There's something special about a first time event. It could be the small and personalized feeling, the visions of what could be, or the little things, like a fellow racer offering fresh baked cookies in the parking lot. Or maybe, as I have recently experienced, it's an appreciation for the volunteers' time, sweat, and planning. Thank you!
The Deer Fly Chase started in true northwoods fashion, directly behind two quads. Cold is the only sensation I can recall as the temps dipped into the high thirties. After pulls from strong men, Mike Johnson and Aaron Swanson, I went into the first section of single track with Aaron close behind. I was feeling solid at the end of the first single track, but pin-balled getting into a rhythm. I spent the remainder of the race in TT mode. The "moment of the ride" was priceless! On a fast dirt road section, I could see two four-wheelers in the distance. They were the county sheriff quads. As they seemed to be sightseeing, we, the quad and I, passed them rather aggressively. The next thing I know the sheriff is pulling over the race quad! I can't recall what was running through my mind, and I certainly can't imagine what the sheriff was thinking when we passed him. The remainder of the race was stellar a combination of flowing single track and rolling ski trails. Noah and CORBA have done an excellent job developing trails! They have undoubtedly put Hickory Ridge on the map for mountain bikers in the area!
Fast-forward to St. Croix Falls, WI. Long time friend, and cycling mentor, Frank Lundeen had the grand opening of his bike and ski shop, Cyclova XC. As I have loitered, and worked, in shops for many years, I have been living vicariously through Frank's, and Ben's, vision for owning a shop. In addition to being located in a beautiful area, Cyclova XC will be offering the best ski service in the region. Putting their expertise to work, one can only predict average board speeds in greater river valley will be up for 2011 snow season!
As it hits close to home, I couldn't help but purchase a copy of Beyond Birkie Fever by Walter Rhein. The first few chapters bring the reader a vivid account of the first Birkie, as told by skiing legend Dave Langraf. Ironically, Dave was also a key player in the development of the Hickory Ridge Ski Trails. Thus far, a great read! More reviews to come!