Hungry Bear 100, May 14th, 2022

Using the excellent forest roads of Bayfield County and the Chequamegon National Forest, we will take a grand loop of Lake Namekagon for the first running of the Hungry Bear 100. Why the Hungry Bear? Well, the race will be at the time of year when the bears are waking up, so keep an eye out in the forest for a hangry (that’s hungry+angry) ursine creature.

Born from the mind of Mick Endersbe, original owner of The Rivers Eatery with his wife Beth, he envisioned putting together the loop that leaves from Cable, WI, and circles right back around to the pizza joint. Mick chatted with former local Tim Krueger, who now runs Esker Cycles and Terrene Tires, and they devised a route that takes you through a full 100 mile course, that has absolutely no support, no stop lights, and excellent scenery.

Tim’s business has grown, and after five years he has transferred ownership to Seeley Dave to run, who promises to keep the event’s family reunion vibe. As with all Life Above Eight events, the Hungry Bear will have our Up North For Good ethos at its core, so profits from this race will be donated to further cycling in the area.

There will be a shorter 60 mile Snacking Bear category in addition to the full 100 mile Hungry Bear event. Both races will start and finish in Cable.

We believe in the idea of self-supported racing, and as with all of our events, you are responsible for you. We will be checking the course before the event, but the course will remain open to traffic, and you will need to watch for other road users.  The course will only be very minimally marked, and all riders are advised to navigated by GPS. Be sure to DOWNLOAD the gpx or garmin course to your phone or GPS device as cell service is spotty.

The Routes for 2022 will be mostly the same as in the past but use a few improved logging roads that were cut after recent timber sales over in the Rock Lake/Namakagon area and have some added miles to get closer to 100. The final routes below are on RideWithGPS. Everyone must carry a cue sheet and download the routes to their phone or GPS device prior to the race. The course has never been marked in the past, but this year it will some very minimal markings. The initial paved section will be marked with route arrows on the pavement.

You can use the free RideWithGPS app on your phone and download the routes below. You must download the routes to your phone, or they will not be available when you do not have cell service. You can ride using just the cue sheets if you have a computer on your bike to check mileage and keep the RWGPS download on your phone in case you get lost and want to get back on course or to shortcut your ride back to the finish.

Click on either route below to view it and download the route to your RWGPS app, Garmin, Wahoo, or vintage Humminbird Fish Finder.

Click the blue line in the map above to view the Hungry Bear 60 route for download and the red for the Hungry Bear 100.

Route marking and navigation: As I have mentioned in earlier communications, I have put out some minimal course markings with route arrows on the pavement and red and black plaid arrow cards on the gravel with long nails. I cannot promise these will be there on the day of the event, so everyone should do the following:

Download the gps file of your choice to you phone, Garmin, Wahoo or other GPS head unit. You can use the RideWithGPS app for free and download the course for your event. Even if you only use your phone app to check if you are lost, I strongly advise everyone to have this downloaded. It is free using the Ride With GPS free account app, even if you do not have a separate GPS device.

Print the cue sheets yourself before the ride using RideWithGPS or use the links below:

Route Risk: There is NO mechanical or medical support on this route, you are on your own. We will not rescue you if you break down or get lost. If you do have an injury, you must call 911, but remember CELLULAR COVERAGE IS SPOTTY at best.

Aid Stations: There are NO official aid stations or commercial resources out on the course after you leave Cable, so carry enough water to finish. That said, Eric and Bree from Embark Maple have offered to host an informal aid station somewhere on the course yet to be determined where they will hand out free yummy maple syrup energy packs and probably have water in coolers. They will have their toddler Sylvan in tow, so he may determine how long they are out on the course. Be sure to stop to get some (Elderberry is my favorite flavor) of this awesome Wisconsin driftless area based company’s energy syrup and soak up a little extra stoke, which Eric and Bree have buckets of.

Water:

  • For the Hungry Bear 100 riders, there is potable water at the NFS Beaver Lake Campground around mile 50. I checked it this morning and it is working. I added a water POI on the RWGPS route. 
  • Snacking Bear 60 and 100 riders: Eric and Bree from Embark Maple will be somewhere on the course with free samples of their great energy syrup and water. They do not promise a location or how long they will stay out there, but it is another option.
  • There are many places to pump water from streams or lakes. If you are concerned, bring a water filter of some kind, like a Sawyer system or small pump. I love my MSR hyperflow filter and use it on every long ride I do in the warm weather rather than carry a bunch of water.

Registration: Hungry Bear registration was open until midnight Sunday, May 8th and is now closed. There are no day-of registrations. Click the button below to see your race plate number.



Waivers: There is an online waiver, but riders will also be asked to complete a short personal responsibility checklist and sign it when they pick up their race plates.

Race Plates: Riders can pick up their race plates at Tilly’s Pies/The Rivers Eatery in Cable, WI on Friday between 3 PM and 7 PM. Click the button above to view your assigned number.

Timing will once again be done using Webscorer and the cell phone/tablet app.

Start Location: The race will start in the Cable Municipal Parking Lot.

Finish Location: We will be set up at the Rivers Eatery/Tilly’s Pies visible on the map above. The RWGPS app/gpx tracks will lead you to the finish. You must check in at the finish to guarantee your time is recorded. We are not using automatic chip timing, so we need to manually record your time.

Start Time: We will be in the Cable Municipal Parking Lot to start the official Webscorer race clock at 8 AM but riders can start at any time. Riders who think they will need eight or more hours to finish are strongly encouraged to start early. Riders who start after 8 AM will simply enter their start times in the Google Form below. Results will be adjusted after the race.

I took over this race this year and essentially copied the previous event in BikeReg, which had the start at 10 am so that is what was posted when I opened the event registration. I immediately got a lot of requests from people asking if they could start earlier. I looked at the times from the 2022 Bear 100 the weekend before this race and some people took 12 hours to finish. Since The Rivers Eatery closes at 8 PM, I was worried about 10 mph riders finishing after and nobody being around if the races started at 10 am. So I moved the official start time to 8 AM, but I am allowing people to start later at 10 AM because that is what was posted when they signed up and what was done in the past. It would have been unfair to someone who can only make a 10 am start time to move it up after they registered. The Google Form on the event website will allow me to merge the start time with Webscorer results to share final cumulative times.

This year, since I will start the Webscorer clock at 8 am, you can consider that the official start time. Next year the start time will be posted as 8am as soon as registration opens, but I will still probably allow riders to start later if they want.

I really would rather not print 400 cue sheets only to recycle them when most people will be using the gps files on a phone or device, which is a far superior navigation tool. Cue sheets work, but many of the roads do not have road signs with names. 

Parking: Do not park on Cable streets by homes or businesses while you are out riding! We cannot park by the volunteer fire department or block any allies or entrances around it. 

Park in one of the following locations:

  • Town of Cable Municipal Parking Lot (start area)
  • In the lot behind the old school next to the municipal lot.
  • In the Cable Community Center Parking Lot on Spruce/County M
  • In the Cable Recreation Park parking lot on Cable Sunset Road

DO NOT PARK ON THE STREET BY HOMES OR BUSINESSES IN CABLE while you are out on your bike! Those spots are reserved for customers and residents.

Results: We will post the results, but it might not be the same day of the ride. You can ask at the finish how you did if you can’t wait to find out.

Prizes, awards and podium ceremony: Ha, you are at wrong race, sorry.

The Party on Friday night and the post-race gathering on Saturday before the race will be at The Rivers Eatery, which is under new ownership. Mick and Beth Endersbe finally retired and sold their great business to the Parker Family who live just down the road in Cable. The Rivers still serves up the same great pizza and great craft beer in a wonderful historic building filled with significant silent sports decor.

The Spirit of the Hungry Bear is not a manifesto, but a gestalt that some embrace and other eschew.

There are hundreds of well-organized races and rides in Wisconsin with well-stocked aid stations, swag bags stuffed with “free” goodies, expert on-course medical and mechanical support, courses so well marked you can’t possibly get lost, age-group prizes, fierce competition, award ceremonies, podiums and expensive registration fees. The Hungry Bear 100 and Snacking Bear 60 have none of those things.

While we do have basic timing, these are more timed rides than races. The top finishers earn bragging rights, a sense of accomplishment, and a handshake or hug, but nothing more tangible. The Hungry Bear was started when many gravel races were DIY, free, and almost underground events. It retains that minimally organized, self-reliant spirit and probably feels more like a family reunion than a typical bike race

The organizers of the Hungry Bear charge a minimal fee to cover permits, porta-potties, insurance and other event expenses. ALL the remaining funds are donated back to promote the community that hosts us or other worthy local causes. The event organizer and volunteers take no money or compensation of any kind from the registration fees.

This year one of the causes that will get support from registration fees is a still-evolving equity program to promote more diversity at the start line and encourage a more diverse group of riders to visit the area. The event organizer is working with several well-known equity leaders in the cycling world to develop this program. As soon as we have more details, we will share them publicly. These equity leaders will be compensated for their valuable time and invaluable insights in helping to develop this program.

The remaining profits are going to pay a very talented illustrator to create some cool designs for apparel that can be sold to raise money for local trails, promote bicycle tourism in the area and further support the evolving equity program.

With all the wonderful organized races and rides in Wisconsin, if this event is not for you, we encourage you to register for something more your speed.

We are very grateful to everyone in our extended Hungry Bear family for the support they give by paying the fee to race/ride, for embracing the Spirit of the Hungry Bear and for coming Up North for Good.

Tailwinds,

Seeeley Dave

We hope to see you out there!

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