We packed a lot of riding into one ride on one of our classic routes. Twelve riders started at 6a. Chris Carlson and Rob Welsh had already completed a 100k overnight pre-ride as part of their PBP training planning. They hope to cover over 300 miles on their first leg from Rambouillet.
We were joined by JoAnn Farfrowicz, originally from Mora, Minnesota, now retired in North Carolina, for her first rando event in 12 years.
The first part of the ride was pretty smooth with a little bit of tailwind and a gradual, getting warm day. By the time we got to Plainview (90 miles) it was very warm (mid 80s). The next two sections down to Stockton and back had several long, steep hills, definitely the toughest part of the course. Everyone was happy to be through these sections and past the halfway point, but we knew the ride home was still going to be a challenge.
We were keeping an eye on our weather forecasts as thunderstorms were threatening from 1p on. We were starting to feel like we dodged the rain when just a couple miles out of Plainview the thunder, lightning, wind and rain all came together with a big dump of rain and wind. Several of us (Dan Diehn, Jonas Nygard, Chris Carlson, Rob Welsh) found a friendly farmer with an open shed to hang out in just in time. Others (JoAnn Farfrowicz, Jim Shannon, Steve Grabowski, Hall Sanders, and Andy Williams) were not so lucky and kept on pedaling. Staying dry in Plainview were Craig Aamodt, Tom Garry and Norman Ehrentreich, but Craig and Tom had bonked hard so Denise, Craig’s wife, met them there. Hall hadn’t been riding much and was concerned about eye issues so when he was offered a ride, jumped in.
After the downpour the nine remaining riders all got into Plainview in time for another round of weather and waited it out for a while. We agreed that we would stay together the rest of the way which worked out very well.
We made it to the Millville river section about 10 miles out of Plainview and were cruising along when Chris developed a flat on his tubeless tire. He tried taping it up, getting a pump from a local guy’s compressor, but was not able to keep the tire inflated. Norman stayed with him and after two more flats (fixed with two tubes and a fresh new tire from Norman) they were back on the road. The rest of us headed up to the next snag – new road construction on one of our favorite sections along the Zumbro River had us detouring up to Zumbro Falls then west to Mazeppa, adding a few miles to the day. It was late evening and party time in Zumbro Falls so the first few miles on the way out of town were a little nerve racking until traffic thinned out.
It took a while to get to Zumbrota where Norman and Chris caught up with the rest of us. We all had a good rest there. There had been road construction on the next section up to Cannon Falls so we had developed two detours, one a much hillier route on pavement the other on a bike trail and a few miles of gravel. We had heard that the road construction (which had been going on for over a year) was complete. Rob checked with a Kwik Trip clerk who grew up within a few miles of the road construction and he verified this was now open so we opted to return to our original route to Cannon Falls. Luck was not with us at the start though. When we left the Kwik Trip, we ran into a torn up Jefferson Drive, which had been one of the worst roads on the whole route for several years. We were not able to navigate more than a few blocks before we had to return to the Kwik Trip and re-navigate around the construction. The next time through though it will be great to have some new pavement to ride on.
Everything went smooth all the way to Cannon Falls, where we discovered that our last control, Casey’s, was no longer a 24 hour store. Fortunately by then (2:30a) nobody really needed any supplies so after a brief stretch out on the sidewalk we hopped back on and rolled an easy 32 mile spin back to Apple Valley, arriving at 5a, a long day/night, but a fun ride with friends.
Congratulations and good luck to PBP aspirants Chris Carlson, Dan Diehn, Jonas Nygard, Andy Williams and Rob Welsh for completing one of their last training rides for the Aug 20th ride in Rambouillet, France. Good luck also to Craig Aamodt and Tom Garry who did not complete this ride but will be in Rambouillet next month.
Congratulations also to Steve Grabowski and Jim Shannon for completing their first 400k. Jim only needs a 200k to complete his first Super Randonneur series. Congrats and thanks to upcoming RBA Norman Ehrentreich, who completed his Ultra Randonneur Award with this ride (10 ACP Super Randonneur series), for looking after the logistics with Rob Welsh and for helping Chris Carlson with his flats.
It was nice to see Hall Sanders, long time Minnesota Randonneur, who did not complete the ride but we will see him again on more rides in the future.
Special thanks and congratulations to JoAnn Farfrowiz for joining us and contributing to the group. We hope to see her again the next time she returns to her home state and family.