Subtitled: "Fenders -- Always a good idea for spring-like rides in MN." Yours truly forgot his camera. So, all I have to show for the 50+ miles of slogging through muck with like-minded, two-wheelin' friends is the crusty afterglow. We all met for breakfast at the Triple Rock, I sampled the Northern Biscuits and Gravy. Being a TN boy, I'm always intrigued whether the other half of the country can get certin signature dishes right (grits included in that list). I have to say the Triple Rock didn't do too bad and the portions were big enough to make Cracker Barrel cringe. Of course, you can't down two pints of Guinness with your breakfast at Cracker Barrel. (Hey, it was St Patty's Day, okay?)
Our group was of decent size -- large enough that I overheard one innocent bystander ask whether we were a Critical Mass ride. We headed west along the Greenway from Triple Rock (where they were later to host a tribute to Thin Lizzy) enjoying smooth, dry pavement. In Hopkins, that all changed. All of a sudden it was like I was living in the middle of one of those videos I've seen of European Spring Classic bike races. Mud (not just any mud, mind you -- fine, sticky limestone mud), ice, puddles, snow, ice, and mud. You just couldn't find the right gear to move efficiently through the mud. This made me envious of my single-speeding friends to some degree. At least they didn't need to worry about looking for the right gear. This mud was like nothing I've ever ridden before. It didn't suck the wheel in like a pit, it just seemed to create a surreal amount of adhesion between the tire and the squishy ground. The mud was like plasma, morphing between states of almost liquid and certainly not solid. I'm very glad breakfast hadn't included ingesting any psychodelic agents.
The group took it in stride at first. We were all getting pretty caked with the shit. A few goody goodies had full fenders and looked like they'd just stepped out of the house, clean as a whistle (Irish Spring!) The rest of us resembled rejects from a 1933 Tour photo. We pressed onward, however, drowning our sorrows in beer, flask emissions and foul sarcasm. Returning east on the Luce Line trail, Hurl bent to group consensus ("Enough is enough!") and we proceeded our tour meandering, via pavement, through posh lakeside villas. We took over a corner of a parking lot in Wayzata waiting for 2 riders who'd taken another route. While there we enjoyed 25 minutes of surveillance from across the street by Wayzata's finest. What a crock. I kept waiting for the dink to pull over and tell us we had to move on. But, he didn't. Maybe he was waiting for back-up.
We rolled back to Hopkins, tackling a few more miles of the trail we'd ridden out hours earlier. In some ways it seemed better, but it was still a slogfest at best. When we finally hit the true pavement of the bike highway again, energy (and thirst) returned. We were clocking 20-25 most of the way back into Uptown. We were back in time for Wrex, Trevor and me to get some heckling from B-Rose at CRC. When you visit B-Rose, bring some of your favorite Irish tunes on CD. Check out more words about and (actual action) photos of our quest for the holy gray whale at Hurl's blog: http://www.crccoffeebar.blogspot.com/
In the meantime, I'm thinking SheMan-o could benefit from our beneficial R&D efforts on Saturday. An earth-friendly anodizing pattern seems to accent their components quite well. Am I gonna wash it? No. It's supposed to rain/snow tonight. I'm planning to ride this beast to work and let Nature do the cleaning for me.
Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't profess my undying thanks to my partner, April, for letting me go play for the day. And, Sylvia, don't worry, Daddy will quit leaving you to go ride as soon as you can reach the pedals on a Trail-a-bike. Which will, of course, be outfitted with one helluva set of fenders.