Badger State Trail Overnight Trip 6/2/2012

On Saturday June 2nd and Sunday June 3rd I took an overnight trip on the Badger State Trail. I started in Madison, WI and stayed overnight at Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park near Lena, IL.

This was my first solo camping overnight trip hauling my own gear with my Burley Travoy. I had done a 30 mile dry runs around town with a fair amount of gear and I was confident on going 56 miles each way.

The ride down was fairly easy until some long climbs and hilly county roads off the trail that really killed me hauling a tent and all my other gear in the trailer. The campground was very clean although after being spoiled by Wisconsin campground i was not that impressed by how open the sites were. After biking into town for some dinner and some brews I headed back to the campground.

I was pretty beat the next day but managed to make it back in once piece with some extra breaks.

Overall I was very happy with the Burley Travoy fully loaded, i only felt drag on the climbs. I really need to drop 10 pounds worth of gear my next trip and I think it will be perfect. I liked the Travoy much better than the standard Burley trailers. I dont think you can really do much better for carrying gear on tour.

Pictures Below









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Badger and Sugar River Trail Conditions 5/5/2012

On Saturday May 5th 2012 i took a late ride on the Badger and Sugar River State Trails from Madison, WI to New Glarus, WI.

The Badger and Sugar River Trails have not been groomed for the season yet but are in good shape. The Badger Trail is in slightly better shape and moves a bit faster than the Sugar River.

Here are some photos of the Sugar River Trail and some evening photos taken during the perigee full moon that evening on the Trail.

Badger and Sugar River State Trail photo album
Photo album plotted in Google Maps

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Military Ridge Trail Conditions – 3/24/2011

On Saturday March 24th 2012 i took a ride on the Military Ridge State Trail from Madison, WI to Mt Horeb, Wi.

There isn’t much to say about the trail conditions on the Military Ridge this year besides they are the worst i have ever seen. The trail has the usual human, bike an animal tracks that make the trail very bumpy. In addition to the human and bike tracks, some geniuses decide to go snowmobiling when the trail was not frozen and have left a huge snowmobile track from just outside Verona to Riley. What motivated these morons is beyond my comprehension, but these idiots really screwed up the trail for bikers until the DNR grooms the trail. I have never seen snowmobilers be this disrespectful to the rest of the trail users, but these morons win the prize. The trail was very dry, but also slow due to the tracks and was sandy in spots with all the dirt the above morons dug up.

Unlike previous years, don’t bother on the Military Ridge without front shocks until the trail is groomed, the trail will be very uncomfortable if you do.

The restrooms and water fountains at the trail heads in Verona and Mt Horeb were both open for the season. As usual a beer at the Grumpy Troll in Mt Horeb hit the spot at the half way point.

I did hear from an employee at the Grumpy Troll that the DNR will be doing trail grooming around April 20th, a month earlier than last year.

Military Ridge State Trail photo album
Photo album plotted in Google Maps

Trail Damage by Genius Snowmobilers

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Badger State Trail Conditions – 3/19/2012

On Sunday March 19th i took a ride on the Badger State Trail from Madison, WI to Belleville, WI.

The trail was in great shape for early March. The surface has not been groomed for the season yet and there are bike, human and animal tracks indented into the trail, but less than usual for the spring. The trail was very dry with only a few mud patches that were easily avoided.

If you have a choice between front shocks and no shocks id go with front shocks for a while until the DNR grooms the trail for the season. Biking without shocks is completely viable, but you will be more comfortable with front shocks. Last season the DNR didnt groom the trails until mid May.

Here are a few photos.

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4 Trails Area 7/14/2011 – Reedsburg, WI to Wilton, WI – Good Luck Valerie and Simon

On Thursday, July 14th, 2011 i took a ride from Reedsburg, WI to Wilton,WI and back along the “400” State Trail and Elroy-Sparta State Trail. This route was about 75 miles round trip.

My Mother was camping up in Devils Lake, WI for the weekend so i took the day off work to meet her in Reedsburg and we did some biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta Trails. The trails are in great shape and the ride went smooth.

We met a very nice couple from Switzerland by the name of Valeria and Simon. They were spending their honeymoon biking from New York, New York to Seattle, Washington. We talked for a while in Elroy and near the Kendell tunnel. They have had quite a journey and are on their 30th day. If you run into them say be sure to say hello. I hope they have the best of luck on their journey and are enjoying Wisconsin and the United States. You can follow their trip on their blog here is a link to their website translated by Google, or you can find it at http://www.valerie-simon.ch/blog/

This is a link to their post from July 14th. http://www.valerie-simon.ch/blog/?p=397
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Am Donnerstag, 14. Juli, 2011 nahm ich eine Fahrt von Reedsburg, WI zu Wilton, WI und zurück entlang der “400” State Trail und Elroy-Sparta State Trail. Diese Route war etwa 75 Meilen Hin-und Rückfahrt.

Meine Mutter war camping in Devils Lake, WI für das Wochenende so i des Tages zog der Arbeit, um sie in Reedsburg treffen, und wir haben einige Radtouren entlang der 400 und Elroy-Sparta Trails. Die Wege sind gut in Form und die Fahrt ging glatt.

Wir trafen uns ein sehr nettes Ehepaar aus der Schweiz unter dem Namen Valeria und Simon. Sie verbrachten ihre Flitterwochen fahren von New York, New York nach Seattle, Washington. Wir unterhielten uns eine Weile in Elroy und in der Nähe des Kendell Tunnel. Sie hatten eine ganz schöne Reise und sind auf dem 30. Tag. Wenn Sie den Weg laufen ihnen sagen sicher sein, um Hallo zu sagen. Ich hoffe, sie haben viel Glück auf ihrer Reise und genießen Wisconsin und den Vereinigten Staaten. Sie können ihre Reise auf ihrem Blog verfolgen Hier ist ein Link zu ihrer Website von Google übersetzt, oder Sie können es finden Sie unter http://www.valerie-simon.ch/blog/

Dies ist ein Link zu ihrer post vom 14. Juli. http://www.valerie-simon.ch/blog/?p=397
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Pictures of the newlyweds below.

Here are links to my photos of the trails taken previously.

400 State Trail Map
400 State Trail Photo Album

Elroy-Sparta Trail Map
Elroy-Sparta Photo Album

From 400 Trail
From 400 Trail
Categories: 4 Trails Area | 1 Comment

4 Trails Area Tour 7/2/2011 to 7/4/2011

From July 2nd, 2011 to July 4th, 2011 i took small tour of the ‘4 Trails Area’ from Reedsburg, WI to Marshland, WI. This was my first solo multi-day tour and encompassed the “400” State Trail, The Elroy-Sparta State Trail, The La Crosse River State Trail and the Great River State Trail. This trip was about 200 miles total.

Day 1 – Reedsburg, WI to Onalaska, WI 80 miles
400 State Trail, Elroy-Sparta State Trail, La Crosse River State Trail

After the 1 hour and 15 minute drive from Madison i parked at the trailhead in Reedsburg, WI and loaded up my bike. I had test loaded everything at home to get an idea of my bag space but decided to shed some extra clothing and such to lighten my load a bit. I left Reedsburg around 9:45 and began my journey to Onalaska where i would be staying for the night. The 400 and Elroy-Sparta trails were a great ride as usual. I had rode these trails a few times in the past so i knew what to expect and was not disappointed. I have a more detailed post about these trails from a few weeks back you can find here. I entered new territory when i transferred from the Elroy-Sparta to the La Crosse River State Trail.

There is really not much to say about the La Crosse River Trail. The trail is in excellent shape but i found the scenery lacking. I think they should rename this trail to ‘The Trail between the Elroy-Sparta and Great River Trail’ because that is really all it is. Most of the trail has I-90 visible a 1/2 mile away and passes thru many industrial areas which takes away the aura of being isolated. You have no view of the La Crosse River except for maybe a 1/2 mile and no real nature views worth mentioning besides a small stretch of prarie. In the end this trail is not much of a destination trail, but a means to connect the Elroy-Sparta and Great River trails. I dont want to say to avoid this trail, but i wouldnt go out of my way to see it.

I arrived in Onalaska around 5:30 and checked into The Comfort Inn located about a mile off the trail. The hotel was a little over priced probably due to 4th of July weekend, but this being my first solo tour i wanted to stay near the trails and near civilization. The hotel was located close to bars, restaurants , a grocery store and a liquor store that would rival anything in Madison. Grabbing a make your own 6 pack of micro brews really hit the spot after the 80 mile ride.

Day 2 – The Great River State Trail – 40 (50) miles
Day 2 was the most interesting day of my trip to say the least. After sleeping in a bit i left my hotel around 11 with the full intentions of doing the 50 mile round trip of the Great River State Trail. First off i was very impressed with the Great River State Trail. The trail provided some excellent river, prairie and views of nature in general. You really feel removed from society along this trail. This trail may be one of my favorite Wisconsin trails after only 1 ride, id recommend everyone check this trail out.

Unfortunately the the day did not go fully as planned. I am riding a 2011 Trek 7.5 FX that i had bought new this year. I had around 1800 miles on it before i left for this tour. Before i left i had had my derailleur adjusted at my LBS and done a few self adjustment and i felt confident my bike was in great condition for my 200+ miles solo ride. I had done a brief inspection of my tires ahead of time and even though they did have some wear, i thought they would make it thru this trip, in retrospect with 1800 miles on these tires i really should have replaced them before the trip.

About 16 miles into my 50 mile round trip i got my first flat of the trip. I didn’t think much of it, i patched the tire, replaced the tube and went on my way. Then at 21 miles i got my 2nd flat. When i got this second flat I was at the entrance to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was going to be one of the highlights of my trip and I really wanted to check it out and take some photo’s, however i had already used up 3 of my 4 C02 cartridges and my 2 spare tubes on my first 2 flats . That meant if i had another flat id have to patch one of my already punctured tubes and use my last C02 cartridge in the unsheltered trail in 90 degree heat. About this time i was kicking myself for carrying C02 instead of a frame pump and for not inspecting my tires better. After contemplating risking it and taking the 9 mile round trip thru the Wildlife Refuge to the trailhead in Marshland i decided it woudlnt be the smartest thing. After changing out this 2nd flat i decided to turn around and go back to my hotel in Onalaska thereby skipping the last 9 miles of my 50 mile round trip. When it was all said and done this was the smart move.

After 4 miles I got flat #3. This flat was a pain. I walked my bike a bit to get away from the bugs on the trail and find a calmer place to patch things up. I had to first patch one of my existing tubes, this normally would be simple at home with a dish of water to put the tube into to find the hole, but being in the middle of the trail it took me a bit to find the puncture, i then took a look at the tire and patched a few small tire punctures in hopes of making the tire last the final 15 miles back to the hotel. I used my last c02 cartridge and prayed i had patched everything good enough, with no more C02 cartridges i would be stranded if i got another flat. This part of the ride was a bit stressful, every time i hit a softer patch of trail i was paranoid and thought i was losing tire pressure again. Luckily i was able to make it back to the hotel. Unfortunately the local bike shop in Onalaska was closed for 2 more days. I did end up going to a to a chain store i despise that will remain unnamed and bought a frame pump, some extra patches and some tire liners just to be safe since the didnt have the 700×32 tires i was looking for. At the hotel that evening I spent some time patching the existing tubes i had and patching some soft spots on my tires. I did a pretty through job and i hoped this would be good enough for the 80 mile ride home. I was confident with enough patches and a pump instead of C02 i would be able to do any emergency repairs on my tire if needed.

Day 3 – Onalaska, WI to Reedsburg, WI 80 miles
400 State Trail, Elroy-Sparta State Trail, La Crosse River State Trail

I was a little paranoid of tire punctures the first 10 miles or so but my patch jobs seemed to be holding up and i ran into no issues on my way back to Reedsburg. The traffic on the Elroy-Sparta trail was pretty calm, when talking to the host at the Sparta headquarters she had mentioned the day before had been the busiest day of the year and i was lucky to have missed the crowds. I arrived in Reedsburg before 8 and was relieved the patch job on my tires held up.

Aftermath
Overall i was happy with how things went on my first multi day solo tour which ended up at 200 miles in 3 days. I had done overnight tours in the past, but they were always to meet people and i always had my overnight gear brought ahead of me. I learned a lot about what to pack, how to prepare for my ride and to never push the lifetime of my tires when touring solo. I also decided to always carry a pump instead of C02 when touring. With a pump and enough patches you can infinity repair your tire in a worst case scenario, with C02 your always dependent on how many cartridges you carry. I hope to get a light weight tent soon and do some solo camping tours, stay tuned. I do plan on going back to these trails in a few weeks to see the last few miles of the Great River Trail.

Great River State Trail Map
Great River Trail Photo Album

La Crosse River State Trail Map
La Crosse River Trail Photos

400 State Trail Map
400 State Trail Photo Album (Most from 6/13/2011)

Elroy-Sparta Trail Map
Elroy-Sparta Photo Album (Most from 6/13/2011)

From Great River
From LaCrosse River
From Great River
From Great River

 

Bike Fully Loaded
From LaCrosse River

 

Tank and helicoptor in Rockland, WI
From LaCrosse River
Categories: 4 Trails Area | 2 Comments

Badger & Sugar River Trail 6/26/2011 – Madison to Brodhead

On Sunday, June 26th i took a ride from Madison, WI to Brodhead, WI along the Badger and Sugar River State Trails. This route was about 79 miles round trip. This Monticello to Brodhead section of the trail has some excellent views along the Sugar River Trail. If you have not taken this section of the trail i would recommend checking it out.

The Badger and Sugar River were both in peak conditions for the season. All bathrooms and water fountains along the trail are open for the season. Brodhead has a few bars and restaurants in the downtown area, i stopped at Flinagans Bar & Grill for lunch, it had typical bar food and good service. Not much extra time this week so im going to keep the writeup short, but here are some pictures.

Madison to Brodhead Trail Map
Badger and Sugar River Trail Photo Album

From Badger and Sugar River

 

From Badger and Sugar River

 

From Badger and Sugar River

 

From Badger and Sugar River
Categories: Badger and Sugar River | 4 Comments

The 400 and Elroy-Sparta Trails 6/12/2011 – Reedsburg, WI to Sparta, WI

On Sunday, June 12th, 2011 i took a ride from Reedsburg, WI to Sparta WI and back along the “400” State Trail and Elroy-Sparta State Trail. This route was about 114 miles round trip after some biking in Sparta to get lunch. This was my first century of the season.

This route consists of the 22 mile “400” State Trail from Reedsburg to Elroy. The “400” State Trail then connects with the 32 mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail which runs from Elroy to Sparta. You could actually take this continuous trail all the way to Marshland, WI at the Minnesota border by continuing on to the La Crosse River State then to the Great River State Trail which would be 100 miles each way.

The “400” State Trail.
The “400” State Trail is 22 miles long and runs from Reedsburg, WI to Elroy, WI. The trail has relatively low traffic compared to the more popular Elroy-Sparta trail; I didn’t pass to many people on my way to Elroy. Much of the “400” Trail follows the Baraboo River and crosses it many times during the trip. There is also a 7 mile stretch where horses are allowed from LaValle to Wonewoc and you need to be careful of horse dung on the trail. The “400” trail has some great views along the Baraboo River that need to be seen. I have some pictures below and in my 400 Trail photo album. One thing of note is that some of the restrooms and water at the trailheads are only open from 8-5, keep this is mind if you’re planning your trip. I have locations and hours of restrooms and water in my 400 State Trail Map. This trail gets less press than the popular Elroy-Sparta trail, but after finally taking the whole trail id have to say the views are better on the 400 trail.

The Elroy-Sparta State Trail
The Elroy-Sparta trail is 32 miles and runs from Elroy, WI to Sparta, WI. This trail is a popular tourist destination and can be crowded with casual bikers during the summer. I got lucky on this trip and traffic was relatively low compared to 2 trips I look last year. The Elroy-Sparta trail has some great views,but the highlights of the trail are the 3 old railroad tunnels The tunnels in Kendall and Wilton tunnels are about a 1/4 mile long and pretty dry. The Norwalk tunnel is around ¾ of a mile long and has a lot of water dripping from the ceiling and id be careful of electronics. Pictures of the tunnels can be found in my Elroy-Sparta photo album and below. One rant I have about the Elroy-Sparta trail is the poor trail etiquette of some casual bikers. For some reason families and groups like to stop in the middle of the trail and take up the whole path not allowing other bikers to pass. I was routinely yelling ‘on your left’ a good distance from people and receiving blank looks and only after stopping did they move out of the path. So please, if your a casual biker pay attention to your surrounding and follow trail etiquette and you will enjoy the trail much more. If you’re a serious biker looking to get some miles in you might want to avoid this trail on the busy weekends, but id still highly recommend checking this trail out.

After this 115 mile trip i was pretty beat, with lunch and the photo breaks i was biking from 8:45 am to 8:45 pm. I have some of the highlights below, but id check out the photo albums for a lot of great shots.

400 State Trail Map
400 State Trail Photo Album

Elroy-Sparta Trail Map
Elroy-Sparta Photo Album

View of the Baraboo River & Hemlock-Sauk County Park
From 400 Trail

 

Sun starting to set in the late afternoon
From 400 Trail

 

Tank in Lavalle
From 400 Trail

 

Small waterfall by the east entrance of the Kendall tunnel
From Elroy Sparta Trail

 

West entrance of the Kendall Tunnel
From Elroy Sparta Trail

 

Sparta Depot
From Elroy Sparta Trail
Categories: 4 Trails Area | 2 Comments

Military Ridge, Badger and Sugar River State trails will be closed until late Friday afternoon

Temporary Trail Closure Update: The Military Ridge State Trail is temporarily closed due to significant storm damage on Wednesday night (June 8), with trees down across the trail. Crews are working to clean up the trail and plan to have it open for use by 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.

Original Post
The DNR said the Military Ridge, Badger and Sugar River State trails will be closed until late Friday afternoon so crews can clean debris from the trails.

http://host.madison.com/ct/sports/recreation/outdoors/article_aeef8b76-9367-11e0-a095-001cc4c002e0.html

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/regions/scr/badger.html

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/regions/scr/milridge.html

Nice to see the DNR out so quick to clean up the trails for the weekend.

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Badger State Trail 6/9/2011 – Trail Conditions after the Storm

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On Thursday morning June 9th I took a ride from Madison to Belleville and back on the Badger State Trail. I had some friends doing the Bike to Work Week thing and rode to Belleville to bike in with them. The trail was mostly in good shape after the storm last night. There were at least 10 trees down along the trail on the paved and unpaved parts. Most could be stepped over pretty easily but a few needed to be gone around and one you needed to lift your bike about shoulder high to get over. An average person shouldn’t have any issues, but i wouldnt bring a bike trailer on the trail until they are cleared.

Pictures below with GPS spots of some of the worst spots.

Badger State Trail photo album
Badger State Trail Map

From Badger and Sugar River
From Badger and Sugar River
From Badger and Sugar River
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