Chequamegon 40 2014
Day of Cheq 40
Here is the low down of what the race is all about direct from the website. Then I have my account personal of doing the event myself.
Each year 2,100 participants are selected in a random lottery to take part in this challenging, 40-mile fat tire event that takes place on Saturday of the Festival weekend. While a few compete for the chance to be called champion, it is the citizen class athletes who are in it for the adventure and personal challenge inherent in the sport that make up the bulk of the race field.
The Chequamegon 40 begins travels from downtown Hayward, WI over the famed American Birkebeiner Ski Trail, forest roads, snowmobile trails and other wooded paths in Sawyer and Bayfield counties to the finish line at Telemark Resort in Cable, WI.
The large field size dictates that the race course have a carrying capacity suitable for the masses. Characterized as a power course, the linear nature favors the fittest and not necessarily the most technically accomplished rider. This is not to say it’s an easy 40 miles by any stretch of the imagination. The race course is long and fast, and the never ending profile fluctuations wears down even the fittest participants.
he mass start of the Chequamegon 40 is spectacle unmatched in the sport. The pre-race anticipation reaches a pinnacle when the black powder cannon is fired. As the rollout heads down Hayward’s Main Street, the hum of the wheels, cheers of the crowd and shifting of gears energizes the parade start. The tempo is controlled down Main Street as the riders pass the large crowd of spectators lining both sides of the street.
Rolling down Hayward’s Main Street A left onto Railroad Street and then another right onto Highway 77 are negotiated by the anxious race field. Once on the highway, the tempo is increased as the peloton heads east on Highway 77 to Fish Hatchery Road. It is here that the riders hit the dirt and connect with the southern end of the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski trail. Following a tricky off-camber transition from the pavement into Rosie’s Field, the race is on as the fat-tired flyers make their way north to the finish line.
Rosie’s Field: The race is on Over the miles the off-road drama is played out one rider at a time as mind, muscles and two-wheeled machines roll up and over the unforgiving race course profile. The race-day logistics of a 40-mile, point-to-point course are significant. Aid stations, course control monitors, emergency medical staff, and evacuation vehicles for the drops and spectators are scattered from start to finish.
Seeley Fire Tower climb A pivotal point in the race comes at the Seeley Fire Tower climb at 11.5 miles from the finish. Following the climb the elevation gained is lost again and the climb back to the high point on the Birkie Trail at seven miles from the finish presents yet another knockout punch.
Final approach The final approach to the finish line is rewarded with a long-distance ski hill vista at Telemark Resort. Augmented by the sounds of music, the roar of the crowd and the fragrance of Wisconsin’s favorite grilled bratwurst, riders complete their long journey through Wisconsin’s North woods.
Cheq 40 – Wisconsin September 2014 – Great Event – Good course – Rolling hills on ski trails and ski do trails, lots of fun – amazing start m – many crashes at beginning by others on the road section – had fun at event – did ride not at fullest potential, more less felt Fat during entire event and a little weak, not powering up hills as normal, had to walk up many hills and let people go by me, but all good, – good way to set myself up for Cheq 2015!! which know course and what event is all about so can good about better next time, but had fun regardless, good experience, nutrition and hydration was at par, but felt a little weak, at this event, time for long term recover in a few weeks, for sure after i do the Heck of the North event on Oct 4th in two harbours, – otherwise Cheq 40 – 2014 was a success on my side!
Start of event was the most interesting part. Your sitting at the start line surrounded by over 2000 other riders. The drone is flying over and people are getting excited. Was a good place to be on this fine day. Temperature wise was around 50F or 7C with a frost warning. but many riders are in short sleeves and shorts. So warm up and get ready. Put bike in the gate 4 and let it sit. Finally the announcer says for a 930am start to get to your bikes as we roll out at 10am. So as 10am rolls around, everyone is ready.
Finally at 10am the start buzz goes off. Now being way in middle of pack it took a while for the riding to move. So we stood there a few extra minutes before the congestion moved. then again with over 2000 people what do you expect. The most valuable piece of information was to avoid crashing on the highway. People get all jazzed up on the pavement leading to Rosie’s Field and every year cyclists end up in a tangled mess. The gun… we were rolling. I cautiously followed the masses and avoided wheels, leaving a bubble around me for safety. The noise on main street was deafening, people blowing horns, shaking cowbells, and screaming for the riders! As we rounded the corner to the highway I saw the guy changing a flat. You know, that guy that you see at every race changing a flat a half-mile after the start. Glad it wasn’t me. Two miles into the race I saw the guy that crashed- the guy that undoubtedly got hung up on a wheel and face planted on the highway.My nerves were still running the show and I knew I had to pedal until I couldn’t feel them anymore. Riders were ripping past me on the highway and I feared I would be left behind, but also feared I would burn up if I attempted to keep that pace. My game plan was to ride with caution and to finish.
I at this point was not riding to my potential, HRT Was up but i didnt and couldnt get into my groove from all my training i was like on my ass basically. like i never ridden a bike before. very strange, so more less people were passing me and i couldnt keep up but i was there to do the Cheq 40 as it was on my bucket list of events.
We arrived at the first section of Birkie trail and riders were jammed up, fighting to climb the hill to Rosie’s Field. I cautiously stayed to the far left and avoided getting boxed in. Handlebar to handlebar, wheel to wheel we clawed our way up. We spread out in the field and I was encouraged by familiar faces of spectators. Another rider was down and the pack split in two, like a school of fish, merging on the other side. From here we began the rolling up and down of the Birkie hills. I tried to work the downward momentum to carry myself up the proceeding ascents but we were still too tight to ride free, I had to get over to the side and ride thicker, grassy sections to pass slower riders.
Mile 20. Half way. Still feeling ok. Actually this point i got my groove back. I had to walk up one hill and i rested, normally i can push and ride hils like this no problem so after one minute the groove i was supposed to have from start go to me. so rest of race i was playing catch up .
At least i was able to ride like what i was trained to do. The pedals spun. I would see bottles of electrolytes laying on the trail, rattled loose from cages, and wondered if I should pick one up.
I was telling myself I was strong and I was visualizing the competitive beast inside of me that wakes up after 20 miles of labor. Fire Tower Hill came, I clawed my way up, and it was over. The stories of horror I had heard seemed exaggerated as I looked at this hill and thought, “Is this really it?” Don’t get me wrong- it’s a bugger, but when you know that it’s the last great obstacle, you hunker down and you get ‘er done!
After Fire Tower we had about 8 miles left. We were once again back on the Birkie trails and the climbs loomed.
From there one many many more hills and many more trails.
After many more hills and riding quite confident it was almost over. I thought the 40 miles would feel like a piece of cake as i have ridden many 100 mile mt bike races before. but its more the mindset. This 40 miler felt like i was almost done the 100 milers . I was happy to finish it. Finally reaching the ski resort in Cable. Down the ski hill and around to finish line, was good success.
Was a great day. Out of the deal of this event. get a shuttle back to Hayward on a school bus but convenient. as it being a one way race. So back to hayward. I forgot how far my motel was from start line. as i had biked to start line in morning to save on driving. Had 4 mile walk to motel, after doing that race, was not wanting to walk. Finally back to motel, have something to eat and feel better.
Back drive to Cable to pick up my bike, still many people here. Stay to hear all the thank you’s from the organizers. Very good event. Will be back again for 2015.
Back to motel later in evening before stopping at McD’s for a cheat day dinner. Relaxing at motel in evening and that was my experience of the Cheq 40 event.