Spirit of the Hungry Bear
This is a self-supported adventure ride with timing. There are no prizes, no aid stations, no sag, no support. You are in charge of you. We will not come help you if you call with a problem and there is little cellular coverage on much of the course. Ride with a buddy!
Conditions and Weather
As of event week, all sections of all routes of the Hungry Bear are passable by bike but some may be a bit soft from snowmelt and new rain in the forecast. Some small sections still have snow on the road now, but most will likely be entirely melted. A few northern segments had standing water, but shallow enough to ride through. Our soil and the gravel forest roads drain well, so all it takes is a couple warm dry days and things can firm up.
What Bike to Ride
This is billed as a gravel ride, but many sections do have baby-head rocks and other smaller glacial erratics that make for a bumpy ride. Our Chequamegon fortified gravel is not as consistent as Iowa or Northfield gravel. A gravel bike with 40mm tires will likely be fastest but an XC mtb with short travel suspension and firm tires would be much more comfy and faster on the rocky descents. There are also going to be some muddy sections like the 2.5 mile long ATV Trail 8 connector at mile 77/41 (Hungry/Snacking) between Lost Land Lake Rd and Rock Lake Rd on which a 2” mtb tire will be better.
We have sold out at 500 riders, which is all the number plates I had printed. I was going to cap the ride at 420, but got so many requests to add people that I increased the cap to 500, and there are 15 people on the waitlist. If you know you can’t make it for some reason, email me and I will refund you and remove you from the event so someone else can ride.
We will be outside Tilly’s Pies and The Rivers Eatery Friday afternoon from 3 pm to 7 pm for riders coming into town the day before. Morning of the race, you can pick up your race plate between 7am and 9 am at the Chequamegon MTB Festival intergalactic headquarters at 13460 Spruce Street. I have all the shirts and jersey orders in hand. You will be able to pick up your event merch at registration.
Looking for Lodging?
Check Airbnb for Cable area lodging. There were some open spots race week due to cancellations.
The Hungry Bear 100 and Snacking Bear 60-mile races will start at 9 am from in front of the Chequamegon MTB Festival intergalactic headquarters on Spruce Street. The Climbing Cub 30-mile riders will start from the Cable Municipal Parking Lot immediately after.
I am also working to get an official moto-pace lead out for the first 10 miles on Lake Owen Road. That paved section doesn’t have a centerline and last year we had some incidents with oncoming traffic. I remind everyone that all riders need to follow all rules of the road, including staying to the right and allowing oncoming traffic through. I know that is difficult with a huge group on a narrow two-lane road with no painted centerline.
If I cannot get a lead out, please try to keep to the right to allow oncoming vehicles to get through. Lake Owen Road is a very pretty ride because it is hilly and curvy, which means it has short sight lines and drivers cannot see you as they come around a turn.
Starting Early and Finishing Late
If you don’t think you can finish either of the longer courses by 6pm and want an official time, I suggest you get going before the official 9 am start or transfer to a shorter route. Just let me know and I will adjust your time in the results. We cannot promise someone will still be sitting outside Tilly’s Pies with the timing tablet after 6pm. If you finish late or miss us at the finish and want a time, just email me after the race with the time you started and finished. I can manually adjust your time. Last year we only had a handful of people who took longer than 9 hours to finish the 100. See all results here: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=276638
Finish and Timing
Although there are no awards, we will once again be using Webscorer to manually time all riders who care about their “official” finish time. This means you need to check in with me or the CAMBA volunteers doing timing at the finish outside Tilly’s Pies. If you don’t check with someone, you will not get a time.Trudy will have your pie orders ready for you at the finish. We will also have Ursa Minor Brewing beers at The Rivers Eatery. Ursa Minor is a cool small craft brewer in Duluth with tasty beers. Since they are the northernmost bear-themed brewing company, I am super stoked they offered to bring their yummy beers down for the race. Jennifer Reisch will be performing at the finish by Rivers as well.
The first 150 people who pick up their race plates will be assigned preferred parking in one of the locations marked below in the town of Cable. There is no on-street parking during the ride in the town!
Everyone else will need to park by the old Telemark Lodge at 42225 Telemark Rd. in one of the four spots marked in the drone photo below. Do not drive on the paved roller ski course! Note that you must enter via Hwy M as the gate will be closed on McNaught Road by the Start Line Inn. You can ride your bike the 3.5 miles from the Telehenge parking area, past the Birkie start area and around the gate and back on McNaught to Randysek to get to the start in Cable.
Route Navigation: Don’t get lost, follow the dot!
The courses are NOT marked at all. You must rely on the GPS routes to navigate the 100, 60 and 30 mile courses. Many sections are tricky with turns that are not obvious, other options from fresh logging roads not on a map, etc. You can print the maps and cue sheets if you prefer, but I strongly recommend having the route downloaded to your phone with RideWithGPS app (free) or download the gpx tracks from RWGPS site and import them into another app like Strava, Garmin, Kamoot, GAIA, etc. for a GPS head unit like Garmin, Wahoo, or even your Humminbird Fish Finder if that is all you have. The routes are on the event website Must Know page here and RWGPS here.
Aid Stations and On-Course Water
There are no official aid stations on any of the courses. Embark Pure Energy will have an informal aid station somewhere, but don’t count on them for water. Carry all you own water of bring a purification filter to get water from any of the many streams, rivers and lakes.
Call 911 with your location (use the USNG Me app and your mileage on the route). The USNG Me app will give you a USNG location even if you do not have cellular coverage. Of course you need to have cell reception to call 911, so you might need a buddy or someone else to ride to a location where they have reception to dial 911. Cellular service is spotty at best and many riders will find themselves with no service. We suggest you ride with a friend. While there are hundreds of other riders out there with you who might help if you need it, the buddy system is your best safeguard.
The Cable Volunteer Fire Department will have some people on course and will sweep the long routes. If you break down and don’t have cell service and no other rider can help you, they will be your lifeline to get a call to a friend to pick you up. They cannot sag you! You are on your own to get back to Cable. They can call 911 as well. We have contracted with Great Divide Ambulance Service to have an extra crew on race day in case they do get a call.
We provide detailed GPS routes with turn-by-turn directions, but there is no mechanical support or official aid stations out on the courses. There is a National Forest campground with a pump where you can get water around mile 50 on the long course, and Embark Maple Energy may be set up somewhere, but you are essentially on your own.
We still believe in the idea of self-supported racing, so you are responsible for you. If you have a mechanical, you need to figure out how to fix it or hike back, we won’t come get you. If you get lost, you have to find your way back using your own devices (we suggest a GPS-enabled device).
Last year we had a couple very experienced riders crash and need hospitalization, so this year, I have contracted with the Great Divide Ambulance Service to have an extra crew on while the race is going. They will not be on course, but this ensures they can respond if there is a 911 call. The Cable Volunteer Fire Department get a significant donation from our race proceeds, and they have agreed to sweep the courses. The Fire Department in Cable can’t officially do medical calls, but they can help get medical aid if someone needs it. They will NOT sag you though. If you need sag, and don’t have reception, they can help you reach someone to come get you.
The Routes for 2023 will be mostly the same as 2022 but will include the new Climbing Cub 30-mile option. All courses will remain open to traffic, and you will need to obey the rules of the road and watch for other road users. The final routes below are on RideWithGPS. Everyone is strongly urged to download the routes to their phone or GPS device prior to the race. If you prefer to use cue sheets and paper map, you can print them using the maps and links below.
You can use the free RideWithGPS app on your phone and download the routes below. You must download the routes to your phone, Garmin, Wahoo, or your vintage Humminbird Fish Finder, 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 the route you plan to ride below to view it and download the route:
Click the green line in the map above to view the Climbing Cub 30, the blue for the Hungry Bear 60 and the red for the Hungry Bear 100.
Route marking and navigation: There are no route markings on the course. You must follow your GPS.
So 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 to your phone. Even if you only use your phone app in the event you take a wrong turn or get 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. Cue sheets and paper maps are only so good when many of the roads have no signs.
Print the cue sheets yourself before the ride using RideWithGPS or use the links below:
- Snacking Bear 60 cue sheet: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39352756/cue_sheet
- Hungry Bear 100 cue sheet: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39352064/cue_sheet
- Download PDF of Snacking Bear 60 cue sheet.
- Download PDF of Hungry Bear 100 cue sheet.
- Download PDF of Snacking Bear 60 cue sheet with map tiles.
- Download PDF of Hungry Bear 100 cue sheet with map tiles.
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. Last year a couple very good racers crashed hard and ended up with broken ribs and needing stitches. They got some lucky assistance from fellow riders and nearby cabin owners who happened to be around. I mention this because there is risk anytime you ride and this event has extremely limited support. Ride within your abilities!
Aid Stations: There are NO official aid stations or commercial resources out on the course after you leave Cable, so carry enough food and 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.
- 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. Even with these tips, many riders missed the campground last year. Will that be you this year?
- Snacking Bear 60 and 100 riders: Eric and Bree from Embark Maple may 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 is water around mile 16 at ROAM Adventure Basecamp on the Climbing Cub route.
- 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.
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.
Parking: Do not park on Cable streets by homes or businesses while you are out riding!
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 and bib pcik-up on Friday night and the post-race gathering on Saturday before the race will be at Tilly’s Pies and The Rivers Eatery. All riders will get free Bear Droppings and have the option to order pie so they have a slice waiting for them when they finish.