Distance = 55.06
Time = 4.26.18
Max speed = 34.5 mph
Average speed = 12.4 mph
Wow! What a beautiful ride! Well, part of it anyway! (= I didn't sleep well the night before. We were camping at Gooseberry Falls State Park (Site #59) right along the shore of Lake Superior. It was amazing! I love the sound of the waves hitting land at night. I could pretend I was near the ocean again. (= But really, this is just as beautiful. Just in a different way. Anyway, I woke up when Lorrie had to crawl over me to use the bathroom. I laid there thinking I didn't have to go and knowing if I didn't go then I'd lay there awake and eventually have to go anyway. It's amazing how much thought goes into using the restroom when one has to go outside to do so! lol Anyway, so I did eventually get up and I met her as she was coming out. Then neither of us could sleep. So we just laid there and listened to the sounds. The air mattress had lost much of it's air so my butt was touching the ground. Everything else was elevated so it was comfortable enough. What was funny was that neither of us had any idea what time it was! We didn't have our cell phones nearby and neither of us wears a watch. It was dark... that's all I knew. Eventually we both fell asleep. We got up around 7am to get ready for the ride. I made breakfast and got the bikes all ready... air in the tires, lube the chain, etc. Karen and I took down my tent, which she had used the night before. She had this air mattress that was about 3 feet high and the corners poked out my doors! lol It looked hilarious! We put most of our stuff away but not all because they were planning to be back after doing the shorter (30 mile) ride. Lorrie wanted to be back before our 4pm checkout and to hang out with the dogs so they wouldn't be alone for so long. Sweet! The place we needed to check in for the ride was about 100 feet from our campsite. It was perfect! Lorrie had checked online Thursday before leaving work just in case there had been a cancellation. And there was! On a lake front site that close to the ride start. Karma! So we got to the start around 9am, the earliest we were allowed to leave. Lorrie checked in as her friend Baushkauf since she wasn't going to make it for the ride. She is a police officer in Canada and was investigating a missing woman from Thunder Bay. /= Barb and Lee had stayed in Two Harbors at a hotel and were planning to be at the start at 9am with coffee for Lorrie and Karen. As we were waiting for them, I realized I had forgotten Jeero! So I rode back to the campsite to grab Jeero! Phew! It wouldn't be an official bike ride without Jeero! When I got back to the start, Barb and Lee had just arrived... sans coffee! Uh oh!! Everything arranged, we were gone by about 9:30am. But then Barb and Lee needed air so they went back. See? If they had camped with us, I would have taken care of all that. (= We went on but rode very slowly. Lorrie had to use the bathroom so Karen and I stopped and waited for her. They still hadn't caught up so off we went again. We rode along Highway 61 for a bit, which confused us because we were, at one point, riding along the Gitchi-Gami trail. At the time it seemed weird. Finally on the trail and it was great! Very rolly and quite a few twists and turns. Someone missed a turn at some point and was hurt. I didn't see it so I had no idea how badly. But she didn't continue to ride. Karen was riding a mountain bike and was kicking butt! I can't imagine how fast she could go with thinner tires and a lighter frame! We all took it easy trying to wait for Barb and Lee but also trying to enjoy the ride. It was about 14 miles out on the trail to the first rest stop. Then we had the choice of continuing or going back. We waited while we got our water and PBJs and Barb finally showed up. She was determined to do the 55-mile ride but wanted to wait for Lee in case she wanted to continue. I was getting cold in my sleeveless jersey and Audrey Hepburn arm warmers so I needed to get moving pretty quickly. Lorrie and Karen headed back, with the intention of stopping for coffee along the way! lol And Barb waited. Out of the rest stop was a pretty good sized hill! I passed a few people who had decided to walk it rather than ride it. That was just the first of many. Up and down most of the way with a pretty strong headwind in 3 directions. The road was a bit rough too with some parts being construction zones. And ya know I hate to complain, but the scenery on that stretch was not great either. I like to see the farms and such. At some point, a woman who owned a little restaurant/shop had an unofficial rest stop where she served homemade brownies and water. As much I would have enjoyed them in the moment, I didn't have the brownies. But I was thankful for the water! On the road again it was still a headwind and lots of going up! When is the down!?? And there it was. An awesome downhill at the bottom of which was our second official rest stop. It happened to be at Eckbeck State Forest where Lorrie and I had camped 2 nights before with Darshi. lol It looked different in the daylight! (= I spoke for a little while with some women from Illinois who keep a photo book of socks. ha! They wanted mine in there, which I found flattering. (= Leaving the rest stop there was another huge uphill. At some point I resigned myself to all this climbing. Yes, I have said and I still do love climbing. But my legs on this day were just not there yet. Too much canoeing the week before! lol We went past Tetagouche State Park where Lorrie, Darshi, the dogs and I spent the previous day. Then we rode through Beaver Bay and Silver Bay. I can't think of anything notable about either place though I'm sure there's something! We came back out onto the same road that climbed from the rest stop. I didn't get too excited right away about the downhill because I didn't know where exactly on the road I was. And there was climbing potential. But they were nice and it was flat then downhill. I stopped to take a quick photo then went flying down the hill. FUN! The first rest stop was also the third and final rest stop. I stayed there for a few minutes. A man that I had been catching and releasing for many miles said, "You turned that corner and you were GONE!" He was laughing at how excited I got about going downhill. I looked some for Barb as I believe she is stubborn enough to have done the 55-miles even if Lee wasn't going to. But since I didn't know for sure if she had gone on or gone back, I took off again. From that point, we were back on the Gitchi-Gami reversing our route from the first 14 miles. It was still weaving and rolling, just in the opposite direction now. My legs were getting pretty tired and the climbing was wearing me out. I was almost always just one step ahead of a leg cramp, especially that point where my quad hooks to my knee... ack those hurt when they cramp! So I did everything I could think of to avoid it. I rode a lot with 3 guys, 2 of whom were on recumbents. The other was on an upright and climbed faster than I was but then got in my way on the descents. Arrgh! I stopped at one point to take a photo and let him get further ahead. That seemed to work and I was flying! But then I caught his slow ass! (-; AND I passed him on the final climb. Thank you GU!! lol That stuff works! And a slight competitiveness in my nature can be helpful too. THEN I figured out why they had us on the road at the beginning of the ride! I followed the recumbents on some off-roading! HA! Thank God I didn't puncture a tire! Those things are less than an inch wide ya know! They aren't hearty! lol We crossed some concrete walkway over the actual Gooseberry Falls and then a little more dirt before getting back on the road within Gooseberry Falls State Park where we had started. That was crazy! I'm quite thankful for my mountain biking experience because I would have had to walk it otherwise. lol A gradual descent then a short painful climb before finishing in another slight descent. Phew! One of the recumbent guys was cursing that last hill. lol Those bikes don't climb well at all! And that part of my quad on my right leg was cramping on the downstroke and stretching on the upstroke. Arrgh!! At the finish I picked up a couple scones... a weird postride offering! Whatever! (= I carried them while I rode back to the campsite where Lorrie was sitting with the dogs and reading. It was very cute and serene! It would have been nice to sit and watch had Tori not seen me and started barking. lol I was back by 3pm so we had a little time. We sat for a bit and I let her massage my cramping thigh. Then we headed up to the showers so we could be out by 4pm. Okay, this is gross but I had not showered in 2 days at this point... and had biked! YUCK! lol Hers was faster as always so she went back to the site to take down her tent. After showers and all, we went over to Gooseberry Falls. Not much water there. Basically a dribble over the top. Lorrie showed me her "thinking spot" and took some photos of me thinking deeply there. After a few moments, we were off again. We stopped at a wayside rest to eat and take care of the dogs. It was extremely windy and quite cold! Then back on the road for home! Lorrie drove the whole way this time. I called Barb to see how they were doing. She said Lee had turned back at the first rest stop but that she had gone on and finished the 55-mile ride! Awesome!! She finished at about 4;45pm and was impressed with my 3pm finish. However, she has a mtn bike and I have a road bike! I have been complaining about the climbing but I can't even imagine how hard it would be to climb on a mtn bike. Well, I guess I can. I've done it. But it's not fun! So I was impressed with her determination. (= As we were driving, it started raining some in The Cities but got really bad while we were on Hwy 52 and getting closer to Northfield. Then major thunder and lightening, which blinded us. Not great when we were already tired! So we just took it slow and both watched. Got home, got into my house, brushed our teeth, and went to bed without bringing anything else in. I left the bikes on the back off my car and just put the whole thing in the garage! lol Too tired and way too much rain!
Addendum: We found out the next day that there had been major flooding further south from us. Homes had floated away and there had been a few deaths. Scary!!