On what proved to be the longest day of the year, Rudy & Sue Nikkel, Werner & Karen Pries, and Neil Thiessen braved the elements and struck out for Richer. The summer sun was beaming down on us, the wind gave us only occasional relief, and the mosquitoes stayed out of the way for the most part. Still, we were determined. Working as a team, we took turns lagging behind, checking out the scenery and stopping once in a while to have a swig of gatorade. We even slowed down to greet Merle Hiebert, who was already speeding back to town, having takien off on us before we even arrived at the water tower! But we had a goal, and our grit and determination finally paid off when we reached Richer. Rudy had a bacon and cheese burger, Sue had the Swiss and mushroom. Werner opted for a chicken burger while Karen and Neil also had cheese burgers. And then came my large order of fries! Thank goodness that I didn’t have to eat those all by myself! I think if I had been wearing a heart monitor it would have beeped at least four times if I hadn’t had a lot of help from everyone else! MIT teamwork! After some discussion it was determined that these Richer burgers may in fact be even better than the Woodridge variety.Having achieved a personal best in burger-wolfing-down, we headed back out onto the open road. Again, the weather was a factor. Now the sun was beginning to set, and there were times when the long shadows of the trees actually shaded our pathway and cooled our sweat-beaded brows. And sometimes we had to squint a bit. I believe that too much squinting was probably to blame for us missing the LaBroquerie ice cream stand. One might think that, having already attained our goal, our flight back to town would be a let-down. But no, there were warm showers and cool brewskies waiting for us at home. And it didn’t take us long to get there! Not that we were racing! No, this was not a day to use the big chain ring. We wanted to savour the experience, to make it last forever. It may just have been the finest Manitoba evening of the year.So, just for the records (if you’re keeping score), mark us down for nearly 70,000 calories consumed (actually, I have no idea what that means — you’ll have to check that number with Neil), a few dabs of sunscreen on our noses, a couple of decent stories and even a laugh or two. I’m not really sure about our minimum or maximum speeds, or even what our total tire pressure was; suffice it to say, when you get a beautiful Manitoba summer evening like we had tonight, and a hearty home-made burger waits for you at the other end of a bike ride, it really doesn’t matter how the first half of your day went. All is well. It’s as good as it gets.