Monday, September 12, 2016

Mother Nature reminded me today that a tailwind is a gift, not a promise.  I started from Clearwater with a 10 - 15 mph wind out of the south and southwest.  I was going mostly southeast and it never got easy.  The crosswinds were much worse than the headwinds.  It is not a lot of fun to feel like the wind is trying to yank your handlebars away from you.  I'm a pretty good bike handler and usually go "no hands" to adjust the tube from my hydration pack or get food from a baggie in my jersey.  One time I tried that the wind blew me over five feet off course and I nearly went off the shoulder.  I was a lot more careful after that.  I stopped at one point to take a picture of the grass leaning at a 45 degree angle to show the wind.  Apparently the wind was so strong I didn't notice that I never got the shot.  I've been "buffeted" by winds before.  Today I was pummeled.  It was about an hour and half down the road before I was rewarded with a view.

Alas, also Darrell's fix of my phone mount is only partial.  It hold together but the bolt turns which makes it want to flop around.  Sometimes I can find a spot where it holds for a while but it ultimately loosens again.
It's getting wider!
On the way to Minneapolis, I really went through small town America.  Neither Cathy nor I could find espresso. 
Coming into Monticello, I was finally able to leave the highway and ride on a bike trail.  This provided some shelter from the wind and provided more views of the river.  After that it was Otsego, Dayton and Champlin until I met Cathy at Coon Rapids Dam. 

This was only about 45 miles and I had probably taken five breaks.  After taking some pictures, I felt a bit rested and was ready for the next leg.  It was another 14 miles to Minneapolis where I would cross the stone arch bridge and return to Coon Rapids on the other side of the river.  I figured it would be about an hour to get there and a bit less on the return because I would finally have the wind at my back. 
As before, the wind did not let up.  If anything, it got stronger (or maybe I just got weaker).  It would have taken more than an hour to get to the bridge even if I hadn't gotten my first flat tire just as I was coming into town.  I couldn't find what caused it.  Between meticulously inspecting my tire and trying in vain to find the leak from the tube (the wind was so strong I could neither feel nor hear the slow leak), it took me much longer than usual to change it.  To add insult to injury, my pump was not working well.  At least once I got going, I was rewarded with some nice views again.
After crossing the Stone Arch Bridge (our start point tomorrow and I'll get a picture then), I found the route northbound on the MRT was not well marked.  I found myself a bit farther east than necessary before I worked my way back toward the river and finally found the route.  I did indeed have a favorable wind but it didn't help as much as expected.  Between a fairly twisty trail, a detour that got me off the route, the force of the wind decreasing and the sun in my eyes (it was getting a bit late), my "less than an hour" return to the dam was closer to and hour and quarter.  From our late start around noon to my arrival back to the dam after 7, this was the longest 75 mile ride I have ever done.  This is the view from the dam looking downriver. You will notice the beginning of sunset colors.

It was dark by the time we got to Sharon's where she provided an extremely welcome supper and a beer.  Tomorrow will be our last day in Minnesota as we will cross into Wisconsin at Prescott.
Todays data:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the amazing river shots! There's nothing better than the Mississippi River in Minnesota!