I have been looking forward to the Erik’s Super Demo at Devil’s Head Resort in Baraboo Wisconsin since it was announced a few months ago. During this mid-May weekend in the past, I have raced Almanzo or Wheels on Willy. However, the opportunity to spend some non-race time with teammates and fellow bike enthusiasts while test riding the latest and greatest road, mountain, AND electric bikes on some amazing roads and trails seemed much more appealing this year.
Five members of the Erik’s Regional Road Team made the trip out to Devil’s Head Resort for this inaugural event. Matt, Andy, and I left around noon on Friday and Ben and Laszlo were able to leave after work.
Since three of us arrived at the resort around 4:00, we immediately “kitted-up” after check-in and headed out to spin-out our legs and explore the local roads. The official bike demo did not open to the public until 10:30 on Saturday.
I am no climber, but in non-race situations I love the opportunity to push the pain threshold and get outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t very far into our ride before the road tilted up and I was dropping down to my “granny gear” in an attempt to hold the wheels of Matt and Andy. Ha! Let’s just say I’m glad they were being kind.
Having had bad luck with flat tires already this season, I wasn’t too surprised when I got to the top of the Tower Rd. climb and blew the sidewall of my front tire. I was luckily able to use the “dollar bill in the tire trick” and finish out our ride. However, the thought of a George Washington spinning around in my front tire made the 40-50 mph descents feel a little uneasy.
With a beautiful overcast sky and no wind to speak of, it was a gorgeous Wisconsin night. When we rolled down to Devil’s Lake near the end of our ride on Friday, the water was like glass and the cool evening air felt amazing. When people ask me what I like most about road cycling, it’s moments like this that come to mind first.
After getting cleaned up from the evening ride, it was time to eat! We shared a couple of pitchers of Spotted Cow and I consumed an entire Hawaiian pizza myself at the Devil’s Den Bar. It felt good to get to bed early and anticipate some more climbing in the morning.
With Ben and Laszlo arriving late on Friday night, the five of us all consumed a 1000+ calorie buffet-style breakfast on Saturday morning and headed out on our road bikes to enjoy a few hours of climbing and team bonding.
I can’t speak for the rest of the group, but my legs were feeling much better than the night before. Unfortunately, after only about 15 miles into our ride and in nearly the same spot I flatted the night before, Andy broke his chain. Luckily, this could not have happened in a more perfect spot as we were able to push him to the start of the Bluff Rd. decent and he coasted down to the demo area to get a new Master Link.
After the quick pit stop, we headed back up the Bluff Rd. climb. This was by far the best I have felt climbing all year—actually managed to get a decent Strava segment ranking. We continued to punish each other with small attacks and town sign sprints for the rest of this epic road ride.
After returning to the resort and chatting to a few vendors and guests at the demo, we all changed into mountain bike shoes and stopped by the Specialized tent at the demo to ride some of the newest mountain bikes. Having owned a Specialized hardtail Stumpjumper in the past, I wanted to test something a little squishier. I ended up grabbing a Specialized Camber Comp and loved the full suspension travel over these bumpy single-track trails at Devil’s Head. However, I could definitely feel the 45 miles of hilly road miles in my legs when we started climbing the ski hills.
After the fantastic road and dirt rides, we cleaned up and headed to Baraboo for some well-deserved calories and caffeine.
Between the trip into Baraboo and the informal Super Demo Social Hour that followed back at the resort, it made for some great team bonding and general camaraderie with vendors and guests.
At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning the Erik’s Regional Road Team led a small group ride out of the resort. The night before I was convinced that this would be a rainy wet ride, but we completely lucked out and all enjoyed a beautiful morning road ride with some new friends.
I can’t thank Erik’s Bike Shop and all of the participating vendors enough for putting on a very fun event. Next year I plan to bring the entire family as there are great activities in the area for all ages and abilities.