Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Fargo Reunion Ride- Part 3

The roads got more familiar real quick as we left the silo stop.
The silo stop was a good regrouping, but I was feeling really well and not at all worried about how I was doing so far. Only the expectation of a possible Shady Lane climb was making me take pause for how I might do. Since there were no cues or data to help me know where the route was headed after the silo stop, I wasn't sure if we would be taking that climb in or not.

I did know that we would definitely be having more head wind sections, and that was an unknown as far as how I might handle that after such a rough evening the night before this ride. Otherwise, I was really okay with the winds. I mean, it seemed as though the first half of this year was so windy that riding with that was now "normal". In fact, the wind was never really anything more than another challenge all year. The same feeling prevailed for me at the Fargo Reunion Ride.

There was a turn into some familiar roads not long after getting going again. I was riding alongside Jason, so I asked if we were heading by the old ruins of the mill I remembered from six years ago. He confirmed that I was going to see that. The bonus that came long with that was that we were out of the wind altogether down in the river valley, which was a nice change for a bit. That and the scenery down there was quite nice as well. I was really enjoying this stretch, but I figured we would have a bit of a climb out at some point.

The old ruins.
There were a few stretches of chip seal that we were obliged to take.
Another charming, well preserved barn.

Sooner or later we were on a chip seal road and I was pretty sure it was the one that led to Shady Lane where the big climb was on the Rawland Route up a badly rutted, very steep Level B Maintenance Road. I was riding along with my friend Tony and I was telling him about it. Sure enough, we came up upon the entrance. I was pretty stoked. I got an image or two on the lower slopes of the climb, but once on the steepest part, it was all business until we reached the top where we all regrouped, rested, and set off again.

Shady Lane. Up around that bend things got downright steep and nasty for a bit.

Making our way against the wind on the way back to Nerstrand.
Once we got going on from the Shady Lane climb we found two more longer, steep climbs, but nothing on the order of the Shady Lane ascent. That was the only time all year I think I used the granny ring on the Fargo! We stopped a couple more times to regroup, and once when a few of us blew a turn. In all, it was slower going due to that and the wind for the last 20 miles or so, but we came in with a good time for the route of 44 miles.

Timothy and Ben chat as we awaited the turn missers.
Getting ready for a staged shot for Jason to take.
Martini photobombing my long shot of a hilly gravel road.
Eventually we rounded a corner and we were coming back in against a stiff Southerly wind which lead us to Nerstrand again. I decided that I would bag a shot of my bicycle in front of the Nerstrand cemetery gates, and Tony offered to take the shot with myself in it as well. So I set myself against the gate with my bike and Tony took this......

One for the album! (Image by Tony McGrane).
Tony's well worn Brooks Cambium
Ben was tuckered out at the end.
So we all made it, our bodies held up, and the wind did not defeat us. Timothy produced a bottle of bourbon which we had a celebratory pull from. Many went round the corner to get an energy drink and something to munch on. After some good fellowship, we all went our separate ways.

The Fargo Reunion Ride actually only had three Fargos on it. MG and my Gen I's and Tony's Gen 4. But as Jason and I mused as we were riding along, almost every single bike on the ride had been influenced by the Fargo. Either directly, as in the Vaya that was on the ride, or as with Jason's brand spanking new Deadwood, or indirectly, as with the All City bike, or as with Timothy's Van Dessel WTF. There was one Trek Boone and Martini's Singular Gryphon which did not get their influences from the Fargo. Obviously, the Gryphon is so like a Fargo one could be excused for thinking it was a copy. So, as with the bikes, all the folks there were somehow connected to the Fargo in some way.

I had a blast on this ride. The scenery is great, and the roads were a lot of fun to ride on. We did not have any mechanicals nor did we have any issues with anything, really, other than the missed turn. I have to get back up there to ride again sooner than I have. I think it has been since 2012 or so that I had ridden in the area.

That wasn't the end of my weekend by any stretch. I and my family did not come home until Sunday afternoon, but the ride itself was over. I am very glad I came.

Thank You: Jason Boucher, Ben, Meg, and Liam Witt. Martini, MG, and Tony. Special shout out to Justin The Younger for taking care of racking up the bikes and driving to a from the ride. The rest of the Fargo Reunion Riders. Thanks to Nerstrand and the Nerstrand Meat Market. And finally, thanks to Salsa Cycles for the Fargo model!

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