The Pine Pulse... Carlton County bike thrills
On Saturday, I decided to roll out of bed and go for it. It was finally time to ride. My bike, that is. I don't know if anyone recalls that first story about me when I arrived in Cloquet to begin my new life as editor, but there was a line about ...
On Saturday, I decided to roll out of bed and go for it. It was finally time to ride.
My bike, that is. I don't know if anyone recalls that first story about me when I arrived in Cloquet to begin my new life as editor, but there was a line about how I looked forward to riding my bike around Carlton County. I had visions of rolling through the countryside and doing an ongoing column describing all the cool places I would ride.
Since it's already pushing mid-summer and I've not yet begun that project, I've edited it a bit to fit reality.
I won't go into why I've altered the goal, except to say that when you live the life of a freelance writer and photographer, which I did previously, you have a lot more time to ride your bike. At least I did.
Anyway, having ridden my bike two whole times last week (which was a record this summer), I figured I better ride through at least part of Carlton County.
The ride we chose is a standard - from West Duluth to Carlton and back (28 miles) on the Willard Munger State Trail.
Before Saturday, the farthest I'd made it was to Thomson, a ride that was inspired by watching Grandma's Marathon in June. That day was hot. Too hot to make it all the way to Carlton. Or so I told myself at the time.
Two friends and I decided to make the trek on Saturday morning and stop on the way back to eat breakfast at the Buffalo House.
Fortunately, I knew from my two other recent rides on the trail to use the bathroom before arriving at the starting point as the port-a-potty lay in what looked like a recently-burned heap. Not cool.
The wind was whipping all around as we set out and the guys led the way at a slightly faster clip than I was used to. I managed to keep up for the first eight miles on the slight overall incline. After that, however, I started feeling the pain of my lack of training and ever-so-slowly started dropping back farther and farther. Just when I was about to yell, "Save yourselves!" and drop into slackerville, they slowed just enough for me to keep a shred of dignity and catch up. Soon after, we hit the recently-paved portion of the trail near gorgeous Jay Cooke State Park and I was revived. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the ride, cheering on Half Voyageur Marathon runners and, of course, eating breakfast before riding back to Duluth. Have ideas for future rides in Carlton County (after the soreness wears off)? Let me know at email@example.com .