Archive for December, 2010

CATS Week Long Ride

December 10, 2010

Bayfield Blast

Wisconsin is on the schedule for this year’s week long ride, & we will be going about as far north in WI as it is possible to go. Bayfield is the target town, along with the Apostle Islands, which some of you might have heard about at some time or another, with the biggest island being Madeline Island, which you can ferry over to & then ride routes of 9 miles all the way up to 28 miles.
Still wondering where are we going? Then check a map, & you’ll see that we will be pretty much due east of Duluth MN & in a section of Wisconsin that sort of slides into the space between Duluth & the UP of Michigan. In fact we might even end up riding for part of one day in MI unless I keep monkeying with the route & delete that portion of the ride. Bayfield is on the map on the little peninsula that sticks up into Lake Superior.
This was the first CATS week long ride back in 1996. We had eight teams that first year, some of whom had never toured via bike before, others who had never done that many days in a row OR the miles that were involved, & one team even came on this first tour on a rented tandem after only having ridden a tandem once before. There was also a lot of crying about “where was Tom taking us” since the first days route went south instead of north or northwest from Rhinelander WI. They were sure we were lost & we hadn’t even started yet. It also was the maiden trip for “Big Boy” (but you’ll have to ask Frank & Sheila Mueller about that!!!!!)
Sadly, of the original group that year, the Muellers, Johnsons, & Masters are the only teams still riding a tandem & still in the club. All the others having dropped out due to age or medical problems. That 1st year we had two teams pushing the 70 year mark, so don’t let me hear that this trip is two HARD.
So Bayfield WI is the target town, & we will be riding through some beautiful country to get there, & YES we will start by going south once again. I have changed some portions of the route that we did back then, kept some of it intact & am staying in some of the same towns & maybe some of the same motels (we had no motels that year that made “Tom’s Top Ten Worst Motels” list).
The ride will be in July, probably the week of July 17 to July 23, 2011. The actual ride, as usual, starts on Sunday & ends on Saturday, thus allowing a full day of each weekend for travel to & from. There will be an Early Bird ride, as well, on July 16 for those interested in coming up early. I selected July because in that northern section of the country, summer comes there mostly in July. In fact, in 1996, on the last day of the ride, July 20th, we left in 38 degree temps & I swear light snow flakes. I do know we had on just about all the clothes we’d packed to try to stay warm.
So here is the ride outline.
July 17 – Day #1         Park Falls Wi to Ladysmith WI           67.63 miles
July 18 – Day #2         Ladysmith WI to Hayward WI              61.40
July 19 – Day #3          Hayward WI to Iron River WI               45.23
July 20 – Day #4          Iron River WI to Bayfield WI                 53.25
***   July 21 – Day #5          Bayfield WI to Ashland WI                     22.00
July 22 – Day #6         Ashland WI to Ironwood MI                  57.25
July 23 – Day #7          Ironwood MI to Park Falls WI               58.64
Total                              365.40 miles
In addition, for those interested. you can ride on Madeline Island by taking the ferry across for additional distances up to 9, 11, 15, 17, 25 & 28 miles, which could take the total up to 393 miles. If you come for the Early Bird ride of 32 miles, you could do about 425 miles for the week..
***    However do not hold me to these mileages as final at this point. The short day listed above was done on purpose as a partial rest day so as to allow for people to either ride Madeline Island or take a boat tour of the Apostles Islands & then ride to Ashland after that. Another option I’m looking at is a total rest day in Bayfield as opposed to a partial day. IF I do that, then we would probably not overnight in Ashland but would instead add about another 15 miles or so & stay in Odanah at the Casino Complex. Then our last day would become Odanah to Park Falls, a 68 mile run to end the trip. (in “96” we ended the trip with an 85 miler). Some of the distances are longer than usual on the week long rides, but this part of WI doesn’t have a lot of big cities with multiple motels in them. Instead most cities have none, & those that do have them usually have less than 10 rooms. There are a lot of resorts, cabins, etc. located all over the place, but again most of them are just big enough for a family with not much privacy. I did find one rather interesting one, the River Rock Inn & Bait Shop, BUT I DON’T think we’ll be staying there!!!!
This will be, as always, a motel based tour & is planned with the idea of having a van (or vans) to carry the gear & duffles &, if necessary, the bikes & us. The number of teams planning to go will determine the number of vans, & we will share the driving. Driving days will be split up once we know how many are doing the trip, BUT if the distances listed are holding you back from trying it, then sign up anyway, & we’ll figure out how to cut your milage down by sharing the driving on any given day with another couple.
So that’s it!!!! More details will be forth coming as time goes by, BUT we need to try & get a handle on who & how many teams there might be. I’ve checked what calendars of events I’ve gotten in the materials & while none of them have their 2011 calendars out as of yet, what was listed for 2010 did not seem to conflict with the dates selected (assuming they hold the events about the same time every year).
When I mentioned to Frank Mueller that I was doing this trip to the Apostles Islands again, his only comment was, “Sign us up. We’re going”. So that makes 2 teams, Muellers & us. WHO ELSE? Drop me an email at or call me at 312-816-1720, that’s my cell phone & what we’ll be using for communications in the next couple of months. It’ll be a great ride, ESPECIALLY IF YOU COME ALONG.

Tom Masters