A pain in the posterior
The riders were up and at ‘em just after 6 am, eager to begin a new day. It was the final day of the ride, and everyone began to clean up camp and prepare to depart for the final time. The campgrounds in Gilbert ended up being a great find. It was the perfect home base for Teams 1 and 2, as it offered excellent access near the mid-point of the Mesabi Trail. The campground was clean, and the camp hosts were a friendly couple. Matt also worked on preparing a breakfast of French toast (using raisin bread which was an excellent touch), bacon, and sausage. The food was consumed in short order, and work continued to clean up and get ready to head to Carleton, MN, to ride on the Munger Trail south towards Hinckley.
The last time we rode the Munger Trail was back in 2015, and we all agreed there’s no need to ride it ever again. At least until they re-pave it in its entirety. It is not an exaggeration to state that every 20-30 feet of the entire 70 miles of Munger Trail, there were large cracks in the asphalt surface that had widened and created significant bumps. These types of cracks are probably not a big deal if you’re riding a mountain bike, but on a road bike every one of these bumps is jarring from your butt, up your spine, through your head, down your chest, and out your hands. And to do this over and over and over, mile after mile, became an ultimate test of stamina, pain tolerance, and endurance. Justin had about a 10-mile head start on the other riders, as they both had work calls to take before riding. The only planned stop between Carleton and Hinckley was Moose Lake, and seeing the mother ship was a welcome sight. After a brief rest and a session of venting to Matt about how brutal the trail was, Justin continued on his way. The trail disappeared in Moose Lake and there was a sign indicating it began on the other side of downtown. So, Justin rode through town and got to the other side and could not locate the trail. He asked a construction worker, who coincidentally was working on building a bike trail through town, where to catch the Munger Trail southward. The worker was nice enough and gave Justin directions, which led him 2 miles in the wrong direction to a gravel bike trail. Justin rode back 2 more miles, grumbling under his breath before locating the trail using Google, which he told himself he should have done in the first place!
The ride from Moose Lake to Hinckley was going to be 32 miles, and though Justin knew he didn’t need 32 miles to finish his 300km, he wanted to do it anyway. That is until about 10 more miles of going over those cracks. So, it was a welcome sight to see the mother ship parked in Finlayson. And wouldn’t you know it, as Justin pulled off the trail at Finlayson, his odometer clicked 186.5 miles (300 km). He took it as a sign it was ok to call it quits. Matt informed Justin that Kyle and John both had conference calls and would not be able to make it to Hinckley, so they had arranged to stop at Finlayson. There was no need to convince Justin any further. Soon after, John and Kyle appeared, and there was great celebration. As well as general commiserating about the poor condition of the trail. The boys got cleaned up and the mother ship proceeded directly to the Hinckley Dairy Queen. Thanks to Kids ‘n Kinship for the gift card; it was a perfect end to a great ride! Many thanks to Matt for supporting us for 3 days and putting up with our sarcastic marks, as well as for bringing his positive attitude and humor. Despite the long days of riding, we had a great time, and we were so pleased to see the email while we were riding that donations are over $36,000. Thanks to Merchants Bank for being the title sponsor since the beginning, their partnership has been amazing.
See you all on the trail in 2023!