La Flèche du Nord on for May 10, 2014
March 22, 2014
road | race
The fourth annual La Flèche du Nord, an informal but high-paced training ride in the tradition of the Belgian spring classics, is scheduled for May 10, 2014. Starting in Houghton and finishing on top of Brockway Mountain, the 75-mile route will take riders over some of the toughest terrain the Keweenaw has to offer. A ride unlike any other, La Flèche features numerous sections of dirt that account for approximately 30 miles of the total distance and will give riders the opportunity to see the Keweenaw from an entirely new perspective. Though not a race, the event will be anything but a leisurely tour to the top of the peninsula.
In the 2013 edition of the event, the gravel sections of the route not covered by two feet of snow were found to be rideable on standard (22-25c) road tires. A few flats did occur, so riders are advised to be prepared and carry a tube (or two) and a pump. For gearing, 39x25 (minimum) or a compact or triple crank are advised for those not wanting to walk the 20% pitches that await riders on Brockway Mountain and several other short, steep sections.
The course will be marked, and riders will be given a cue sheet and map at the start.
As of late March, the Keweenaw is buried under four feet of snow. A decision on the course will not be made unti late April or early May depending on temperatures and snowmelt. If the dirt roads on northfacing slopes are still snowcovered, the course may be routed over the south Keweenaw.
A post-ride fest is planned in Copper Harbor; orgainzers are working out the details.
As this is a one way ride, riders will be responsible for organizing return transport from Copper Harbor to Houghton.
No entry fee, no support, no feed zones, no aid stations, no prizes, no glory. Just old-fashioned pain and suffering. Because the course may use low-traffic or closed sections of road, riders are advised to plan for all eventualities. Spare tubes and a pump are required.
May 10, 2014
9:00a.m.: Rider sign-in at The Bike Shop of Houghton
10:00a.m.: Unofficial start (rollout through Houghton and Hancock)
11:00a.m.: Clothes drop and official start at top of Fisherman Road (near Calumet)
3:00p.m.: First riders expected on Brockway Mountain
Photo: Adam Griffis
Cyclocross Action Returns to Copper Harbor
September 29, 2013
race | cyclocross
Fast-paced cyclocross action returns to the Keweenaw October 19&20. The sixth annual Keweenaw Cup, organized by Houghton's Red Jacket Cycling Team with support from the Copper Harbor Trails Club, will see as many as 100 racers lining up for two days of racing: Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Downtown Hoedown in downtown Copper Harbor, and Sunday, Oct. 20, in the Top of the World Smackdown at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in Copper Harbor. Weekend champions in each of five classes will be awarded the illustrious Keweenaw Cup.
The races are open to everyone of all ages and all abilities on any kind of bike. No experience required! Typically 30 minutes to one hour in duration, cyclocross events are timed races held on short courses (1 – 1.5 miles) and feature surfaces ranging from pavement and dirt roads to singletrack and grass. Obstacles, which include everything from wooden barriers, logs, sand pits, mud bogs, and unrideable hills, add to the challenge — and make mounting and dismounting an integral part of the race. Scheduled for mid-October, anything is possible in the Keweenaw with respect to the weather — and the race will go on regardless of what it decides to do.
Though cyclocross races are typically contested on what are essentially modified road bikes with knobby tires and cantilever brakes, any type of bike will work and is welcome. In fact, given the torturous terrain found on the Keweenaw, mountain bikes have proven to be the bike of choice among many racers.
Though it may sound intimidating to the uninitiated, the festival-like atmosphere that surrounds every cyclocross race — with clamoring cowbells and cheering spectators — make it a unique sporting event and, for many, the highlight of the cycling season. The short courses ensure that there are nearly always racers in sight for spectators, and that the cyclists are never out of earshot of an encouraging word.
The $20 entry fee for Saturday's afternoon race includes a pasta dinner at the Mariner North and music to follow at Zik's by Frank and da Beans. Dinner tickets will be available at the Mariner North on Saturday for non-racers. Entry for Sunday's race is $10.
Proceeds from the weekend's events will benefit the Copper Harbor Trails Club.
The Keweenaw Cup will mark the fourth weekend of racing in this year's UPCROSS Points Series, a 7-race series of cyclocross events organized by Marquette's KMK Cycling Club and the Copper Country's Red Jacket Cycling Team and the Range Mountain Bike Club of Ishpeming. The series attracts racers each week from across Michigan, Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota from late September through mid-November.
Further details on the Keweenaw Cup at www.keweenawcup.com
Further details on the UPCROSS points series at www.upcross.net
Questions? E-mail Chris Schmidt – email@example.com