This past weekend I was fortunate to have off, have a wife wanting me to ride on snow, and friends willing to share their weekend with us. Friday afternoon we loaded the car and made our way to Tomahawk, WI...about 4-5 hours away. Traveling with kids made the trip take a bit longer but good nonetheless. We rolled in around 11 pm.
Saturday everyone was up and roaming around before 7:30 thanks to a couple of two year olds. This was good as it allowed me to get out the door by 9:30. Not knowing the area I scanned a map before hand and was giving a slew of good roads to ride by Lance.
After the snowmobile trail I took some county roads to a road Lance told me about, pictured above. It was an awesome road. Hilly, snow covered, not (seemingly) traveled by cars, and long. It was great! Once this ended I was back on a county road. This road however wanted to continue North and East while I was thinking it was time to head North and West. I came across a country recreational road that appeared to be used in the summer but not much, if at all, during the winter. Perfect. This meandered through the woods for a few miles where the trail ended. I could see the county road wasn't too far away via my Garmin so I decided some bush crashing was needed. Potentially good training for the ITI! After pushing through knee high snow for about 20 minutes I came to a clearing. This clearing led to a homestead. Looking around I noticed a large cement bunker buried in this hill. Hmmm...PREPPERS was my thought. Turing to my right I saw several metal silhouettes riddled with bullet holes. Shit. I got the hell out of there. The clearing I saw on my way in was a shooting range surrounded my stands in the trees. I freaked a tad and pushed ass through the knee deep snow. Nothing happened except a good sweat on a sub zero day. I eventually did make it back to the county road and continued on in the wrong direction.
Finally, in what seemed forever, the county road intersected with another road heading due North. This road then came to hwy 8. Not a fun road but I knew this would bring me back. Seeing 14 miles to Rhinelander however was not what I was hoping for! I kept telling myself the last 2.5 hours into a headwind, on a sub zero day was great training. Anything to trick the brain!
I had told Jen 4-5 hours and I was nearing a bit past 6 once I hit Rhinelander. My phone stopped working due to the cold. Reluctantly I pedaled into Rhinelander to find a place to warm the phone and contact Jen. Turns out I made the right choice. Waiting for my phone to come around I looked at a map and found a much better route that 8.
I ended the day with almost 8 hours and loved it. Perfect training day: snow, trails, sub-zero temps, 15 mph headwinds with gust past 20, hills, bush crashing, cold hands, boredom, the day had it all!
The next day I was looking for a less gnarly day. But once I hit the trails and ran into this section (below) I didn't want to stop.
Four hours flew by, even though I did a lot of "there and backs" to not get sucked into the Wisconsin Wilderness again! But man I wanted more, but also wanted the day to hang with the family too. Some sledding and chillin.
I was super happy with how I felt over the weekend of riding. Now it's just cruise control to the ITI. Not long now!