Red Wing Ride and a Wedding!

May 18, 2014

I’m in Red Wing, MN this weekend for the wedding of my two best friends, Celeste and Sarah (McKay) Calkins! I was so honored when Celeste asked me to stand up for her. Yesterday really was a rest day for me, as I left early in the morning to get to Red Wing and then spent the rest of the day helping Celeste and Sarah set up for the wedding. The wedding wasn’t until later today (Saturday) though, so that means I had no excuse not to get out and do my bike workout. So, I got up at crack of dawn and started the 3.5 – 4.5 hour ride my training plan called for. I pre-planned the ride using Map My Ride to find current routes other cyclists had used. (And as usual, e-mailed this map to Celeste and Sarah, and my mother, beforehand, and texted them when I was starting. Plan the ride, ride the plan). Here’s what I rode according to my Lie Detector:

Red Wing Ride Map

Red Wing Ride Summary

There were several big hills – great training for Ironman Wisconsin!

Red Wing Ride Elevation

And did you see that I started out with a big hill? Yep, the hotel is at the bottom of a hill. Super fun. ;)

Actually, it kinda was. BECAUSE…it was super cold, and climbing will make you warmer than anything. I thought I was probably in trouble when I stepped outside the St. James hotel (our finish line for today) and took this “before” photo and I could see my breath:

Start of Ride

And I was right, when I checked my Garmin data later:

Red Wing Ride Weather

I was so, sooooo unprepared for that kind of cold. I wore my tri top under my cycling jersey, which was one of the better decisions I’ve made in life, armwarmers, running tights, and my running gloves, because I’m too cool think about packing my windproof winter cycling gloves. I should know better this time of year…but no. And I suffered for it! I nearly abandoned the ride during the first portion – I mean I seriously, seriously thought about it. But I didn’t. Yay me!

Cannon Valley Trail

The first part was a paved rail-to-trail leading from Red Wing to Cannon Falls, the Cannon Valley Trail:

Cannon Valley TrailTrail by river

There was this awesome sign post on the trail! Can you see the rainbow flag?!? Yay gay pride!!! And the bottom of the post had a free pump for use, which I thought was totally awesome:

Red Wing Distance Sign 2 Red Wing Bike Pump

A little ways down the road I came across a turkey!! He was all puffed up and pissed off at me as I approached, and by the time I stopped and got my phone out he had calmed himself a little:

Red Wing TurkeyRed Wing Turkey Close Up 2

I tried to tell him I’m a vegetarian and I don’t eat turkeys, but he was not trusting. He crossed the road (Insert some cheesy pun on “why did the chicken cross the road”) and went about his business. I continued on to…

Cannon Falls

Did I mention I was really, really cold during the first part of this ride? Yeah…the trail was great, but I couldn’t wait to get to Cannon Falls and some less shaded area to ride on so the sun could warm me. I hadn’t planned to just turn back because the trail wasn’t long enough for a straight out and back. Anyway…open, sunny, warmer roads was all I could think about while riding on that trail…hands so frozen my fingers hurt and wouldn’t bend… Cannon Falls became my Oasis. And I finally got there! Here is the sprawling metropolis of Cannon Falls:

Downtown Cannon Falls

It was totally cute.

I then started my loop back on Hwy 25. It was a highway. It looked like a highway:

Hwy 25

335 st.

I planned to take a short little jaunt down 335th st from 25 to connect to Highway 1, which would take me back to Red Wing.

Surprise! 335 st WAS GRAVEL.

335 th street gravel

I’m sure if I had spent more time researching the route on Google Maps in Satellite I would know this…but I didn’t. Ultimately, there were pretty clear lines where cars had driven….and I knew it was going to be only a couple miles, so I decided to go for it. Remember…plan the ride, ride the plan.

It actually was fine, until I got to a small hill. There were no good open lines where cars had cleared the gravel on that hill. I should have just surrendered and walked my bike up the hill, but I’m a freaking idiot, so I didn’t. Halfway up, my rear wheel hit a really soft patch and I stopped gripping/moving completely, just spinning. What happens when you’re clipped into a bike and you stop moving? Yep…BAM. I tried to give my ankle a quick jerk to unclip and stop it, but it was futile. Knowing that most cyclists break their collarbones from sticking their arms out to try to lesson the blow, as soon as I realized I was going down, I clung to the handlebars as hard as I could, twisted a bit, and took the impact in the back of my ribs and hip.

Thank goodness no one but a bunch of clearly uninterested cows saw me. I laid there for a moment remembering how Celeste had told me very seriously that if I get hurt and can’t make it to the wedding she’d kill me, before snapping out of my momentary haze. I have never – NEVER – fallen while clipped in, so trying to unclip from underneath Delores while rolling around on the gravel was a fun new skill to learn. I then shook it off – literally, I had gravel dust all over me – and walked a bit up the hill and took a photo of the spot to commemorate it:

I hate you gravel hill

And that’s how I felt about it. I really felt ok afterwards, except when I took a deep breath, when it felt like a big, sharp knife was stabbing directly into my ribs. That got better as the day went on, though the hip is much more sore. Just so you know, my friend’s partner is a nurse practitioner, and she looked me over later, confirming nothing was seriously hurt, just a bad case of bruises to my body and my pride.

Highway 1

Highway 1 was much, much better. Look at this great shoulder! And there wasn’t much traffic:

Highway 1

Finally, I returned to Red Wing from the East:

Red Wing Sign

I didn’t get my run in… by the time I got back it was almost 11am, and I quick checked in with Celeste and Sarah who requested my attention to my wedding duties. So I quick showered and got over there!

Here they are, all married up!:

Celeste and Sarah

And the wedding party selfie:

Wedding Party Selfie

What a great day! Seriously one of the best ever, I think. I couldn’t be more happy for them. But now I’m totally exhausted (and still sore) so it’s time to tuck myself into bed! Hope you had a great Saturday too :)

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