There were 18 of us MIT’ers who went down to Park Rapids, Minnesota this weekend for the “Headwaters 100” (100/75 mile bike ride), 15 who rode in either the 100 mile or the 75 mile bike ride. They were Paul, Mark, Alex, Merle, Hans, Curt, Jac , Audrey, Ron, Noreen, Jim , Rita, Neil, Helmut, Werner, Karen, Rudy and Sue. Really happy to see Mark make it, in spite of a little communication problem with car-pooling.
I think everybody will agree that it was a fabulous ride, with beautiful scenery and hilly, forest lined, winding, smoothly paved roads. The Itasca Park portion of the route was the best cycling route that I have ever experienced. The rest/food stops were extremely well set up, with even hot soup served at one of them. The course was well marked with a clear map given to everybody. The last 20 km of the course followed a paved over railway bed ( there are hunderds of miles of these in Minnesota), which had a canopy of trees and grades on both sides, most of the way. This gave an almost wind-free ride—- a great experience.
We all got through the ride in great spirits. Alex had a flat near the start, but it was quickly fixed with Hans’ help. Paul hit a pothole in Itasca Park, wiped-out and received an impressive case of road rash. It is probably one of the most well documented cases of road rash in history, with photographs of it from all angles. I should mention that the rash is high up on his hip, right next to his butt. I suspect there may be pictures of it coming soon on this website (just a “heads-up”) . A special congratulations goes to Helmut, who completed the entire 100 miles, with the help of his seeing eye dog/rabbit, Neil—a loyal friend indeed. Helmut had a very serious operation last year and is still on the mend. We hope to see more of him out on our rides. Apologies go out to Merle, who we accidentally left at one of the rest stops. We rode about 6 or 7 miles out from the rest stop, before it occurred to us that he wasn’t with us—-his familiar blue jersey, out front, pulling us along at 40 km/h was missing. We immediately stopped, waited, and before long, he showed up. I suspect he would have caught us anyways. Ron, who had memorized the words to the “Performance” rap, called out each verse and we all responded in unison (well, almost ). He and we continued doing this for miles, until his memory started getting a little foggy as to the actual words, after which he made up his own poetry. Curtis and Alex demonstated an incredible ability to climb hills ( we don’t have those things around Steinbach), attacking every hill and acelerating. Impressive!!! Curt has also shown interest in converting to Roman Catholicism, after hearing me recite the rosary. His catechism classes start next week. Jac, as usual, was his gregarious friendly self, making friends all along the way—-I vote that he replace Gary Doer as ambassador to the states. Rudy, Sue, Werner and Karen did the 75 mile and reported they had a great ride. Audrey, Noreen and Rita stayed back in Park Rapids, doing some shopping and relaxation. Noreen and Rita rode their bikes 22 kms along the “railway” bike trail and had a great time.
All in all, it was a fun time. The weather turned out to be fabulous. I’m putting my vote in right now to make this an annual event, with even more of us going next year to the 30th anniversary “Headwaters 100”.