|The 2019 Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour|
Date(s): May 18 & 19, 2019. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 59 of 59 Total. 9067 Visits.
|20 days and 20 nights|
The rain started at sign-in; it was heavy but by the time we were finishing the blessing of the bicycles, the rain was finishing as well. With a little trepidation, we pushed off thinking the worst was on the way. As the road began to dry, we thought we might be fine now but certainly drenched later.
Up the Bay City Hill we went and all the Nutters thought “now is the time…” but no, we stayed dry all the way to the Smiling Pelican in Maiden Rock for Elevenses.
We ate our fill of quiche, banana crème pie and this year’s highlight: Victorian sponge cake. Delightful it was and we lingered, chatted, took photos and were generally regarded as harmless by the locals. At some point, someone checked radar and found a Big Green Blob to the south and heading our way. Right then, all hands to the pumps and off we went.
Stockholm was next on the route and many stopped for lunch, pie or a pint or all three. A beautiful spot, this, and we enjoyed the view of the river in front and the bluffs behind. Soon we were sure we heard thunder in the distance as the BGB approached. Off we went.
The road to the town of Pepin is as pretty as can be, but hilly and longish. Some visited the waterfront, some visited the new winery and some visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. Right, must press on into the Doldrums.
From Pepin to [Lord] Nelson is a long tiring stretch; mostly straight and flat, it is at least, a bird watchers delight. It trundles on for an eternity at water level and finally one final hill brings you up to field elevation with more bluffs and Nelson in the distance. A bit of ice cream from the Nelson Cheese Factory and we were ready for the final push.
Riding along the causeway brought Wabasha closer and one final exhausting hill over the bridge brought us home tired but dry.
The Eagle’s Nest was our home away from home and our friends Jan and Jim outdid themselves this time. Beef/Guiness pot pie was the main dish with garlic mashed potatoes and mushy peas. The crown of the dessert table was the Guiness chocolate cake. Simply outstanding. Tim Long’s sing along put a smile on everyone’s face for the evening and some wandered across the street to Turning Waters for a pint of Bicycle Brown.
Sunday morning confirmed our suspicions; the rain was here. However, a hearty breakfast was the first order of business and we cyclists were not going to disappoint. Soon it was time to face our predicament and we donned our capes, put our heads down and pushed off into the heavy mist. Heavy it was and when combined with the strong headwind, it exhausted and froze the Nutters all the way to Lake City.
An impromptu Brew-Up was held under the canopy at the east end of Lake City since Ohuta Park had no shelter. It was apparent at this point that some were near hypothermia and needed a ride back to Red Wing. The interesting thing here was that cars were ready and waiting; no questions asked. Those that needed a ride got a ride. The cyclists that wanted to carry on did so but only on a survival basis. No visits to Old Frontenac, no Hill Road, no Ski Road, it was time for a beeline back to Red Wing and a heated automobile.
All this sounds quite desperate but this group of friends made it happen with no hypothermia, no shivering and no bicycles left behind. The Vicar predicted 40 days and 40 nights of rain, but in the end we got about half that.
To test a friendship, add a little drama to the mix and watch who stands tall. In our little adventure-turned-disaster, everyone stood tall and, indeed, everyone should be proud. And the one silent friend we should be very proud of? The ‘umble 3-speed.
And no frozen bodies were found in the ditches.