Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Biking Adventures

The purpose of life, after all,
is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

That couldn't be more true of my weekend adventure. With me it's usually always something. A 20 mile run followed by a few hours of swimming. Or maybe just a random trip to some random spot. Who knows.

This weekend was different only in that I was spending it with an equally adventurous person: my friend Brenda, professional body builder and personal trainer. If you think I've got a thing for fitness you should spend some time with this woman. She'll knock you six different sides to Sunday. She's an amazing athlete and amazing all around person.

She and two of her friends joined me in Excelsior for a nice jaunt around Lake Minnetonka. I had the perfect route planned which, as we all know, means it's going to get screwed up somewhere. But we'll get to that.

Everything started great. The day was a little brisk and the wind was blowing fairly strongly out of the West but no big deal. We can power through that sort of thing. The sun was shining and the sky was clear. Not much more can be asked for a bike ride.

We got through the first 11 miles without a hitch. We stopped in Wayzata on the north end of the lake where Brenda and her friends ran into some of their friends. Small world.

As we get set to leave the ladies were holding back. When I turned around to see what was going on, Brenda wound up having a flat. We all had some spare tubes so this wasn't a problem. I got the flat changed out and pumped up and we were back on track within 10 minutes.

On our ride down the Northwest side of the lake I managed to miss one of the south bound turns so instead we kept going North and West. Finally, somewhere around local highway 110 I stopped to check my GPS and see where we were.

OOPS... just a hair off course by 5 or so miles.

Oh well. Like I wrote up above, this was an adventure. And an adventure we were on.

By this point I managed to turn half of my companies legs into rubber bands because of the excessive number of hills. But they didn't mind so much. After all, Lake Minnetonka is a VERY beautiful area. [And if you've never ridden it I highly suggest you get your butt out there before the end of the season.]

After making a few amendments to the course we got back on track and rested again in Mound on the West end of Lake Minnetonka. We stopped at my friend Tim's Anytime Fitness for a break and a refill.

After that short visit we were back on track and rolling again. We were at mile 23 now on the revised course and just finishing up to head back East toward Excelsior.

Again, beautiful countryside, beautiful weather, and great company. Despite a slight detour and a flat tire, everything was going great.

We get to mile 26 which is the start of two mandatory miles on Highway 7. I really didn't want to take anyone, myself included, on Highway 7 but really didn't find any alternative to doing it. From where we were that was the only way to get back. But it was only two miles and since we've already had our flat tire, statistically speaking we're good to go.

Or so I thought.

On mile 26.5, on the worst blind corner imaginable, Brenda blew her other tire. I backtracked a bit to find Brenda and get her other tire switched out. Luckily I was fresh from already changing one tire so working on the back tire wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

After about 20 minutes everything was back in order and we were riding again.

We finally got to the end of our Highway 7 adventure and were at mile 28. That's the beginning of Smithtown Road which takes us right back to Excelsior. There was just one problem though. Smithtown Road was being detoured. *sigh*

Having no interest in riding any more no Highway 7 we explored the reason for the detour. I was thinking it was going to be a simple resurface job or something like.

Not so much. The whole road was torn out at a section and a bridge being put in. That section of road was in seriously bad shape but after some manly maneuvering I found a path that'd take us safely across the partial bridge that was there.

The rest of the remaining 4 miles was smooth sailing believe it or not.

And that was that. One missed turn, Two flat tires and a little cycle cross and we were back in Excelsior to celebrate our victorious conquering of Lake Minnetonka. In case anyone was wondering, here's the map of our route.

Who's game to do Lake Minnetonka with me next weekend?

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