Despite this week’s rains the course is solid overall. The newer road surfaces in the Moose River Recreation Area drain exceptionally well and are hard and fast. The Indian Lake and Inlet highway departments have done a great job of maintaining the roads and we owe them a HUGE thanks!
Leaving Indian Lake, there is new pavement on much of the Cedar River Road. The following gravel road surface is very smooth to the Cedar River Gate and for the first few miles into the Moose River Recreation Area.
Miles 18 & 19 are rocky with several areas where racers need to watch for yellow paint and down arrows. In fact, there is one stretch with too many rocks to paint so it’s marked with a down arrow. Mile 21 is also a bit rocky. These are on downhills so be careful.
The course then smooths out for the next several miles. The recent rains hardened the sandy stretch along the Moose River Plains (see photo below) but created a few big puddles in that area as well. They should drain somewhat by race time.
Turning right at the Big-T the road remains solid in the driving lanes but is a bit soft on the sides for a short stretch. From there the road is solid all the way to Red River and beyond. A few miles after turning right at Red River and after a long ascent you’ll come upon a sign that says “CAUTION – STEEP HILL” and you had better PAY ATTENTION!
This is the most dangerous section of the race course. The final descents down to the Limekiln Gate are smooth and very fast! There are some boulders on your side of the road and the right shoulder is soft.
The speed you can attain on these hills can turn a bike ride into an ambulance ride in a split second so ride within your ability!!!
After turning off of Limekiln Road into Murdock Trucking the ascent to the Fern Park trail is sandy but solid. Once in the woods the trail is wide, relatively flat and at this point in good condition. Several hundred bikes riding through will pump some water to the surface and create some muddy spots but nothing like 2011’s epic slog! If you’re planning on joining them, you’ll need the right kind of bike for the terrain and the right gear – I’m talking helmet, gloves, and padding for if you come off your bike. If you don’t already own these, perhaps a trip to an outdoor equipment retailer, like Cabela’s is in order. To make a saving on your purchase there, you may want to check out the Raise website (see it here – https://www.raise.com/coupons/cabelas) where you can find coupons and discounts galore!
The finish line is on the basketball court of Fern Park, right in front of the fans, beer and band… party time! But PLEASE get there safely!