Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Fourteen-Hour Century Ride

My 100-mile September 11 ride this year took 14 hours -- but with a number of diversions along the way.  It ended up being 100.28 miles, with the first 42 and the last 30 miles solo, but with my husband Dale along for the middle part.

The first section took me along Victory Memorial Drive -- a long boulevard planted with hundreds of trees to honor the Minneapolis boys who died in World War I.  My dad's cousin Virginia was one of the schoolchildren who planted the trees, and when I ride that way, I always think of her, and of my grandfather who fought in France.  The original trees have almost all succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease, but their replacements are starting to fill in the gaps.  The drive has been a favorite cycling route for many years.  Back in the early 1960's, before the bike trails were built, Minneapolis would close it to cars for occasional Sunday bike rides.  

In the middle of the day, we met up with triking friends at a community parade in Hopkins and rode a few blocks at a very slow pace.  We were led by a Dixieland band and accompanied by lots of kids on bikes and trikes, and teens on roller skates.

Riding back to Minneapolis with our friends -- all on delta trikes -- we took the Midtown Greenway to the Mississippi River, where a majestic bald eagle flew up just ahead of us.  We stopped at Minnehaha Falls and ran into a couple more friends, who surprised me by hollering "happy birthday."  (I hadn't realized that they knew.)

The sun set as I finished the ride at 14 hours -- by no means my slowest 100 miles, and not all that bad for a 60th birthday.

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