Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘bike touring

Away

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Words on Images

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To Home

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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 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

Gonna Ride

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What else would I do? Eight months ago, at the end of the 2018 Tour of Minnesota week of biking and camping, I contemplated the possibility that it might have been my last long bike tour. I just don’t get out on the bike like I once did in years gone by.

The Tour of Minnesota is limited to 200 riders and the registration opens February 1st. It fills up fast, so I needed to make a decision yesterday about what I will be doing in June this year. Will I ride it again?

The significant factor inspiring my desire to do it another year was seeing the names of friends and acquaintances who had already registered. I jumped in at number 141, and many of the people before me were the key reasons I have returned for around 20 tours since I first took the bike camping plunge back in 1994.

It’s the dozen people who have become precious friends, and the community of over a hundred treasured like-minded adventurers whom also return, year after year, to ride long miles and sleep on the hard ground, through good and bad Minnesota weather, that draw me back.

Another factor in my decision was the thought that I have no other expedition adventures in mind if I don’t choose to do the tour this year. How would I cope with not having an adventure trip to look forward to?

With Sue and Paul Schurke in a park after a day of biking

This year we will pedal from Grand Rapids, MN up to Ely and back. I’ve got a real soft spot for Ely, MN. That is where Cyndie and I learned winter survival skills from Will Steger at his homestead back when we were in high school. Ely is also where we took our children for a 4-day lodge-to-lodge dogsled expedition with Paul Schurke.

Paul was a member of the Steger expedition to the North Pole and he is also an alumnus of the 2008 Minnesota bike tour, back when Jim Klobuchar was the illustrious Conductor of the ride, so I’ve pedaled miles on the road chatting with him.

How could I not sign up for this year’s Tour?

I’m definitely planning to ride the Tour of Minnesota again, and I’m looking forward to communing with friends, old and new, who share an affinity for this kind of biking and camping fun in June.

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Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2019 at 11:27 am

Trip Photos

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The 2018 Tour of Minnesota is in the books. It is not unreasonable to say that everyone who participated had as many unique experiences as we did shared ones. We all come to this ride from different perspectives. There is a wide mix of experience. Some have never ridden a multi-day tip before, and some haven’t ever ridden with a large group.

Many riders on the Tour of Minnesota have done this ride together for decades. My perspective about this ride comes from having done it around twenty times, but is limited to having no other multi-day group ride to which I can compare.

I figured out this year that we could use negatives to describe it thusly: The Tour of MN is not TRAM, not BAM, not RAGBRAI, etc. It also occurred to me that we could flaunt the ride as an eco-friendly vacation, in that, we (most of us) park our cars for a week and human-power our way around the state.

At the end of the ride, participants are invited to submit up to three photos from the week for a contest. I picked three from my collection, but quickly realized there were many other shots deserving attention, so I am tossing them out for you to judge.

I hope they help you imagine what my week was like…

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I am always amazed by the visual of our onslaught of bicycles showing up in unexpected locations where riders seek out any-and-every vertical surface to support our machines while we pause to eat.

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This image of Steve is one of my submissions to the contest. I doubt it’s chances in the judging, since it reveals one of the sloppy, wet realities of needing to reach destinations, regardless the weather.

The reflection on the new wet pavement was too irresistible to pass up. I pulled out my camera, despite the odds it would get splattered by the rooster tail spray shooting up off his tires.

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The covered bridge on the Lake Wobegon trail at Holdingford, MN was a real treat.

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I love the expression spontaneously captured by my reach-around snap of the riders behind me on this stretch of road.

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The Penn Cycle “ambulance” was manned by staff new to our ride this year, and they said they had a good enough time to want to return again next year.

I’m pretty sure we appreciated them even more than they did us.

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Written by johnwhays

June 24, 2018 at 10:31 am

Recovery Mode

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The week of vacation is over and it feels like I have PVED: Post-Vacation Exhaustion Disorder. I need to take a vacation from my vacation. Recovery mode involves sleeping late in my own bed, not riding my bike today, trying to get back to reasonably portioned meals, not eating ice cream treats at every turn, and perching on my easy chair to watch some World Cup games.

The 2018 Tour of Minnesota was a mix of riding roads and trails in both good and bad weather.

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As my recovery progresses, I expect to get my camping gear dried out, do an assessment of the Wintervale chores looking for attention, and most of all today, enjoy a celebration of Elysa’s birthday. She and Cyndie are in the kitchen preparing a large variety of delicacies for a gathering of many expected guests.

I expect there will be tales of the bike week and more stories to come in the days ahead. Stay tuned…

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Written by johnwhays

June 23, 2018 at 9:29 am