Cycling with the Wind


Day 3 – Tower to Ely MN, 50 miles. Our revised route in green

Northern Minnesota is largely unpopulated, except by lakes and trees. And our cycling route for the day certainly confirmed that fact.

The planned route was to head straight to Ely, requiring only 31 miles of cycling and leaving plenty of time there for other pursuits. Since Rich had a reprieve from sag wagon duties, we took the liberty of following an alternate and more circuitous route to Ely. Straying from the main highway, we enjoyed quieter roads and the unexpected benefit of brand new pavement. To a cyclist there is nothing better than a smooth unblemished surface!

As if that wasn’t sweet enough, we were also pushed along by a steady tailwind for the whole ride. We fairly flew down the road, barely feeling any resistance on our pedals, and covering 50 miles in record time. It’s not often everything lines up so perfectly, and we fully appreciated our good fortune.

Just to balance things out, we did ride through some significant rain. But the warm day and returning sunshine dried us off in a hurry once it stopped.

Throughout our whole ride we didn’t pass through a single town, with the exception of Babbitt which was a deliberate detour for a comfort stop. The remainder of our miles were all through quiet woodlands with a few houses and lakes nestled behind the trees. It was the kind of ride that encourages my mind to wander – a very liberating feeling.

Arriving in Ely the weather was sunny and hot, and the Red Cabin Frozen Custard stand across from our motel called out to me. There is nothing better than ice cream at the end of a long ride. Although I originally spurned the thought of their flavor of the day, one taste convinced me that watermelon custard was a most excellent choice.

Our speedy journey left us with a free afternoon, and we took a leisurely walk around Ely and along Miners Lake. It felt truly summer-like, which has been a rare sensation this year. Rich found a new “dorky hat” to keep the sun off his fair skin, which he promptly put into service.

Dinner this evening was out on the patio of the Rock Wood restaurant. The food was excellent, including the decadent desserts we all shared without guilt. To top it off, a bluegrass band provided live music. Sitting outside on a warm evening with friends and music was an unbeatable combination. Almost as good as cycling with the wind.


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