Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hemi's Sunday Adventure

A varying group of us have been riding on Sundays for a few years. We generally meet at the Coon Rapids dam along the Mississippi and follow West River Road to downtown Minneapolis. We meet up with other riders at the historic Stone Arch Bridge. This past Sunday was the inaugeral 2011 Sunday ride, for me anyway. However, we couldn't take our usual West River Road route, due to the tornado damage of two weeks ago. These Sunday rides are usually led by Hemi, (also known as Dave). Hemi had spoke to Berger, another Sunday disciple, who meets us at the Stone Arch. An alternative route was formulated. We would cross the Coon Rapids dam to the East side of the river, and make our way to downtown Minneapolis. We got across the dam with no problems. We could see and hear the roar of the swollen river going through the dam locks. All that water flooding parts South. The other side of the dam is a regional park. The entire road system is tore up. All dirt. Not exactly road bike friendly. But, there is the paved bike trail that runs alongside the river. 

We went about a mile at most, and came upon this. The Mississippi had overflowed the banks. Now what?

Hemi is thinking real hard. He is trying to envision new a route in his mind.
He said he knows where to go...

Off we went, on a muddy trail that turned vertical. Would have been perfect if we had mountain bikes! Oh well, it's all part of the adventure, right?

We finally made it to the Stone Arch, where we picked up Berger. Berg is great to ride with, because he loves to talk about food! He also is the only rider I know that can eat a Holiday egg muffin in the middle of a ride and keep going strong. He also has several mansions scattered about the Twin Cities. It's always fun to ride past one of them. Not that we ever get invited in.
This is CJ. Mountain biker extrordinaire. He has been one of the hardest working people that I know of helping to build the new mtb course in Elm Creek. I think he's planning on putting in a 50 foot jump ramp, but, only if JT will give him the elevation necessary. CJ's nickname is Griz. That story is for another day.

We take off from the Stone Arch, heading to St. Paul, taking in the sites (read: pretty female runners around St Kate's). We get to the state capitol and head to the Gateway Trail. After a few miles we run into this:
Berger is up front. There are multiple trunks of the tree to negotiate.
CJ finds that maybe it is easier to go underneath, rather then up and over!

We finally get going again and hit the Holiday Service Station in White Bear Lake. Sure enough, Berger gets his egg muffin sandwich! We head on up the trail till we get to MN Hwy 96, and head back to White Bear.
You don't ride this route without stopping at the Cup and Cone! Hemi and Berger split a sub. CJ and I split a "kiddie sub."
Berg on the left, Hemi on the right. Remember, it wasn't 45 minutes ago that Berg ate an egg muffin!
This route is officially called the "Chile Dog", because of the availability of chile dogs at the Cup and Cone. I think Amy is the only person to eat one and continue riding! We're still about 20 miles from home.

The rest of the ride was so-so. A little rain, I had a flat, and then we couldn't find our way back across the Mississippi. Other then that, it was great!

Final tally was 83 miles. Didn't break any speed records, but, who cares when you have an adventure?

If you want to see the GPS route, click on the link:

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