Cleanup work continues along the lower section of the Chequamegon 40 race course after last Thursday’s high wind, rain and hail storm. Many parts of the 40-mile race course have been cleaned up, but other sections are a work in progress.
At this time, the lower section from Rosie’s Field at the Fish Hatchery off State Highway 77 to Mosquito Brook Road on the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail is closed and there are still several very wet sections that should not be ridden. Work will continue this week to clean up the tree obstructions, however, it is unlikely that the standing water will drain between now and race weekend. The Chequamegon MTB Festival course officials are working with trail managers from Sawyer County Forestry and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation to clear the trees and resolve the underwater sections. A possible constructed ride around the wettest area is being considered, but this section of trail is closed until further notice.
North of Mosquito Brook Road, the Chequamegon 40 course is in good condition considering the amount of rain that has fallen and the number of trees that were blocking passage on the trail. Local volunteer advocates have been out in full force to clean up the downed timber, but caution is urged due to the large amount of organic matter on the trail tread from the many downed trees that have been cleaned up.
Further north on the trail, a short reroute section on the Chequamegon 40 course has been approved by Sawyer County Forestry and endorsed by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. At the intersection of the Phipps Fire Lane and Gravel Pit road, the race course will continue north on the Phipps Fire Lane to the Mrotek ATV Trail. At the Mrotek ATV Trail, the route will travel east to the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail and then north on the Birkie Trail to County Hwy OO as planned. This reroute will bypass several deep water holes on the Birkie Trail and will not add additional mileage to the forty mile course.
The Town of Spider Lake road project is ongoing from Boedecker Road north on the Seeley Fire Tower Road/Randysek Road to the the Bayfield/Sawyer County line just south of Camp 38 Road. This is the road the Chequamegon 40 course uses when coming off the Seeley Fire Tower climb. The road has been graded and is very wet while gravel is being spread along sections of the road. Caution is urged on the Chequamegon 40 trail that drops off the Seeley Fire Tower climb and turns south on Seeley Fire Tower Road to the Winding Pine ATV Trail (#22).
Race officials will continue to monitor the cleanup of the trail and any decision to reroute the Chequamegon 40 course will be made with the safety of the riders and staff as a foremost consideration as well as the sustainability of the trails used. The Short & Fat 16-mile course is in good riding condition with none of the problems experienced on the lower end of the Chequamegon 40 course.