About 3-4 inches of heavy wet snow fell over night. Once again the "Northland" looks like a winter wonderland. Riding was difficult to say the least. Rode for nearly or 3 hrs. I pedaled a steady pace and spent a good deal of my energy just trying to stay upright and keep the bike going straight. Sawbill Trail was very quiet this morning, but I was fortunate that several vehicles had driven down the trail. That left me with the opportunity to ride the tire ruts which actually worked out quite well. I tried the snowmobile trails ever so briefly. I could only average about 6 mph over the course of the ride. I refused to push it, but rather just relaxed and enjoyed the ride. This proved to be OK because I found a good rhythm and just kept on rambling. During the course of the entire ride I only encountered two vehicles. My big fear was encountering a snow plow which fortunately did not occur. I guess the Sawbill Trail is not very high on the priority list. The ride was great and I really enjoyed the isolation of being out alone. It was great to be able to lose myself in my thoughts.
Another thing I really enjoyed...no heart rate monitor. I never workout without it on, but it sure was nice to divorce myself from that thing. Although it would have been nice to see how many calories I burned over the course of the last two days of riding and hiking. Judging by what I ate I would say quite a few.
Along the way I did come across a local who was stopped at one of the trail heads readying his sled dogs for a training run. I would have loved to stop and chat and take photos, but I felt like I would have been intruding on his day. Besides, I had found a good rhythm and the tunes were very motivating, so I just kept rambling down the trail.
As I pulled into the trail head parking lot a couple of x-c skiers were just coming off the trail. The gentleman's kept looking at me dumbfounded. I'm sure I know exactly what was going through
her head. When the guy approached me he smiled and said, "What the hell, do you do your skiing in the summer. All I could do is laugh. They were pretty amused that anyone would be out on a bike considering the conditions.
Today was an absolutely wonderful experience. I've gained a much deeper respect and admiration for people who ride through the winter. Particularly those that compete in winter endurance competitions. I also found out that I could really love this if I give it a chance. After all, I have always been a winter type of person. This will definitely be a highlight, if not the highlight of cycling this year. I look forward to summer, but also to what next winter may bring.
After riding Patti and I met for lunch at the Blue Fin. French onion soup and salad. Very good.
Patti had slept late and was anxious to do something so we went for a hike up on the Cascade River. I grew up in Northern Minnesota and have spent a great deal of time here on "The Shore". No matter how much time I spend up here I never tire of it. The trails and scenery are second to none. I have quite an extensive collection of photos from over the years and I never get tired of taking some of the same pics over and over again. The Cascade is no exception to this. I have spring, summer, fall, and winter pics of just about every popular river along Hwy. 61. Today was a great day for hiking and taking pics. The forest was magical. I have to admit however, that by the time we finished our hike and returned to the car, I was starving and my legs felt a little stale. The burger and beer(s) I chowed and guzzled afterwards were wonderful and as soon as this post is complete I may hit the spa and retire for the night. Hope you enjoy the pics. I have to say that I've been somewhat inspired by Jill in Alaska and Doug in Duluth. Thanks!