Sunday, June 26, 2011

A New Neighborhood Route

Wyatville Loop: 45.57 miles
Comments: Ride Time was 3 hours 44 minutes, average speed: 12.1

This was a beautiful new route. Many scenic views from atop each hill we climbed. We even experienced 2 category 5 climbs on this route and travelled on a newly paved surface that took us down a steep hill that ended at CR 25. Dennis rode the breaks down the complete hill—this must be what a mountain pass is like. I had the camera in hand snapping pictures as we glided down this mountainside. What an awesome feeling.

Biking the new Wyatville LoopBiking the new Wyatville LoopBiking the new Wyatville LoopBiking the new Wyatville Loop

We cranked for 30 miles before resting for lunch at Brewskies in Utica and then decided to make this route a loop by biking towards St. Charles along Hwy 14. While mapping this route on, we realized that the climb out of St. Charles is also classified as a category 5 climb—never realized that. No rain today just puffy white clouds and temps in the low 80’s making for an excellent day out on the tandem.

Information about Climbs
Wyatville Loop in St Charles, MN  Bike Map  MapMyRIDE image
For any climb to be rated (receive a climb score/category) it must be at least 500 meters in length with an average grade of 3% or more.

All climb scores are based on distance, grade/elevation change, and maximum elevation. The combination of these factors drives all final climb categories and there is no subjective analysis used in the final scoring of any climb score. All other climbs that do not meet the criteria for HC to Cat 5 are simply too small to rate. The original concepts for the categorization of all climbs came from the categorized climb ratings given by the UCI for races like the Tour de France and other professional cycling events.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

COWS Wrangler Ride on the Root River Trail

Lanesboro to Harmony: 46.05 miles
Comments: Ride Time was 3 hours 20 minutes, average speed: 13.7

A small group of 7 tandem teams rallied up for a COWS Wrangler Ride in Minnesota. Dennis and I were impressed that the teams were willing to travel an average of 3 hours to join us today as we biked the Root River & Harmony Preston Trails. Of the 7 teams, only 2 were on upright tandems with the rest riding recumbents. We teased that this should have been advertised as a recumbent rally.

COWS Wrangler Ride-Lanesboro
COWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-Lanesboro

The group set off down the trail at 10:15 a.m. with cloudy skies above and a chill in the air. We took our first break 10 miles into our ride in Preston where we gathered the teams together for a group photo. We noticed a young couple watching our group as we neared the trail parking area and stopped to ask them if they would help us out by taking a few pictures of our group. They were kind enough to accept. We then chatted a bit with them and answered all their questions about the wacky world of tandeming.

COWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-Lanesboro

Our next stop was in Harmony. We all made it up the steep hills found on this segment of the trail and put on another 12.5 miles since Preston for a total of 22.5 miles to this point. The group was ready to eat so we all headed off to find lunch at the Village Square. While waiting for lunch to be served, John and Joan shared with us their near head-on collision with two other bike riders—a narrow miss just minutes before reaching Harmony. That can really be nerve wracking but we were all relieved to hear that John’s quick reaction avoided the crash. After filling our stomachs and sampling Julie’s famous pie, we biked back the way we came to our vehicles awaiting us in Lanesboro. We ended this Wrangler Ride with a total of 45 miles of biking for the day. The weather was decent with some drizzle towards the end of our ride but not enough to dampen our enjoyment for the day’s ride.

COWS Wrangler Ride-Lanesboro

The biking may be done for the day but the party continues. All teams were invited to the Veerkamp farm north of Lanesboro for a grilled meal before heading home. Boy could this group eat! Must be all that biking. We went through a dozen hamburgers and 15 brats. We also served veggie salads, strawberries and cookies. The light rain kept us corralled in the garage but we still all managed to have a great time. Plans were made for more Wrangler Rides this summer and we are excited to get a chance to bike with the COWS again soon. July will be the next Wrangler Ride near Waupaca, WI hosted by Joan and John Laabs followed by another in northern Wisconsin in August to be hosted by Tom and Annette Esser.

COWS Wrangler Ride-LanesboroCOWS Wrangler Ride-Lanesboro

RRT Wrangler Ride Attendees: Joan & John Laabs, Michelle & Alan Andersen, Shirley & Jim Hamm, Tom & Annette Esser, Pete & Theresa Ives, Margery & Tom Rice

Thanks to all for making this a very special riding day for Dennis and I.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Northern Minnesota Biking Vacation

Friday June 3 to Monday June 6

We began our 4-day bicycle trip on Friday with 29 miles on our single recumbents. We biked the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail from Jenkins to Merrifield, MN. Another bike was added to our collection this past week with the purchase of a Rans Recumbent V-Rex for Dennis. It sure was fun riding side-by-side along this well-kept trail as the V-Rex made its maiden voyage. We had shelter waiting for us at the AmericInn of Pequot Lakes following our ride and we planned to make good use of the hot tub throughout this trip.

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On Saturday, we were registered for the Tour of Lakes bicycle ride. The tour was gathering at the Pequot Lakes High School when we biked up at 6:30 a.m. We collected our route map and began pedaling the 68-mile route that would take us on quiet back roads around Pequot Lakes and Nisswa reaching Cross Lake to the north before turning back south towards our finish at the high school where root beer floats were awaiting our return. The tour was well worth the $50 we paid and very well organized with rest stops planned every 10 miles and stocked with fruit, snacks, cookies, roast beef sandwiches, hot dogs, beverages…we had no worries about going hungry or thirsty—a definite repeater.

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Because the weather was so beautiful today, we decided to continue biking on the Paul Bunyan Trail towards Brainerd. The trail is very well kept and because of its length, congestion is never a problem. We enjoyed our visit at the Pickle Factory in Nisswa and at the Last Turn Saloon in Brainerd which gave us time to rest and visit with the locals. We made it back to the AmericInn by 6:30 p.m. 12 hours after our early morning start. We were tired but proud to say we set a new record for our books—really, who bikes 119 miles in one day? Gotta love this sport!

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Sunday was to be a day of “leisure” biking. After our 119-mile ride yesterday, we decided to drive to Walker, MN with the tandem and bike the Paul Bunyan trail north to Bemidji. It was another great weather day making it easy to put on the 74 trail miles and reach our goal of 15,000 on the bike since its purchase in August of 2005. We were also thrilled with our speed of 14 mph as we set out with plans to just take it easy today. We made it to Bemidji at lunch time so stopped at Applebee's for some nutrition and a much needed rest after pedaling 37 miles without a break.

Biking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MNBiking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MNBiking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MNBiking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MNBiking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MNBiking the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, MN
As we neared the end our our ride for the day, a bald eagle swooped over our heads to land in a pine tree along the trail. The sights and sounds along our rides always seem to amaze us. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being surrounded by the beauty of nature as we quietly travel on and become part of these natural

Pequot Lakes 068 AmericInn Hotel at Pequot Lakes, MN
Monday is day 4 and the last day of this mini vacation in northern Minnesota. We had 3 wonderful days of biking and were now planning on driving to St. Paul, MN to visit daughter Amy and our new grandbaby, Kennedy. We then planned to get out our single recumbents and ride the beautiful trails this big city has to offer. We didn’t, however, plan on the 100° temperature so opted to head for home after our visit with plans to bike in the evening once the temperature cooled some. That never happened so we decided to set off south on CR 35 at 6:00 p.m. to finish our 4-day bike ride with some miles on our single bikes. The temperature was still quite hot, registering 101 at peak and didn’t begin to drop until after 7:00 p.m. We were exhausted after this short 18-mile ride but biking a total of 240 miles during this 4-day mini vacation was still more than we expected. We had a great time again on our 2-wheeled vehicles and anxiously look forward to our next bike event in Lanesboro, MN.