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  • Gravel Goals: 7 Mental Training Skills to Help You Through a Long Gravel Racing Event

    This year we launched a new series called "Gravel Goals" to help you train for your 100 mile gravel races. Today Coach Paul Warloski discusses seven mental skills to help you stay positive on long events and avoid the soul-crushing moments that can bring you to a negative place in your thoughts. Words by Paul Warloski of Simple Endurance Coaching. To learn more, visit our Introduction to the Gravel Goals series. All of us have been there: The moments when we question our life choices that brought us to this really long gravel bike race. Maybe the weather was unusually tough, or there were mechanical issues, we didn’t fuel properly, or maybe the tedium of riding that many hours just got to our head. “Why am I doing this? I’m not having fun any more.” We’ll talk about seven skills you can learn or re-learn that will help you avoid those soul-crushing moments or manage them when they come during epic gravel races. This is the eight in a series of articles about gravel racing. Using the 80/20 model to schedule workouts. Learn More. Building a base for gravel racing performance. Learn More. Five keys to training for gravel racing. Learn More. Why you should do intervals and how to do them right. Learn More. Strength training for endurance, power, and comfort. Learn More. Optimizing Hydration & Nutrition on Longer Rides. Learn More. Cycling After Age 50: How Training, Nutrition, & Recovery Changes. Learn More. Skill 1: Visualization and Mental Rehearsal Mentally rehearse riding through different aspects of the race, from the start to the finish line. Research shows that visualization can enhance performance by priming the brain and nervous system for the physical movements required during the event. So it’s worth driving as much of the course as possible prior to the race to understand the particular features. Athletes can visualize themselves navigating challenging terrain, overcoming obstacles, and maintaining a strong pace. It’s important to also visualize taking care of mishaps: Watch yourself successfully handling a flat tire or a crash, and you’ll be in a better position to keep a positive mindset if something goes wrong. Skill 2: Goal Setting Setting clear, realistic goals for the race is essential for mental preparation. Whether it's completing the race within a certain time frame, achieving a personal best, or simply finishing strong, having goals can provide you with focus and motivation. Generally, my goal is to keep my heart rate and power under threshold while maintaining my carbohydrate consumption. Those are both process goals since I typically don’t have an outcome goal for a gravel race - other than to finish. You might want to set both outcome goals (e.g., finishing in the top 10) and process goals (e.g., maintaining a steady power throughout the race). Skill 3: Mindfulness and Stress Management Long-distance gravel racing can be physically and mentally demanding, so it's important to manage stress and stay present during the event. Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can help athletes stay calm and focused before an event, even in challenging situations. Research suggests that mindfulness can improve athletic performance by reducing anxiety and enhancing concentration. During the race, practicing your breathing can keep you calm. This is the most challenging for me since my brain is always chattering at me. I work a lot at practicing breathing - making sure I’m rhythmically breathing into my belly. This is a great thing to practice while doing hard intervals: work on relaxing your upper body and breathing into your belly. Skill 4: Positive Self-Talk One of the most important tools you can practice on long training rides is maintaining a positive inner dialogue leading up to and during the race. Research has shown that positive self-talk can boost confidence, increase motivation, and improve endurance. Remind your audience to replace negative thoughts (e.g., "I can't do this" or "I'm not strong enough") with positive affirmations (e.g., "I am strong and capable" or "I've trained hard for this"). This is not something to try out while in the heat of racing. Pick one positive affirmation and practice it during long endurance training. Skill 5: Adaptability and Resilience Gravel racing often presents unpredictable terrain and weather conditions, so racers must be adaptable and resilient. Shit is going to happen in a gravel race. One way to look at the challenges is as an opportunity for growth rather than some kind of setback that reflects on you in some way. Research suggests that athletes who view adversity as manageable and temporary are better equipped to overcome obstacles and maintain peak performance. This goes back to the kind of mindfulness and visualization practice we mentioned earlier. Practicing this kind of attitude during training rides means it will be possible to do in the race. Skill 6: Pre-Race Rituals We all do a lot of training and racing. Establishing pre-race rituals can help you get into the right mindset and optimize your performance. Whether it's listening to a specific playlist, performing a warm-up routine, or visualizing success, rituals can create a sense of familiarity and confidence. Experiment with different rituals during your training to determine what works best for you. I keep changing mine but it usually involves a warmup while listening to upbeat music - or, if it’s a cyclocross race, it’s intense angry music, plus some food and water intake, using the bathroom and making sure I’m at the start line early enough to get a decent position. I also try to talk with people at the line to keep my nerves and brain chatter at bay! What works for you? Skill 7: Post-Race Reflection After the race, it’s good to reflect on your performance and identify areas for improvement. For example, did you climb well, did you manage the corners, did you keep up with your nutrition? Research suggests that reflective practice is essential for learning and skill development. Celebrate your achievements, learn from mistakes, and set new goals for future races. Have an epic day on the gravel roads! By incorporating these mental training strategies into their preparation and race-day routines, you can enhance you performance and maximize your potential for success. It’s critical to practice all of these skills during training rides, writing them down and revising them as you learn about what works. Consistency and repetition help build mindfulness patterns that will help you be successful on race day! These are all skills that will help bring you more joy during long, challenging gravel races. What do you do to keep your head in the game? About Coach Paul Warloski Paul Warloski is a Level 2 USA-Cycling Coach, a certified yoga instructor, and a certified personal trainer. He supports everyday endurance athletes at Simple Endurance Coaching, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He's been racing gravel, road, mountain bike, and cyclocross for decades, so he brings both experience and training knowledge to help you to your best gravel race performances in 2024. He'll be racing the Big Rivers Gravel Series in Illinois, the Hungry Bear in Cable, likely the Coon Fork 40 in Eau Claire, and other gravel races this year. To learn more, or for a free 30-minute Virtual Coffee to talk about your training and your goals, visit Simple Endurance Coaching.

  • Epic Bike Fest 2024: Video Recap

    The 12th annual Epic Bike Fest recently took pace in Hayward and Cable Wisconsin. On Saturday, racers competed in a point to point MTB race followed by a challenging gravel race on Sunday morning. Check out the recap video below.

  • 21 Ideas for Marketing a Bike Race

    Looking to get more cyclists registered for your bike race? Using multiple channels and building an enticing experience is critical to grow a new (or seasoned) bike race. Here we present 21 ideas to promote your bike race including social media, email marketing, website, pricing strategies, and much more. Having a well organized bike race on a beautiful route doesn't necessarily mean you'll get crowds of paid registrants signing up. There can be a lot of competition for races and in early years especially, it's challenging to translate a great experience into paid consumer demand. Social media is an easy place to start, but often times that's not enough plus only a small percentage of your Facebook and Instagram followers will see your posts. Browse our list of 21 ideas to market your bike race and pick 3-6 ideas to focus on as your grow your race. Good luck! 1. Set up your Facebook Page & Facebook Event (they BOTH matter) This is a totally free way to promote your event and the majority of your audience is likely on Facebook. Even if you have a Facebook page, don't forget to also set up a Facebook event. Facebook will send event posts to a much larger percent of your followers than page posts which gives you a big advantage when you want to make sure as many followers as possible are seeing your updates. 2. Email Past Race Participants Regularly With Interesting Updates In a noisy world of social media, your email list is your number one marketing asset. Unlike your Facebook followers, you own a direct line of communication to your email list so don't treat it lightly. When you have important updates or big announcements, make sure to email your list. Email enjoys a much higher engagement rate than social media posts. 3. Add Date-Based Price Tiering A sense of urgency causes people to take action and get registered for your event. Having 3-4 price increases as your event approaches is a great way to encourage followers to get registered and avoid a price increase. Incentivize early signups with your lowest pricing then have price increases 6, 3, and 1 month before your event. 4. List Your Event on Free Regional Event Listings Most regions have local websites with free bike event listings and calendars. Submit your event to make sure that when people are searching for events to join, you're prominently displayed on the event calendar. 5. Use High Quality Photos to Showcase The Beauty of Your Ride Cellphone images are much, much higher quality than they used to be. Get the most beautiful, high-quality images possible and add them to big prominent places like in a full width placement at the top of your website and Facebook page. It might even be worth it to hire a photographer to capture standout imagery that compels people to join. 6. Advertise on Regional Cycling Websites We had to include this one 😉. The best place to promote your race is where your audience is already all spending time. Regional cycling websites share cycling news, events, and community updates. And most importantly, they're where the cycling community goes to find new cycling experiences to sign up. 7. Write Regular Blog Posts for People to Follow Your Story Make your event a story that people want to follow by regularly writing updates along the way. Share about how you chose the routes, the story behind your great volunteers, or top 5 reasons to join along on your ride. Share it on social media and send it to your email list. This is a great way to continue staying top of mind and get people excited to follow along with how your event is developing. 8. Offer a Few Distances (But Not Too Many) Everyone is different. 100 miles is too far for some people but 50 miles is too short for other people. Offer a few distances but not too many. The more distances you offer, the thinner the group rollout becomes and less energy people can feel at your event. Our recommendation? 3 distances is great spread. That way people have some options but you don't have have to support 6 different start and end times and the logistics become simpler. 9. Create a Route That Includes All the Best Highlights and Let Everyone Know Why It's Amazing If possible, have all of your routes options include as many of the best highlights as possible. Then get photos of those of those spots or write a blog post about the highlights and share it far and wide. 10. Set a Registration Limit You Know You Can Hit & Then Sell Out Having a sold out event does wonders for future years. In early years, set a lower registration limit and when you sell out, let everyone know (this year and next year). You'll create more demand for your event in future years and you can always raise the limit each year. 11. Add a Free Training Program Whether your race is 25, 50, 100, or 500 miles there are people who are going to have to train up to that distance. Offer a free training plan to help riders see how they could grow the level of your race. 12. Open Registration Early People plan their cycling calendar very far in advance. If your event isn't available to register for until later in the year, you might lose registrants to other events that opened up registration earlier than yours. Read the room; see when other events open registration, and then open yours around the same time so you can get on everyone's calendars. 13. Offer a Free Gift to the First 50 or 100 Registrants It doesn't have to be expensive. Offer a free sticker pack, hat, t-shirt, or freebie to the first X number of people registered to inspire an early wave of registrations. 14. Advertise on Facebook for $1/day. All races should do this. If you have a small audience of followers, that's great! It means it's really cheap to advertise to them on Facebook. Boost a Facebook post that promotes your event and set your spending to $1/day. Run it for a few weeks then take a break and boost another promotional post. 15. Share Regular Behind the Scenes Updates on Social Media People enjoy following your story, especially when your posts aren't all promotional and sales-y. Share behind the scenes photos about route scouting, volunteers who are working hard, celebrate other races, and other random updates to give followers a sense of getting to know the heartbeat behind race day. 16. In Early Years, Price Your Race Lower The worst thing you can do is set your prices too high so that people don't register, then lower prices the next year. Reduction in prices equates to a perception of a low quality event. In early years, set your prices low to make it easy for everyone to be a part of it without it feeling like a big risk to register. As it becomes more popular, you can raise prices to a more normal level. 17. Offering Free T-Shirts? Make Sure to Nail It Nobody needs another cheap t-shirt with a low quality, boring design. If this is you, you might be better off saving the expense and not offering free shirts at all. If you do decide to give free t-shirts, make it the most comfortable tri-blend fabric possible so people want to wear it all the time. Pay a good designer to create something cool that makes people feel like they're taking the entire event experience home with them. Bonus? The more they wear it, the more free visibility you get. 18. Offer Free Food or Drink at the Finish Line (It Benefits You Twice) Everybody loves free food and drink. It creates more value for your event and nearly everyone will take you up on free post-race free food and drink. But the second benefit is that causes everyone to stick around, socialize, and creates an automatic post-race community vibe instead of heading right home and losing out on the post-race community energy. 19. Make Your Website Simple, But Irresistibly Beautiful Your website does not need 10 pages. You only need a few pages (or even just one!), but make it beautiful so people just have to join in. Your website needs a catchy intro, a section about the routes, race day logistics/timeline, and a big, flashy "Register" button in the main menu that stands out above everything else. That's it. Keep it simple. 20. Come Up With a "Hook" that Makes Your Race Different Than Every Other Race Simply having another race, isn't enough to get people to register. Come up with a unique angle that sets you apart. Maybe your race starts at midnight, has several river crossings, has an afterparty in a barn, or has cheesecake at every support station. Maybe those aren't great ideas, but the best races have something unique that everyone recognizes and wants to be a part of. 21. Ask Past Racers for Testimonials Reach out directly to some past racers and ask for a testimonial. Share these on social media and publish them directly on your website. This is especially impactful if you can get testimonials from riders that everyone knows and follows.

  • VIDEO: Brian Davis' US Fat Bike Open Race

    The US Fat Bike Open was held on Feb 24 at Ariens Nordic Center as part of the Snow Crown series. Brian Davis just dropped his Youtube recap of the race. To get an inside look at the race and what might be planned for next year, check out his video here. To learn more, visit Brian Davis Races on Youtube or check out the Snow Crown fat bike series. Cover photo by Mitchell Vincent.

  • Summer Jersey Store Now Open [Closes June 13]

    We just opened our Nxrth jersey store for a summer batch of orders. Designed and manufactured right here in Wisconsin's beautiful Driftless region by Borah Teamwear, these Pro jerseys are available until Thursday, June 13. Every jersey comes with: Fit guarantee Recycled materials Silicone waist gripper Three rear pockets Lightweight Moisture wicking Made in Wisconsin Shop the 2024 Nxrth Jersey

  • Hotdish Recap: Climbs, Cramps, & Coke on Chris Stindt's 100K

    The second annual Hotdish 100 recently took place in Winona Minnesota. Riders got full scoop of Minnesota culture and Driftless gravel on their choice of three distances. Chris Stindt chose his his tires the night before the race, forgot to get groceries, left late, and has a great story to tell about his 100K ride. Words by Chris Stindt Learn more about the Hotdish 100 from Wark's Cycling Service This summer was feeling a little quiet, but things lined up nicely for me to attend my newest local gravel race, the Hotdish 100. Chase Wark is a gravel pro who lives nearby in Winona, and offered this race for the second time. I have appreciated Chase participating and supporting the local events I’ve put on, so I was excited to return the favor. I said things lined up, but that basically means we didn’t have weekend plans out of town, and my wife didn’t say NO when I asked if I could go. However, she had work and volunteer plans involving our only automobile, so I had to decide if I wanted to catch a ride to the 100 mile race, starting at 7 am, or possibly consider the 100k at 9 am. Side note, Chase Wark is a bit of a beast on the bike, and earlier this summer he rode to, raced, and won a 100 mile gravel event. I decided to pay homage to him, and ride over to the 100k, race it, and then either bum a ride home or maybe even ride back. Alas…I am not Chase, as I’d soon find out. Or rather, be reminded of. I mapped out the route to the start, and then started thinking about actually racing. Chase shared a pre-race email about the course and said it was mostly hero gravel, with some fresh grading. I used my one ‘email a race director an annoying question’ and asked him if 35 slicks or 38 semi-slicks would be better. He said the 35 everywhere except the fresh. I had more follow ups, but as an event director myself, I knew not to bother him the day before the event with minutiae. Yes, I was figuring out my tires the day before. And...I went with the slicks. I’m ok in loose stuff, plus I wanted to go fast, oh and I had to ride 24 miles to the start. In the morning, things didn’t go exactly perfect. We hadn’t gotten groceries for a while. I don’t know why I didn’t realize we were out of eggs. No fried egg, egg sandwich, waffles, pancakes, nor milk for cereal. Sheesh. Finally found something, got myself together, and left 10 minutes late. Not a big deal, but I wasn’t exactly sure how long it would take to get to the start. Oh and then I remembered that there was construction on the main road I mapped out, and I needed to go around. Not a huge deal. Oh, and it was head wind the whole way there, and I wasn’t going super slow, but I was on 35c mondo endurance tires. I didn’t panic, but I did start to push the pace a little. I also couldn’t get my GPS to sync, so I was going off of memory, and couldn’t tell how far away I was. Haaa. Got there with 16 minutes to spare. I rolled up, got my number, chatted with Chase, thanked his fiance for all her support (I know how these things go and that means she did a lot), ditched my backpack and bar bag, loaded up my snacks and water, and rolled out to the start line with 2 minutes to spare. Whew! The first climb is nicely paved. The 100k is really about 60 miles, with 4500 feet of climbing or so. I am at the front doing a little work, but eventually when no one comes around I basically soft pedal until someone else comes by. We all chill for a second and then someone attacks finally. A small group gets away over the top, but typical for a bike race, no one wants to work together, and the stragglers catch back up. As we hit the second hill I realize it’s the one that was freshly graded. It’s also got up over 18% gradient, which combined with any gravel, and loose soil plus slick tires…well it was hard. I went full gas, and at the top looked back to see no one behind me! So I decided to roll it. Silly, really, in retrospect, but at the time I figured why not try. However, the top was rolling and the group finally started taking turns working together and I watched them get closer every time I looked back. Finally I sat up to eat and drink, and jumped on the train when it came by. I decided to play it smart and wait until later climbs to break away. The rest of the ride was classic rural Minnesota Driftless gravel. Fantastic! We went down a MMR (Minimum Maintenance Road) outside Lewiston that was…very interesting. Baby head sized rocks, steep loose gravel, ruts, and leaves covering much of it up. Turns out it was a decisive downhill that eventually split up the group. I caught a couple guys and started to drop them on the next climb back up. I caught one more guy and we worked together over the top, but the two behind caught us, and we all four rode together into Winona at race leaders. And then the cramps hit. Turns out I’m no neo-pro, and my legs are very mortal, ha! I kept shaking them and stretching, as our group grew by a couple more. Eventually one of the catchers launched a little attack leaving town and my legs seized up, and I watched everyone ride away. I spoke unkindly to my legs and shook them a lot and stood and sat, and eventually pedaled my way back to the first two stragglers. I saw 2nd place ahead on the final hill, but at this point there wasn’t anything left in my legs. I slowly made my way up, onto the pavement, and back down the final paved descent. It was great! At the finish I was out of fluids, and a bit toasty. I thanked Chase, and then chugged a Coke, immediately followed by a lemonade. I don’t think I’ve ever had two sodas in 2 minutes in my whole life. I grabbed a root beer to go, did a quick podium shot, and decided to try riding home. I felt okay, until halfway up the first gravel climb when my right leg fully locked up. I called Anna, and agreed to meet her. I thought maybe I’d still get to 100 miles. Slowly up the climb and across the ridge, with a nice tailwind, I was cruising along when boom both legs locked up. I stood for awhile, but realized I couldn’t coast all the way home, so I accepted my ride. Woof! 97 miles. Just a great all around day, playing bikes. If you get a chance - do the Hotdish! And ride some driftless gravel, it does not disappoint. I’m really glad I got to see some new roads, and maybe next year I’ll just to the 100 mile event.

  • New Bikepacking Route from St. Paul to Duluth, "Following the Gandy Dancers".

    Following the Gandy Dancers is a new bikepacking route from Todd Gunzenhauser that connects St. Paul to Duluth, Minnesota. Enjoy cycling through rich history, remote roads, and great handpicked spots for camping, food, and more. Route & Photos by Todd Gunzenhauser Escape the Twin Cities' rhythm and find gravel freedom on this multi-day route from Saint Paul to Duluth. Each part of the ride offers unique charm, from urban trails to charming towns and remote forests. Much of the route follows the Gandy Dancer Trail which is named after the railroad workers who laid the railroad tracks in the early 1900s. Using tools known for their rhythmic work style made by the Gandy Tool Company of Chicago, the early railroad workers laid down rails from Duluth down to St. Croix Falls and beyond. While many cyclists have completed the Twin Cities to Duluth via the paved Munger Trail we wanted a little something more remote. This route is about 60% gravel ranging from smooth crushed stone to soft-sandy ATV track. Route at a Glance Distance: 166 Miles Days: 2-3 Days Elevation: 4,110 ft Gravel: 60% Pavement: 40% Full Route Guide Includes 10 Camping Options Parks Grocery Options Pizza Stops Pubs & Taverns Coffee Shops Trail Info Lots more

  • THE DRIFTLESS LOOP, MINNESOTA

    The Driftless region of WI, MN, and IA was missed by the glacial flattening of the surrounding area. Here the rivers cut deeper and the hills roll freely. This route runs both sides of the Wisconsin/Minnesota border and explores the region for 3-4 days. Created By: Nicolette Reker @nikity_nak Watch a video overview of the Driftless Loop by Katrina Hase. The Driftless Loop gives an overview of the Southeastern Minnesota Driftless area with a brief jaunt across the cheddar curtain crossing the Mississippi river at LaCrosse and again in Winona. It includes several camping options and passes through towns to reduce the amount of food and cooking supplies you'll need to pack along. If you're from the area, you'll love that our beloved Kwik Trip stores make several appearances on the route where you can pick up some Glazers or a corn dog for your jersey pocket. While the majority of the route is gravel, it stops in several towns. Make sure to leave time for the many coffee stops along the route and Island City Brewing in Winona. Driftless Loop Bikepacking Route Map: 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.

  • Readers' Routes: Mary Mills & The Jackpot Loop

    Today's Reader's Route is from Mary Mills and takes you up through some old forest service roads in Northern Minnesota. Enjoy this gravel route and submit your own for a free patch. Submission from Mary Mills The Jackpot Loop consists of old Forest Service Roads and gravel roads. There are a number of significant hills with loose rock on some of the forest service roads. This route is also a popular ATV route so is best ridden during the week. Submit Your Reader's Route All Reader's Routes So Far

  • The Real Chase Wark: Kwik Trip Donuts, the Spirit of Gravel, & His Last Minute 2024 Life Time Grand Prix

    Chase Wark is a professional cyclist, endurance coach, and race director from Minnesota. He recently became a last minute addition to the 2024 Life Time Grand Prix. Here we pick his brain about Kwik Trip, his cycling goals, and what it was like to go all in on professional cycling. Follow along with Chase Wark @chasethebiker or learn more about his coaching services and gravel events at Wark's Cycling Service . Interview with Chase Wark: How did you become a last minute addition to the 2024 Life Time Grand Prix? Getting a last minute spot into the Life Time Grand Prix was a bit of a surprise to me. I was standing in line at a Subway and got a call from an unknown Minnesota phone number. I thought it was someone calling to ask a question about one of the gravel events I put on, but when I answered the person said “Hi, this is Bekah from Life Time” and I knew then I was going to get offered a spot. I don’t know if it was the early season results I got (1st at Rock Cobbler, 2nd at Valley of Tears to Keegan, and 13th at BWR AZ) or if it was my application from 2023 that I submitted that got me the spot. I guess I could probably ask. Getting into the Grand Prix has made me change my schedule a lot. I was going to do a decent amount of local midwest races like I’ve always done, but now I’ll be mostly focused on training for the big races, traveling to them, and then recovering from the travel. What do you hope to accomplish this year in the Life Time Grand Prix? I have two goals for my season in the Grand Prix. My first goal is I hope to get a top 10 result at one of the races. My second goal is I hope to get an invite back for 2025. It would be nice to know months in advance next time so I can plan out my season and my training better. You're more of a gravel guy, right? How are you enjoying mountain biking and what was Sea Otter like? I think I’m the most midwest gravel guy out there since I can’t handle a bike unless it’s a 90 degree turn, even then I struggle. Last year I actually bought a mountain bike to work on my skills a bit and so I could go on some fun off-road adventure routes in Winona. I don’t have a power meter on it so it’s a fun way to just enjoy riding with friends. Going into Sea Otter though I had to practice on actual singletrack at race pace. I only did that for 2 weeks before Sea Otter so my skills were subpar compared to everyone else. I was just happy to not end up dead last out of the LTGP athletes. Outside of the racing at Sea Otter, the expo was huge! Imagine the MN State Fair, but it’s all bike stuff. It was a fun way to connect with current sponsors and meet new ones! What was it like quitting your job to pursue full time professional cycling? Quitting my job was a huge leap of faith that somehow everything would work out. Everyone I talked to and asked for advice from all pretty much said the same thing, and that was that I would regret not chasing my dream. My family, wife, friends, and co-workers were all super supportive when I made the decision. I feel even more busy nowadays that I don’t have a job. I coach 30 athletes , run an Airbnb with my wife , and I host Granny’s Gravel Grinder , The Hotdish , plus the new Zinger MTB Race. There’s been a lot of learning from the highs and lows of everything, but I’m glad I made the decision to quit my job to become a full time bike racer. I've seen some posts about you and the "spirit of gravel". What's that all about? That’s mostly me just trolling with the folks who get upset that I tend to geek out over aero bike racing equipment. They think somehow some dude riding a disc wheel is ruining the spirit of gravel, even though they’re getting upset at the event where they paid $300 to register, $1000 for hotel rooms, and had to ask their family to come out to the aid stations since the race doesn’t provide any support. I only show up to those races since that’s where the big names show up to race. If I wanted to truly experience the spirit of gravel I would have my schedule full of events like Ragnorak, The DAMN, Filthy 50, Granny’s Gravel Grinder, Hungry Bear, and so many more small events that still offer amazing courses and support for a fraction of the price. You seem like a big Kwik Trip fan. What do you like to get there? I’m a big Kwik Trip fan and would love it if they sponsored me. I rode 480 miles only stopping at Kwik Trips in one day hoping they would see it and sponsor me, but I only got some stickers and a shirt. I have two go to items when I stop at Kwik Trip. I usually get a Mega Buddy (44oz fountain drink) , half lemonade and half strawberry flavored mountain dew and I’ll sip some of it and then put the rest in my bottles. I’ll also get 2 glazer donuts. If I eat 3 I get an upset stomach, if I eat 2 I get more hungry for some reason. Sometimes if I’m with a friend we will buy a box of donuts, eat 3 each, and then ride with upset stomachs for about an hour and regret the decision. What's your proudest accomplishment on the bike so far? I don’t have one specific moment that stands out. Most of the time when I’ve won a race I thought I could win going into the event, and I’ve never won a race where I thought I wouldn’t. I would have to say either my 2nd at Valley of Tears or my 2nd at Gravel Worlds last year (use code “Chase” to save $15 for this year’s registration) were my 2 best results. Winning the DAMn on a road bike is also one of my proudest moments. That’s what made me fall in love with gravel actually. The following year at The DAMn I proposed to my now wife and that is one of my favorite biking memories. How did you decide to start your own gravel races and what's it like putting on events that you aren't a participant of? The ideas came from thinking too much on my bike rides. For several months on my rides all I could think about was hosting events where I grew up and where I live now, and making the gravel events have a fun theme to them. Before gravel events I hosted cyclocross events at my parents and always knew people loved the grassroots stuff. Gravel events are a lot less physical work than cyclocross events, but there is more planning involved and since we serve food that takes a lot of time to make. I enjoy putting on the gravel events more because not everyone is racing. At Granny’s this year we had several people do their first 100 miles and I think that’s super cool since you’ll never forget your first 100 mile ride. When Life Time Grand Prix announced you, they said that one interesting fact about Chase is that he is from Winona, Minnesota. Is that really the most interesting thing about you? I don’t know if I was tired when I sent that answer over that an interesting fact about me was that I live in Winona, MN or if they were just scrambling to find something so they added it. I don’t know what interesting fact I would add. Maybe that my two front teeth are fake or that I’ve drank half a gallon of root beer on a bike ride once?? I don’t really know. I don’t have any special talents or any interests that are too out of the ordinary I feel like. Maybe I’ll ask my wife what’s quirky about me and I can get it added when they print new cards.

  • Gravel Getaway: Hygge House on the Chequamegon Gravel Network

    The Hygge House is a cozy retreat nestled in the woods, offering a peaceful escape with room for up to six guests. Enjoy simple pleasures like board games, vinyl albums, and outdoor lounging, right on the Chequamegon Gravel network. View this cabin on Airbnb. Details Entire Cabin 6 guests 3 bedrooms 3 beds 1 baths In Danish, hygge (Hoo-guh) is described in many ways, but it is simply the Danish ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. Friends, family, graciousness. The Hygge House encapsulates this definition by arming itself with a slow and peaceful way of living. No television, Chemex coffee system, gas fireplace, blankets to snuggle, outside deck for enjoying the peace, yet only 2 miles from town if you're craving some local action. Gravel Routes Near This Cabin This cabin is right in the heart of the Chequamegon Gravel Guide routes. Check out several handpicked gravel routes plus some stops for food, drink, and other fun. Plan a Gravel Getaway Near Cable, Wisconsin

  • QUIZ: Guess These Gravel Races Just By Their Brand Colors

    Time for a digital gravel game. How many of these regional gravel races can you guess just from their brand colors? There are 10 races plus 1 tiebreaker round. Don't scroll to the bottom and spoil it until you've guessed all 11 races. Ready to test your knowledge of our region's gravel racing scene? Check out these 10 gravel race brand colors and see how many you can accurately guess. Official Rules: Scroll through these 10 gravel race brand color palettes Guess which race goes with each brand color palette When you've guessed all 10, scroll to the bottom to see how many you got right. Share with your friends to see if you're smarter than them After the 10 options, there's 1 final tie breaker. 1. Guess Which Race This Is: 2. Guess Which Race This Is: 3. Guess Which Race This Is: 4. Guess Which Race This Is: 5. Guess Which Race This Is: 6. Guess Which Race This Is: 7. Guess Which Race This Is: 8. Guess Which Race This Is: 9. Guess Which Race This Is: 10. Guess Which Race This Is: TIE BREAKER: Guess Which Race This Is: Answers Answer 1: Answer 2: Answer 3: Answer 4: Answer 5: Answer 6: Answer 7: Answer 8: Answer 9: Answer 10: Tiebreaker Answer: Looking for 2024 Gravel Races?

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