Saturday11:13 am Arrive in Hinkley and discover that we have inadvertently chosen to ride the trail the same weekend at 3,000 other people who are taking part in the MS bikeathon. Sah-weet.
11:20 Try to drown our frustrations in small town diner fare. I am allowed my biannual serving of chicken strips (I’m a vegetarian) with a large side of pie and one giant coffee. To the tune of $8.00. I love you, rural Minnesota.
12:13 At the car, loading up our bike packs, discover that I have forgotten the poles to the tent. Clearly, I am awesome.
12:30 We start on the trail, biking against the flow of 3,000 charity cyclists. We spend a the majority of the trip yelling “bike up. Bike up! BIKE UP!” and driving into the grass to avoid crashing. Also: we check out lots of super cute cyclist dudes.
2:45 Discover that we are actually biking into a storm. The bikeathon volunteers in Finlayson mention “golf-ball sized hail.” So we do what all long-distance cyclists should do when confronted with this situation. Find the nearest bar.
2:50 Find bar, which features a freshly broken window and a lot of yelling. Promptly try to find the nearest VFW.
2:55 Ask a little blond girl if there’s just the one bar in town. She says “Uhhh, I don’t know. And I don’t want to know. Because I’m 10.” Touche, my young friend. Decide to wait out the storm in a diner with more cups of $1 coffee.
4:07 Fight the urge to ride back, drive to Duluth and get a hotel room. We are going to ride in the rain, because we are HARD CORE! I put on all the clothes I have with me, which results in a look that is part ninja, part flying monkey. I am hawt.
5:15 Stop for hot chocolate and food in Willow River. Decide that nothing is going to fuel me as well as fried cheese.
7:20 Roll into Moose Lake and decide that we will sleep on picnic tables, in a band shell, next to the lake. I am genuinely excited about this.
9:00 After eating dinner in a cafe featuring no less than 7 (seven!) taxidermied animals, we head to the local cinema for a $6 showing of Night at the Museum. KT and I are in stitches over everything Hank Azaria says. Apparently we are the only ones.
11:17 Attempt to fall asleep on my picnic table, to the sounds of teenage boys skinny dipping. Oddly enough, I don’t sleep very well.
10:11 Back on the trail, I can no longer feel my bum. Unless I stand up on my peddles, then the pain is so overwhelming, I whimper. I wonder where I can buy one of those donut butt pillows.
2:30 Accidentally run over a chipmunk and feel awfulawfulawful. Wonder if this is somehow connected to eating the chicken strips yesterday. Am I in trouble with the animal gods?
4:15 88 miles later, we are back at the car. I am dirty, tired and not sure that I will ever be able to sit again. I am also so, so proud of myself. I’m not sure that I am a total natural at this, but it’s definitely something I’ll be doing again.