The Second Century

After the cold and wet weekend, it was hard to believe the forecast for a beautiful sunny day on Monday.  Crossing our fingers, my friend Myra and I planned our second annual Century Ride, and were pleased when the weatherman was right for once.

Brimson Century Ride MapOur inaugural 100-mile bike ride last summer was a flat out and back ride on a smooth bike trail.  A good start for novices.  This year we took on a more ambitious route.  We wanted a circle tour with nice scenery, good roads and little traffic.  We quickly settled on the little town of Brimson for our destination, and by manipulating the course with a few detours to add mileage, we finally came up with a good route.  My husband Rich warned that it was too hilly for such a long ride, but that only solidified our determination to stick with the plan.

The good news was that we did most of our hill work at the outset.  Before the sun had an IMG_0114opportunity to heat up the day, we had the bulk of our climbing behind us.  Once inland, we only had rolling hills, and those created more interest than nuisance.  It was a very green route, lined by trees and with little other variation besides the wildflowers blooming on the wayside.  We had hoped to see the numerous lakes that line Pequaywn Lake Road, but they were hidden by those same trees.  However, we did enjoy the unique mailbox that confirmed there must be a lake nearby!

Lunchtime brought us to Brimson, which conveniently happened to be our half-way point.  We didn’t find much evidence of a town, but Hugo’s Bar and General Store provided shade for our picnic as we refueled for the next leg our of ride.

Having attained a nice altitude, our Brimson Century Ride elevationspayback came on our descent into Two Harbors.  It was a straight shot down toward Lake Superior, but it wasn’t as smooth sailing as expected.  We found ourselves pedaling straight into a stiff wind which checked our pace.  I didn’t mind.  It saved wear and tear on my brakes.  On the intermittent uphills Myra admitted to drafting behind me, but somehow I doubt I was much of a windbreak.

We were surprised how quickly the miles mounted up behind us.  Without any major sights to distract us, we took just a few breaks for food and to replenish our water supplies.  Our final rest was a requisite DQ stop in Two Harbors.  After all, what’s the purpose of cycling if we don’t have ice cream?  Heading down the Scenic Highway back to Duluth, we welcomed the slightly cooler breezes delivered by Lake Superior.  By that time we were counting down the miles – not that we were tired or anything…

It felt good to finish, with a great sense of accomplishment.  And we were still smiling!  IMG_0117

Myra, as well as our son Carl, will be joining Rich and me for the first week of our Grand Gaspé Cycling tour later in the summer.  On that trip we will need to push on, day after day, regardless of what the weatherman delivers.  No matter how relentless the hills.  Whatever the road conditions.  I think we can handle it.

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