Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Year End Donations To Woolly

Happy Winter Solstice to everyone in Woolly Land.  Maybe you are out enjoying the groomed fat bike trails (when the temps aren't above freezing of course) or maybe you are just dreaming of the spring and the sweet dirt single track.  No matter what if you are also thinking about year end donations I encourage you to consider donating to the Woolly Bike Club.

The Woolly is a 501c3 non-profit so your donations are 100% tax deductible.  Head on over to our Donation Page where you can find a PayPal link to donate from the comfort of your own home.

Donations to the Woolly go right back into the trails and community.  Things like gas to feed Bjorn this winter and the  tools and equipment to build and maintain the trails.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Woolly Closure For Solstice Chase Saturday 12/17

Happy Solstice Chase Eve!

Woolly Closed for Grooming and Solstice Chase Friday 10pm to Saturday 3pm

The Woolly is extremely excited to host the Solstice Chase tomorrow.  We are pretty excited about the impending snowmaggedon as well.

So while that first picture is some sweet groomed corduroy, it isn't going to look like that later tonight. In order to give Bjorn a few good hours to get things in the best shape possible, the trails are closing tonight at 10pm and will be closed through the conclusion of the race tomorrow at 3pm.

Its going to be COLD the rest of the weekend, but feel free to bundle up and enjoy the Woolly if you can safely.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bjorn Awakes! - Woolly Groomed For First Time 2016/2017

Bjorn has awakened from his summer slumbers and has made his first pass on the Woolly for the 2016/2017 fat bike season!

Woollyland got about 5" of snow over the weekend and a few folks got out and enjoyed the fresh fluffy snow before it finally stopped falling Sunday evening.  Once all the fat bikers were snug in their beds, Bjorn ventured out and the entire Woolly network plus all of the trails that will be part of the Solstice Chase this weekend got their first grooming.  This first pass serves to fill in all of the ruts in the snow, low spots in the trail, and establishes a good solid base to build upon for the rest of the winter.

Time to get out and #ridegroomed!

Thanks Bjorn!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Volunteer at the Solstice Chase

Of course by now you know that the Solstice Chase is being held on the Woolly trails.  The race is fast approaching (Saturday December 17th) and as Frank is working extremely hard to get all of the details completely dialed he could use a few more good people.

First, you've got one more chance to sign-up.  Registration is open through this Friday only.  The race is operating at capacity so there won't be a chance to register later.  So if you want to give the race a go, better get on it.  Go here to register.

But if you want to be a part of the big event, but don't want to ride, I strongly encourage you to volunteer.  I have personally volunteered at all of the Solstice Chases and have had a blast each year.  So if you would like to give back to the Woolly, help out Frank, and hang with cool people for the day, please reach out to Frank and let him know you'd like to help.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Woolly 2016 Global Fat Bike Day Recap

It has been a rough start to "winter" fat bike season here in Woolly Land.  Even if we didn't have snow, one would like to hope the ground would be nice and frozen so we could ride Woolly single track.  Sadly this year it has been exceptionally warm keeping the ground from freezing and then layer in a good amount of precipitation and riding the Woolly Trails for Global Fat Bike Day 2016 was just not going to happen.

Fortunately in Woolly Land we have a great set of alternatives to consider.  While a ride on the Gandy or Stower trail would have worked, you can do that all summer.  Instead Jason put together a totally awesome fat bike ADVENTURE in the playground that is Sterling Barrens State Nature area.  Equestrian trails, ATV trails, fire roads, and gravel roads all lush with lots of sand makes for the perfect terrain for a fat bike.

The ride started out of the Wolf Creek Bar.  That is a bit more of a haul than the Woolly trailhead for most so I wasn't sure what I would see when I pulled into the parking lot just before 9 on Saturday morning.  What I found was a lot of people excited to ride fat bikes!  We never quite completed a head count, but we had right around 25 riders.

I'm really glad we had Jason as our tour guide.  There are many roads and trails going all over in the wilderness.  There actually is a little cell service so you might be able to get a map up, but getting the guided tour is much better.

We frequently stopped to regroup and grab a quick drink.

For me, the equestrian trail was the highlight of the ride.  You definitely appreciated the fat tires and the ground that was freezing up.  The trails were "handle bars deep" in a few places.  The view from the ridge over the Trade River was pretty awesome.

After rolling a short stretch of pavement we were back into the woods only to duck out into this huge sand pit.  We all had fun trying to ride around the big pit.  A few more watts may have been required to do real donuts in the center depression, but that didn't stop us from trying.

After nearly 3 hours we started rolling back to Wolf Creek Bar for some refreshment and rehydration.

Thanks for the adventure Jason!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Global Fat Bike Day Group Ride (12/3 - 9am) - Sand Barrens Recon

The high road or the low road?
The weather has been just awful lately.  Cold enough that getting wet really stinks.  But not cold enough that the ground is going to freeze of the precip is going to come down as snow.  And man has it been wet.  It's not too often your sump pump runs in December in Minnesota, but mine is.

Despite all that, we are still super excited about the relocated Global Fat Bike Day group ride in the Sand Barrens.  In anticipation of a fantastic group ride this Saturday, one of our members did a little recon up in the Barrens the other day.  Conditions for a fat bike ride look primo!  You might get by on a mountain bike, but its going to be a slog.  Fat bikes are strongly encouraged.  It is GFBD afterall!

We are eyeing a roughly 22ish mile loop at a casual no-drop pace that will take 2-3 hours.  We say 22ish, because there are lots of opportunities to shorten or extend the loop depending on how the ride is progressing.  Casual and no-drop mean just that.  If you show up to ride we won't leave you behind.  Plenty of stops and conversation.  If you want a fat bike hammer fest, sign up for the Solstice Chase in two weeks.

The weather is looking perfect so come on out to Howlin' Wolf Creek Bar at 9 on Saturday morning and join us for a fat adventure.

Be sure to hit up our Facebook Event and let us know you are coming.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Join the Woolly Bike Club for Global Fat-Bike Day

What is better than riding a fat bike by yourself?  Riding with a bunch of other, of course.  We had a plan to gather at  the Woolly Trailhead and enjoy a lap or two followed by a campfire and some hanging out.  Not that we hate the unseasonable warm weather, but it doesn't make for good riding.  We love fat biking on Woolly trails when they are dirt or perfectly groomed snow, but this Saturday is predicted to give us neither.

We won't let that stop our fun because we know plenty of great places to ride fat bikes in the St Croix River Valley.  If you have ever joined us for the Mammoth Gravel Classic, you have had a taste of the great sand and gravel roads located just north of St. Croix Falls.  We have decided to explore some of the great sand and gravel roads, ATV and horse trails in the Sand Barrens just to our north.  We will be meeting at the Wolf Creek Bar and plan to start riding at 9AM.  It will be a 22ish mile course that will probably take 2-3 hours.  Just because it will be dry doesn't mean you should bring skinny tires because IT IS GLOBAL FAT BIKE DAY, but some of the trails, especially the many sandier sections, will be pretty tough to ride on a non-fat.

Find the full details here:

If you have any questions, please ask us on Facebook or Twitter.  These are some of our favorite places to ride, so we are excited to show them to a few old friends...and hopeful some new ones.  One of the highpoints of starting at the Wolf Creek Bar is we will also end at the Wolf Creek Bar.  This will give us a great place to hang out post-ride and enjoy some great food to warm us up and possibly a recovery beverage or two. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Woolly Beats the Dark

Traditionally, the first day after daylight savings time expires, local legend Mike Colaizy hosts a century ride on the Gandy Dancer from St. Croix Falls to Danbury and back.  The goal is to arrive back in SCF before it gets dark!

The ride has its origins back in the mid 90's when Woolly's Frank Lundeen had the bright idea to ride from Osceola to Danbury and back.  As I hear it, the Gandy was freshly laid and just completely energy sapping.  Stop by Cyclova XC and ask Frank about it, you'll enjoy the story.  That was also the origin of the alternate name for this ride, The Death Ride.

From the sounds of it, upwards of 20 riders gathered at the Polk County Info Center for the grand depart at 8am.  Among the crowd was a solid representation of Woolly jerseys.

I was NOT among the crowd.  I was off, uh, roller skiing... but this is the Woolly blog, we won't talk about such things...  I did head out for my own, slightly less grand, depart shortly before noon taking the fatty for a spin.

My primary goal was to go enjoy the day for a while and meet up with riders on the return trip.  Originally I hoped to make it to Cafe Wren at least.  Then when that came and went, I hoped to make it 25 miles out to get a half century.

Shortly after Fredric and 25 miles I finally found Patty and Jason cruising on the way back on their Party Keg.  After a quick chat I was off again hoping to make it to 31 miles so I could have a fat metric century.

Just south of Siren and at about 30 miles I found Mike, Mike, Dallas, and one other person headed south.

I pressed on to Siren to get my half metric century in... and meet my favorite rider before turning around.

The return trip showed brought on a little headwind that had been a pleasant tailwind on the ride out.  It wasn't the worst headwind I've ever ridden in, but it gave the race to beat the dark a little more excitement.

Just before Luck, Starr and I caught back up with Mike, Mike, and Dallas.  From there out we were really in Beat the Dark mode.  We had 16 miles to go and just about an hour to sunset.

As we cruised along the sun kept creeping closer and closer to the horizon.

Sunset was 4:51 pm Sunday.  We rolled back into the Info Center at... 4:51.  Boom!  Beat the Dark.

I think all told Woolly had 5 imperial century finishers and I pulled off my fat metric century.

The weather continues to hold and the Woolly single track is still in primo shape.  Keep getting after it because soon we will be seeing the freeze thaw cycle start to put a damper on the riding and then hopefully soon after that we will be riding groomed single track!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Last Friday's Night Group Ride Recap

What a blast!  Friday night Woolly hosted the second of two group rides for the week.  All told we had approximately a dozen people out riding around the Woolly Trails in the dark.

Arron spent Friday afternoon leaf blowing the trails and they were in perfect shape.  He may have even eaten dinner right off the trail.  Thanks Arron!

After a lap or a little more a good group hung out at the trail head until quite late enjoying a great fire.

The weather continues to look unseasonably fantastic for riding.  I highly encourage you to get some while the getting continues to be good.  Eventually it has to change over to fat bike season right?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Woolly Night Group Rides - This Week!

Looking for an excuse to get out and burn off some of that Halloween candy?  Want to ride Woolly with cool people?  We've got two opportunities for you this week!

Despite a damp weekend and a drizzly Monday night, the weather for the rest of the week is looking fabulous (if you aren't too excited to get on snow on your fat bike yet).

Wednesday - 6pm - Woolly Trailhead
Check out our Facebook Event
Aaron will be out to lead a nice night ride of the Woolly.  Notice I said night?  Sunsets before 6 these days.  So you will definitely want to bring lights.

Friday - 7pm - Woolly Trailhead
Check out our Facebook Event
Several of us are going to be out for another group ride and a fire afterwards.  Again, you'll want some lights.  Probably some warm dry clothes, a chair, and perhaps a refreshment for sitting around the fire afterwards.

For right now, these are one off events.  Once fat bike season really gets going we will get our weekly group rides going again.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Winter Woollyland Prep

As you head out to the Woolly this weekend you may notice a few small changes.  Just like geese flying south and the leaves falling, these changes hint at the onset of winter and more importantly fat bike season.

Bjorn 2.0 has been roused from his summer hibernation and is tuned up and ready to prep the snowy trails so you can #ridegroomed.

Additionally, the trail fairies are keeping the trails good and clear of the falling leaves.  This allows the earliest possible freeze and therefore the best possible base as winter arrives.

Additionally as you roll around the trails you'll notice a few new short reroutes of the trail.  You'll find these in Wissahickon and Big Oak.  Groomed single track can be twisty and flowy too, but there is a limit to how tight Bjorn can turn so there are a few spots where the fat bike route cuts a few corners.

Additionally, Woolly is smoothing out Big Oak just a tad to make it a solid green trail and those changes will stick around next year.  This makes Big Oak a part of a nice "stacked loop" system where the further you venture from the trailhead the more technical the trails get.

We've had fantastic fall riding weather so far.  Pretty quick here everyone should turn their dance steps to favor freezing temps and then snowfall right after that.  Maybe we can even be on groomed trails for the Woolly Group Ride for Global Fat Bike Day on December 3rd!

We will see you soon for Fat Bike Group Rides.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Woolly Day 2016 Recap

The first Sunday in October the Woolly hosted the fourth annual Woolly Day.

Woolly Day originated back in 2013 as a short notice, "hey the weather looks good, lets hang out on the Woolly trails" type event.  The spirit of that first event lived on this year with good people and good trails.

The event kicked off a short dedication of the new trail head signage shortly followed by a set of group rides at 1:30.  I think we had a ladies ride, a short loop ride, a full loop ride, and a kids ride.  I personally led the kids ride and had a riot.  Short of a MNMTB Series kids comp race, I've never seen so many little rippers on the trail at one time.

After the official group rides there was grilling, potlucking, cake, fire, and fellowship at the trailhead.

There were several attempted headcounts with numbers between 50 and 75.  Given the number of people that came and went throughout the afternoon I don't think 100 people is an unreasonable estimate at all.

I'd grab that 2017 calendar now and pencil in Woolly Day for the first weekend in October.  That date isn't set in stone, but it will be close so write it down so you remember to keep your options open.

And if you missed out on Woolly Day, why not try to make the Global Fat Bike Day Woolly Group Ride on December 3rd?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Woolly on the Duluth Traverse

As awesome as it is to ride our own trails, the Woolly does like to get out and enjoy other trails in the area and abroad.

A small herd of Woolly decided to play hooky from work one day last week and check out some of the new Duluth Traverse on the south end of the city.

Oh man, they have got it going on up there!

I think these new sections have some names, but I don't know/remember them all so you'll get some descriptions of where we went and you'll have to piece it together yourself.

We started on the south end of Piedmont in a SHT trailhead and headed south through Brewer.  Pretty quickly we were on the most flowy, bermy, awesome downhill run down to Cody Street.

After that there was a mile of paved trail over to the zoo before hitting some more sweet single track.  This section takes you over to Spirit Mountain and changed drastically several times from cool aspen forests, to cedar forests, to a creek valley.

After a few quick laps of the jump lines at Spirit, we took a bit of a wrong turn heading down to Grand Ave looking for the DWP Trail.  Nope, go UP about 200 yards to the DWP Trail to continue south.

While old rail trail may sound boring, this was anything but boring.  It is NOT an official COGGS trail, but it certainly seems to get a fair bit of use.  There are a pair of super sketchy trestle bridges to cross, and a super cool tunnel to go through.  Plus the views are amazing.

Once through the tunnel, watch for when you cross Skyline Parkway.  Just after that hang a left off the trail and cross Becks Road onto Mission Creek and the Duluth Traverse.  From here you can ride through Mission and onto the final section of the Traverse down to trailhead by 23 and the St. Louis River.

With that you'll have ridden something around 17 or 18 miles of awesomeness.  Being a bit time pressed, we took roads back to the Munger Trail in Smithville and then back up the Cody St section of the Traverse Trail.  In all we did 33 miles of riding and it was a great day.

All of that and we didn't ride any of the actual trail sections and there is the whole north end of the Traverse to check out too.

Refueling for the ride home with $50 in Taco Johns and Steak Escape.  The guy was so impressed with our order for 3 people he gave us a discount!