Event FAQs

What is The Bear 100?

A minimal support gravel road cycling event through the Nicolet National Forest focusing on self sufficiency and personal responsibility. You are responsible for yourself. New for 2018…race format and timing for all three routes!

Why ride The Bear 100?

We all roll up to the starting line for our own reasons…adventure, personal challenge, training for a longer event, a leap outside our comfort zone, riding with old friends and new…whatever the reason, a day riding the hidden gravel of Nicolet National Forest is a day you won’t forget. 

Theo knows why


Where: Nicolet National Forest – Laona, WI

When: May 12, 2018  Start times: (7:00 am for 108 mile), (8:00 am for 68 mile), and (9:00 am for 31 mile)

Distances: Approximately 108 mile, 68 mile, and 31 mile routes

New for 2018: Race format for all three routes…Sponsored by 509 Cycles

Fees: Donation upon online registration. 100% of donations will go to the Laona Rescue Squad.

Size: 400 rider limit

Prizes: modest trophies

Road surface: Just a few miles of pavement, mostly gravel and dirt roads, maybe some two track

Special thanks to our start/finish line host: JARS Bar and Grill



What bike should I ride?

Mountain bikes, cross bikes, fat bikes, a few single speeds, and tandem fat bikes have made it from start to finish. The few who have started on road bikes have returned soon, whimpering.

Are the routes marked?

Yes,  but we can’t guarantee the markers will be there when you get there. We’ll give you a map/cue sheet, and you should rely on them as your primary means of navigation. There are county road signs, and/or US Forest Service markers on most of the roads. Carrying a compass and knowing how to use it might be helpful.

Are there rest stops?

No, but you’re welcome to stop and rest where and when you want. No snacks are provided. Carry what you need to eat. Exception: The 108 mile route passes by a well stocked gas station/convenience store. Carry some cash.

What about water?

Exact water stop locations will be marked on your maps.

The routes will pass by lakes and over rivers along the way with all kinds of tasty looking water. If you’re going to drink it, filter or treat it first. Cryptosporidium, giardia, or some other nasty bug is not the kind of souvenier you want to take home.

Are there GPS files for the routes?


Will my cell phone work?

Maybe. Coverage on the routes is inconsistent and often non-existent.

This does bring up an obvious safety concern. If you couldn’t talk your buddies into riding with you, it is a good idea to find someone to ride with so that one of you can ride for help if needed. Again, it’s important to use your map/cue sheet for navigation so that you know where you are on the route.

If I do get to a phone and call, will you come and get me?

No. Laona Rescue is providing support in the event of emergencies. Getting tuckered out or cramping up are not emergencies. REMEMBER, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF.

Is this a closed course?

No. You should expect cars, trucks, ATV’s, motorcycles, and other cyclists to be sharing the road with you. Expect them around any corner or over any hill. Please, STAY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD! Bears, deer, wolves, coyotes, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, grouse, turkeys, and other critters too numerous to mention may make sudden appearances. STAY ALERT!

Bears? Really?

Yes, there were 4 or 5 encounters during last year’s ride. According to the DNR there are between 24,000 and 36,000 black bears in Wisconsin. If you have a bear encounter don’t be a Yellowstone tourist and feed it your Clif bar or a Gu packet, or get close for a great picture. Do not get between a mother and cubs. Wave your arms and make loud noises to scare the bears away.