-state bikepacking adventure race traveling through remote corners of the Nicolet and Ottawa National Forests. It connects Laona, Wisconsin to Crystal Falls, Michigan and then back to Laona covering 192 total miles. Campsite fee, beer, and pizza in Crystal Falls, MI are included with registration fee. The event was designed so that you need to bring camping gear but not mess kit/cook stoves. This is an entirely self-supported event. There will be no SAG or support vehicles. To learn more, head to the Crystal Bear. 5. Midwest Bikepacking Summit Join experienced to first-time bikepackers for a weekend of fun in northern Wisconsin. From group rides, lakeside camping, expo, speakers, and of course bikepacking all are sure to meet a riding buddy, learn something, and immerse themselves in the Northwoods. To learn more, visit the Midwest Bikepacking Summit. 6. Hodag Country Ramble 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. Learn more at the Hodag Country Ramble. 7. The Crusher [Self-Guided & Self-Supported] The Crusher is a mass start race through the harshest "gravel" and remotest parts of the Upper Peninsula around Marquette. They also have an EX (expedition) format as well as a bikepacking format. The bikepacking format is 200 miles over 3 days and 100% self guided and self supported. To learn more, visit The Crusher. 8. The Fox [Bikepacking Race] The Fox is a two day stage race that features 60+ mile days coursing through the heart of the North Shore wilds. The Fox will start in Finland, MN, on July 1. Riders will travel to Grand Marais for their overnight camping experience. On Sunday, riders will travel a different route back to Finland for the finish. The Fox is a timed event. Learn More at Heck of the North Productions. The 2023 Fox is sold out but you can join the waitlist or keep an eye on it for next year.
- The Collective Passion for Gravel: Gray Duck Grit Rounds the Corner Into Year 2.
Gray Duck Grit took its inaugural "lap" last October and is making year 2 even better with a new distance plus gravel group rides. Learn more about Gray Duck Grit and get ready to register for early bird pricing starting this Monday, May 1. The 2nd annual Gray Duck Grit gravel race is taking place on Oct 6-7, 2023 with registration opening this Monday, May 1. Learn more and get registered at Gray Duck Grit. Interview with Mark Jesse, Race Director: 2022 was your first year. How did that go and what were the highlights? We knew there would be challenges our first year, which we welcomed knowing it’s all part of the package when doing business. We knew we were the “latest new event” in the fastest growing segment of cycling. In addition, despite several years of participation, passion, and love for the sport as local gravel cycling enthusiasts, we were perceived somewhat as outsiders. We knew we would have to prove ourselves and would need to make an impression coming out of the gate. That said, our team believed in a singular vision and mission from beginning to end. Gravel cyclists are passionate about their beloved sport. Almost all share opinions about how, where, and why we do it. Listen, I know why I do it and what I get from riding, but it would be unspeakable and foolish for me (a white, 40-something male) to suggest what this experience should be for anyone else, how they should go about it, or how much they should give to do so. How fast you ride, when you ride, what gear you use, and where you do so is up to you, and we respect that. Inviting ALL is our approach. It’s the simplest and easiest approach of “the more, the merrier.” At the end of the day, we were confident those who gave us a chance would be grateful they did. Therefore, for us, the highlights came from watching these amazing cyclists give it everything they had. To see them battle the elements, the darkness, the hills of driftless Minnesota, experience “the flow” of an ultra-distance route and take on the overall challenge we laid out before them. The overwhelmingly positive feedback and love we received from our cyclists left us speechless at times. Hearing that we’re “proof that perception can be reality” and we’re “changing gravel cycling” exceeded all expectations, but it was proof of the collective passion for gravel we shared.. Sounds like a great inaugural event; anything new for 2023? Yes, a few things: 1. We’re moving to a tiered pricing structure for all our distances. This way early birds can take advantage of our discounts when they register beginning on May 1st, 2023. It is also important our final price point this year will not exceed what participants paid last year. There is no price increase for GDG II which takes place October 6th & 7th this year. 2. As a “thank you” to the sixty-nine cyclists who believed in us by registering for GDG in 2022, we added a sixty-nine-mile distance for Gray Duck Grit II in 2023. This will be the shortest route at GDG II, but it won’t be a walk in the park. It is intended for those who don’t want to go ultra- long or simply aren’t prepared for a gravel century yet. Taking place in October, GDG is a nice end-of-the-season test and culmination of your spring and summer training miles. 3. In 2021, we started organizing casual weekly no-drop group rides on the outskirts of the Twin Cities area. We used the group name “Level Be” as our label. The meaning behind it was a combination of “level B – minimum maintenance roads” we found ourselves riding and “being” present and showing up. Later that November, we started Level Be Adventures, LLC with my wife, Kris, and this same group of gravel friends. We plan to go back to those roots of casual, fun rides a couple times each month beginning this spring and summer. Be on the lookout for those dates soon! Gray Duck Grit has a pretty huge spread of distances. How did you come up with routes and distances? I like numerology and love the game of baseball. When creating our routes, I combined the two. From the number of strikes, outs, innings, players on the field and so on, the sport of baseball uses the value of “3” in many ways. The reason behind it is the value “3” represents completion. Therefore, the value of “9” represents completion to the 3rd degree (333). It isn’t rocket-science, but it’s still very interesting to me. Our distances of 111, 222, and 333 miles are all variations of this. In striving to be unique and very unlike other gravel cycling events, we used this same approach with the first three GDG routes. Completing the 240-mile Day Across Minnesota twice (2019 & 2020) I learned a lot about what I could physically accomplish and mentally endure. With GDG, I thought about the DAMn levels of determination by some of the best cyclists in Minnesota and beyond. Through all my marathoning and ultra-endurance cycling I saw first-hand countless examples of what people can accomplish if you challenge them. I figured out what was motivating all of us and why the heck I found myself in the middle of nowhere at 2:00am chasing the red blinking lights in front of me dodging chunks of gravel, dirt, and debris for another 13 plus hours. This experience is simply like no other! Northfield has some fun events springing out of it. What's good about the gravel and community there? The gravel south and east of Northfield is known as the driftless region of Minnesota. Having participated in several events, we believe the driftless region is the most beautiful and most challenging in the state. Northfield is conveniently located on the north end of the driftless and serves as a convenient gateway to the driftless for many of us coming from the Twin Cities. Northfield residents and businesses are welcoming and very bike friendly. The town of 20,000 residents still has a small town charm along with several coffee shops, eateries, and breweries for cyclists to enjoy. The city of Northfield along with law enforcement were all on board and provided excellent support from the beginning stages of GDG planning through the final seconds of the inaugural event. We really look forward to growing this relationship in years to come building on what is already a great cycling community in Northfield. In 2022 you gave all proceeds to children's mental health, is that correct? What makes this cause so meaningful to you? While running my 15th marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in 2018, at 43 years of age, I experienced a near fatal health condition. My condition would involve a procedure I needed to have to survive but with it my nurse read to me the risks involved and at that moment I made a promise to myself to “do more” with my life if I survive the procedure. Two weeks later I was in a hospital recovery room grateful to be alive. That “do more” promise was never about doing more for myself but doing more for others with my life if I make a full recovery. Our mission from day one of Level Be Adventures with Gray Duck Grit has been to give all proceeds, literally every penny, to a good cause. Post COVID pandemic, mental health was and still is a cause we could get behind. The Washburn Center for Children was the charity for year one. For GDG II we are proud to be donating all proceeds to Fraser. Fraser is a nonprofit committed to working with individuals of all ages with autism, providing services for their families, treating mental health, and caring for others with disabilities. We believe in the quality of work Fraser does throughout the Twin Cities area and beyond. We love biking in remote areas on sketchy roads, trails, and fields. It’s pretty darn cool! What we love much more is using that passion for gravel to make an impact on other people’s lives. That’s even cooler!
- Bike Fit Friday with Paulie at GO PHYSIO (2 of 4): I Own 4 Bikes. Do I Need a Fitting for Each One?
Do you own several bikes and want to make sure they all fit your your body and riding style properly? We're doing a 4-part series all about bike fit and getting your body more comfortable and healthy on your bike. We're joined by Paulie Glatt from GO PHYSIO who is a Physical Therapist and certified bike fitting professional. About Paulie Glatt: As a competitive cyclist with a history of low back pain, Paulie has a great understanding of how critical a proper bike fit is to our experience on a bicycle. He rides Road, Gravel, Mountain, Bike Packs, and commutes by bicycle throughout the entire year. His longest race was The Day Across Minnesota, a 240-mile gravel race that he completed in 17 hours. To learn more about Paulie or to schedule a professional bike fitting, visit GO PHYSIO. Hey Paulie, I own 4 bikes: Road, mountain, gravel and fat. Do I need to get a separate bike fitting for every bike? Paulie Glatt: In general, once you have been fit it’s safe to transfer measurements from road <> gravel and from mtb <> fat. However, this doesn’t always work due to the fact that there are so many variables to consider. Here are just a few: 1. Are your riding goals similar from one bike to the other? Are you racing crits on your road bike and riding 100+ miles on your gravel bike? If so, then the fit is likely to be different between bikes. 2. Are you wearing different shoes or clothing from one bike to the next? This is especially true when switching from shoes to winter boots because varying sole heights will change the recommended saddle height. Similarly, different crank arm lengths will require different saddle heights. 3. Is the Q-factor (distance between the outside of one crank arm to the outside of the other) different between the two? If so, you may need to consider different shoes/cleats for each bike as the cleat position will be different to accommodate your ideal width of stance. 4. Are you confident in your ability to safely make modifications to your bike? If not, find someone who you can trust to set your bike up properly with the provided measurements. In general, try to transfer the measurements over and see how it feels. If it works, great! If not, come back in for a fitting. Most fitters will offer a discount to bring in an additional bike within a certain time frame.
- 906's New Website is Now Live & Puts Youth Programs & Endurance Trilogy Together In One Home
The 906 Adventure Team recently purchased and moved into a brand new headquarters in Marquette, Michigan. They've also been teasing a new website that promised to bring all of the Adventure Teams and races in their Endurance Trilogy together into one cohesive space that tells the full 906 story as a whole. This is all a part of their goal to continue pushing their mission forward with bigger and bigger impact in more communities. We just noticed that the new website is live HERE. Go explore it and learn more about their youth programs and infamous cycling events.