Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Soobegon Lakes 100

This past weekend marked the second year I have participated in the Soobegon Lakes 100 bike touring weekend. The tour takes us through the heart of Minnesota, 106 miles from Bowlus to Fergus Falls on continuous bike trail. The name originates from the three trail systems we ride:  the Soo Line, Wobegon, and Central Lakes Trail.

Ready to hit the trail!

We began our journey early Friday morning, leaving Bowlus at 6:45 AM.  Of the six cyclists in our group, three towed B.O.B.s and three hauled panniers. Our first major rest stop was just under the 40 mile mark at Jitters in Sauk Centre. (One of my favorite coffee shops!). After refueling with some breakfast and getting our caffeine fix we hit the trail again.  


We battled a strong headwind all day and also rode through multiple rain showers. Alexandria, Evansville, and Ashby were two of our longer rest stops. 

Gotta stop and visit Ole in Alexandria!

All smiles around mile 60!

Fueling up in Ashby!

Outside of Dalton our friend Jen met us on her bike and rode with us the last stretch of 8-9 miles to the DeLagoon Campground.  It was wonderful to see a smiling face as the wind had worn us down throughout the day. We arrived at our campsite around 7:30 Friday evening with a total of 8 hours and 30 minutes of saddle time on our bikes and an average pace of 12 mph. The wind played a large part in slowing us down besides all the added weight we were carrying.  

Once at the campground we were lucky enough to be greeted by cold beer that Jen had picked up for us. We cyclists enjoy our beer, especially after a long day of riding!  :)  Pizza delivery to the campground was also a necessity as we had worked up quite the appetite. After our beer was drank, tents were pitched, and pizza eaten it was time to call it a day!

Gotta love a pair of dual purpose Reef sandals with the bottle opener on the bottom!

The crew after an exhausting 106.5 miles on Friday.

Saturday was a rest day and a rather cool one at that, with a high of 70 degrees in July!  We hit up the Viking Cafe in Fergus for a late breakfast, visited the otter statue, bathed in the lake, took naps, and enjoyed an evening campfire.

Working on our Abby Road impression in downtown Fergus!

What a statue...not really sure of the meaning but fun to impersonate!

A visit to the otter.

Sunday rolled around very quickly and the morning brought with it the packing up of our gear. I personally feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can get my 4lb tent packed back into its original bag!  :)  Although, I don't have many other options when I have to haul it on my bike.  By 8 AM we were on the trail again.  We stopped in the small town of Ashby, about 16 miles down the trail, for a delicious breakfast at Ruby's. Alexandria brought with it a quick stop at Jake's Bike Shop (highly recommended) and a pit stop at Caribou Coffee!  As the day went on we checked off and said farewell to each town we passed through. The wind gods were in our favor with nice tail and cross winds. Melrose and Holdingford were the last of our major stops before we made it 106 miles to Bowlus!  On our way back we decreased our riding time by almost an hour with a total of 7 hours and 40 minutes.  We averaged just under 14 mph and returned to Bowlus around 8 PM. 

Another successful Soobegon Lakes 100-and yes I felt as rough as I look in this picture!

Thankfully we had few mechanical issues on the trail, just one flat tire!  The weather overall was great and even a little on the cool side with little humidity. I certainly did not mind this for sleeping.  My legs feel surprisingly good and the ride seemed much easier than last year.  Well, I now have two century rides accomplished this year with a total of six in my lifetime. I have one more to come in September, the Headwaters 100!! 

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