Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Makwa Trail

with 4 comments

I’m up at the lake again this weekend, but this time it is for the big golf weekend that Cyndie’s brothers host annually for a collection of close friends who happen to golf. I don’t golf. So, why am I here?

The annual weekend has morphed over the years and began to include some other activities, one of which was biking the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) trails through the woods. That suited me well and earned me an invite both this year and last.

Last year was so wet that we chose to stay on the gravel fire lane roads rather than risk the challenging single-track trails, but this year conditions were perfect for hitting the Makwa trail with my birthday and biking buddy, Paul.

Riding this trail involves a mostly non-stop series of split-second decisions about where to point the front tire to traverse or avoid the consistently changing hazards of roots, rocks, and turns. The deciding is only part of it. There is also an unending strain of frequent gear selection, balance control, and a clenched power grip on the handlebars.

It’s a LOT more work than my road bike. I was reminded why I have migrated back toward primarily riding my touring bike on pavement as I have aged. There are a lot more opportunities to relax and coast pleasantly along on smooth asphalt.

Yesterday’s exercise was a nod to my good ol’ days. It made me feel young again, …while simultaneously aging me.

I’m grateful to the universe for the blessing of not being slammed to the ground in the hazardous terrain of the backcountry woods of northwest Wisconsin. I must admit, that result is more a product of luck than ability at this point.



Written by johnwhays

August 3, 2019 at 7:37 am

Posted in bicycling, Chronicle

4 Responses

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  1. Brings back memories of many years past when I tried the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40. That was a real ordeal for me; I thought it would be relatively hard — more difficult than the 8km loop I did the year before. There were points that I got off and walked the bike up the grade — with no shame at all. There were some guys at the top end that rode the entire 40 km standing. The best thing at the end was the huge chunks of watermelon — and I hated watermelon (except for that day)!


    August 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    • That is where we were riding. The Makwa trail parallels and occasionally crosses the wide Birkie trail of the Fat Tire Festival ride.
      I wonder if we rode in the same year. I did that “race” twice, hardly racing either time. Just surviving, basically.


      August 4, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      • I am having difficulty in recalling the years — had to be in the late 80s / early 90s — a long time ago. I still have my original Japanese bikes that I purchased when the yen was low. Have not ridden this year or last. Between my knees and my lungs, my biking days are probably behind me. I might try a little ride with a small oxygen tank in my back-pack. It is a shame because I have some nice touring trails and the Lakes to ride around. Nothing like your Bike trips. Did you every do the original Jaunts with Jim?


        August 4, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      • I believe I started on his 20th year, so just over halfway through his almost 40 years of leading it. They had already added a luggage truck so riders weren’t forced to carry their own camping gear by that time.


        August 4, 2019 at 9:07 pm

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