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  • Follow Arrowhead 135 Live: Map Tracking Starts Monday at 7am

    The Arrowhead 135 winter ultra race is starting on Monday January 29 at 7am in International Falls, Minnesota. The race includes a ski, run, and bike category with racers required to complete qualifying events prior to registering. Follow along live with the 2024 race on the Track Leaders map below. To learn more, visit the Arrowhead 135.

  • Women of Arrowhead 135

    The 2024 Arrowhead 135 race starts on Jan 29 and has 13 women signed up for the bike category. We reached out to the women with a few questions about their 2024 race and how they get through the darkest parts of winter fat bike ultra races. Enjoy the respones they wrote and photos from past winter ultras. To learn more visit Arrowhead 135. Jump to Rider Laura Hrubes Amanda Harvey Sveta Vold Jill Martindale Aga Fine Claire Richard Beth Freymiller The Arrowhead 135 is considered one of the hardest races on earth and takes place during the coldest time of year in the coldest place in the lower 48 states. On average, the finish rate is less than 50%. The races starts in International Falls, Minnesota and follows the rugged and scenic Arrowhead snowmobile rail. Each year the race registration is done with a lottery style. Before being eligible to register, riders must have completed a prior Arrowhead 135, Tuscobia 160, Susitna, or similar race as well as finishing a 24 hour bike race, with minimum of 100 miles completed for off-road, or 200 miles on road. We reach out to the women doing the bike category of this year's Arrowhead 135 and here were there responses: Laura Hrubes What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? I’ve wanted to do arrowhead for a long time, ever since I heard about it years ago. It’s taken years of increasingly longer and more challenging off-road and winter adventures to feel like I understood what something like arrowhead would actually take. A couple official Tuscobias and one solo Tuscobia on my own during the pandemic, the polar roll snowflake and polar roll ultra, the Green Bay winter ultra, some marjis, a bunch of Crushers, and more 100+ mile off-road adventures than I could possibly remember have brought me to a place where I feel ready to try. There’s really nowhere I would rather be than in the wild, desolate wilderness of the north country; it’s where I grew up and will always feel more like home to me than anywhere else. I can’t wait to be out there! How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I’m not sure if you mean when the sun goes down and it gets dark, or when it feels dark. Dealing with the sun going down is something I practice, as it can feel overwhelming and scary. The experience feels a lot more intense in the dark and if you have any insecurities or fears they are heightened. But you do it enough and it becomes much less of a big deal. Be ready for the temperature to drop, be aware of your lights and gear and spare batteries and know where everything is and have it all ready to go (I always make sure I have a headlamp around my neck when the sun goes down) and the darkness becomes an adventure rather than something to fear. And if you mean darkness in a more metaphorical sense, the mental game is the hardest part! The most important thing is to fuel your body so you can keep feeling good. Whenever I start to feel discouraged or sad or defeated, I think “aha, I’m hungry, that’s my body telling me I need something right now!” Most of the time that takes care of it immediately. I have a bunch of mantras or affirmations ready to go that I can remind myself of if I need them…I chose this, I wanted to be here, I deserve to be here, people believe in me, it’s ok to be uncomfortable, right now is not forever and I’ll get through this, this is a privilege and I’m grateful, there’s a lot of people that would love to be able to be here and I owe this to them to try my hardest, etc etc etc. Music helps too, I usually have that handy for a pick me up if needed. Reminding myself that right now, everything is ok, and if it’s not, I’ll fix it. And at the end of the day, finishing what you started feels a whole heck of a lot better than quitting. Any gear highlights you want to mention? I decided this year that I would be very, very intentional with my gear, and support USA made and local companies as much as possible. To that end, all of my bike bags are made by Cedaero. I have a bunch of gear from Empire Wool and Canvas. I’ll be wearing base layers from Superior Fleece, an anorak from Wintergreen Ely, Steger Mukluks, and the best socks and hat on the planet from Hollow Alpaca. I’ve got a really cool tool kit setup from Johnny D’s Bike Bags. I’ll be using a Cold Avenger mask as well as needed. All of this stuff is, in my opinion, the best quality goods out there, and it’s all made by small companies in the USA. Local is beautiful. Amanda Harvey What Brought You to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? In 2016 I started racing at the NSC Velodrome. I was welcomed into the community and introduced to different types of racing. I started racing crits, road and had one ordeal of a gravel race. Fat biking started when I borrowed my husband's bike for a race in mashed potato snow. It was awful, but for some reason I wanted to do more. When I did the St Croix 40 in 2019, that was my longest race ever. Since then I've been building up to longer distances because they're more of an adventure than a race. This is my 4th start at Arrowhead, I have 1 finish and 2 DNFs unsupported. I keep coming back because of the unique challenges of the race, no two years are the same, which gives me lots of things to learn and adapt to for the next year. I have lots of Minnesota pride in the people and the environment of the race. How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? If we're talking literal darkness, then that's the part I enjoy the most. The focus of the headlamp, the stars, seeing shapes in the snow. Metaphorical darkness? I try to find the humor in the situation, or what is going well. "Sure I've been hiking with my bike on my back for 6 hours, but at least the weather is sunny." And also it's ok to cry; usually I feel better after and my tears haven't yet frozen to my face. Any gear highlights you want to mention? I'm excited to test out my Osto Arctodus at this year's race. There hasn't been much snow to play in yet this year, but it's handled my training rides like a champ. Sveta Vold What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? This is my AH135 #9 (finished 2 supported 3 unsupported as well as 3 DNF) How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I love to be in the woods by myself. Lots of thoughts. Any gear highlights you want to mention? I always have LOTs of gear. It depends on the year and weather conditions . I did it in very cold and very warm conditions with lots of extra stuff as well as the minimum. But always after the race I have the stuff I never used and food I never ate. When we started to have the unsupported category - the only one I sign up for now - it is a changed game. The gear I use and the way I pack are all completely different now. In the unsupported category, the amount of the stuff you need is more. I hope one day that the unsupported category will take more attention than the supported category. You carry all you need without the option of warm check -points and drying out, and eating hot food at the check-point. Now it's all you have to take care of what is much harder. Jill Martindale What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? I've been to Arrowhead 5 times (3 finishes) and am looking forward to seeing the community again this year! I love winter ultras and have finished Tuscobia, Fat Pursuit, White Mountains 100, ITI 350, and ITI 1000 - AH is one of my favorites and one of the closest for me to get to, so of course I want to come play! How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I keep myself pretty entertained with a busy mind - I'll make lists of things, celebrate the little victories, and daydream. I don't allow myself to say negative things out loud and try to avoid people who can be verbally negative while out on the trail. Laughing and making up jokes, sarcastically saying that I love things when they aren't that enjoyable - it all helps to trick my brain out of the dark times. It also helps to know that things will get hard, but that they won't be tough forever (so long as you're taking care of yourself.) Conditions will always get better - you just don't know when, or if it'll be while you're out there (ope!) Any gear highlights you want to mention? Studded 45NRTH tires are always a hit out on winter trails, and they keep me confidently riding when there could be a potential for ice. Their Wolfgar boots have always keep my feet toasty, too! My Salsa Beargrease is a comfortable bike that I like to play around with year-round, and spending time getting to know the bike loaded up with gear also inspires confidence. Removing any "what ifs" and doubts before race day means there's less negative and intrusive thoughts out in the cold, and I can spend more time listening for creatures out in the woods or day-dreaming about the grilled cheeses at Melgeoge. Aga Fine What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? I have done Arrowhead a few times and I just love this race so I keep on coming back. I bike a ton all year long. But I never have done anything like tour Divide. Lots of gravel stuff. Love the winter I think I do well in this race because of my mountaineering background. I feel comfortable not being comfortable. How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I just keep moving forward one pedal stroke at a time, or if I’m pushing my bike one step at a time. I break the trail into three checkpoints. I just tell myself I need to make it to the next check point. I never look at it as 135 miles all at once. I break it into mileage between check points. I talk to myself. I regroup at checkpoints. And at times as much as I love the solitude I really like running into other people on the trail. Any gear highlights you want to mention? I love my Salsa Beargrease. As to my bike I trust my mechanic that sets up my bike before the race. I always have a few pairs of hats and gloves/mittens so I know my hands always will be warm and dry. As long as your head is warm your core stays warm. OR mountaineering mittens I swear by them. Claire Richard What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? I've always enjoyed outdoor physical activity, but during COVID I was introduced to MTB and endurance cycling and dove in head first. Over the past 3.5 years I've done several ultra events including 906 events Crusher and Polar Roll Ultra, Lumberjack 100 and Coast to Coast along with some extended bikepacking trips with my partner, Ken. I love to challenge myself, am a little bit of a box checker and am ITI curious so Arrowhead seemed like the next logical step from PRU. I am looking forward to meeting more people in the winter ultra community! How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I rely a lot on my competitive nature, but I guess I also pull from what I would consider a toolbox of mental exercises. These generally involve talking to myself in some way; hyping myself up, positive self talk, mantras, in the moment gratitude practice, letting myself feel my emotion and then making a plan with myself to make things better, picking a small goal to focus on that I know I can achieve and then building on that. I'll sometimes sing (badly) out loud or in my head and change lyrics to include something about spinning. Any gear highlights you want to mention? New to me this year for winter riding is a fur ruff that I put on the jacket I plan to wear most of the race. So far it's been one of my favorite pieces especially when snowing or windy; it makes a nice little micro environment for my face! Beth Freymiller What brought you to the 2024 Arrowhead 135? There aren't many races that I make time for on the calendar every year, but Arrowhead is special. I love the course, the people at the checkpoints and the experience of the solitude on the trail. 2023 will be my third consecutive year. I love that the trail has been so different each year. How do you keep the momentum going when things get dark? I like to switch things up when things get dark. It's usually a good sign that I need to eat something, drink something or maybe hike a bike for a little while to warm up my toes. Any gear highlights you want to mention? I'm tinkering with my gear every year. I keep learning new things and am still trying to sort out the ideal layering strategy. If I had to pick a gear highlight, I'd say my onyx hubs. I love the quiet, quick engagement and how tough they are. I learned the hard way that a good set of hubs can make or break your race.

  • Your Fat Bike & Coffee Adventures: Part 1

    We're halfway through our January Fat Bike & Coffee challenge and have loved following along with your trail coffee adventures on Instagram. Check out a few of 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. Submission from Tim Kordula:

  • New Year Rider Survey: Help Us Improve The Nxrth

    The Nxrth just turned 2 years old and we need your help making year 3 even better. Take our New Year Rider Survey and tell us what how you ride and what kind of content you want us to create. Your feedback helps build a more useful and engaging adventure cycling community in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula.

  • Trenton's DAMn Story: From Birthday Gravel to an Epic Challenge for Average Humans [DAMn Part 2]

    The Day Across Minnesota (The DAMn) officially ended in 2021 after 5 years. It just recently announced it is back for 2024 and Co-founder and Race Director Trenton Raygor shares how it all started, why he brought it back, and how average people can discover something within themselves at The DAMn. Registration for The DAMn and Double DAMn opens at 8am on Saturday, January 6. To get registered, visit The Day Across Minnesota. Interview with Trenton Raygor: Trenton, How Did This Start & Have YOU Done The DAMn? I first rode the 240 mile route with my friends Robert Hest and Carl Newberg on my birthday in September of 2016. As a birthday gift, my dad dropped us off in Gary, SD and picked us up in Hager City, WI. At that point it was a birthday gravel ride, but after completing it and processing the adventure that we all just had, both Robert and Carl strongly encouraged me to put it out into the world for others to experience. So, in December of 2016 I opened up registration for The DAMn. I was guessing that maybe 30 people might be interested, but was shocked when 150 people registered in less than 48 hours. Almost 9 months later, my good friend Erik Englund as well as my brother (Jackson), father (Joel), and mother (Carol), would all help put on the very first Day Across Minnesota. I race directed The DAMn from 2017 to 2021 when I announced that due to family obligations, 2021 would be the last. In short, life got busy and Erik and I both needed to get some time back to spend with our kids. That said, at the same time I also announced a new 480 mile route (The Double DAMn). Our official roster that year of 500 filled up in mere hours. I first rode the new 480 mile Double DAMn route with my friend Charles Parsons in July of 2021...we finished 46.5 hours later with 505.5 miles under our belts. We both rode it on single speeds. I then race directed the last DAMn in August of 2021. Both riding as well as race directing The DAMn have been challenging yet incredibly rewarding experiences. My good friend and film director extraordinaire, Nicholas Kapanke, has even memorialized the 2018 and 2021 events into two award winning documentaries. 'Delta of Spirit' is currently available to watch on Amazon Prime and 'The Last DAMn' is set to be released later this year. 'The Last DAMn' points out that since it began, 1,746 racers have attempted The DAMn and only 755 have finished. Why Did You Put The DAMn Into the World For EVERYONE? It was originally just a birthday gravel ride and a reason to ride bikes for a day with friends. Another reason was to visit some of the state's historic locations by bicycle...places that my grandfather Mearl, a local historian, had told me stories of and had written about. That was the madness behind the route...and to cross the entire state on gravel by bicycle was going to be a big challenge. However, the reason why I listened to Robert and Carl and decided to put it out into the world as a race came from an entirely different place. It wasn't until my 30s that I found confidence and strength in who I am. I'm not 100% sure why it took me that long, but it likely had to do with my mental well being, how I was spending my time, and who I was spending it with. Once I started riding the bike regularly and reaching for the harder stuff (tough gravel races like Trans Iowa) I began meeting people who I genuinely admired and wanted to be around. These people worked hard, showed up, and inspired the hell outta me. They were husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, who worked regular jobs in manufacturing, education, food service, transportation, health care, and everything in between. They seemed like just average human beings until they were doing something hard on a bicycle. Then they became superheroes. The DAMn is a space that was created for us average human beings to discover something within ourselves. Anyone can find reasons why they can't do something and if your can't is stronger than your can, we won't be seeing you in Gary, SD. If you can work hard, show up, and give it all you've got, you might just have a transformative experience. You might find that something in yourself that you've been searching for or something that you didn't even know existed. We might just see you at that elusive Hager City, WI finish line. Since we announced that The DAMn is back in 2024, all kinds of new riders have reached out. Some have even told me how they aren't sure they can get it done, but plan to work hard, show up, and will see how far they can make it. It's for these people. They are why we do The DAMn. After Saying Goodbye for 2 Years, Why Did You Bring DAMn Back? Why bring it back? Over the course of the past two years, both Erik's kids and my kids have gotten into high school mountain biking. Their involvement has even led us to coaching their teams. They have also done a little bit of gravel riding and racing and really enjoy that as well. One day earlier this fall, my youngest asked if I thought of ever bringing The DAMn back. He said he thought it would be inspiring to see some of the kids on his team try to get it done. My oldest agreed. Erik and his kids agreed. We all agreed that it's time to do The DAMn, again. With that, only 1 rider under the age of 18 has ever completed The DAMn. It will be interesting to see if more young people give it a go in 2024. I hope so. What Do Say to Those Who Are Interested But Unsure if They Can Do It? It's all about the journey...and I'm not just talking about the 240 miles of gravel between Gary, SD and Hager City, WI. It's easy to fixate on the event itself, but the road to The DAMn is underestimated and will do incredible things for each of our racers. Ride your bike and try new things. If it works, go with it. If it doesn't, try something new. There's definitely room to learn from others on the road to The DAMn, but make sure that you're honest with yourself about your intent and do what works best for you.

  • Why You Should Do The DAMn & Tips From 6 DAMn Champions Who Did It [DAMn Part 1]

    After taking two years off, The Day Across Minnesota (The DAMn) 24-hour ultra gravel event is back for 2024. Here we check in with 6 people who completed The DAMn in previous years as they share why they did it and what tips they have for people who want to give it a try. Registration opens on Jan 6 at 8am. The DAMn is a 24 hour border-to-border gravel event across the state of Minnesota. The event starts at midnight in Gary, South Dakota and finishes in Hager City, Wisconsin with a 24 hour time limit. Riders also have the option to Double-DAMn for 480 miles by going back and forth in 48 hours. To learn more or get registered, visit The Day Across Minnesota. Meet These 6 DAMn Champions & Hear Why They Did It Since 2017 when The DAMn first started, 1,746 racers have attempted it and only 755 have finished. Racing midnight to midnight, The DAMn is an incredible physical and mental challenge that invites the average human being to discover something deep within themselves. Here are 6 of the 755 DAMn Champions who lined up at midnight in Gary, South Dakota and share why they did it what they want to share with those who are considering this challenge for the first time. Kesha Marson DAMn'd in 2021 Why Did You Do The DAMn? I’ve had a few friends complete The DAMn in the past and always wondered whether it was something I could do. The thought of 240 miles and the uncertainty in those 24 hours had me itching to try the challenge. I wanted to see what I was capable of. I wanted a chance to learn more about myself and to put myself in a position of being an ordinary person doing something extraordinary. I wanted other women to say, “if she can do it why can’t I?” What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? You can literally do anything you put your mind to. You can train and have your fueling/hydration plan on point, but it’s your mind that will get you through those peaks and valleys of the day. Train your brain to have positive self talk. And by all means keep moving forward no matter how slow. Slow is still moving forward and one pedal stroke closer to a finish line Trenton hug. Scott Weimerskirch DAMn'd in 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Why Did You Do The DAMn? I'm always looking for a way to challenge myself and when I first saw this event in 2017 I figured it would be perfect. Prior to this I had never ridden further than 125 miles in a day and let alone across an entire state. Gives me a lil bragging rights when people ask what's the furthest I've ever ridden in a day I can throw out, "246 miles." It's truly an epic event and allows me to be around like minded people that like to push their limits of physical and mental abilities to complete an epic course. What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? Besides the obvious to train, I tell everyone to ride your ride! Many people start in Gary, SD but not all finish. Don't ride above your ability and flame out and DNF, but also if you're feeling good keep your pace and if that means going solo, go solo... Kimberly Breuer DAMn'd in2018 and Double-DAMn'd in 2021 Why Did You Do The DAMn? I met Trenton (and Charles) during TransIowa 13, my first gravel race, and he invited me. What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? Mental toughness is as important as physical strength. Michael Lehmkuhl I’ve participated in some way in each of The DAMns. As support in 2017, when I thought riding the route was an insurmountable challenge, as a rider in 2018 (geared), finish line volunteer in 2019, rider again in 2020 (self-supported singlespeed), and finally in 2021 (tandem stoker). Why Did You Do The DAMn? I keep asking myself the same thing. I guess that’s part of why I’m planning to do it once again. Maybe I’ll find the answer. What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? As Ben Weaver wrote, “When in the dark, do not forget this is where the stars live. Look up!” Kate Ankofski Started all five DAMns, and finished two Why Did You Do The DAMn? For the challenge and the community (and the kittens). What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? Figure out your logistics early on! So many drop last-minute because they can't figure out transportation. Once you have a ride/support dialed in, you'll have greater motivation to get it done. Mario Muro DAMn'd in 2017, 2019 (DNF), 2020, and 2021 Why Did You Do The DAMn? For the experience and I thought if would be a good mentally and physical challenge for me . What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time? Do long 100+ plus mile rides at least once a week. Spent lots of time on the saddle . Do a few night ride to get the feeling of riding through the night. Drink lots of fluids and find the right foods. To learn more or get registered, visit The Day Across Minnesota.

  • 10 Nxrth Experiments & Ideas We Tried in 2023

    As we're closing the books on 2023, we're taking a look back at this year's adventures. Thanks to so many ideas and support from readers like you, we tried a few new things this year and in this story we're looking back at 10 of those. 10 Brand New Resources, Events, & Experiments We Did in 2023 I think every bike adventure is an experiment. It's trying a new route, a new race, a new day, a new riding friend. And then seeing what worked and what didn't. Trying, failing, persevering, giving up, and finishing all have their time and place. In 2023, we tried a lot of things. Some of them were successful, some were weird, some will get retired, and some just need a little overhaul. Overall, we launched (or collaborated on) about 10 new initiatives: 1. The Reader's Routes Project In the fall we kicked off a user-generated map of the very best gravel routes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the U.P. We love getting showcase YOUR favorite bike things and are excited to see where this one goes. PLUS we're giving this project a fresh restart this spring so stay tuned! LEARN MORE. 2. Fall Gravel Kickoff Week At the end of last summer, we had a bunch of fun fall gravel project ideas and rolled it all up into one awesome Fall Gravel Kickoff week. We launched new maps, new Gravel Guides, a Fall Gravel Handbook, a Slack theme (uhhh...weird?), and some other random things. We're hoping to do another themed gravel week again this year! 3. The Coon Fork 40 The Coon Fork 40 wasn't a Nxrth event but we got to collaborate on this with some great friends from CORBA and Volume One on this inaugural beach-to-beach adventure. The hidden waterfall bridge, twin beach parties, and ~300 people showing up for year 1 were incredible and we can't wait to share a bunch of surprises for the 2024 addition. Registration and camping open on January 1. LEARN MORE. 4. The Itasca Lakenights Bikepacking Route Our newest route and one we're especially proud of. We wanted to do a Minnesota gravel bikepacking route in an area that doesn't typically see a ton of riding. Many many hours of studying maps and then an incredible scouting trip this summer with great friends led to beautiful adventure that we're excited to share here on The Nxrth. This particular route is specifically for Patrons as a way to say "thanks" for being the #1 source of support on The Nxrth. LEARN MORE. 4. The Global Fat Bike Winter Ultra Calendar There actually aren't very many winter fat bike ultra races in the entire world. And in the big picture, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the U.P. are spoiled with maybe the highest density of great winter fat bike ultra events on the entire globe. To help endurance athletes find their next fat bike winter ultra and plan for even bigger stages, we made a global map that puts every single event in the world in one place. LEARN MORE. 5. Gravel Guides with 5 New Destinations With some really awesome gravel adventure hubs in our region, we set out to build some top-to-bottom destination guides with everything you need to plan gravel biking, eating, drinking, and off-the-bike fun in some of our new Gravel Guides. With the help of some great friends, here were the Gravel Guides we created. Eau Claire, Wisconsin Iron Mountain, Michigan Lanesboro, Minnesota La Crosse, Wisconsin Chequamegon Area, Wisconsin 6. Bikepacking Gear & Adventure Day presented by Tailfin I spend a lot of every winter dreaming and planning new bikepacking trips. This year, we pulled together some inspiring adventurers to nerd out for an evening about gear, destinations, tips, and more. LEARN MORE. 7. Fat Bike & Coffee Challenge with Ruby Coffee, Wren Sports, & Hollow Socks Sometimes short adventures are more fun. This was a community challenge we started last year and are excited to be doing again for 2024. We've also got some awesome prizes from Ruby Coffee, Wren Sports, and Hollow socks. Join Us! 8. The Dangle Mug Midnighter with Embark Maple & Cedaero We took the month of June to invite everyone to go bikepacking anywhere up north and bring along a dangle mug. This on-your-own ride was a way to share an adventure while being in different places. Photos were shared, stories were told, and prizes from Embark Maple and Cedaero were won. 10. Christmas Gravel Booklets If I could do anything, I'd love to have a nice Nxrth print piece. Some kind of publication with paper that feels nice in your fingers, has beautiful photos, and content that inspires your next adventure. This wasn't that, but we put together a high quality Christmas gravel booklet with some original and irreverent gravel poems and our favorite photos of the year and sent it to 50+ readers of The Nxrth. I hope those of you who got one enjoyed our first piece of printed content. PLUS: 3 New Bikepacking Routes Added in 2023 We're especially grateful for the friends in our area who are true architects of great bikepacking routes. As mentioned above, The Itasca Lakenights is a Nxrth-original route but in addition to that route, we added two more routes from Scott Haroldson as well as Frank Hassler. 1. Itasca Lakenights. VIEW ROUTE. 2. Chasing the Train.  VIEW ROUTE. 3. Wisconsin Adventure Bicycle Route.  VIEW ROUTE. What's Next for 2024? Uh....hmmm... not exactly sure. The Nxrth project continues to morph in new ways that we didn't expect. We take everything a day at a time and just see where the trail takes us. We've got some ideas for 2024 but only time will tell exactly what this adventure has in store. Thanks for joining us for the ride!

  • The Nxrth Awards: Top Stories, Events, Routes, & Resources from 2023

    On January 1, The Nxrth is officially turning 2 years old. We started The Nxrth as a creative experiment that aimed to connect Northwoods adventure cyclists with incredible experiences and community. With a simple goal in mind, we didn't know what that would actually look like or whether anybody would be even be interested. Now that we're officially entering digital toddlerhood, we're looking back at the stories you wrote, the adventures you went on, and the projects you joined us on in 2023. Thank you to the 40,000+ of you who visited The Nxrth in 2023, took the time to send an email and say hi, or joined the community by simply pedaling by your bike and making your own new adventures. Most Popular Stories: Your Reader Submitted Stories These are your top 5 stories of adventures that didn't go as planned, horrible weather, racing until your lungs exploded, swearing to never do it again, and then promptly dreaming up another round of getting lost in the woods together. 1. What Does it Take to Finish Arrowhead 135? Jill, Kate, Leah, & Ken Share How They Do It by Jill Martindale, Kate Coward, Leah Gruhn, and Ken Krueger. READ STORY. 2. Jeremy Got Sick So Avesa Took Charge and Slam Dunked The Biggest Heck of the North Ever by Avesa Rockwell. READ STORY. 3. DAMn is Back! Chris Stindt on Swearing to Never Do It Again Till Yesterday's Surprise Announcement by Chris Stindt READY STORY. 4. Snow in Your Eyes, Sleet in Your Face, & Wind That's Never at Your Back: 2023 Dairy Roubaix Recap by Chris Stindt. READ STORY. 5. Teammates Leah & Casey Win US Fat Bike Open, $1K Cash Prizes. Here's How It Went Down by Leah Vanevenhoven and Casey Hildebrandt. READ STORY. Most Popular Stories: All Categories Of all ~150 stories we published in 2023, these were the ones you were most interested in from all categories. It includes bikepacking straps, the hardest event on earth, creating a new bike company, rad new lodging in Cable, and a rowdy gravel fest in hodag country. 1. The Ultimate List of Bikepacking Straps. READ STORY. 2. What Does it Take to Finish Arrowhead 135? Jill, Kate, Leah, & Ken Share How They Do It.  READ STORY. 3. Wyatt Bikes Started In College Apartment at Age 21. Now Building 100% Made in USA Bike Frames. READ STORY. 4. Meet Home Base, The New Bike-Out-Your-Door Adventure Hub in Cable.  READ STORY. 5. The Hodag Country Ramble Is a New Kind of Community Bike Adventure & Gears Up for Year 2.  READ STORY. Editor's Picks: Josh's Favorite 7 Stories of 2023 Getting to connect with YOU, the riders who make this such an amazing to ride my bike is a huge honor. The fact that you choose to share your stories here on The Nxrth is, to me, a big act of trust and I'm hugely appreciative of everyone who contributed to the 2023 community. This list also reflects a few of the adventure I've been able to join in on and loved getting to share back with the community. Here were my favorite pieces of 2023: 1. Fighting The 2am Temptation to Quit: Raven Dewitt's St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra. READ STORY. 2. The Filthy 50 is Turning 10: Roll Back Through 1 Photo From Each of the Last 9 Years with. READ STORY. 3. Storms, Pizza, & Fireside Fellowship on the Gravel Pizza Overnighter 2023 [GALLERY & RECAP]. READ STORY. 4. Follow Leah, Amanda, Jere, Matt, & Kendall! 5 Local Dots at Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska! READ STORY. 5. The Itasca Lakenights Bikepacking Route. READ STORY. 6. Coon Fork 40 Recap & Gallery: The Double Rainbow of Beachside Gravel Adventures. READ STORY. 7. Is Gravel Charcuterie a Thing? The Heywood Guys Say Yes (And Share Their Pack List). READ STORY. How You Used The Nxrth in 2023 Users Who Stopped in at The Nxrth This Year: 40,125 Number of Pages Viewed This Year Year: 128,119 People Who Joined Our Email Community This Year: 393 Most Popular Pages of 2023: Gravel Race Calendar (15,028 views) Wisconsin Bikepacking Routes (7,487 views) Minnesota Bikepacking Routes (5,398 views) Gravel Pizza Overnighter (4,204 views) Fat Bike Race Calendar (3,796 views) Top 5 Most Popular Bikepacking Routes of 2023 1. The Driftless Loop by Nicolette Reker 2. Wisconsin Adventure Bicycle Route by Frank Hasler 3. Coon Fork Overnighter by Josh Rizzo 4. Chasing the Train by Scott Haraldson 5. Tour de Nicolet. by Shane Hitz Well, I suppose. That's a wrap on 2023 and the stories and resources you used the most throughout the year. We've got a lot of exciting surprises planned for 2024 and are excited to connect with more of you throughout year. Have a story, route, or idea you want to share? Let us know at info at the nxrth dot com and say hi!

  • Northwoods Ramble Podcast Ep 10: Telemark Trails & Frozen Lake Fat Biking

    Episode 10 of The Northwoods Ramble podcast dives into an update from TJ on the new gravity trails at Telemark. He goes into detail on what was built this year, what construction is planned for 2024 and why you should not be riding on the trails at all this winter, even if the ground is frozen and there is little snow. Dave Schlabowske also discusses his search for mirror-smooth frozen lake fat biking.

  • Chasing Mirror-Smooth Frozen Lakes With a Fat Bike

    With the lack of snow this winter, conditions were looking perfect for fat biking on mirror-smooth frozen lakes near Cable, WI. Here Dave Schlabowske shares his story of ice, fat biking, and almost perfect timing. Words by Dave Schlabwske What a difference a year and El Niño make. Last year I had venison backstraps for Thanksgiving, we had 22″ of snow on the ground, were still trying to chainsaw open trails to groom after two ice storms bent trees over, and people had been skiing on the Birkie trails since mid-October. This year, there is still green grass visible, the deer are bedded down feasting on a mast year for acorns, we had turkey for Thanksgiving, and it is raining on the Gitchi Gami Games, where they will be skiing on 5K of man-made slush on the Tormondsen Family Snowmaking Trails by the Birkie start area and Telemark Mountain. When nature, with human help (re: climate change) gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade. Hence I have been riding gravel roads, the CAMBA mountain bike trails when they are frozen, bikerafting and riding my fat bike on barely frozen lakes. I also went back down to Milwaukee for the Annual Santa Cycle Rampage, a little pub crawl I started with a handful of friends 22 years ago that has grown into a parade-style, police-led bike ride with thousands of people dressed for the holidays that has inspired spin-off rampages in cities around the country. The Santa Cycle Rampage was fun and it was great to see a thousand old friends, listen to polka at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall (one of my forever happy places) and drink a shot of Malört. I almost didn’t go down for the Rampage because I have been watching for those rare winter conditions when the lakes freeze mirror smooth without any snow and you can ride with studded tires while watching the Crappies and Sunfish swim below your studded tires on two inches of crystal clear ice. But then we got a dusting of snow, which covered most but not all lakes. The bigger bodies of water like Lake Owen and Lake Namekagon had enough wind or open water to stay snow-free. So I was still watching for wild ice, but the forecast predicted daytime temps in the mid-forties before the Rampage weekend, so I headed south. And then it happened, the south end of Lake Owen froze into smooth black ice while I was dressed as a Santa in the 414! The family that owns Lake Owen Resort made this great drone video of them skating on perfect conditions and shared it on Facebook. I saw the video of those rare, ephemeral, perfect wild ice conditions and kicked myself for leaving the Northwoods. Then I checked the weather report and saw there was no snow forecast in the near future and the temps would stay cold. So I planned on riding Lake Owen on Monday after I got back to Seeley to make a similar drone video with my new DJI Mini 4 Pro. Lake Owen only has a couple of public boat landing and access points and they are all on the far north end. So late Monday afternoon I headed up to get on the Lake at Two Lakes Campground. I went under the gate of the campground and rode down to the little beach to check out the ice. It was perfectly clear and smooth, but only about an inch thick at the shore. Sometimes ice is thicker further away from shore, and with my weight spread out over two 5″ 45Nrth Dillinger tires, I knew that the ice would probably hold me so I cautiously pedaled away from terra firma. You can hear the coincidence frequency of the ice cracking a bit underneath me as I ride. I was watching below me and never went too far from shore because the ice was so thin that if I fell through, I wanted to be in relatively shallow water. After a couple of sketchy passes from the beach to the next lakeside campground, I decided to head down to the south end of the lake where the resort family filmed their video and claimed the ice was three to four inches thick. Friends who live nearby on Perry Lake (snow-covered at this time) said they have never had a problem accessing Lake Owen from Metros Landing, even though it is posted as a private landing for people who live around the south end of the lake. So I rode down onto the lake there, just as it was getting dark. The ice was still mirror smooth like in the resort video, but it was now pretty dark outside, and I could not see below the ice and my Insta360 camera was unable to capture good video in the very low light. So I rode around for a few minutes and decided to head home and come back early Tuesday morning with my new drone for sunrise. Of course, nature had other plans, and it started snowing big fluffy flakes overnight and those perfect conditions vanished just like that! Covering the mirror smooth ice with an inch of white powder meant I could not make a fat tire version of the cool ice skating video the resort family made. It also meant I could no longer see the ice I was riding on, so I had no idea how thick it was, which increased the risk of falling in. Although I have been riding with an inflatable PFD and my ice picks, the snow images were not as cool as mirror-smooth black ice, so the risk vs reward scale now tipped much more toward risk. When I got to Mineral Lake, I was pleased to find the ice 3-4 inches thick and mostly free of snow. It was not that rare mirror-clear ice that reflects the sky and horizon that Lake Owen had for a few days, but it was still very pretty to ride around on with the sun setting so I made a practice video with my new drone and edited in Frozen Lake, a song my brother Dean wrote and recorded with his old band TV White. The band was named after the off-white color of his vintage guitar, used so guitars would not blow out the video of old television studio cameras from the 60s and 70s. I’m still getting the hang of the drone, and I don’t yet have video editing software that allows me to do quality color corrections of d-log, so I was not able to take full advantage of the new DJI Mini 4 Pro, but I’m pleased with how the video turned out. And I had a lot of fun riding around on a very pretty lake with winter temperatures in the lower 40s. I’ll take another glass of that lemonade, please. Bonus: Bikerafting the Namekogon in December

  • Behind the Scenes of True North Basecamp's Lakeside Trails Adventure Hub

    True North Basecamp is a mining-inspired trailside adventure hub with lakeside cabins and campsites in Cuyuna Lakes. Today we talk with founder Dan Jurek about the roots and vision of True North Basecamp and how the adventure came to be. Learn more at True North Basecamp. How True North Came to Be The adage "innovation arises from necessity" is a fitting testament to the origins of True North Basecamp. Born from a family's desire for a more comfortable camping experience, True North Basecamp has transformed outdoor enthusiasts' enjoyment of the Cuyuna region. In September 2013, founder Dan Jurek embarked on a camping and biking trip with his son, Aiden, and some friends. Their first night was far from ideal – harsh and cold, leaving Dan seeking a solution for a more enjoyable outdoor adventure. Driven by this experience, Dan embarked on a quest for the perfect location to establish custom lodging in the Cuyuna area. His perseverance paid off when he stumbled upon a pristine forty-acre plot boasting scenic mine lakes and seamless access to the trail system. This discovery marked the genesis of True North Basecamp. With a vision of providing a unique and comfortable outdoor experience, Dan set out to create a haven for families and adventurers alike. Checking in with Dan Jurek: I love the mine-inspired cabins; what role has historic mining played in today's enjoyment of the area's recreation and True North? The "Northwoods Industrial Design" of our cabins is intended to honor and uphold the importance of Cuyuna Mining. Taconite mining was critical in developing mountain bike trails and lakes for paddling in Cuyuna, Minnesota. The area was historically a mining region for iron ore, characterized by pits and mining activity. As mining operations ceased, these pits filled with water, creating the picturesque mine lakes that now attract paddlers. Moreover, the land scarred by mining became the foundation for the mountain bike trails. The rugged terrain left behind by mining operations was repurposed and transformed into a network of trails, utilizing the unique landscape to create an exceptional mountain biking destination. In essence, the legacy of taconite mining shaped the physical landscape of Cuyuna, providing the foundation for developing its renowned mountain bike trails and scenic lakes for paddling. What do you want people to feel and experience when they stay at True North? I want them to feel a sense of accomplishment from conquering a trail or paddling a lake combined with a sense of calmness and relaxation, feeling at peace amidst natural surroundings. As well as a sense of community by connecting with like-minded fellow guests and visitors who enjoy Cuyuna. What has it been like seeing Cuyuna Lakes grow as a biking destination and what are you looking forward to about the future? It's rewarding seeing all the business growth happening among independent business owners with restaurants, bars, gift shops, and outfitters that were absent a few years ago and that they can sustain year-round. The most significant shift we witnessed this past summer was the growth of guests paddling, boarding, and kayaking. What about the gravel scene? Cuyuna is such a MTB hotspot, do you get many gravellers out that way? Gravel bikes have become nearly as ubiquitous as mountain bikes, thanks to the numerous routes that cater to gravel biking enthusiasts. You can find an excellent summary of these trails at www.cuyuna.com/gravelgrinderroutes/

  • CLOSING ON FRIDAY: Long Sleeve Jersey Store

    This Friday, December 15th, we're closing our long sleeve jersey store for the final time of 2023. These come in standard and thermal versions and are made by Borah Teamwear in Coon Valley, Wisconsin to keep you warm (and looking GREAT!) while fat biking this winter. Shop Long Sleeves & Thermals.

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