On Sunday, June 5th, 2011 i took a ride from Madison, WI to New Glarus, WI and back along the Bager and Sugar River State Trails. The weather was perfect for biking. Virtually no wind, 85 and sunny. This route is about 60 miles round trip.
This route follows the Badger Trail from Madison to where it intersects with the Sugar River trail south of Monticello, you then go Northwest along the Sugar River Trail until you reach New Glarus. The full route is 60 miles round trip. If your short on time you can cut over to the Sugar River Trail at either Exeter Crossing Road to shave off 8 miles or in Monticello to save a few miles.
In New Glarus i stopped at Puempel’s Olde Tavern and as the saying goes “When in Rome” i was sure to have a Spotted Cow from the New Glarus Brewery. Puempels offers a short menu consisting of fresh sandwiches that was perfect for the hot day.
The Badger and Sugar River Trail are both at peak conditions for the season and have no issues worth noting. All restrooms and water stops in Monticello and New Glarus are open.
–Badger and Sugar River Trail photo album
–Photo album plotted in Google Maps
–Madison to New Glarus Map
Some guys climbing the Belleville Tunnel
New Glarus Depot
Monticello Depot on the Sugar River Trail
On Saturday, June 4th, 2011 i took a ride from Cottage Groove, WI to Sullivan, WI and back along the Glacial Drumlin State Trail. The weather was perfect for biking. Virtually no wind and 87 and sunny. This route is about 69 miles round trip.
The trail conditions on the Glacial Drumlin Trail are near perfect. The only things to watch out for are the gopher holes along the trail and chipmunks running across the trail.
Cottage Grove to Sullivan was about 34 miles. When i arrived in Sullivan i stopped at the Sullivan Saloon located a block off the trail for lunch before returning to Cottage Groove. The bar is air conditioned and food was above average for bar food.
–Glacial Drumlin Trail photo album
–Photo album plotted in Google Maps
–Glacial Drumlin Trail Map
On Monday May 30th 2011, I took the complete Badger State Trail from Madison to Orangeville, IL
From where i start at Fish Hatchery and Mckee the trip is around 90 miles round trip. The weather was 77 degrees and sunny with a 15 MPH headwind out of the south when i left Madison around 9am. The wind added some resistance to the ride south and made some of the climb to Monroe more annoying than usual.
The trail conditions were great the entire trip. The restrooms, drinking fountains and trailheads were open for the season. One thing of note is that unless you want to go a 1/2 mile west off the trail in Monticello (jump over to the Sugar River Trail then go south a bit where the sign is), the only water and restrooms on the trail are in Monroe at Twining Park and at the trailhead in Orangeville. There is a small detour in Monroe after the trailhead/park due to construction. The detour is clearly marked and only takes you a few blocks off the trail.
At the Illinois and Wisconsin border the Badger trail turns into the Jane Adams Trail. The Jane Adams trailhead in Orangeville has restrooms and water and is about 3 miles past the border. When i got to Orangeville i stopped at Mau’s Haus Pub & Grill, which is only 2 blocks west of the Jane Adams trailhead. The pub has typical bar food and a few beers on tap, the air conditioning was a nice break from the heat.
The weather on the way back was 90 with a 22mph tailwind out of the south which made the trip back much easier than usual. The heat and sun were intense even with a majority of the trail shaded.
I would recommend checking out the trail, it is near peak conditions for the season.
–Badger State Trail photo album
–Photo album plotted in Google Maps
–Badger State Trail Map with photos
On Saturday May 28th 2011, the weather was finally nice enough for a weekend ride along the Military Ridge State Trail from Madison to Dodgeville and back. This route is about 85 miles round trip.
The weather was 60 degrees and cloudy when i left Madison. The weather on the way back was a bit nicer at 70 degrees and sunny. Wind was around 13mph out of the southwest providing a slight headwind on the way to Dodgeville and a tailwind on the way back. All of the bathrooms and drinking fountains along the trail are open for the season. There was hardly any traffic the entire trip, after Mt Horeb i probably didn’t pass more than 20 people.
The whole trail was in excellent shape. As i had mentioned in a previous post the trail has been groomed and most of the human, bike and animal tracks from the spring are gone. The only issues with the trail are the ~4 mile paved section west of the Ridgeway station. This paved area has been deteriorating for many years and has a few spots to watch your speed on.
As usual, i recorded the whole route on my Android phone using the SportsTrackLive app. This app records distance, elevation, speed etc. It provides voice feedback and a nice on-screen display. Below you will find an elevation chart i made with from my route recording. I also took many pictures with my GPS enabled camera, below you can find an album along with a map that plots out all the different pictures on a map. This also allowed me to add photos to my exists Military Ridge Trail map of depots, rest areas and some scenic spots.
– Military Ridge State Trail photo album
– Photo album plotted in Google Maps
– Military Ridge State Trail Elevation Chart
– Military Ridge State Trail Map
I’ve been getting in a lot of biking along the Military Ridge State trail. In my other blog posts i mentioned the poor trail conditions near Riley and Verona. On Friday, May 20th the trail was filled in and groomed! I had been biking from Madison to Mt Horeb and back all week and the trail was still in poor conditions on Thursday so i was surprised to see the trail conditions on Friday. The area near Riley and Verona have been filled in, packed and are now in prime conditions for the season. Id recommend checking the trail out.
One of my favorite training routes is taking the Military Ridge Trail from Madison to Mt Horeb. The route is about 39 miles round trip if you start from the bridge over Fish Hatchery and Mckee Rd. The route is scenic and has relatively low traffic. When you arrive in Mt Horeb you can either take a break at the depot or stop in the Grumpy Troll for a cold beer before returning to Madison.
I’ve spent most of this spring on the Badger State Trail and paved Madison routes due to the weather and trail conditions. I have been to Verona a few times but the unpaved section of the trail thru Verona has been in such terrible shape i have been avoiding taking longer trips on the Military Ridge Trail.
I went biking on the Military Ridge Trail on 5/7/2011 and 5/8/2011. The conditions along the Trail are excellent in spots and poor in spots. The poor areas consist of 2 miles in either direction of Verona or Riley. Large indentations on the trail left by bike tires, footprints and animal tracks from trail use in the early spring when the ground was still flooded have left the trail in poor shape. Id like to give a big thank you to all the people who felt it necessary to use the trail when it was flooded and left their foot and bike prints for the rest of us to deal with now that the trail has dried out…..
The good news is that other than areas by the major depots the trail is in great shape and near peak conditions. Once you get a few miles outside of Verona the casual traffic starts to die down and the path stays pretty clear the rest of the way. The depots in Verona and Mt Horeb are open along with the bathrooms and drinking fountains. The port-a-john is Riley is also open.
I also stop by the Grumpy Troll is Mt Horeb to take a break before returning to Madison. As usual their freshly brewed beer is excellent. I had the Sunflower Ale and also tried the Scotch Ale fresh from the cask. These are both excellent beers but id probably go with the Sunflower on a hot day over the Scotch Ale since it’s cask conditioned.
I plan on doing the full route from Madison to Dodgeville soon and will make another post with the full route conditions.
I took another ride along the Badger State Trail and Sugar River trail on Sunday, April 24th, 2011. The condition were about the same as last week. The Badger Trail was in great shape from Madison to a few miles past the Belleville tunnel then it started to slow down again. A few miles past the Belleville tunnel the trail was damp compared to the previous section. The Sugar River trail from Monticello to New Glarus was damp and had some debris consisting mostly of branches scattered along the trail. While this was definitely rid-able, it was slower moving then the Badger. No pictures this week.
UPDATE The bar end adapters are now available from Trek
UPDATE 5/26/2011: I have heard unofficially from a Trek sales rep that there will be bar ends released that will fit on these handlebars. Unfortunately he had no ETA on when they will be released.
One of the issues i knew i might run into when i bought my Trek 7.5 FX were the Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone Handlebars. I found these handlebars very comfortable, combined with the carbon fork on this bike they produced virtually no impact when navigating potholes and other road anomalies. Unfortunately, this design while very comfortable, does not allow for adding bar ends for multiple had positions. Casual bikers who are not doing long distance will find the IsoZone handlebars more than adequate and possibly superior for their needs. I do a lot of distance riding and after a while the lack of multiple hand positions led to much discomfort. I went to my local bike shop where i purchased the bike and had the handlebars replaced with
–Easton Riser Handlebars
–Ergon GP1 Performance Grips
–Dimension Bar Ends
For my needs i like this setup much better. The bar ends allow for multiple hand positions on long rides and provide a nice hand position when climbing hills aggressively. I find the Ergon grips as comfortable as the stock grips. The carbon fork seems to do most of the work when it comes to absorbing impact and trail vibration and i noticed little difference in that respect from the stock Bontrager handlebars.
Here are some photos of the new and old handlebar setup.
New Handlebars/Grips/Bar Ends
Old Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone Handlebars
I took a trip on the Badger State in Wisconsin on April 9th, 2011 from Madison. The paved section from Madison to Paoli was obviously in great shape. The unpaved section from Paoli to the Belleville tunnel was also in great shape and ready to go for the season. The trail was very dry and in much better shape than you would expect for this time of year.
About a mile or two past the Belleville tunnel the trail starts to slow down a bit and seemed damp compared to the previous section. I went past Monticello to the intersection where the Badger and Sugar River trail meet. I only rode a half mile east on the Sugar River trail, but it seemed slow and damp like the last section of the Badger Trail. Be aware of the Belleville tunnel, the ground is wet and there is still some ice, don’t go thru without a flashlight.
Click here to see my photos of the Badger and Sugar River Trail mapped to their location.
Finally got my new bike this week, a 2011 Trek 7.5 FX. Below are some pictures taken on the Badger State Trail.