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  • WEB EXCLUSIVE: Mountain bike racing at the Fall Color Festival
    The Fall Color Festival has something for riders of all abilities. It is usually held on the last weekend in September. This year's festival is scheduled for September 27. The morning race options are 30, 22 and 12 mile rides. In the afternoon there are some shorter rides of 5 miles, a children’s solo ride and a parent-child ride. Other festival activities include a craft tent for kids, beginner’s mountain biking seminar, beer tent and live music. A typical FCF draws 350 riders and 200 spectators. 
  • Spa treatment for paddlers
    This year my birthday gift from my wife gave was a kayak trip: a tandem rental at the new and recently opened WMS Boathouse at Clark Park on the Chicago River. 
  • Paddling northeast Iowa
    The Driftless Area untouched by glaciers extends across the Mississippi to northeastern Iowa. Where there are ridges, there are valleys. And where there are valleys, there are rivers. 
  • A Trans-Iowa moment
    Trans-Iowa has been the sovereign of gravel grinders since it was brought forth 10 years ago by two guys sitting around a bike shop imagining a two-wheeled trek across Iowa that would shun pavement and comfort. 
  • Epic singletrack dreaming
    Getting an International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Ride Center in Wausau, Wisconsin, would be a big deal, a coup for the local mountain bike club and the surrounding community.  
  • Taking the Chicago River Bike Trail to the Botanical Garden
    The “journey” includes a winding route along a quiet river, crossing bridges and circling peaceful lagoons. The “destination” is the award-winning Chicago Botanic Garden, the 12th most visited tourist spot in Chicago, with 12 million annual visitors to the 365 acres of gardens on nine islands.  
  • Base camp
    Last year, I led a six-person paddle trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. I worked with Voyageur North Outfitters in Ely to come up with a route with fairly easy portages but access to beautiful scenery and wildlife.   
  • Escanaba in da moonlight
    There is a 303-acre lake on a chain of lakes in Vilas County, Wisconsin, just southeast of Boulder Junction. This state-owned lake is named Escanaba Lake. On snowshoes, one can access Escanaba Lake by way of a hiking trail called Lumberjack Trail. 
  • The VASA Trail
    If the snow conditions are good, you can count on Traverse City, Michigan’s VASA Trail being ready for skiers. The more than 30K of 12-foot-wide pathway will be packed for freestyle skiers and two sets of tracks will have been cut for those looking to do classic.  
  • The North Lakeland Discovery Center, a nonprofit nature center located in Manitowish Waters in northern Wisconsin’s Vilas County, recently opened a new silent sports trail system: the WinMan Trails. 
  • Munising, Mich., welcomes ski campers
    The last couple years our ski camp has been in the Munising, Michigan, area where we explore the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the heart of winter. 
  • Marquette earned a bronze-level “bike friendly community” designation from the League of American Bicyclists in 2010. But with more than a third of its 40 miles of singletrack built since then, the city deserves to be upgraded to gold or platinum status. 
  • Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities juxtaposes life in Paris and London during the onset of the French Revolution. In contrast, two small northwestern Wisconsin hamlets, Hayward and Cable, serve as anchors to two of my favorite and humbling events, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival and the American Birkebeiner.  
  • Living in the dairy state, I doubt I’m the only biker that’s pulled up short for a group of runaway Holsteins who have gotten only as far as the road before losing interest in their mission. But how many bikers have had the same experience with runaway llamas? 
  • The Kettle Moraine extends from southern Wisconsin to southern Door County. The mostly forested and undulating terrain makes a great place for the enjoyment of a wide range of outdoor sports. 
THE ACTIVE PURSUIT
with Tom Held
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