HCP Solo Ride

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HCP Solo Ride

Postby redleg_64 » August 29th, 2012, 6:40 pm

I'm "planning" on a solo HCP ride Friday-Saturday. My planning consists of me saying "Hey, I am going to ride this loop this weekend!". I plan on starting out somewhere around the southern part of the loop and then staying at my parents house in Tower Friday night. I was going to get off the trail at Centerline Rd. and then ride to their house. On Saturday morning I would resume the loop. I've never ridden out there before and I have no idea if there is anywhere to refill water on the way. I don't have a water filter. I also have no idea what the trail condition is like. Does anybody have some advice that would help me out?
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby bh357 » August 30th, 2012, 6:37 am

redleg_64 wrote:I'm "planning" on a solo HCP ride Friday-Saturday. My planning consists of me saying "Hey, I am going to ride this loop this weekend!". I plan on starting out somewhere around the southern part of the loop and then staying at my parents house in Tower Friday night. I was going to get off the trail at Centerline Rd. and then ride to their house. On Saturday morning I would resume the loop. I've never ridden out there before and I have no idea if there is anywhere to refill water on the way. I don't have a water filter. I also have no idea what the trail condition is like. Does anybody have some advice that would help me out?


I've done the ride with a 2l bladder and a pair of bottles, filling up with available water on the route. There are pumps at Shoepac Lake, Tomahawk Lake, Pine Grove, Pigeon River, Pigeon Bridge. There is a modern campground at Clear Lake SP. There are artesian wells at Pigeon River and Pine Grove. The longest stretch without water will be the southern part b/w Pigeon Bridge and Clear Lake, unless you take a spur to Town Corner Campground.

Expect slow going, with an average speed between 6 and 8 mph. Lots of swampy lowland stuff especially the NW corner of the loop. Several of us have done the whole thing in one day before, but that's a long day with an early start.
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby redleg_64 » August 30th, 2012, 9:32 am

Thanks...that will help out a lot. I grew up in Tower and am familiar with the pigeon river country, but not from the mountain biking side. Is the trail well marked or am I going to have to be on my toes and keep a sharp eye out for where I need to go?
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby Nelg » August 30th, 2012, 1:32 pm

redleg_64 wrote:Thanks...that will help out a lot. I grew up in Tower and am familiar with the pigeon river country, but not from the mountain biking side. Is the trail well marked or am I going to have to be on my toes and keep a sharp eye out for where I need to go?


Keep a sharp eye out for sure. Some of the road crossing are marked but not many.

Do you have the cool waterproof map? It's a big help. The bigger the camelback the better. You need to be able to haul some serious calories with you in the form of some type of solids. Sucking down liquids and gels only gets old after a few hours. Keeping some extra drink powder or electrolyte tabs on hand is a good idea as well. You won't be going fast, expect 5.5 to 8 mph average and there is lots of debris to kick up in to the drivetrain, spokes, etc. Tools to go single speed or a derailleur hanger is a must on top of a spare tube or two.

BTW, the water at Pine Grove and Pigeon River campgrounds from the wells is excellent. Most of the hand pump water sucks horribly.

Have fun!
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby redleg_64 » August 30th, 2012, 8:26 pm

Well, I have the food stuff, a water filter, spare tube and patch kit, basic tools but no spare parts. I'm picking up one of those maps from the state forest HQ in the morning. And if something should go wrong, I have a compass, fire starter and emergency blanket. And I'm an active duty soldier too. I should be good to go. If everything goes wrong, I'm throwing the bike on the shoulder, picking a direction and go until I hit a road.
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby Nelg » August 30th, 2012, 8:41 pm

redleg_64 wrote:Well, I have the food stuff, a water filter, spare tube and patch kit, basic tools but no spare parts. I'm picking up one of those maps from the state forest HQ in the morning. And if something should go wrong, I have a compass, fire starter and emergency blanket. And I'm an active duty soldier too. I should be good to go. If everything goes wrong, I'm throwing the bike on the shoulder, picking a direction and go until I hit a road.


The map will be the most crucial thing for navigating. Roads are twisty, turny and confusing out there. You are going to have a blast, especially on the parts west of M33.

Enjoy!
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby redleg_64 » August 31st, 2012, 6:26 pm

You were right...I did enjoy the parts west of M33. I rode for about six and a half hours today, starting a little west of Rattlesnake Hill. I saw seven elk including and a small bulll elk. Once I got east of M33 the trail was VERY poorly marked and I spent way to long trying to pick up the trail again. I got *beep* off after the fifth such incident and took Clay Pit Rd out to M33 and went north to Onaway and then to my parent's house in Tower. I'm sore and tired, but the poor condition of the trail took a lot out of motivation out of me. I'm not too sure if I'll ride the rest of the trail tomorrow. The only thing I broke was one of the zip ties that hold the brake line to the chain stay.

Does anyone know how to pack a chainsaw for a bike trip?
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby Nelg » August 31st, 2012, 10:53 pm

redleg_64 wrote:You were right...I did enjoy the parts west of M33. I rode for about six and a half hours today, starting a little west of Rattlesnake Hill. I saw seven elk including and a small bulll elk. Once I got east of M33 the trail was VERY poorly marked and I spent way to long trying to pick up the trail again. I got *beep* off after the fifth such incident and took Clay Pit Rd out to M33 and went north to Onaway and then to my parent's house in Tower. I'm sore and tired, but the poor condition of the trail took a lot out of motivation out of me. I'm not too sure if I'll ride the rest of the trail tomorrow. The only thing I broke was one of the zip ties that hold the brake line to the chain stay.

Does anyone know how to pack a chainsaw for a bike trip?


Welcome to the HCP! It's never the same trail twice between the deadfall, overgrowth and clear cut sections.

What areas are bad with deadfall? Are we talking a few or dozens?

Btw, group ride is the last weekend of September. Misery loves company, it makes it more fun. :)
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby redleg_64 » September 1st, 2012, 11:09 pm

Well, I'm back from the ride. In short, the trail kicked my ass. Not because it was too difficult, but the briars and ferns tore up my legs and arms. I had never ridden my bike over 40 miles before, let alone that much on the trails on back to back days. The parts of the trail in Montmorency County north of Clear Lake had AT LEAST a dozen deadfalls in addition to the many trees that needed some low branches cut down. In one spot where the trail crossed an ORV trail (all the ORV trails were well-marked and signed) it took me about ten minutes to find out that the trail simply crossed the ORV trail, but the blue blaze was hidden behind some pines about a hundred feet off the road. Today I started out on Centerline Rd and headed west. I loved the boardwalks on the northern leg of the trail. Once again, it was a little tricky navigating the clearcuts, but it wasn't impossible. Once I crossed Osmun Rd the trail really opened up and I was actually able to ride and enjoy the *beep* out of it. I talked to a woman at the PRC HQ and she said that some interns recently bushwacked the trail and it was apparent, especially compared to the eastern side of the trail. I stopped at the Pine Grove campground and filled up on (filtered) water from the river before I found out there was a water point at the campground. I got a little confused when the HCP merged with the Shingle Mill trail, but after consulting the awesome map I bought at the HQ and using my compass, I got everything figured out. After filling up on water at the HQ, I started to really feel the exhaustion setting in. I ate three or four cliff bars and a couple packs of gel snacks, but that wasn't nearly enough to keep me fueled. Once my tank hit empty I pretty much stopped enjoying the trail, and I still had another 16 miles to go at that point. Small hills that weren't a problem earlier in the day all of a sudden turned into insurmountable obstacles that I had to walk up. It was all I could do to stay on the trail and finish instead of getting on a road and riding to the car. I didn't see a single hiker out there, but I did see a guy and his wife out there enjoying a leisurely ride. I kinda want to know what made IMBA declare this an epic ride.
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Re: HCP Solo Ride

Postby Nechan » September 2nd, 2012, 4:22 pm

Like Glen said, Welcome to the HCP!

Come join us for our Fall Fun 50 ride. The group aspect adds a lot to the ride, especially sitting around the campfire the night before and after the ride.

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