When I awoke at something like 4:30am to the sounds of robins, cardinals, and other various song birds going nuts, I knew it was still too early to get rolling. But.........try as I might, I couldn't fall back asleep. So I kitted up, rode down to the bathrooms, charged my cell phone up, and just hung out for a bit. The other two lazy bones, (read: Jason and MG) were sound asleep until about 7am. Lucky dawgs!
Another rider or two showed up right about 8am, and Jason headed out to the Lebanon Hills parking lot to check on others who may have shown up. We ended up having 10 riders total. A nice sized group for a ride like this one. Jason led the way out of town on a combination of pavement and bike path, but it wasn't long at all before we got into the gravely goodness.
The rest of this post will be highlights from the first part of the ride which mainly featured the munitions plant, U-More Park, and some sweet double track "b road".
The opening stretches of gravel were in and around Rosemount, Minnesota. These were fast, smooth sections that were packed down perfectly by the previous nights rain.
There were a few turns here and there and each section was short-ish, flat, but fun, as we got a chance to chat with each other and get to know one another.
So here it is. This is the old, abandoned munitions plant that you see often on Gnat Likes... This is what it looks like as you approach from the north.
Jason was a great ride leader, giving us the history and background behind the installation and the land surrounding it. Very cool stuff. Thanks Jason!
During one of Jason's informational stops, the chatter turned to what to eat on rides. MG brought up his list of packed goodies which included Dum-Dums. Someone guffawed and called his bluff, MG proffered the goods, and promptly spilled all the contents of his zip-loc bag of candy on the road. It was like a 4th of July parade! We scrambled to grab a few of the confectionery goods to consume for ourselves. Sorry MG! One of you "secret weapons is "out of the bag" now. (<====Ha!)
During the time we were in the vicinity of the munitions plant, we were serenaded by repetitious spurts of gun fire. The staccato rat-a-tat-tat could be heard consistently, seemingly without end. Someone mentioned it and another rider said there was a firing range in the area. Well, we saw this sign, and then it all made sense. Your "gubmint dah-lahs" hard at work here!
Salsa Cycles engineer, Pete Koski, said the "FBI" part stood for "Fargo Bike Invitational" We liked that!
The road through U-More is a B-road-ish double track punctuated by a few gates which we were obliged to dismount and hop over.
Somewhere along the way here someone noted clouds of gnats along the ditches and in the woods which marched alongside the roadway. They were definitely thick!
After leaving the U-More area we were back onto more traditional gravel again. Coming up to an intersection with a paved area, a rider along with us had a flat. So we all lounged around, chatted, and ate food we had brought along as we waited.
The day so far had been warm with mostly overcast skies and light breezes. Perfect for riding bicycles!
The spot where we stopped was adjacent to a pasture with sheep grazing in it. Pete Koski was "talking to the animals", and his "sheep whisperings" enticed one of the male sheep to come over and check us out. Here MG gives the critter a little attention, which the sheep seemed to enjoy.
That's a wrap on Part II. Look for the final installment of my report on the Fargo Adventure Ride tomorrow.