Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Cannon Valley Trail - An 85.5 Mile Bike Ride

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking an 85.5 mile bike ride. It was a bit of a surprise because the weather has been unfavorable and it was supposed to rain all day. But like today, it ended up being beautiful and frankly just shy of perfect for cycling. 

I set out from camp just south of Red Wing, Minnesota and took the back country roads to my first stop at Caribou Coffee - actually, it's my favorite Caribou in the world, maybe my favorite coffee shop. It used to be the main train depot in town and Caribou has done a wonderful job of giving it their feel and yet retaining the sense of what it used to be. And besides the inspiring combination of old and new, the place is huge and has lots of areas where one can read, write, catch up on pro-cycling, converse, or just sit back and enjoy the day. 

Since I had my bike with me, I sat outside to protect it and I read a chapter of a book I had brought along. After a healthy and enjoyable stop, I headed over to the trail head and made my way along the twenty-mile path, past Belle Creek and Welch Village and one postcard-like scene after another until I reached the quaint little town of Cannon Falls. 


There I stopped for a sandwich at Nick's Diner, and by the way, if you're ever in that town I highly recommend this place. It's small and inviting, and their food is fresh and made to order. I had a turkey BLT and it was one of the best I've ever had - no exaggeration! 

After enjoying my time in town, I headed back down the trail and stopped by Belle Creek where I couldn't help but take a quick dip and walk in the water. It was a bit chilly but oh so refreshing, and I'm so grateful that I took the time to stop. Often when I'm riding I'm so focused on reaching my destination or achieving a certain average speed that I just blow right by places like this, and I'm grateful that God gave me a heart yesterday to be distracted by his beauty and blessing in nature. Oh that I would be distractible in this sense every day! 

Belle Creek: Site of Refreshing Joy!
Soon enough I reached Red Wing and stopped by Hanisch Bakery and Coffee where I enjoyed a little dinner and a refreshing drink. The day was so perfect, and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed sitting in downtown Red Wing and just soaking it in. 

Oh, and I also had to psych myself up for the final 20 miles or so because I had a lot of climbing ahead of me and I was tired. I had ridden well, and fairly fast, all day but I didn't know how much I had left in the tank for the four or so serious climbs ahead, as well as the many rollers. But I set out and just kept a comfortable pace and soon enough my legs warmed up and I actually enjoyed all the climbs. Well, all but the last one! It's a 0.8 mile brutal bear, and I definitely crawled up it. And to make matters more challenging it came on the next to last mile of the ride. But again, I did it and really enjoyed a shower and a good rest when it was over. 

I'm so thankful to Jesus for an amazing day on the bike, and I look forward to the 95-100 mile ride I plan to take next week. I haven't yet decided where I'm going to ride but wherever I ride I pray that I'll have even half the grace God lavished on me yesterday. 

God be with you all, thanks for reading! 

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