30 New Things: Ride the Munger Trail

Do you guys ever have a sneaking suspicion that you would be really good at something? That lurking deep inside you is a natural talent for belly dancing/pizza dough throwing/foreign languages? I’ve long harbored a belief that I would be a great long distance cyclist. Of course, this belief is based on absolutely nothing. Prior to this trip, I’d never ridden a bike a) with a cross bar b) with drop-style handlebars c) further than 6 miles. But I had this inkling that I was going to be great.My fantastic friend KT (who has actually ridden further than 6 miles before) joyfully agreed to ride The Munger Trail with me last weekend. And, oh, but it was an adventure!

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.


8:07 am Eat my breakfast of granola bars and strawberries on the dock and am thrilled with this adventure. Think: “Be happy in the moment. This moment is your life.”9:30 Get coffee at a local cafe where someone calls us “God Damn Hippies.” We laugh in confirmation that we are, in fact, god damn hippies.

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.

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  1. Rory

    Sarah – you rock. This is the funniest post I have read in aaages. Good on you for trying something new. My something new for tonight was playing in a mixed basketball comp. I managed to elbow a guy in the face pretty much full force. Ooops. My team lost quite convincingly, but it was an awesome rush just getting out there and doing something with a team.
    Keep writing the good stuff,

  2. Dave

    I and a few other folks would ride the munger from Duluth back to Hinckley pretty much any time!

  3. Darcie

    HILARIOUS!!! You are awesome, and I'm thankful I did not let you talk me into this…great story, my friend! 🙂

  4. Ms Constantine

    I think the fact that you thought to do this in the first place, and then were happy to ride in the rain makes you a natural.

    The very thought of doing a long bike ride. Or any bike ride at all makes me want to hide!

  5. Sal

    You're a total star. A chipmunk-murdering star, but a star no less. 😉

  6. Michelle

    The chipmunk could have been worse. One of my friends was riding their bike through campus one day and a squirrel somehow jumped INTO the spokes of their bike. Squirrel bits everywhere and sad little noises.

    Sounds like a great rest of your ride, though! You're amazing!

  7. Rachael

    Sounds like quite the adventure! And such a fun story about it afterwards! Kudos to you for trying something new! 🙂

  8. Bethany

    Fabulous. I love that you instantly truly dove in to the long distance aspect. Like… overnight. To Hell with gradually working up to the long ride! Just freakin' do it! My sympathy goes out to your butt cheeks. And the chipmunks family.

  9. Eralda LT

    I'm impressed by your ability to embrace experiences. That openness is hard to come by at times. Sounds like such a fun time! I think my talent would be eating my way through several countries around the world. I should start saving, right? 🙂

  10. ChristaLouWho

    A round of applause is in order Sarah. Awesome!

  11. Chrissy

    I somehow missed this post the first time around. Brilliant story, awesome experience. 88 miles is amazing! Congrats on completing it.

  12. Sarah Von Bargen

    Thanks Chrissy! There was a bit there when I didn't know if my bum was going to make it, but I'm so, so glad that I went the whole way.

  13. Cassie

    This is one of the funniest things I've read. You are too funny. 🙂 That sounds like one AWESOME ride, though.

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