In conclusion and recognition (2014)

Ladies and gentlemen, that was Ten Thousand.

Photo by Chad Gregory

Photo by Chad Gregory

All of us at Axletree thank you for coming out to our inaugural running of this event, and appreciate all of the support and kind words said to us throughout the weekend.  Hearing so many riders tell us how surprised they were that roads this beautiful and merciless existed in Illinois fulfilled one of our hopes for the day. It was our pleasure to create and host an event so cyclists can see the hidden gem that is the Illinois Driftless.  Thank you for sharing in it with us. Tell your friends the stories you told us at the finish, or dare them to join your team next time.

Photo by Gavin Gould

Photo by Gavin Gould

Well done to all the riders. Simply showing up despite the impending weather forecast showed mettle, and that contributed to a smaller but concentrated
field of tough riders. Here are the results for the 2014 Ten Thousand.

Full Route (126)
Dan Eiten – 7:52 (First man)
John Paul McCarthy – 7:57
Jake Glahn – 8:24
Kae Takeshita – 8:26 (First woman)
Michael Peters – 8:37
Tim Elliott – 9:13
John Gatto 9:16
Chase Negley – 9:16
Hank Saha – 9:16
Sydney Guagliardo – 9:16
Andrea Cohen – 9:24
Sean Mulligan – 9:24
Nicholas Perrow – 9:27
Tom flynn – 9:30
Ken York – 9:49
Andrew Cohen – 9:49
Dave McCollum – 9:49
Dennis Schueler – 9:49
Team Axletree – 9:53 (First team)
Paul Carpenter – 9:56
Joe Mann – 9:56
Team Swallow Bicycle Works – 10:27
Beth Wagner – 10:27
Brent Wegschied – 10:42
Jeremy Fry – 10:53
Tim Hau – 10:53
Stay Rad Adventure Team- 10:59
Tim McGrath – 11:13
Grant Foster- 11:40
Michael lemberger – 11:40
Bailey Newbrey – 12:09
John Orleans – 12:09
Allison Zmunda – 12:09

Photo by Brian Mark

Photo by Brian Mark

Abridged route (73)
Kurt Schauwecker – 5:16 (first man)
Tom Kabacinski – 5:33
John Olney – 5:33
Mike Feller – 5:44
June Upshaw 5:44(First woman)
Daniel Szokarski – 5:44
Timothy Hejny – 5:44
Jared Sheopard – 5:56
Michael Berman – 6:49
Zach Bonzer – 6:49
Kierstin Kloeckner – 6:51
Dan Hobson – 6:51
Ryan Falk – 6:54
Club De cyclisme TATI – 6:55 (First team)
Gillian Forsyth – 6:58
Pessimistic, Pragmatic, Optimists – 7:28
Jeff Franson – 7:39
Mark Collins – 7:58
Craft and Steel Cycling – 7:58

Photo by Gavin Gould

Photo by Gavin Gould

We will see you next time.  Take care.

Photo by Gavin Gould

Photo by Gavin Gould

Route revealed

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Ten Thousand.

Ten Thousand Full

Ten Thousand Abridged

If you look closely you will see that the abridged route shortcuts back onto the full route with a 1.7 mile detour.  You will still get to see the same roads on your way back with the abridged route, just less of them.


If you click on the picture for each route it will take you to the ridewithgps pages. There is a pull out page on the right side, with an Export tab that will allow you to download the file that suits your GPS preferences best.

The GPX Track method is very useful, as many roads are unmarked.
The only place you need to be extra aware at when using this method is where the out and back section splits off at mile 14.4. Make sure you travel clockwise and all is well.

Cue Sheets:
The cue sheets are separated into three segments.  Getting to the checkpoint, and then the long and short routes back. If you want to print off cards to your specs for a holder, or get them laminated, you can click on the links below for each segment. These are setup for A6 card stock (4.5×6.25in). We will have cue cards printed on some sort of paper at the start also.

-Ten Thousand_Beginning Leg
-Ten Thousand_Little Spoon
-Ten Thousand_Big Spoon

The third resource at your disposal are the good old paper IDOT bicycle maps. The battery life is pretty great on these things. These are the peanut butter to the cue sheets jelly.

Use these resources well, and stay alert. Missing a turn here might mean you have to climb back up a half mile hill all over again. Plan ahead.

Stay Alert:
Expect many roads not to be marked. For example the road in the picture below is the turn for “Mud Road”. No signs, and looks just like a driveway. Keep an eye on your computers mileage, and your GPS info to stay on track.  

Mud Road

Mud Road

Expect surprise sections of loose gravel. This photo below shows a fresh 2″ deep section we encountered in the middle of a paved 35+ mph turn.


We look forward to having you out next weekend. Come prepared and ready for a beautiful ride with 103 other people. See you soon.


Birth of Ten Thousand

Some of you might have recently noticed that our little event, that hasn’t even had it’s first running yet, was called by an obscure website one of the “Best gravel races in America“. This amused us for multiple reasons.

First of all, only two people in the world had even seen the route at the time. Who knows if it is 10,000 feet of highway miles or not?

Second of all, and more aligned with the topic of this post, we have never claimed this to be a “gravel race”.

For the last number of years, perhaps even since the inception of the gravel subculture, there has been an objective of taking out as many pavement miles as possible, to connect all the gravel dots. It’s not a bad agenda, after all a gravel event should in fact be as much on gravel as possible.
We, Axletree, have used those same motives when making the popular Gravel Metric course, and there are many other events that do this with fantastic results.

This was not our blueprint for creating the Ten Thousand.

Simply put, we had one goal in mind when creating this route: Find the raddest roads with the most stunning intrinsic beauty, whatever their surface.
Granted, well over half the roads did end up being gravel. As we all know, seldom used gravel roads tend to follow awkward and indirect routes, and that is great for us cyclists. That is also great for us event organizers looking for pretty roads that go up big hills.

Win, meet win.

With that said, don’t be surprised when you find yourself on an eight mile stretch of pavement now and then. Those roads are not merely connectors to get back to the good stuff, those roads are the good stuff. Sit up and look around you, if you can breathe. Take in the wonderful day on the bicycle you are experiencing. After all, our guiding mindset was to show you what we feel are some of the very best roads in our entire state, and beyond, if we may be so bold.
There will be lots, and lots, and lots of gravel, simply because those roads are good. But be ready for miles of great pavement also, especially if you are doing the full loop.

Ten Thousand. It’s not a gravel road race, nor a paved road race, it’s just a rad road race.

Come ride with us.



A long time ago the land of Northern Illinois was a rugged place, corrugated with bluffs, hills, and rolling prairie. 250,000 years ago glaciers came in and flattened most of that awesome into boringness. Glaciers are jerks. Unknown to many, though, a small sliver of rolling, rugged terrain remains in Illinois.

We invite you to come explore this wonderful byproduct of glacial neglect.



The Roman Numeral for 10,000 is an “X” with a line above it. We think that is pretty rad, so we’re sticking to it.