Monday, September 28, 2009

Grand Marais Duathlon

RLOVE2BIKE informed me this past spring about a self-timed duathlon (bike-run-bike) sponsored by Superior North Outdoor Center Bike Shop located in Grand Marais.
Nice shop, nice folks, and a must stop.
If you get close enough to this photo, you can almost smell the World’s Best Donut behind us.

The journey “mini dual-family vacation” up the shore started Friday afternoon with a genuinely good family. I am honored to call them friends. Keven and I got off to somewhat of a late start Saturday morning (11:41:36 to be exact). The next time we do this, it will be much earlier to avoid some traffic and all the smells from the likes of Sven and Ole with their Donut neighbor near the Bluewater. My stomach nearly got the better of me, but the 20 ounces of mostly water won the battle.

The duathlon starts and ends with the dipping of either the front or back tire in the Lake Superior waters at the coast guard ramp.

Me…Here we go!!!
After a wrong turn or two, we were able to set a blistering just under 11mph pace during the first 4 miles: 22 minutes with 1000 feet of climb on the Gunflint Trail.

I was watching the equivalent to about half of my water bottle rolling down my nose and arms in the balmy 63° weather. Note to self: Bring an extra water bottle next time.

We took a left on Devil’s Track Road (paved) and about 6 miles later took a right on Ball Club Road (gravel). Note to self: Know where you go before you go! We should have stayed on Devil’s Track Road and taken a right (gone North) on Bally Creek Road (gravel). We would have avoided about 6 miles of gravel.

6 miles later, we took a left on The Grade (gravel). From here, just 5 short miles later, we made it to the Eagle Mountain parking lot. All gravel roads were a mix of loose gravel and/or washboard. If we were careful, we could find some smooth areas to ride on. My teeth were a chatterin’ a few times. We finished the first leg in 1:25:39. If we would have taken the Devil’s Track Road to Bally Creek Road, our time would have been faster. Another note to self: Know where you go before you go!

Regrettably, due to the time and some toothed and toothless ones (Coincidentally, both of our daughters - Cursta and Kennedy lost the same front tooth within about 10 minutes of each other.) we were unable to perform the run portion of the ride…Next year. Darn, we didn’t get our water bottle. The Kona cross-bike I rode favored the gravel while the Motobecane road bike Keven rode favored the pavement. He trooped it out and rode the gravel without hesitation.

View from the Gunflint on the way back.

We took the same course back and with a stop or two for some pictures, finished in 1:10:31.

All in all, we had a great ride. Thank you Keven and our families for the great ride, valuable lessons, and wonderful vacation. Thank you RLOVE2BIKE for my first ever blog. It is truly an honor.


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  2. Try to get right this time.

    Thanks for the nice write up.

    Lucky you didn't have MG along as you remember how difficult it is for us riding the scenic highway with all those food You may have had a hard time getting away from the bike shop area.

    After the tooth fairy bill is settled up, Christmas should reasonable if you can just get two front teeth grow in.

    We will be looking forward to the day you earn your water bottle and the report as to find out if us layman can handle this beast.

    One last thing...The honor is all ours. Hopefully we can get a few more from you.

  3. Funny how the north shore isn't very flat. It is hilly. Look's like you guys had a great ride. Gravel can be great if it isn't too wash boardy.