|The 2007 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour|
Date(s): May 19, 20 2007. Album by Jon Sharratt. Photos by Jon Sharratt. 1 - 24 of 98 Total. 9961 Visits.
|Dear Parishioners of the Realm, (please read responsively)|
At the 2007 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour, the tone was set during the Opening Salvo when, during the Blessing of the Bicycles, the Irreverand Matthew Cole stated:
"He maketh me to lie down at lunchtime:
He leadeth me beside back waters."
After the (Raleigh) Lenton Observance, we were instructed:
"In the name of the Trinity, High Gear, Direct Drive and Low, go forth and ride."
With that, we were off!
It didn’t take long before the reality began to set in:
"…protect and shield thy tyres from flats…"
Did not work. The poor Riders of the Realm suffered all weekend with flats from burst sidewalls, defective rim strips and glass. Shifters were out of adjustment, mudguard struts let go and baskets, chains and lockrings were cast upon the bitumen. If you were a victim, the only comfort was knowing there would be plenty of assistance in the form of a good-natured ribbing and plenty of questionable humour and jokes.
"For he today that rides his steed with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition"
The Bay City Hill is still present and accounted for, thank you, and few complaints were heard as oxygen-depraved Nutters trudged up the 2.5 mile incline only to be threatened by sprinkles and a clap of thunder from the Heavens.
"We all wish that we had more lower gears
Than just these bloody three"
The Smiling Pelican Bakery was a welcome sight but sadly, the banana cream pie was exhausted quickly. There were plenty of worthy substitutes including Kirsch torte, triple berry pie and vanilla bean cheesecake.
"Twas then that we parted
At the Pelican,
Near the steep, steep side of Rock Maiden"
It seems the 2007 3ST was fraught with high adventure. The Tourbook had an error (my humble apologies) in direction to the Maiden Rock overlook; Larson Lane should actually be Long Lane. The bewildered farmer that lives on Larson Lane had a steady stream of visitors seemingly dressed for Sunday service riding odd bicycles and scratching their collective heads. For some, the overlook was eventually found and Keith Dukavicius, for one, admitted to having a Julie Andrews moment and wandered off to find a quiet place to sing “The Sound of Music” at the top of the bluff while the rest of us enjoyed the overlook and debated his whereabouts.
"The hills are alive with the sound of 3-speeds"
The heat of the day continued to build as we left that sacred spot and continued on to lunch at Stockholm. Enjoying the gentle tailwind, we pressed on to Pepin in search of Holy water at the Depot Museum. We debated whether to take a quick tour but the temptation of ice cream was too great; we were off to Nelson with the scent of vanilla and strawberry light in the air and heavy in our hearts.
There was a tumble just outside of Nelson; Jane Stonich hit a hole and crashed. She is doing well and was in fine spirits Sunday morning.
"And say ‘These wounds I had on Dunstan’s day’."
The Eagles Nest did a fine job with feeding 73 hungry Tourists; our compliments to Java Jim and Java Jan. As a surprise, Jan had baked a miniature wedding cake for Scot and Carrie McCollum since they were married 1 week after the conclusion of the 2006 Tour. Ron Grogg, our acting Keeper of the Cask, did a bang-up job with tributes to the Queen, all the Riders of the Realm and those who could not join us. Jim and Jan arranged entertainment by a remarkable un-named Irish band comprised of local members no older than 13. They also provided accompaniment while we sang Loch Pepin, or, The Maiden Rock Ballad:
"Where me and my Raleigh
Were ever want to gae
On the highway thirty five of Wisconsin"
Sunday breakfast at the ‘Nest was stunning as usual, and fortified the Choir for the task at hand. After a quick Wabasha newspaper interview, Java Jim escorted the group out to the edge of town just as the heavens opened up with a cold shower. Capes were quickly donned and smiles were seen all around as we resumed the pilgrimage through Reads Landing and into the hills beyond.
The cold tailwind pushed us quite well into Lake City but not before 2 more flats en route. The Chickadee Cottage Tea Room was a welcome break with tea and scones all ‘round. Some Nutters found refreshment at Rhythm and Brew coffee shop and were treated to live bluegrass music. We were anxious to continue the journey since the tailwind was delightful and swift; we were able to trundle along in high gear with no labouring.
"Where in purple hue
Old Frontenac we view
And the moon coming out in the gloaming"
Old Frontenac is becoming a favourite tradition with all the 3-speeds parked along the civil-war-era stone wall at Manypenny Avenue and Faribault Street. Photos were taken and after a quiet break we were on our way to more pass-storming up and over Hill Avenue. The descent is a cracker with S-curves and 1-lane bridges to negotiate on gravel at high speed. We gathered at the bottom and pressed on to the conclusion in Red Wing. We then gathered at the Staghead for post-tour Belhaven Scottish ale and a delightful Ploughmans Lunch.
"But me and me old bike
Will always ride again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Pepin"
Best along the path,
Jon Sharratt, Shirt-Tail Organiser