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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for the ‘bicycling’ Category

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All too soon the trip is over, the time just comes, the dancing’s done

Bittersweet to reach the start again, don’t want to stop, can’t wait to get home

Imagine this: I didn’t take any pictures on our last day of riding from Hibbing back to our cars in Grand Rapids. However, I have scoured my files for some of my favorites from the week, several of which I am unable to credit because I can’t recall who the photographer was. In no particular order…

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Men in black.

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Prop wash!

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Bear butts in Ely on the WOWOWs.

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It wasn’t all trails all the time. That’s Gary approaching in the distance.

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.Geoffrey and Marylin arriving on the Virginia High Bridge.

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View from the bridge down to Roucheleau mine lake, a former iron mine partially filled with groundwater.

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The three amigos.

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Rich snapped a closeup of me as I breezed past.

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Rich captured us in front of a mine lake. There are lots of mine lakes.

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Music in the park. Thank you to Julie for this image!

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Posing in front of an iron man and handing phone to whoever is near to capture.

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Hanging out with the best-dressed guy on the ride. Gary, you do look dashing in that jersey!

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I absolutely love this woman and she has captured our joyful energy in this most beautiful selfie. Juuuuulieeee!

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And so ends another annual ride around. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers of the Tour of Minnesota who provide these June adventures!

Peace, out.

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Written by johnwhays

June 22, 2019 at 9:56 am

To Hibbing

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It was a beautifully sunny day out of Gilbert. Rich captured this shot of Steve leading Laura and me on a particularly bumpy section of the Mesabi trail.

I took a picture of Steve and Rich later on.

No complaints about the weather yesterday. It was picture perfect. Tents packed dry in the morning, no significant wind, and lots of sunshine.

In Hibbing, we camped at the historic high school. I took a picture of the Steinway piano that Bob was banging on like Little Richard when he was yanked off the stage.

There is also a display case dedicated to the troubadour.

They seem rather fond of Dylan around these parts.

On the walk back to camp after dinner, we came upon a property with a labyrinth.

Today, we ride back to our cars in Grand Rapids. It begins the odd struggle of returning to real life again.

Bittersweet to reach the start again

Don’t want to stop, can’t wait to get home

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Written by johnwhays

June 21, 2019 at 6:00 am

To Gilbert

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The day dawned foggy in Ely, but not nearly as cold as the first few days. We stayed dry all day, which was nice because it was a day of the farthest distance. I clocked in at 68 miles by the time we reached Gilbert.

With dry weather, it was easier for me to get the camera out while rolling down the road.

I had a goal of capturing a shot of Gary at some point, and when the opportunity presented itself…

I happened to come across Angela and Cynthia mid-pause on the shoulder, so I took their picture, too.

I like the totally unposed aspect of that shot.

It was day flat tires for some unknown reason. I was riding beside Steve when he hit a piece of steel that he mistook for wood. It put a slice in the sidewall that required a custom insert to keep the tube from bulging out.

The riding has gone well for me and I feel like I’ve finally got my old skills and form back for long distance cycling.

It’s a lot like riding a bike.

Remembering song chords and lyrics has been more of a challenge than the cycling.

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Written by johnwhays

June 20, 2019 at 6:00 am

Still Ely

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Having a day off in the middle of our week of riding is a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, it wreaks havoc on the organization system I had established for keeping track of things in my duffel bag.

Yesterday was a chance to sleep in, pick our own restaurants for meals, and shop Ely.

After an early hike to get coffee with Laura, which scored me a chai, a larger gang formed for breakfast at Insula restaurant.

Breakfast salad was my choice and I was not disappointed. Poached eggs and smoked salmon! Mmm. It was delicious and just what I wanted.

Look at that morsel of blue sky!

We shopped the main drag and I got to visit my two favorite outdoor gear retailers: Wintergreen and Steger Mukluks.

One of our riders from California, Bob Murin, paints watercolors and I came upon him mid-picture.

In the afternoon, we visited the International Wolf Center and were lucky to spot the four males that made an appearance right before we left, three of whom are visible sprawled out in the image I captured.

It was all good, but paled in comparison to the social-hour surprise we got in the park where we tented.

An Ely cake baker, Susan Laine, showed up with a treat she baked to welcome us!

That is love, I tell ya.

 

 

Written by johnwhays

June 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

To Ely

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We dodged the rain yesterday, but no such luck with cool temperatures. That made for good riding, but was pretty chilly for patio dining.

It was the third day of biking and our spirited group wasted no time in embarking on silly shenanigans

The subject was unaware he had been pranked with the old pat on the back sign gag.

We visited the underground mine in Tower-Sudan and some folks took a tour, but I elected to stay above ground.

The Mesabi trail passes through some gorgeous northern Minnesota forest between the mine and Ely.

One highlight for me was witnessing a squirrel dash right between Steve Reynolds’ tires. Talk about timing.

Camped in park just off Main Street in Ely, where we did some power lounging in the afternoon before dinner. Once dinner had been devoured, we headed to Red Cabin Custard for dessert.

We will stay in Ely all day today, allowing for a one-day break from pedaling, and opportunity to amass embarrassing amounts of unneeded calories.

We eat like we think we have to

then have some  more when it tastes so good

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

To Aurora

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It started out rather chilly yesterday, but at least it wasn’t raining.

We left Chisholm as a group and claimed a lane of the road until we got back on the Mesabi trail.

It was 16 miles to a rest stop for some snacking, a mere hour and a half after we left breakfast. No wonder we all tend to gain weight despite all the biking we do.

There is just one thing I asked for during this ride: it can be cold, or it can rain, I just don’t want cold temps AND rain.

Well, I didn’t get what I wanted. Between that snack break and lunch, the clouds started to spit a little bit. Then, it began to sprinkle, until it unmistakably turned to rain.

The optimist might say, “At least it wasn’t snowing.

Luckily, there was hot soup on the menu for lunch. Any food is good for recovering from being wet and cold, but hot soup was a welcome bonus.

The ride from lunch in Biwabik to Aurora took us through a picturesque stand of old growth pines.

Hanging out at our tents after hot showers (yay!), Rich sent up his drone for a bird’s eye view of our circle of post-riding silliness.

Then I took a picture from ground level.

 

All in all, another great day on the Tour of Minnesota, discounting
the fact it is so dang cold in the middle of June.

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Written by johnwhays

June 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

To Chisholm

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We were blessed with great weather yesterday for riding the Mesabi Trail from Grand Rapids to Chisholm.

The trail is a fabulous adventure of twists and turns with a variety of dramatic ups and downs.

There were a number of vistas that provided views of mining activity, as well as of the huge ridges of dumped leftovers. Eventually, vegetation starts to grow and reclaim the surface, but it is a little unsettling to see the way humans can alter the planet so significantly.

Has me struggling with the multitude of ways my activities and possessions contribute to demand for mining.

The trail just rolled past our tires…

That’s Rich and Steve vrooming around a corner.

In Chisholm, we camped at the mining museum and got a chance to see some big and historic equipment up close.

I asked Steve and James to provide a reference to actual size. Did I mention, big?

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Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2019 at 6:00 am