Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Chequemegon 2019

The first season I raced mountain bikes in 1990, the last race I did of that year was the Short and Fat which was part of the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. I returned for a number of years, missed a few years when we lived in Norway and lived out west but when we moved back to Maplelag, we went every year that we could creating a lot of great memories. 
It worked out on the schedule to go this year. It wasn't planned as I never pre-register for a race more than a week out as things always change last minute, more so it seems. There were still registration openings when I checked in August so I signed up and Jonell and I made plans to return, staying at a B and B we have stayed at a half dozen times in years past.

We snuck over on Thursday, first stopping in Duluth to hook up with Jake and Anna for some pre-wedding things and a dinner in a rainy evening.
The next day I waited until the rain stopped but it didn't last long as the skies opened up again during the ride. All good, I was stoked I didn't have to worry whether or not the race would happen as the Chequamegon always runs rain or shine, unlike most races now today.
Jonell enjoying peace and quiet while I was out riding.
I did about 15 miles of the course, making a loop off the "00" road. As I turned off to head back to the car. I came upon a group of people and lo and behold it was the original race director for 30 years, Gary Crandall. Gary was directing a group of Canadians from Winnipeg for next days course marshaling. Many have been to Maplelag so it was pretty unreal to bump into them and Gary. Caught up quick than made it back to the car.
Everyone understand?
Jonell and I have stayed at the Spider Lake Lodge and number of times and it was good to be back. New owners and a few minor changes but the isolation peace and quiet the main attraction.
Saturday morning was race day. The sound of a couple thousand bikers rolling out is like nothing else and kept attentive to avoid any early race crash.
Had a super fun racing, working with a group of guys and had a blast with the wet sometimes muddy conditions.
Jonell has always been so supportive and great to have her waiting at the finish line.
Catching up with team members Ben and Keith post race. It's been great logging rides with these guys during the season. Keith and I had some great rides later in the season, even after full day of trail work (or cross training I would tell Keith)
Always fun to see the variety of bikes at Chequamegon including the retro rides people still use. All good if the wheels keep moving.

Post race we stopped at Main Street Tacos for a massive spread of Mexican eats. Great stuff.
Couple shout outs....Local bike shop owner Dave Langworthy who always is good to help with last minute repairs and equipment needs. Waving the Laddies Loppet flag, thanks for the support.
Shout out to the rider who flatted out and provided his bottle for me after I missed a feed. It was about the halfway point and was a race saver. Didn't find out who it was. If by chance you see this, please reach out to me.
After lunch on main street, we booked it over to Alexandria to see Jens play. He is in his second year at the NorthStar academy playing hockey. The above photo is great to see. Every single game these guys play in,
Great weekend!

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