Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 BALLS Roster!

2. Jeff Bartels*
3. Tyler Ubinger*
4. Mike Curtes
5. Rick Walls*
6. Dave Hill*
7. Kent Hill*
8. Ron Knutowski
9. Nelson Donovan*
10. Mark Scotch*
11. Todd unbehaun*
12. Russell Bernard*
13. Dan Vernon*
14. Kevin Last*
15. Randy Wegener
16. Wade Carlson*
17. Chris Staples
18. Bonner Karger*
19. Lyan Karger*
20. Brodie Karger*
21. Russell Fogle*
22. Jin Lee*
23. Nate Woolever*
24. Tim Barber*
25. Nic Buer*
26. Bill Selbig*
27. Garrett Krueger*
28. Dirk Rettig*
29. Greg Haack*
30. Richard Schick*
33. Eric Sime*
34. Heidi Beck
35. Rob Vester*
36. Nick Templeton*
37. Chuck Hutchens
38. Kevin Unbehaun*
39. Scott Schoenwaelder*
40. Tim Mullen
41. Conrad Tufte*
42. Ashton Brackett*
43. Sam Garre*
44. Kevin Kuehl
45. Aaron Perzigian*
46. Scot Ellis*
47. Craig McCallum*
48. Nick Chaffin*
49. David Jaehn*
50. Paul Towne*
51. Danielle Chaffin*
52. Sara Heintzman

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Registration Details for 2014!!

This is a quick one!

Registration details for 2014 are at the link up above.....see all the choices up top?  Look harder it's there!  The one you want is registration/roster!


Friday, October 28, 2011

What Is BALLS?

2014 Updated Information!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dates - 4/26-4/27, 2014
Registration - registration will open on 3/1/2014.  Riders will have 30 days to register at which time the roster for 2013 will be locked.
Rider Cap - 55 roster spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis starting 3/1
Cost - Once again cycling's greatest bargain at a slightly increased but still awesome $40

In a Nutshell
BALLS is two days of riding bikes in whatever mother nature provides.  Is it the best trail you'll ever ride?  Nope. Do we usually get perfect weather?  Nope.  Does any of this matter?  Not a chance.  Over two days YOU along with a great group of riders will rack up 165 miles of almost entirely unpaved trail with no vehicles to get in your way.  It's part group ride, part adventure, part training ride, and part reason to be outside. Got BALLS?

The Date
April 26-27, 2013!!!

The Route

In a nutshell it's about a 135 mile loop starting and ending in Barneveld Wisconsin. Nearly pavement free. The two day total hits 165 miles due to a spur ride taking us to the overnight location.

Day One:

Day Two:

As a generalization the course is flat. Very flat. Pancake flat. Never stop pedalling flat. The surface varies from nicely graded limestone rail-trail to rutted, breaker rock, mud and sand infested ATV trail. There are only about 7 miles of pavement total in the two days.

What trail passes are required?

-WI DNR state trail pass covers everything we ride!

We'll be staying at Crazy Horse Campground on Saturday night.  The campground is about 1 mile from Brodhead.  All overnight gear will be transported by the SAG wagon.  Bring a pillow, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad (backpacking style not an in-laws-are-visiting blow up mattress).  We will have four cottages and six cabins and can sleep 50 riders comfortably.  Showers will be available.

Support Logistics
During the ride you are on your own. There are a number of small towns we pass through so all I can say is you better be happy with a burger that's been sitting under the heatlamp for three hours too long, pints of Jack Daniels from a hole in the wall liquor store, and locals that will forever think there is something wrong with you for wearing tights. Saturday, when you arrive at the campground, there will be a nice little buffet of beef au jus sandwiches, homemade potatoe salad, cookies, chips, etc. etc. etc. We will make sure there is plenty of food at the end of the ride. The campfire will be roaring and we'll tip back a few beers.

For all planning assume you are taking care of yourself from start to finish. Having said that there will be a vehicle available to rescue you if near death. The vehicle might show up if you call.....and it might not.....don't rely on it. If you do need a heated seat and satellite radio to get you to a bed you better call early....there's only room for a couple slackers. Your flogging for bowing out early will come in front of the group a little later in the evening.

I've Still Got Questions!!!!!!!
Check the registration/roster page for information on how to get in and who's riding.
Check the FAQ page for a huge list of other questions riders have had.
Check the route page for maps of the ride broken down in to sections.
Check the Update page for any news that might be beneficial.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Campground

All that riding on day one and what do you get?  Luxury accomodations at Crazy Horse campground (!  Here's the scoop.

Cabins - we have six of these
Each cabin has two rooms.  The front room has one double bed.  The back room has two bunkbeds.  Easily sleeps five and even six isn't a problem if you want to share the bed.  No facilities in the cabins other than heat/air conditioning.

Cottages - we have four of these
Each cottage has two rooms.  The front room has a couch, kitchenette, and table.  The back room has one double bed.  In between the two rooms is your very own shower and bathroom.  Each cottage also has a carpeted loft area that will easily sleep four adults and five if you stay tight. 

When packing your gear I would recommend choosing a sleeping pad/sleeping bag combo so that if you end up in one of the carpeted lofts you are comfy.....if you end up in a bed you'll just be that much more comfortable!

Even conservatively we've got room to sleep 50 and I fully expect us to use all the space as we will likely end up with just over 50 campers.  To ease the transition from riding to camping the support crew head honcho (my wife Brianna) will have a cabin/cottage signup sheets at the start line.   The process will be pretty simple but we'll ask is that you choose a cabin or cottage and then tag your overnight gear with a corresponding numbered piece of masking tape.  When you roll into the campground your gear will be ready and waiting in the unit you chose.

So, the cabin dwellers are probably wondering where they get a nice warm shower.  Speaking from experience they actually have it better.  The shower building is a just a few steps away and we found out last year that it had a more reliable and longer lasting hot water supply.

That's the campground in a nutshell!  Show up, get clean and showered, grab plate of food, and find a comfortable seat around the fire.....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Trails

Let's face it the big deal about the BALLS ride is that we get to log 160+ miles over two days with very minimal paved roads.  At the core of BALLS is a 130+ mile almost entirely rail-trail dirt loop.  Just taking a few minutes today to give recognition to the trails we will ride.  These trails aren't free but the good news is that a WI DNR trail pass covers you for everything....yes, even the predominantly ATV based Cheese Country Trail. 

Military Ridge State Trail

The 40-mile Military Ridge State Trail, in Iowa and Dane counties, connects Dodgeville and Madison, by way of an 1855 military route between Verona and Dodgeville. The trail runs along the southern borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks passing by agricultural lands, woods, wetlands and prairies. There are several observation platforms adjacent to the trail for viewing wildlife and other natural features. In Ridgeway, the trail passes by a historic railroad depot.  Most of the trail follows the former Chicago and North Western Railroad corridor, which has a gentle grade of only 2 to 5 percent. Between Dodgeville and Mount Horeb it runs along the top of the Military Ridge, the divide between the Wisconsin River watershed to the north and the Pecatonica and Rock River watershed to the south. Between Mount Horeb and Fitchburg, the trail goes through the Sugar River Valley.

Cheese Country Trail

If you're looking for an invigorating motorized trail experience, the Cheese Country Trail (a.k.a. the Tri-County Trail) will not disappoint. The 47-mile trail meanders through the heart of southwest Wisconsin's Driftless Area, a massive tract of land noted for the rolling hills and rocky outcroppings left untouched by glaciers. The Cheese Country trail traverses Iowa, Green, and Lafayette counties, intersects with the Pecatonica State Trail near Calamine, and crosses a total of 57 small bridges and overpasses, including the 440-foot bridge at Brownstown as it winds from Monroe to Mineral Point.

This is primarily used as an ATV and snowmobile trail, though bicyclists, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers share the corridor. The surface in many areas is quite rough; if you plan to bike, opt for the sturdy tires of your mountain bike. You should also be prepared to share the trail with loud and heavy ATV traffic.

Monroe, the Cheese Country Trail's southern end is-quite fittingly-known as the "Swiss Cheese Capital" of the United States. The trailhead, with parking, is just 6 miles from the Illinois border. Heading northwest from Monroe, you follow Highway 11 through Brownstown and South Wayne. After passing through Brownstown, the trail crosses a 440-foot bridge spanning the Pecatonica River. Here the trail runs through wooded areas and marshes, all the while hugging the scenic farmland of the local dairy farms. If you want to take a break, Gratiot, at Mile 20, is a good bet. Restaurants and shops are found here, as well as ATV rentals in case you want to start your motorized adventure.

From Gratiot the trail continues northwest along stretches of farmland and wooded ridges for about 11 miles to Darlington, right off Highway 81. Refreshments, supplies, and ATV rentals are plentiful in this community.

Another 5 miles on the trail brings you to Calamine. As you approach Calamine you run into the Pecatonica rail-trail, which runs west for 10 miles to Belmont. Finally, from Calamine the Cheese Country Trail heads north for an additional 10 miles until it ends in the lovely town of Mineral Point at the old Railroad Depot Museum. Mineral Point is among Wisconsin's oldest communities, and this historic mining village is today rich with artist's studios and galleries. Many of the old homes in Mineral Point have been restored, and some of them have been made into restaurants and bed-and-breakfast inns that will allow you to stay awhile.

A state trail pass is required for bicyclists, horseback riders and cross-country skiers 16 years and older, and registration is necessary for ATVs. Visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Badger State Trail

Badger State Trail is a "Rails to Trails" trail extending from Madison, WI to the Illinois state line intended for bicycles and hikers during warm months and snowmobiles and limited ATV use during the winter. With one end of the trail located in Madison, a tunnel (considered to be the darkest trail tunnel in Wisconsin), and the distinction of being the only inter-state trail in Wisconsin, the Badger State Trail is becoming the most popular trail in the state.

The trail is the old Illinois Central Railroad corridor. The Badger Trail connects to the Southwest Path, the Military Ridge State Trail and the Capitol City Trail in Madison. The trail is blacktopped from Madison to Purcell Road (North of Belleville). From Purcell Road to the Illinois state line limestone screenings provide a hard smooth surface for your biking and hiking enjoyment.

The highlight of the trail is the restored 1200-foot long Stewart Railroad Tunnel that was finished in 1887 and is located south of Belleville. Because of a slight bend in the tunnel, you gaze into total darkness. We recommend that you bring a bright flashlight. This tunnel may not be the longest trail tunnel in Wisconsin, but is considered by many to be the darkest in Wisconsin. From the tunnel, the trail continues south to Monticello where it crosses the Sugar River State Trail. From Monticello the trail continues to Monroe and then on into Illinois. At the Wisconsin state line it connects to the Jane Addams Trail which brings you to Orangeville and Freeport, IL. The Jane Addams Trail is part of the Grand Illinois Trail System.

Sugar River State Trail
The Sugar River State Trail follows an abandoned railroad line in south central Wisconsin for 24 miles from New Glarus to Brodhead. A short access trail connects the Sugar River State Trail to New Glarus Woods State Park. Fourteen trestle bridges cross over the Sugar River and its tributaries, while the trail passes by farmlands, woods, rolling hills, scenic meadows, remnant prairies, and glacial topography. North of Brodhead, the trail goes over a replica covered bridge. The trail has also been designated as a National Recreational Trail.  The Sugar River Trail headquarters is in the restored 1887 railroad depot in New Glarus. The building is on the National Registry of Historic Places and houses displays of local culture and railroad history.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A History Lesson....

It's Friday again and I promised weekly posts so here's a brief history of BALLS.

Early winter 2007
For some reason I got looking at a map of bike trails in the state.  My primary interest was what I could get from my house.  The Cheese Country Trail was an afterthought but ended up being the misisng link to a really cool loop.  I pulled out a map of southern Wiscsonsin and highlighted the idea I had in my head.....Military Ridge to Cheese Country to Badger State to Military Ridge.  There in neon yellow glory was 130 miles of primarily rail trail right out my front door.  When I approached a friend about this he thought it was a great idea as long as we could break it into two days and find a place for an overnight.  As we moved into the planning phase we settled on the awesome (and now defunct) Earth Rider Cycling Botique as our overnight location.  This added a stretch of the Sugar River trail to both days and put the day one mileage at about 100 and day two somewhere near 65.

BALLS 2008
Day one of 2008 saw four riders head out into bitterly cold strong winds.  Things got better when we turned south at Dodgeville but I think we still questioned our sanity.  Let's just say things got a little damp once we hit the Cheese Country Trail.  I could ramble on but you would be much better served by clicking here for the whole story (the pics speak volumes):

BALLS 2009
Twelve riders toed the line for the start of BALLS II.  Once the weather was total crap.  Early in the day we saw heavy rain, declining temps, and thunderstorms.  Oh well.  This ride rolls no matter the conditions!  This year saw the first official BALLS finishers as two riders completed the entire two day route.  Once again I'll provide a link for some day one pics and story:

BALLS 2010
The third running of BALLS saw a couple big changes.  First off we started day one with twice as many riders as 2008.  The other change was that our overnight location, due to group size, moved to Crazy Horse Campground in Brodhead.  The weather was once again rainy but on the bright side it just might have been the best conditions BALLS riders have ever had!  Anybody coming along in 2011 will see that the campground option worked out nicely....nothing like hot showers, free beer, and a campfire after a long day on the bike.  Hittin' up my source for more in depth look:

BALLS 2011
I'm not messing with last years formula.  Same route, same campground, and same regardless of conditions approach.  Next week I'll focus on what you might want ride for the 2011 version of BALLS.  Prospective riders may wonder what's best; mountain bike, cyclocross, touring? 

See you next week.