Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enjoying the Final Days...

While there is not much left of winter for 2012-2013 many people are ready to hang the Groundhog who apparently made the forecast of an early Spring. The rest of us are squeezing as much as possible out of what is left before Spring comes on in earnest. In the Arrowhead of Minnesota Old Man Winter is determined to hang on just a bit longer and you won't hear any complaints from me.

In general, when it comes to winter fat bike riding I have a tendency to avoid snowmobile trails. I just don't like mingling with motorized vehicular traffic, especially if they are capable of high speeds. However, for some time now, I have been wanting to ride the State Trail which runs along the North Shore of Lake Superior. No better time to do it than right now. Most of the tourists are gone and sled traffic is relatively light, especially during the week. The other bonus is, if you can find some forest roads that have been plowed and lightly traveled you can ride for hours and not see another soul. I really did enjoy this past week.


Riding was phenomenal, but the 600 Road, which is part of the State Trail, is a difficult and challenging ride in either direction. I decided to do it both ways and then some. Five straight hours of riding and climbing made my legs feel rather noodle like afterward. In the five hours I was on the State Trail I encountered only six snowmobiles and was pleased by the thumbs up, waves, and smiles the riders offered.


I generally never eat candy, but when I'm winter fat biking there are some exceptions to the rule :) Plus, it sure beats GU and Larabars for taste. I'm really wishing I would have packed the cheese and salami.

The 45 NRTH Wolvhammers have been absolutely phenomenal. For my feet, they were worth every penny I spent on them.

Downhill to the Temperance River
 "Temperance River Bridge" 

It was a hell of a long climb from here to the top of Heartbreak Hill.

"The Reward at the End of the Trail"

I was fortunate enough to find other places to ride and explore and was impressed with the amount of snow still remaining in the woods. Hopefully they will have a slow thaw so the moisture gets a chance to penetrate the soil. The rivers along "the shore" will have plenty of water flowing through them in the weeks to come. This should make for some excellent photography if you're lucky enough to find time to get up here. I'm hoping to sneak away for a weekend of gravel riding in early May.

This road is actually used for part of the Lutsen 99er course and hopefully will be snow free and relatively dry by early May. This will be a must ride if I come up to ride gravel. Ride this in late June, July, or August and the deer flies can gnaw your ears off.

 "I'm always astonished by a forest. It makes me realize that the fantasy of nature is much larger than my own fantasy. I still have many things to learn."       ~Gunter Grass


 How deep is the snow? Crotch deep!

Another cool thing is that this was the first time cycling with nearly a full complement of photo gear. This included a Canon DSLR, two lenses, and my small Canon S95 point and shoot. All of this was made possible by using my new Crumpler Haven padded insert. This handy little addition converts almost any backpack into a camera bag. It was really nice to have the ability to shoot with a DSLR. I'm looking forward to further use this spring and summer. Thanks to Gnat for the information about this great piece of gear.

A stay up here is never complete without a stop at The Gunflint Tavern for a cold brew and a bowl of their phenomenal vegetarian chili. Then again, there is always the famous Sven and Ole's for their wonderful pizza

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Looks like a great winter ride!