It was just over a year ago that I got onto my bike for the first time in a decade, and two weekends ago I set out to do my longest bike ride I’ve ever done. Because I was in Minnesota to visit some of my relatives, I decided to head out to The Root River Trail System and check it out. If you live in Southeastern Minnesota, you definitely need to check this trail out!
The trail itself is pretty nice, and a number of places seemed to be new. It follows an old railroad track, and at bridges you can see some of the original infrastructure. The trail runs right alongside a river, and the whole ride we could see people on inner tubes floating on the river (how fun is that for a weekend activity?!). Along the trail there are also a few small, quaint little towns that are fun to explore. In Lanesboro (10 miles into the ride) we stopped to eat a small, quick lunch, then continued on our way. We turned around at about mile 16.5 and headed back to the town of Whalen to stop at the Aroma Pie Shop (we were 18 miles into the ride at this point) to get some delicious homemade pie. The three of us each got a pie (Blueberry Peach, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Strawberry Mango), and split the pieces into thirds to enjoy them. After 18 miles of biking, the pie was absolutely delicious! It’s definitely worth the stop if you are in the area!
5 miles later we were back at Lanesboro (23 miles into ride) and I started to feel a bit dizzy. It was getting pretty warm out, and I started to get dizzy because my POTS was acting up. My hands were all shaky and I could tell my heart rate was getting a bit weird. I knew I immediately needed some salt to help with my blood pressure, so I found a little sandwich shop that had packets of salt. I grabbed a few and immediately ate 2 of the packages of salt (with lots of water), and put an extra packet into the bottle of gatorade. I took about 10 minutes to walk around a cute little shop, and then I was feeling much better.
We set out on our final 10 miles home, and I was surprised that, despite going farther than I ever have before on the bike, I wasn’t really feeling that tired. I think this had to do with the bike I was riding. I’ve trained on a heavy (30+ pounds) bike, so I’m used to doing hills and long rides with that. That Saturday I was on a borrowed bike that weighed about 15 pounds, and the lighter frame made a HUGE difference. Despite going up several hills, I never FELT like I was going up hills since I was flying without the heavy bike. I can’t believe that a bike can make that big of a difference!
In total I went 33 miles, and I had a really great time. The trail itself was absolutely beautiful, and provided great shade in the hot sun. There are little restaurants, hotels, and real bathrooms (no Porta Potties!) along the trail, and it really is the perfect weekend activity! Despite the fact that I had a small hiccup with POTS, I was really happy with ride and wished that we had the time to go a bit farther.
So, I’ve hit a new accomplishment this summer: 33 miles on the bike!
Stay tuned– I have another knew PDR to talk about soon!