Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Easiest. Century. Evah.

100 miles is easy. All you need is a good road, a good breakfast, a good riding partner.

Oh, a 15-20 mile per hour tailwind.

We left the cabin early in the morning with the promise of a good tailwind, a partially cloudy day and cool temperatures -- perfect biking weather. We rolled into Grand Rapids and some groceries and then to the neat coffee shop they have there called "Brewed Awakenings." The woman behind the counter had heard of our journey from Mrs. Yam's sister and set us with a couple of large iced mochas and some cookies. We then went to the bike store and got some gloves (we started losing feeling slightly in a couple of fingers), checking tire pressure and tightening the stem on my bike as it had developed a nasty creak.

Highway 2 is surprisingly pleasant to ride on; good shoulder, considerate traffic and a beautiful view along the way. We stopped for water breaks, ice cream and lunch but no need for the long rests that we needed Sunday. The difference in the temperature was as important as the tailwind; 73 and dry versus 88 and humid. We followed the highway until we got to Proctor and then headed for the Skyline Parkway as suggested by Duluth routemaster Doug.

Skyline parkway is a road that runs along the ridge overlooking Duluth, a road that twists and turns and climbs and falls like nothing in the Twin Cities. There are no straight sections and the potential oncoming cars had Mrs Yam a bit unnerved. The road is in fairly bad condition but the views are magnificent, but not enough to keep us from wanting off. Unfamiliarity with the road and heavily laden bikes are not the ingredients you should be adding to this stew. Since we're staying in Canal Park, we decided to turn down Lake Ave and head to the hotel.

Yeep! It's straight friggin' down! Not sure on how to handle this, I thought that we'd just switchback down the street; down a block, over a block, down a block, etc. But the thought of that descent of the first block was too much for Mrs Yam and she hopped off her bike and hoofed it down the eight blocks to Superior St. The walk is nearly as treacherous as the ride. I don't know how y'all ride in this town...

We got to the bottom alive (much to the Mrs' relief) and found out that we were a mile and a half short of a century, so we headed up the boardwalk trail and back to round it out. The last 10 miles had really worn on me darlin' Mrs and she seemed quite pleased to check in and shower.

In all honesty, me too...

5 comments:

Biking Duluth said...

Yesterday I seen some people all loaded up riding the lakewalk, I passed by them at the top of a small hill. I didn't get a good look, and was going to say hi, but was running late for work. Was that you? Hope you enjoyed Duluth!
Jeff

Jim Thill said...

I've been using this story to convince my wife that she can do bike touring, too.

Anonymous said...

We were on the boardwalk between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday night.

I think.

mrs. yam said...

No, it must have been earlier. maybe 4? Oh, I don't know.

Jim, if I can do a biking tour than anyone can.

bother yam said...

Anonymous is correct -- it was in the evening, sometime between 6:30 - 7:30