Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Update

As I sit here bloggin’ this it’s blustery and cold. The wind is whipping, the rain is sheeting sideways, and the branches falling off the trees in my front yard make me wonder what’s happening to our trails right now. We haven’t had a new post here in awhile and I guess that’s because we have had such a busy season that we haven’t had the time. That said, there is a lot going on at the shop that y’all should be aware of and I’m going to fill you in right now.

For starters, with the exception of the weather we’ve had this weekend, the riding has been amazing this fall. The roads are clear and we’ve had very few windy days, the Cyclocross practice series is going great (thanks Newlin), and the trails have never ridden better. We opened up a new section at Sidie and a new mile of trail at Hubbard Hills (with more to be completed yet this year). We have added a half dozen fancy new lighting systems to the crew of regulars and now we are seeing a full-on “train” of lights on our Friday night group rides in the woods.

While those fun activities are going on outside, here’s what is happening inside.

We added Felt Bicycles to our already strong line of bikes at the shop. We are very excited to be working with these fine folks and have seen some beautiful bikes come through the shop. I was feeling that Bluedog Cycles was missing out a bit on the road market and with Felt onboard I feel like we have it all now. I guess others feel that way too, as we’ve sold more road bikes in the past month than we did all season long. But don’t overlook Felt when it comes to mountain and Cyclocross offerings. I’m now personally in possession of a gorgeous new carbon fiber 29er that tips the scales at just 23 pounds and a Cyclocross bike that is way faster than I.

On a day like today when the wind rips through to the bone, it’s great to be wrapped from head to toe in wool. If you’ve paid attention to my rants and strong opinions in the past, you know I love wool. Ibex wool wears are starting to come in and if you haven’t pulled the trigger on this stuff in the past, now is the time. Nothing feels better in the fall and winter than wool. It is warm and cozy and it doesn’t build up that nasty stink that all your poly-plastic does. To sweeten the deal, Bluedog Cycles offers all of the Ibex line at 20% off all the time. Whether we have it in stock or we have to order it for you, you will get it on sale and not pay shipping. Makes mail order seem like a rip off eh?

On November 1st, our Atlas snowshoes and Rossignol Nordic skis are shipping to the shop. We have been a proud supplier of Atlas snowshoes for four years now and last year was our first year with skis and it went great. We are renting both snowshoes and skis and with both you can apply that rental fee towards a purchase of new stuff for you and your family. We are also moving stuff around in the repair shop to make room for the ski tuning equipment and we will be providing the area skiers with great ski tech support.

Lastly, Brewdog is coming!! The coffee corner has been in the works for some time now and hopefully by next month we will be pouring steaming cups of Joe from the gang over at Kickapoo Roasters (Roast Magazine’s 2010 Roaster of the Year). Kait Keeley will be bringin’ it with her barista skills and lovely charm very soon, and the shop will smell better than ever.

To all our loyal followers over the years, Thank You! And to you folks that haven’t made it in yet, we are excited to get to know you and hear about your adventures. Stop in and see what we’ve got going on at the shop and let us help you make the most of your valuable “play” time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sidiefest 2010 and Map!

On Saturday, September 25th, Vernon Trails hosted their 5th annual Sidiefest at Sidie Hollow County Park. Over 50 volunteers arrived ready to do various trail work tasks in the morning and worked until mid-afternoon. Over 250 hours of volunteer work was logged and trail maintenance tasks included raking, brush cutting, invasive species eradication, and bench cutting.

The event, which always falls on National Public Lands Day has logged over 1000 volunteer hours, seen 300+ volunteers, and produced 9 miles of wonderful “shared-use” trails for all park visitors to enjoy. Over the past four years Vernon Trails has been working closely with Vernon County Parks to create a trail network that has become an invaluable resource for the community and a considerable draw to silent sports enthusiasts from a much broader regional scope.

After the work day concluded, volunteers were invited to stay for a barbeque, a door prize raffle, and entertainment from four local bands. Over 150 people attended the event to “play in the park” for the day. Several attendees stayed to camp for the night and have a big pancake breakfast on Sunday. Guided trail tours were given by bike and foot after breakfast and the new sections of trail were “stomped down”.

Vernon Trails would like to thank the many, many volunteers who showed up to work in the woods, the great bands that entertained us, The Cakery, The Viroqua Food Co-op, Organic Valley and Central Waters for the food and drink, Dairyland Printing, Bluedog Cycles, Mt Borah for their continued support, door prize schwag, and the use of their cool shuttle van, Human Powered Trails (of La Crosse) for the use of their trail tools, and the tireless friends who help out all year long with the random volunteer efforts.

Trail work will continue well into the fall at Sidie Hollow as well as on the 150 acres of private land that Vernon Trails is building upon. The long term vision is to connect the Sidie Hollow trail network all the way back to the town of Viroqua. Please contact Vernon Trails for more information on how to become a volunteer or to make your tax deductible donation to the non-profit group so we can continue to create this silent sports paradise.