Wednesday, March 24, 2021

March 2021 News And Notes

As you may have guessed, there won’t be a Cheesehead Roubaix this year. I’ve known that for a while and on Monday it became “Facebook official,” so there you go. Until we get past mask wearing and social distancing, I can’t be bothered. Let’s put this ridiculous pandemic behind us and shoot for April 24, 2022.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that West Bend has begun the installation of the Orange Loop, the city’s first signed and painted bike route. It’s not much to look at right now, just a few naked signposts. Soon, though, you will have an east-west loop to complement the north-south Eisenbahn State Trail. The route will connect multiple parks, schools, and commercial areas. I will be very interested in how people use it once it’s ready. I rode the 5.5-mile loop on Sunday, but I left off the spur that runs over to the UW-Milwaukee Washington County campus.

Even more good news: Logan Bliss, Washington County’s new Parks & Trails Manager, confirmed today in a meeting with Bike Friendly West Bend that the county will move forward this year with the development of the long-awaited Rusco Drive trailhead at the southern terminus of the Eisenbahn. That development will add parking, a portable toilet, a bike repair stand, and other amenities to the popular access point.

In early February credible sources announced that this season’s cyclocross nationals would be held in suburban Chicago, which would have been the site of last season’s championships if not for the pandemic. USA Cycling confirmed the location last week. It remains to be seen how nationals will affect the Wisconsin cyclocross calendar. Don’t be surprised if the season is very Saturday-heavy to allow our top riders to compete on Sundays in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series, races with higher point values whose participants will get better starting positions at the national championships.

It also remains to be seen whether there will be a full road racing season in Wisconsin this year. Wisport and the ABR have announced a handful of events, but there’s still no word from the WCA and there’s still no guarantee that the Tour of America’s Dairyland will take place. But it looks like there will be both a Wisconsin Off-Road Series season and a Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series season. WEMS announced its calendar on Tuesday and it looks like this:

6/05 - Jack Lake Crazy 8's @ Deerbrook
6/19 - Romp in the Swamp @ Wausau
7/10 - TBD
8/21 - Thunderdown in the Underdown @ Gleason
9/04 - Buzzard Buster @ Neillsville
9/25 - RASTA Rock N Root @ Rhinelander

I’m very unlikely to line up for any of those, but the most intriguing one is July 10’s “TBD.” Remember when a WEMS season included races at places like Greenbush, New Fane, Alpine Valley, and John Muir / Emma Carlin? It will be a real shame if the series has disappeared from southeastern Wisconsin.

Finally, April 24 will be the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Celebrate Trails Day for 2021 and there will be many opportunities for volunteers to help clean up the Eisenbahn. Hope for good weather and watch this blog for more details soon.

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