Monthly Archives: May 2017

Tour de Chequamegon- Ride, Pack, Repeat- 3 Days of 2 wheeled goodness.

Right now as i type this i am reminded how lucky we are to have places like the Chequamegon National forest to go and ride our bikes and explore.   Its been a little over a 2 weeks when my brother Shawn, good buddy Adam, and myself made the 12 hour drive to Cable, Wisconsin to put our gear and bikes to the test.  Every day the week leading up to this journey we all messaged back and forth to see what we packing, or what clothes were needed, and also how much water we needed to think of carrying since we weren’t sure of water supplies on the route.  Here is just a sample of what was packed on my bike.

When my good buddy Adam threw out the idea onto facebook,  this is where we started the chatting back and forth on who was going, what they were going to bring and pack.  As the day got closer to the trip we all were trying to dial in our setups according to water stops, camping, and what the weather was going to be like.   The day before both Shawn and I spoke with Adam at the shop and he said he would be by in the morning at 6am sharp to start this road trip, as we all sat there with the biggest grins on our faces hi-fiving each other saying this is going to the best trip ever.   Pic of the crewAs we made our way up to Cable, WI Adam informed us that the KOA that we were supposed to stay in on the first night of our trip before the meet up was close so he set us up and sweet lodge called Lake Owen.  We pull up and we were just blown away with the beauty of it.  Great  work Adam!!

Now to the day of the meet up with everyone who we knew was coming,  Adam had told the other adventure seekers that we were go into town and load up on a big breakfast at a the local breakfast spot called the Brick House .  Here we met Josh, Jonathan, Bailey , Allison and Jeff.  We knew right away this was going to be a great group to ride and explore with the nest 3 days.

Day 1 of the trip had us rolling on sandy roads with baby head boulders, gravel, and also a stretch of single track.  The first 8-10 miles of the day had some nice punchy hills and gnarly downhill sections and i remember stopping and thinking i sure hope this first day didn’t all consist of these punchy climbs.  Adam rolled up and we conversed about it and we kind of summed it up as the  “hey people settle down your here to enjoy this not crush it” section of the route.  The terrain changed a bit and it turned in to a some nice momentum keeping rollers, followed by single track.

Settle down people!! you have 3 days to go!!

Single Track goodness

Accommodations for day one was  Moose Lake, was great camping and scenery for the evening.   Even though we had a period of rain that evening where we had to retreat to the tents, we were able to get a nice sized fire rolling to sit around and get to know each other.

Moose Lake

Pic courtesy Bailey Newbrey

Day 2  Started out with camp coffee and loading the rigs back up to get back out on the road to see what the day had in store for us, the route for day 2 started out a little bit like day 1 but we go to enjoy around 3 and half miles of atv roads.  While out on day 2 we also stopped around half way for a lunch break and hang out at an intersection and didnt even see a single car.  Here are a few pics from day 2. Enjoy!!!

Pic courtesy of neddio. Tinga, Josh, Bailey and Allison cruising along

One Take Blake and Josh getting after it

Bailey and Allison admiring there tandem during our pit stop. thanks for the pic Tinga

Afternoon Hangout and nap spot on Day 2

Finally the ATV Trails!!! Was one the best parts of everyones trip

Bailey and Allison killing it on the tandem, followed up by Tinga

Jeff getting into the action fully loaded down Surly ECR

Day 2 goodness coming to an end,  we found or digs for the night at East Twin Lake camp ground,  we had a great site and view of the lake.


East Twin Lake

Josh getting in some fly fishing, photo by Tinga

Day 3 would be our last day of riding it was a great mixture of gravel, sandy roads, and the last 12 miles of a pavement roller coaster.  But we couldn’t start the day our without having coffee time and breakfast before loading up and heading out.

Coffee!!! Yep my man Adam giving the thumbs up. Coffee must have been pretty good.

Loved the tree lined roads.

Another great shot provided from Bailey, he had climbed up into a tree to get this shot.

All good things must come to an end. Here are all the rigs lined up at the place we met up on Day 1. the Brick House for more of their amazing breakfast, cheese cake, and can’t forget the beer.

In the end we had ridden a total of 110-115 miles of gravel roads, sandy roads , single track, atv trails, and pavement.  Couldnt have had a better group of people to share this experience with.   I know that you should do introductions at the beginning but why be the same as everyone else.  Here are the  fine folks i got to share this journey with.  Pictures courtesy of Bailey Newbrey

Jeff Vaughan / Oliver, WI / Bike- Surly ECR

Jonathan Portinga / Duluth, MN / Bike-Norco cross bike

Josh Kowaleski / Duluth, MN / Bike-Salsa Fargo

Bailey and Allison / Chicago,IL / Bike-Humble Frameworks Tandem

Shawn O’Mara / Emporia, Ks / Bike-Salsa Fargo

Adam Blake / Emporia,KS / Bike-Salsa Cutthroat

Scott O’Mara / Emporia,KS / Bike-Salsa Cutthroat

Until next time my friends!!





Casual Conversations – John Wilmeth – Cantu Cycling Wheels

CASUAL:  World…meet John Wilmeth. John owns and is the wheelbuilder for Cantu Cycling Wheels. Earlier this year his company launched a “gravel” specific wheel; The Cantu Rebel.  A 28 mm Disc Brake wheelset.  He loves his craft and takes pride in custom building quality wheels for the individual. He does everything he can to keep the wheels affordable yet still enjoy the occasional Texas sized steak dinner for himself. His wife Venny oversees the marketing for Cantu Cycling Wheels and makes sure the margins only support 8oz steaks not 32oz portions. John thanks for agreeing to a little Q & A. Let’s focus on the ordinary weekend Gravel warrior. Twenty to forty mile rides and maybe 2-3 Gravel Century plus events throughout the year. One to three year old stock cross/gravel/adventure bike. Stock aluminum wheelset. Looking for upgrades. Why wheels? What could someone expect to notice in higher quality wheels?

JOHN:  Hi Bobby, thanks for having me! With higher quality wheels you gain durability, lighter weight, and strength. With less rotational weight you are able to conserve more energy for the long haul. I’m able to build a stronger wheel with higher spoke tensions with carbon versus aluminum rims. This helps eliminate flex and improve power transfer.

CASUAL:  Power transfer. This has come up more and more in my mind when looking at upgrades. Makes sense. Those pedal strokes add up over a long endurance ride and more efficient power transfer is a big win. Okay so the focus is upgrades. Stock wheels. What thoughts and processes are considered in building up a Carbon wheel set for an individual?

JOHN:  When someone decides they want a set of wheels I ask a few questions….what do you weigh, what kind of power do you put out (if known), and what kind of riding are you doing. This can determine the number of spokes, and tensions that are needed to make a quality wheel for that certain rider. I wouldn’t build the same wheel for my wife who weighs 95 pounds than I would for my teammate that weighs 200 pounds and can put out over 2000 watts.

CASUAL:  I put out 2000 watts once. Actually my power meter put it out. I’m pretty sure I was doing my normal 200 but it looked really cool on the graph. I know you could answer anyone’s more advanced questions and I’ll let them ask you those directly at the contact info below. Carbon quality. Rim depth vs width. Lacing type. Hubs are a whole different topic that people love to discuss. We’ll keep this casual. You’ve left out an important aspect of Carbon my friend…bling factor. 😁👍🏼. Do people still use the word bling? If not I just started the trend again.

JOHN:  Hahaha..the bling factor is high for sure! We even have options for chrome decals to really bring up the bling factor.


CASUAL:  Okay. So let’s end the hard questions with this. Say I’ve decided to go for a set of carbon rims. What’s the basics I need to think about and look for? A quick google search shows so many options but it’s hard to decide what’s best for “gravel”. Rougher off-road surfaces.

JOHN:  There are many options out there. Knowing what tire size you are looking to run can narrow down some. The rim width can dictate what size tires you can run. Our Cantu Rebels built for gravel are 29mm wide (internal width 24mm) and can fit 32c-42c size tires. They are tubeless compatible and a set weighs in just under 1500 grams. With a 28mm rim depth you won’t kicked you around.


CASUAL:  Okay John thanks so much for the time sir. Let’s finish this up with a few easy questions.

1. What’s a race/event you are looking forward to in 2017?

2. You’re racing down a Finish Chute…what song is playing for you?

3. Last movie you saw in the theatres with Venny?

4. Guilty pleasure post race snack?

5. Words of Wisdom for riders just picking up a bike?

JOHN:  Thanks for having me, it has been fun!

1. Im really looking forward to Gravel Worlds this year. It will be my second year doing it. I learned so much last year and hope to improve even more this time. Last year my seat post fell and I had to stop several times to get it adjusted right. My goal is to finish under 10 hours.

2. Probably some kind of 90’s hip hop but usually everything is such a blur at that point.

3. Wow, we rarely make it to the movies. I think it may have been The Secret Life of Pets.

4. Hmmm…that would probably be a Dr Pepper.

5. #1 Always have fun with it. Find a group of people to go on rides with. Don’t feel intimidated by all the information out there. Just take it one ride at a time.