We Rode Tyranena’s Oktoberfest Bike Ride!

Fall is probably the most popular time for people to ride in Wisconsin. The leaves change, the temps drop to a comfortable 50-60 degrees, and there’s often a lot of fun brewery sponsored bike rides.

The Tyranena Oktoberfest ride is one we’ve been meeting to take part in, but it never really synced up with our schedules. This year as soon as the ride was announced, we signed up and put it on our calenders. Nothing could stop us from riding our bikes and ending with delicious food and beer!

Tyranena offers three ride distances that afforded a little something for everyone. There’s a 30, 50, and 70 mile option. We were pretty gung ho to do the 50 mile route up until about Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. (Side note: Wisconsin weather is extremely bi-polar in the Fall and Spring months. It had been 80 degrees and the next day it was 40. That’s a pretty big difference!)

The forecast was calling for snow and rain for Saturday, so we decided 30 miles would be the best option as we didn’t want to ride 50 miles with snow chunks pelting our faces or end up riding with wet chamois. We were pretty happy with our decision as it was pouring down sleety rain. Our clothes were already drenched as soon as we finished taking our bikes off the car rack and knew it was probably not going to be anymore pleasant as the day rolled on.

We met up with some friends at the start and headed out. Within the first 5 minutes we had to pull over and add some layers of gloves. Our feet and hands probably suffered the most. I was pretty well prepared though.
On my body I started with wool socks, MTB shoes, bibs, fleece lined tights, a long sleeve base layer, a jersey, a thermal long sleeved jersey, a rain jacket, a light weight vest, a wool balaclava, thinner MTB gloves, my lobster glove liners over the MTB gloves, sunglasses, and my helmet.

Eventually I took the balaclava off and just put a thin wool stocking cap on to keep from getting too warm. I also dropped the outer layer of gloves. I then changed into another thin pair of gloves at the midway point/rest stop. I only wish I had packed a set of dry socks to keep my feet warm or had waterproof booties with me!

The ride itself was pretty easy. Once you get into eastern Wisconsin there aren’t a whole lot of hills. It’s not like west of Madison where you hit the driftless region and it’s granny ring central. The route was nice and there was lots of pretty farm land, barns, and such. It was sometimes hard to see because of wet/foggy glasses.

The routes were marked very well, which was good because I lost my cue sheet within the first couple minutes due to it getting wet and falling apart in my hands. I still wonder why no one has ever thought to print cue sheets on the same Tyvek material they print bib numbers on…oh, well.

One thing that stood out the most on the ride itself was the rest stop hosted at Cam Rock Cafe. It was amazing! They had good food, plenty of bathrooms, tents for standing under, an outdoor heater, and they had their shop open for people to go inside and purchase gear if need be. Oh, they also had Saris event racks on hand to park bikes. The Tyranena folks should have utilized these as well as there were bikes leaned up against every square inch of the joint.

All in all the rain and the cold wasn’t terrible until the last 5 or so miles. We went from riding in a nasty headwind into a nasty crosswind. There were a few times we almost got blown off of the road and you had to lean into the wind to stay upright. It was the longest 5 miles of riding I think I’ve ever experienced!

Making the final turn into Tyranena HQ made things a whole lot better. Once we changed out of our wet gear, put the bikes on the rack, and walked over to the tent we were able to get a plate of hot food. The lines were reasonable as we missed the first big wave of folks who finished the 30 miler. We had left the rest stop area during a lull, so we timed things out pretty well. We had food and beer in hand within about a minute and no waiting. You could tell when the final group of the 30 mile riders and the largest group of the 50 milers started making it in because the tent filled up quickly. Even then, the beer line wasn’t that long. We were able to try some great season beers like the Pumpkin Porter along with some Tyranena classics like my favorite, Rocky’s Revenge.

Overall, I would highly recommend this ride. It was very well organized, the routes all looked great, and the after party was a lot of fun. They had live music with a lot of great Irish drinking songs. We all had a great time and hopefully next year it will be a bit warmer out!

Wheels & Reels Coming Soon!

The idea of bike in movies seems to be springing up everywhere! Our newsfeed has been blowing up with photos of families rolling into their neighborhood park or couples making a date night outย of classic movies being screened.

We’re glad to say that the Madison area will be getting their own series of bike in movie events called Wheels & Reels. Starting this Friday, July 18th Wheels & Reels will be kicking off with a showing of The Princess Bride, undoubtedly a fan favorite for all ages.

The event will be taking place in Fitchburg’s own Gunflint Trail Park (located off of the Capital City Trail). The park can be accessed coming from the West by Glacier Valley Rd. or from the East by hopping off the Cap City Trail onto Gunflint trail. Fish Hatchery Road allows you to access Glacier Valley Rd. coming from the North or South.

The event itself is free, but there will be a plethora of food and beverage available for purchase. Wisconsin Brewing Company will be pouring a great selection of local brews. Bonus: $2 of each beer sold will be donated to the Wisconsin Bike Fed!

Curd Girl and a number of local food trucks will be on hand to dish up some delicious local delicacies. Additional sponsors include RIVA apartments, Green Cab, Ian’s Pizza, High Noon Saloon, Dane County Credit Union, and Mapping Specialists.

Free bike valet will be provided by Madison B Cycle! So mark your calendars and get the family together for a fun night of riding and movie watching ๐Ÿ™‚

Not to mention, we’ll be hosting a Fix A Flat clinic for those who want to learn how to be prepared while out on the road ๐Ÿ˜‰

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2013 SANTA RAMPAGE!!!

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It’s every Wisconsin cyclists favorite time of year! We’re lucky enough to play host to a plethora of cycling events in the fall/winter. Santa Rampage has been a tradition for many a winter. So put on your holiday cheer, get your drinking hat on, and ride like a fat man on a sleigh!

Almanzo 100 Photo Dump

Keri and I finally arrived home from Minnesota. It was quite the weekend and we’re glad to be home. Since the hotels booked up pretty quickly in Spring Valley, where the Almanzo race series is held, we decided to stay in Rochester.

Unfortunately, Keri’s car decided to have some issues the day before we were supposed to leave, but I was able to get the Saris company vehicle and off we went! The drive to Rochester vs. to the Twin Cities is much more beautiful. It’s always amazing crossing over the Mississippi in La Crosse, and seeing a vast expanse of rolling farmland and trees.

Once we arrived in Rochester, we dropped our stuff in the hotel and grabbed some coffee. The Midwestern outside sales rep for Saris was meeting us there and we later got dinner. At dinner we went over our game plan for the next day. We had to be in Spring Valley and setup by 6AM because that’s when the Royal 162 riders were leaving.

The Almanzo actually has 3 bike races. The Alexander (which used to be the Nellie) is 385 miles over 3 days. The Royal which is 162 miles in one day (I suppose you could take 2 days if needed) and the Almanzo 100, which is the most popular, 100 mile option.

Setup by 6AM meant having to getup by 4:30 so we could get ready, pack up, and drive down. Setup was fairly quick and there were a handful of other sponsor tents in the expo area. Things didn’t really pick up until about 7/7:30 when the Almanzo lineup was about to take place. For having 1,000+ riders, we only had a handful of people who actually came to chat with us. Most of them were from Madison and were glad to see us there.

Eventually riders rolled up to the start on Main St. The event’s organizer, Chris Skogen, got up and said some words. It was pretty emotional because the dude has worked his butt off the past few years to make the Almanzo a successful event. To see 1,000 people show up to your hometown to do a gravel bike race is really something.

Eventually all the riders rolled out. There was a wide range of riders and different bike setups. It’s always fun for a bike nerd to attend such an event!

The rest of the day was filled with frisbee tossing, mingling with company reps, eating food, getting sunburned, riding bikes, drinking beer, and trying to escape the heat. Uneventful, but still a good time. We had all hoped that more locals and supporters of the riders would hangout and talk to us, but that wasn’t the case. Some of the Spring Valley folks didn’t seem to take too kindly to having a bunch of strange cycling folks in their city. I’m sure as the event evolves and changes, people will start to support it more and see what it does for the local economy. It really made us appreciate what we have here in Wisconsin. Not all towns are cycling friendly, but we’re pretty spoiled by the amount of cycling enthusiasts outside of our big cities.

Riders started returning around 3pm. It was a hot day and the route supposedly had 2 river crossings. One was somewhat unintentional as a bridge was out, but it was too late to change the route. A lot of folks looked like they had taken quite the beating and ended up in the shade with a cold Coke in hand. Once 4pm rolled around, we decided to call it a day. We had to drive back to Rochester and our outside rep had to head back to Wisconsin to setup some shop visits.

The drive back to Rochester was pretty as we took County Hwy. 1 or County Rd. 1. Nice rolling hills and gravel roads EVERYWHERE! Keri and I decided we definitely want to do the ride next year. We had both signed up to do it this year, but lack of time for training and other commitments sort of got in the way. The challenge seems great though and we love doing new events.

Once we got back in Rochester, we found a crappy pizza place that was grossly overpriced for what we got, but we were so tired we didn’t care. We got back to our hotel at about 6:30pm and I ended up falling asleep at 7. We were totally beat by waking up early and being out in the hot sun all day.

Overall we both had a lot of fun, even though there wasn’t much happening as far as the “race expo” goes. We definitely have some ideas on how sponsors can get better exposure and involvement next year and we look forward to making the trip again! Check out some of our photos below ๐Ÿ™‚

Wisconsin Bike Fed Winter Carnival Overview

Friday was the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s first Winter Carnival and it was great! Ray’s is already a fun atmosphere, but add a bunch of advocacy folks, a DJ, carnival games, good food, even better beer, and you have one kick ass bike party!

The event took place from noon-9PM. There was free riding from 12-5PM, which we missed because of work. We got there around 7 and checked in to the volunteer table. Volunteers got a free drink ticket, free food tickets, and a pass to come back to Ray’s to ride another day. Talk about a sweet deal!

We also heard Ray’s opened the park up to the Fed for nothing but a little free marketing. For a facility that huge, that was very generous of them.

The first priority was heading to the beer table. They were serving some great Riverwest brews, which seemed to fit the theme as when we headed to the silent auction, there were lots of entries to the Riverwest 24 race up for grabs. The rest of the silent auction items were really great. There were frames from Fyxation, a complete Butcher fixed gear freestyle bike from 1/8th Inch, a Manitou fork, Sun Ringle wheelsets, Answer handlebars, a sweet Bike Fed themed poster, recycled bike tube jewelry, cheese baskets, restaurant gift cards, and lots more! I purchased two sets of tickets (11 for $10) but came away empty handed. No hard feelings though. It goes to a good cause.

Other highlights of the event were the gold sprint competition, a BMX demo, and a speech from Kevin Hardman (Executive Director of the Bike Fed) where he announced a new magazine the Bike Fed has put together. If you are a member, you’ll see one in your mailbox soon. Everyone else, you can find one at your local shop or buy one online.

The turnout to the event was good for it being a blustery Friday night. I would imagine that if they made this a yearly event, it would gain some popularity. Also setting it on a weekend day would get more people in the door.ย  Overall it was a well organized, awesome event and I can’t wait to see if they do it next year.

*The fancy camera was in tow, but the wrong battery was inserted. iPhone was all that was available. Sorry ๐Ÿ™ Good news though, the B&H fairy came and dropped off a sweet new high capacity HD card for video and lots of photos! Hopefully we can utilize that at our next event.