Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stay Hungry

The three bike rides I took while in Duluth last week went fairly well with one exception.

On Monday I rode from Brighton Beach (at the very beginning of Scenic Highway 61) up to Knife River and back. It was a nice, fairly flat ride around 26 miles long. The biggest problem was that the wind shifted roughly halfway into my ride so that I ended up going into the wind both ways. That sucked, but I battled through.

On Wednesday, fresh from my success at the 26 mile distance, I made plans for a longer ride. I didn't really want to do the entire Scenic 61 route, as I was thinking it was over 25 miles one way, so Linzy suggested going from the Lakeview Castle to Two Harbors.

From my vague recollection on Monday, there was a sign saying 17 miles to Two Harbors within a few miles past the Castle, making it a 35-40 mile round trip. That sounded about perfect, so my plan was to start later in the morning, ride up to Two Harbors, stop there for lunch and a rest, and then ride back to the Castle.

The first thing I noticed when I got on the road was there was a stiff breeze at my back. That was a nice change from Monday, so I was sailing along on my way to Two Harbors.

The next thing I noticed was that the '17 miles to Two Harbors' sign was not a couple miles past the Castle like I was thinking; It was practically outside the parking lot. So the ride was going to be a bit shorter then I was planning.

The final thing I learned was that the 17-mile sign was totally wrong, and the distance from the parking lot of the Castle to the start of Two Harbors was a mere 14 miles.

Between the wind, the shorter distance and my enthusiastic pedaling I was in Two Harbors way earlier then I was planning. Which meant it was way too early to eat.

I rode all the way to the far end of Two Harbors to eek 15.6 miles out of the trip and then stopped in the McDonald's parking lot to try and figure out what to do. Eventually I decided that it was going to be difficult and/or impossible for me to waste 45 minutes in Two Harbors while sweaty and saddled with a camelbak, bike and no bike lock. So I decided just to head back right away and then eat at Linzy's parent's house.

The theory was that it wouldn't take much longer to get back then the amount of time I wanted to kill, and then I could avoid being all sweaty in public. What I failed to realize was just how strong the wind at my back had been, which unfortunately hadn't shifted during the ride and so I was riding right back into it.

It took all of about 5 miles before I was starting to think about how I was starting to get hungry. Another 5 miles and I was wondering why in the world I hadn't thought to bring a snack along or at leas buy one in Two Harbors, and how my arm was starting to look pretty tasty.

The last 5 miles were not much fun. I spent most of those last miles spinning in really low gears, plotting exactly what the fastest way to order some nachos at the Castle would be.

In the end, when I finally did roll into the parking lot, my sweatiness and cheapness won out and I loaded the bike onto the rack and headed back to home instead of eating at the Castle. So I never did get those nachos I had drooled over in my mind for 20 minutes.

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