Early day optimism told Jared and I it would be no problem leaving at 10pm for a fatbike ride. As the time came, after a day of work and of meeting family obligations we were both feeling tired and reluctant to go out.
The full moon, our fat tires and the knowledge that we'd feel better once we started riding got us to the trail head.
As expected the ride energized us. We attempted navigating by moonlight alone. But, the bright spots between tree cast moon shadows weren't quite enough. With lights on we saw multiple deer on the trail. Erie eyes of still more deer glowed in the darkness as I scan back and forth in the woods with my head lamp.
I ended up glad to have ridden. Experiences like this must be the source of my earlier optimism.
I've been looking at the exposed banks of the Mississippi each time I cross a bridge wondering if the receding water has created ribbons of fat bike goodness. I had to try, so started took off riding below Sibley House on the East side of the river. The first 100 meters was perfect until I came to a tree blocking the trail. A quick hike-a-bike around the obstacle had me pedaling again. Conditions began deteriorating. More obstructions and wicked slippery mud made me claw my way up the bank to terra firma.
Once on the bank 7' grasses surrounded me. I used the bridge as a landmark to bash my way 100+ meters through dry swamp and snaring vines working up a sweat on this cool fall evening.
I felt great when I was back on the trail. Dropping a few psi out of the tires made long stretches of sand feel fun and fast. Twilight's onset brought my ride to an early end. Next time I'll bring a light.
Tom and I drove up to his cabin Friday after work anticipating a weekend of biking in the Headwaters 100 bike race, shooting and hanging around his cabin.
We were up early, checked in and on the trail by 8:30 Sat. morning. Weather was in the mid 40's with overcast skies and occasional mist for about the first 20 miles facing a 15-20 mph headwind. The weather cleared about the time we made the turn and began enjoying push of the same winds.
Here are our bikes and a big fish at the second rest stop in Nevis, MN. Tom had ridden < 20 miles this summer prior to deciding to go for 45 miles on a bike he had never ridden before. I thought brave; he brought up stupid. Either way he was a beast accelerating up hills.
Back at the cabin we watched a pair of trumpeter swans hanging out in front of the dock. They had their "babies" with them which were now as large as the adults. The only difference was the four adolescent birds donned mottled brown feathers.
Next we headed to the woods. We brought three guns out for some shooting. The long rifle is Tom's Mossin Nagant, a WWII vintage Russian gun complete with bayonet. We figured out how to shoot it and had fun unloading on the ultimate capitalist, Mr. Potato Head.
Mr. Potato Head also felt the sting of my mom's old Hoban single shot .22 and a Springfield XDm 9mm pistol.
He ate lead while we enjoyed a pot of hobo goodness Tom cooked up with his Dutch oven.
Potatoes, carrot, onions, sausage, chicken and sweet potatoes were simmered together over our campfire until tender. Then Tom topped the mixture with Bisquick batter and place red hot coals on top browning the biscuit. What a great meal to top off a near perfect autumn day.
Sunday morning we worked on a few projects around the cabin an headed home. We may need to make this trip an annual event.
Friend Tom and I are heading up to Park Rapids to ride in the Headwaters 100. We've chosen the 45 mile loop. The forecast is for sunny and mid 50's. I'm looking forward to a beautiful ride around Northern Minnesota. The photo below, taken on a tour a couple years ago, shows a section of one of the roads I'll be riding. I'm ready for Fall.