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Over the last weekend, I attended my first in-person race with the happy return of the Hungry Bear 100. Racers and riders had picture-perfect weather with sun, low winds and temperatures in the 60s by the afternoon. Last year’s Hungry Bear was canceled due to the pandemic. And while this year’s race did not include the typical big mass start or a band and a packed house at The Rivers Eatery for the post-race party, it was a timed event on a single day with more than 400 people registered.

I give props to Tim and Odia from Terrene Tires and Esker Cycles for putting together a safety plan that allowed people to gather, ride in small groups and experience some of what we have been missing for more than a year now. They did it by having people pick up their number plates from 7 am to Noon in the Cable parking lot at the Terrene tent. Anyone picking up number plates had to wear a mask.

Then riders took a photo of the start clock at the Terrene tent, went to ride the course, took a photo of the clock again at the tent after they finished and emailed Tim their time. Riders could also send Garmin or other recorded times or just let Tim know if they finished.

In typical Tim fashion, he advised in advance that those who do not want to wear a mask at registration, should not show up. And those who want to debate the usefulness of masks will immediately be disqualified and asked to leave. I found it funny that this was the same day as Elon Musk’s cowboy bandit skit on SNL.

I was at the start until about 11 am, and I didn’t see anyone complain about the mask rule. People also kept good social distances with those not in their group. While there wasn’t a finish party, every rider did get a coupon good for a slice of Tillie’s Pie, and Mick had lots of outdoor seating spread out behind The Rivers. So while it wasn’t the same packed pizza joint, people could still hang there, eat, grab a good beer and have delicious dessert from Tilly’s Pies next door.

All post-ride reports I heard from racers were positive, with everyone enjoying the slightly modified course this year. If you missed the race, you can still go ride the courses. Below are the routes for 2021.

Tim also said he has plans to run the Chequamegon 100 in a similarly safe manner, but with timing. So register soon before it fills up. There are still spots, but I’m guessing that with the pent-up demand for real racing, it will sell out soon. The Hungry Bear and Chequamegon 100 have always had a low-key, DIY feel to them that many racers seem to enjoy. The events also benefit the CAMBA trails, as Terrene Tires donates all the profits after expenses back to CAMBA.

So thank you to Tim, Odia and everyone who came out to ride the Hungry Bear or Snacking Bear this weekend. We hope you all had a great day in the Big Woods and on our Endless Trails (and gravel).

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