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Word From The Wax Bench...

Hungry Bear Wrap UP

This past weekend, the Hungry Bear Gravel Ride growled over the rivers and through the Chequamegon woods. You may have read in a previous newsletter about how Dusty and Ian have been training and planning for the big event. How did the big day pan out for our two intrepid cyclists?

Early in the week, the weather looked grim, and several people decided not to ride. But the day turned out to be beautiful and sunny…so no excuses…and both Ian and Dustin were on no matter how the weather turned out.

Before the race.

Dustin has been training tirelessly for a few months now, and although the Hungry Bear is the first race of his season, it is just one of a long line of races he plans to compete in over the summer.

Dustin channeling a high fashion model after his ride.

It was a good but hard event for Dustin, “Last year’s pace was pretty easy and low key, but this year, riders went hard right off the bat. I was surprised that some of the fastest riders were pushed off the back of the front group during the first surge, but the best part of the day for me was being able to ride with that front, fast pack.”

Up until the Hungry Bear, Dustin’s training mainly consisted of longer, easy rides-slow and long distance. But things are going to change now that he is setting his sights on the Borah Epic. He has big plans to make the top 60, and his training regimen will be intense. “I’ll do one day at the terrain park practicing jumps, balancing, and wheelies; one day working on hill climbs; and interval sessions the rest of the week, as well as attending 3 group rides per week.”

Ian, still smiling and feeling fine after his Crud Cloth worked wonders!

Ian wasn’t training quite as regularly as Dustin, so he decided to switch to the Snacking Bear 60, which turned out to be a good decision, “I was thinking this at mile 50 or so on Rock Lake Road when the suffering began to creep in. I still have hopes to do it, maybe next year.” Another reason the Snacking Bear was the perfect race for Ian is that he really loves snacks! “Since it’s really important to stay well fed during a race, it’s fun to experiment. I took some cues from my Birkie supply list and brought with some smoked herring fillets, pickles, a peanut butter filled chocolate Clif bar, and these tasty new bits called GFB (Gluten Free Bites) made with dates, peanuts, and dark chocolate. I will say that the smoked herring is easily my favorite exercise food, some good fats, protein, and I think they have magical powers.”

Some of Ian’s Snacking Bear snacks.

Although he had a bit of a delay around mile 40 to re-inflate his front tire and tighten a bottle cage, he was able to hang with a nice group of riders. “We all rode together until about mile 40, maintaining a fast, but manageable tempo that made the race go by pretty quickly. It’s fun to ride with people who are talented and know about riding etiquette.” His other favorite parts of the day included the pizza and Crud Cloths. “Crud Cloths are easily the best post-race solution to clean off all that sweat and dirt short of hopping straight into a shower.”

Ian, smiling post-race.

So, the first race of the year is in the books. Hope you all are looking forward to a fantastic summer of riding and racing. Look for Moonies at all the area events including the Borah Epic, Chequamegon 100, Lutsen 99er, Pre-Fat, and, of course, the Chequamegon 40 and Short and Fat.



Bikepacking in the Northwoods

There’s nothing new about touring with your bike, camping for overnights, and seeing the countryside. But over the last few years, as mountain biking has become more popular, a different form of bicycle touring has become more prevalent-bikepacking.

Traditional road bike tourers ride mostly on roads or bike paths while using panniers to carry their belongings. Bikepacking utilizes bikes that are designed for off-road cycling and that are comfortable over long distances. Riders use mostly dirt, gravel, and single-track trails to plan their adventures and typically carry their gear in frame packs to lessen issues when traveling over rough terrain.

Here is one of our favorite blogs about bikepacking in our area written a few years ago by Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Deputy Director Dave Schlabowske. It’s got some invaluable information about the sport as well as a look back at the plans for the inaugural Tour de Chequamegon Bikepacking Weekend.

If you’re feeling adventurous after reading the above article, check out the Tour de Chequamegon website and sign up for this year’s ride. And, stop by New Moon for a full bikepacking set-up including, accessories, gear, and even a cool, new Specialized Sequoia perfect for discovering the trail!

“Shifting” Gears to Spring

Right at this very moment, you’ve got a choice to make if you’re going to enjoy the day outside because (up here) you can literally take part in almost every sport that makes Hayward great—skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, road biking, hiking, running, fishing (okay, ice fishing)—and all in the same day.

While most of our local customers are still enjoying that amazing, yet fleeting, spring skiing, Moonies Dustin and Ian are on to other adventures—training for the Hungry Bear 100, an unsupported gravel ride throughout the Chequamegon National Forest.

Ian, left, and Dustin pre-ride last week. Photo: Chris Young

Training in early spring for a bike race isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be cold, damp, muddy, bumpy, and unpleasant, but these two seem like they are having the time of their lives. What is their secret? Are they just pretending have fun in order to get out of work? Let’s find out.

Turns out, for Dustin, the Hungry Bear is just the first of many races he plans to tackle this season—and he’s starting early and often.

Dustin getting in some trail time last summer. Photo: Chris Young

“Basically spring training is all about getting as many pedal strokes in as possible—getting your body weathered to harsh hours on the bike—so that when you come to a 40 mile race you can sprint most of it. My training schedule this time of the year is pretty intense; its really important to put in a lot of base miles (now), so that when you come to summer riding (June) you can solely focus on improving your max speed, mainly through intervals and hill climbing. I normally do 15- 20hrs a week. It would normally go like this: Mon. 3hrs, Tues. 3hrs, Wed. 4 hrs, Thurs. 4hrs, Fri. 2hrs, Sat. rest/recovery 1hr, Sun. 3 hrs.”

Ian’s famous smile pre-Cheq Fat. Photo: Daryl McNutt.

Ian rode the 60-mile Snacking Bear last year and is aiming for the 100-miler this May.  For him, gravel rides are special, “I think it’s really about the shared adventure, pushing mental and physical boundaries, and the whole zen of it all, riding through beautiful areas.”

He is specifically setting his sights on the Hungry Bear because, “It sort of captures the early season excitement for biking and sets an early goal to work towards. There’s a fun atmosphere around the event that really celebrates our area as well as the spirit of adventure.”

His training regimen is not quite as detailed as Dustin’s. “I just have to do it ninja style, whenever I can find a block of time to get out and ride. I’ll ride road, gravel, singletrack, and fat bike, just to get miles in the saddle. I’ve started going back to Crossfit as of this week, so I’m hoping to improve my overall strength this season.”

Dustin has quite a few tips for staying comfortable while putting in the big hours.

Dustin riding to a great finish in the Fat Tire last year on his birthday. Photo: Chris Young

Nutrition and timing is pretty important, “I really try to at least eat a half bar an hour (150 calories) and drink a bottle a hour. This allows your body to stay at a comfortable energy level without bogging you down. A common mistake most people make is that they ride for two or three hours without eating or drinking much, then they feel the effects of bonking and try to quickly eat a bigger amount of food/water. When you eat a lot all of a sudden, your body sends a lot of blood to your stomach and not to your muscles, which in turn can make you bonk even worse.”

Carrying a few extra apparel pieces is also a must, “I also carry an extra set of gloves and outer jacket in case I get wet. I’ll just quickly stop and switch up my base layer and outerwear so that on my second half of my ride I can feel dry and refreshed again,” Dusty explains.

Through the muddy trails during the Fat Bike. Photo: Chris Young.

Ian also feels like early spring training necessitates the right gear and clothing. “Keep hands and toes warm. A windproof top and bottom are really helpful. Shoe covers are really helpful, but if you want something deluxe, I’ve really been liking the 45NRTH Ragnarok shoe. Gotta have good snacks and plenty of water…and beer.” Dustin also touts the healing powers of a couple special drinks, “I found that a shot of espresso followed by 6 oz. of alcohol can help with feeling the effects of bonking; it also gives you a little moral booster.” OK, guys, we know what you’re recovery regimen is… 😉

Yep, this is Spring in Wisconsin…

The worst part of spring training might be a dreary headwind, or it might be overcoming your own personal reluctance to get out on the bike when your body isn’t quite up to speed and the weather isn’t quite sunshine and daffodils, but working out on the bike at this time of year has a few more benefits than just being able to crush your next race or group ride.

“It is generally getting nicer out, the sun’s out, the creeks are flowing; its just a nice time to be outside,” Dusty says. And, you’re looking ahead to all the biking season has to offer.

New Moon rides will be starting up soon. Come join us work out the kinks and get ready for your cycling season. Check out our Facebook page for updates.

Get out and make the most of these last few days when everything is possible. Enjoy!





Rex Clinic Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting the Hecker family on behalf of Rex Ski Wax for a liquid wax clinic at the Samuel Johnson Nordic Center at OO (in our fancy smancy New Moon Wax Room no less!) Another perk of the job is that I was able to get out for a short bit to enjoy a bit of top notch spring skiing.
We sprayed, we brushed, we conquered. It was a great way to showcase what is turning out to be a paradigm shift in waxing. Jeremy Hecker led the demo, representing not only the Rex brand, but his new role as the Head Nordic Ski Coach for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The event was well attended, and we had our hands full during the whole demo, waxing skis and getting everyone up to speed on how to apply these new waxes. The trail had just been groomed on Friday, so the skiing conditions were excellent. It was ideal spring skiing with a firm and fast deck, but not so icy that you couldn’t get an edge.
Later in the afternoon we headed back to the shop for a “happy hour” with some apres ski snacks, beverages, and further wax wisdom. It was a great event to host as a follow up to our success with Rex over Birkie. Thank you to the whole Hecker family, Mike, Connie, Chris, and Jeremy for being great partners and representatives, but also for all they do in the Nordic community in our region and abroad on the World Cup circuit.
We will definitely do this event again next ski season, so keep your eyes on our events calendar in the Fall. In case this was the last weekend of truly great skiing for the season, I hope you enjoyed this winter as much as I did! -Ian

Big Fun at the ’19 Fat Bike Birkie!

Yes, the Fat Bike Birkie is a race, but like the American Birkebeiner, it’s so much more. The more, in this case, is FUN – pure and silly fun.

Rollin out in the 2019 FBB! Photo: American Birkie (ABSF)
Keep ‘er movin… Photo: ABSF


Ian,  Dusty, and LJ from the shop took on the 21K race. Each had a unique approach to their plan, fashion plan, that is. Dusty stormed his way to 13th overall and 2nd in age with a conservative and safe outfit. Next, LJ donned the semi-retro, early 2000s, New Moon ski suit for a speedy 34th overall and 3 in age. Last and certainly not least, Ian busted out an awesome mustache and the uber-retro, early 90s, New Moon ski suit in a truly bold fashion statement. Ian breezed his way through the hilly course to the top spot in the biggest smile category.

Ian is so ready… and so retro.
Ooh la la!
LJ is all smiles after the 21K.
Not too shabby on a borrowed bike.
The Dale bros and Kristina Morse chillin’ before awards.

Mild temps made for tricky conditions for many with the firm track breaking down for later riders. Exhaustion however gave way to a festive atmosphere as good food and beverage refueled racers. Of particular interest were demo bikes from fat bike companies, energy food samples, and New Moon’s S’mores Tent. In Keeping with cycling tradition, podium presentations were grand, complete with ceremonial champagne for the champions!

Scary. Photo: ABSF
21K women’s Champ, Kristina Morse atop the podium. Photo: ABSF
Refueling time. Photo: ABSF
47K lead pack passes through Boedecker checkpoint. Photo: Kelly Randolph
Fast food. Photo: ABSF
New Moon S’mores crew.
So many flavors…
Mmmm good!
It couldn’t happen without them! Photo: ABSF

Later that evening, CAMBA held another highly successful annual, Fat Bike Birkie Fundraiser at the Sawmill Saloon. Thanks to dozens of prize donations from vendors and sponsors, over $11,000 was raised for the CAMBA Fat Bike Fund, ensuring world-class fat bike grooming for next season in our area.

Birkie Events Director, Kristy Maki, wins the Specialized Fatbike at the CAMBA fundraiser.

To cap off the weekend, New Moon held a Sunday-Funday Beer and Brat session back at the shop celebrating the launch of the all-new GU Energy Gel flavor, Hoppy Trails. This will be a fave for craft beer lovers!

LJ gives beer and brats two thumbs up.

If weather holds, CAMBA Fat Bike Trails should have good, late-season fat biking for a while. If you want to give this fat thing a try, we’re still renting fat bikes as long as trail conditions allow. Or, pull the trigger and buy one of our rental fat bikes now! These 2019 Specialized Fatboy SE rentals are reduced to $1100 and are ready to tackle the trails, snow or dirt. Call us to check 715-634-8685 availability.

Rent – buy – enjoy a fat bike today!



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