Yesterday I promised myself I’d be productive. I had what felt like a million things on the to-do-list that I’ve been putting off because the weather has been so unseasonably fantastic. Susan and I did a lot of hiking the past two weekends. That was great. This weekend is a catch-up weekend for her class she is taking. It’s a class she needs to take to upgrade her Social Work license. That meant a weekend for me to get caught up on my stuff. I had a mental list. Of course a bike ride at some point in the day was at the top of the list. I got rolling in the morning with some updates to my products on my Salty Pedaler website. Still more to do there. If anyone is curious I added sweatshirts for my winter fatbike themed BICICLE design. I’m offering them in four colors on either a crewneck sweatshirt or a hooded pullover sweatshirt with a pouch pocket. Here’s a look at them:
After working on that I got stuck a bit. That happens to me. I find myself overwhelmed with the size of the to-do-list and end up not be able to get started on anything. It was starting to get late in the day. I started to cross things off my mental list. It finally came down to the bike ride was all I had time for. It was now or never. I almost didn’t get going on that. But I finally snapped out of the rut and convinced myself it would practically be a crime not to take advantage of this nice weather while we have it. The temps are still running 20 degrees above normal. I manged to get out for a 20 mile ride.
I had a nice surprise when I went to ride the gravel stretch of Skyline Parkway. It’s finally closed for winter. It typically closes from November 1st to April 1st. I happened to be out here on Wednesday and it hadn’t closed yet. I was happy to see it closed. It means no car traffic. It was a nice head clearing ride. In store for today is a repeat of yesterday. But hopefully I’ll skip the “getting stuck” part.
holiday weekend here in the states. We spent Saturday volunteering on the Superior Hiking Trail. It’s our 15th season as Trail Section volunteers. As a Trail Section volunteer we are asked to walk our section of trail once in the Spring and once in the Fall. We then fill out a report for the Maintenance Supervisor and do any trail work we feel comfortable doing.
After more then 30 times walking our section we have the routine down. I drop Susan and our gear off at the starting trail head. I drive to the trail head we will finish our hike at, take the bike and ride back to where I left Susan. I lock the bike in the woods and pick it up later after the hike. An added plus is a nice, mostly gravel, and mostly downhill bike ride.
We carry saws, lopers and an axe. We clear the trail best we can. We leave the really huge trees that have fallen on the trail for the chainsaw crew. Above is a before and after shot of a couple small birches we cleared.
When we arrived at this campsite there was a young couple on a three day backpack trip. They were drinking wine out of stainless steel packable wine glasses. Turns out he had just proposed to her at the waterfall right below the campsite and they were celebrating. She said yes.
The trail along the Cross River. The river was running very low.
Fredenberg Campsite, break spot number 2.
Tower Overlook with a view of Lake Superior in the distance. On a really clear day you can see the Apostle Islands and the Bayfield Peninsula of Wisconsin across the lake.
It was great to be out in the woods hiking together. We have not done enough hiking this summer. Our section of trail, much like the rest of the trail, is very scenic. It follows the Cross River as it cascades down the ridge towards Lake Superior. There is only one place on this section that has a view of Lake Superior. It’s one of the pictures above and is called Tower Overlook.
On Monday, the Labor Day Holiday, I went for a 20 mile ride to the west of my house. One of my regular routes that I like to ride when I don’t want to be around cars or too many people. It is mostly gravel and rail trail with maybe 1/3 low traffic roads. If you’ve read my blogs in the past you’ll recognize some of the shots. I was feeling quite sad after the news of Danny Chew being paralyzed in a bicycle crash. I stopped for a long while and sat on the wall at Bardons Peak to think. Riding my bike helped. Here’s some of the pictures:
We had two 90F+ degree days on Thursday and Friday. At 3:00 am Friday morning a devastating thunderstorm came through and caused much damage in other parts of town. Parts other then where we live. Straight line winds clocking upwards of 100 mph, that’s hurricane level winds, blew through the area. It left 1/3 of the city without power and knocked down 100’s of trees. Power is still out for more then 20,000 people as of Sunday night. Some people may have to wait until late in the week to have power restored. We were fortunate our neighborhood didn’t see any damage.
All that to say, it cooled down on the weekend. Ninety degree weather is very rare in these parts. Some years we never see a 90 degree day. Yesterday (Saturday) when I finally got out for a short afternoon ride it was 68F degrees. That’s what life by the world’s biggest fresh water lake is like. (Biggest by surface area, not volume.)
My weekend was very busy. Still working on the kitchen renovation. I manged to make progress on that and still get in a bike ride each day. Saturday’s was a quick ride. I tried to get in a ride before another round of thunderstorms hit. They ended up missing us and going east.
Sunday’s ride was way more enjoyable. I got out for a 20 mile spin with some climbing, some urban gravel, and lots of views. The route I took is here.I’ll make the rest of this post a picture post. Enjoy.
This trail was only a few days old. They are building new mountain bike trails faster than I can keep track of it. This particular stretch starts on the south end of the old Mission Creek Parkway bridge. The bridge that crosses the Munger Trail. It’s mind boggling to me how fast the mountain bike trail system is growing. There’s not going to be anywhere in the United States that has anything like this once it’s done. An interconnected 100 mile system of trails all within the city limits.
In other news. My raspberries are doing fantastic this year. I love berry season.
This is bike related. How can a patch of raspberries be bike related you ask?
One of the first errands I did when I built my Blue Truck/Xtracycle back in the summer of 2007 was carry a load of raspberry bushes 10 miles across town. A co-worker of mine offered me the bushes. All I had to do was pick them up. So I did. And I did it on a bicycle. Her yard was being taken over by them. That bucket of bushes has turned into quite a nice patch that produces a lot of berries. Love those berries.
It’s the weekend, we’re having some of the warmest weather of the year. I felt drawn to cross the river into Wisconsin for some reason. Maybe the thought of crossing over the river on one of the local high bridges would seem cooling in our hot weather we’re having. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t able to get across the river by bike last summer because the bridge was being refurbished and the pedestrian/bike way was closed all summer and into the fall. I’m not sure what the pull was. It was strong enough to coax me across the river both days.
Today’s ride was to be extra slow. The temperature reached an incredible 91F/32C degrees while I was out today. You have to realize how hot that is for us Duluthians. There are entire summers where the temperature never reaches the 90 degree mark. Just four days ago we had a high temp of 51F degrees. Forty degrees cooler than today. I acclimatize to hot weather very slow. But, I did pretty well in the heat yesterday when it was only about 5 degrees cooler. So I took it slow and drank water constantly.
My destination for today was the Superior Municipal Forest. I’m not sure of the history of it, but it appears to be older growth woods. The forest lines the bays and inlets along the St Louis River. There’s a nice gravel road that winds it’s way through the forest and in and out of the bays. Here’s my route for today: //ridewithgps.com/trips/9542772/embed
This gate is usually open during the summer. The gravel road doesn’t look like it’s received any maintenance since winter. We’ve had a lot of rain. Maybe they’ve been waiting for it to dry out a bit before grading the gravel.
What it meant for me was a lack of any other humans. Not a soul to be seen. It was almost eerie being in the middle of a city and not seeing another person. I felt like I was in the middle of a wilderness far away from any cities.
About halfway though the forest roads I started to feel the effects of the heat. I had to take the short gravel uphills quite slow to avoid feeling light headed. I slowed my pace and kept the fluids coming.
Despite the crazy heat, I had a wonderful 20 mile ride. No traffic to speak of and very few people. Even when I wasn’t in the municipal forest.
With the exception of a couple of aggressive deer flies, I didn’t have to worry about bugs today. High winds kept the bugs down. Sustained speeds over 20 mph with gusts much higher. It was so high on the bridge coming back I had to get off and walk the bike for about a mile. I know from past experience it has to be over 45 mph gusts to get me to dismount on the bridge.
I’ll leave you with another picture of my A-train on a fishing pier in Superior, Wisconsin.