Figuring out how to create a cycling adventure gave me purpose and structure for my riding.
Laurens Ten Dam, a Dutch former professional cyclist, had planned to come to the States to do several gravel races this year, including the famous Dirty Kanza in Kansas.
Since all the gravel events were cancelled, Ten Dam created his own adventure called #DirtyKanzelled and put it out on the social medias to get other cyclists to do their own adventure.
The Burlington-Elkhorn Loop
So I figured out how to create a cycling adventure: 100-mile loop that utilized the limestone bike trails in southeastern Wisconsin.
I went on Strava, Map My Ride, and Google Maps to look for gravel roads. Finding none, I looked for the bike trails. I had ridden everything except the White River Trail from Burlington to Elkhorn.
Ten Dam’s guidelines were 100 or 200 miles, with as much gravel as possible, and with just two rest stops for 100 and three for 200.
I left home at 7 am, rode the gravel trail along Hwy. 36 to just south of Rochester, WI. It’s a route I’ve taken hundreds of times before.
The section starts at North Cape Road and to Wind Lake, where you have to get on roads through town and get back on the trail.
The White River State Trail is Awesome
My route took me through Waterford and onto English Settlement Road through Racine County. I came to the White River State Trail east of Burlington.
This trail is amazing. Crush limestone, wide, lots of beautiful scenery.
I stopped at Casey’s in Burlington. In hindsight, I wish I had kept going until I reached the Pedal and Cup in Springfield. It’s a great little coffee shop that caters to people using the trail.
I reached Elkhorn on the White River Trail, and turn to head west. Somehow, the wind that had been in my face on the way to Burlington, had shifted and was now also a headwind.
I was beginning to get a bit tired at this point, plus the roads were beautifully rolling. The route went along part of the old state road championship course! Good memories there!
The GPS took me on some detours but I made it to Waterford, where my bike said hello to its manufacturers at Waterford Precision Cycles. I stopped at another Casey’s for a break and more water.
Once in Big Bend, I picked up the Muskego trail. Finally, I felt a bit rejuvenated by getting on looser gravel. There’s something about pushing a big gear and rolling along in the gravel.
The entire route took me a bit over 6:15, which is not bad considering I was on a steel cyclocross bike on gravel trails.
Create Your Own Adventure!
Most of our events have been cancelled or postponed. It’s likely USA Cycling will cancel the summer races, and we’re holding out breath about cyclocross this fall.
So we need to figure out how to create a cycling adventure.
Friends have done marathons around their blocks, my wife and I did a virtual 5k through Map My Ride, and others have done virtual running races, bike races on Zwift, or time trials.
There’s no excuse not to create your own adventure or challenge!
Let me know what you come up with, and, if I can, I’ll join you!
And let’s talk: I want to hear about your training through the pandemic.