It was raining lightly as we loaded our luggage on Tom’s van for the final time Sunday morning.
Then, as we rolled our bikes out of rooms, had breakfast and turned in our room keys, the rain stopped.
Daven took off. No sense in holding back the racer.
But there were dark clouds above as the rest of us pedaled out of Albany,
We spread out over a few miles on Stearns County Road 10 heading to Roscoe on the first phase of the ride to Willmar.
County 10 from Albany to Roscoe is a rolling stretch of shoulderless road that I remembered from the same ride last year as being about 10 miles long.
I was in good spirits as I completed my first eight miles on County 10 and was rolling down a long hill toward an intersection.
I figured I had two miles left to Roscoe.
The sign at the intersection indicated I had six miles left to ride to Roscoe.
Riding to Roscoe on County 10 offers a special reward: after 14 miles of climbing hills and looking out for vehicles, there’s one more steep hill to climb up to Highway 23.
There were few hills on the rest of the ride ro Willmar.
Bob caught up with me on the road to Paynesville and we stopped there at a gas station for coffee.
As we rode up the bridge over the Highway 23 bypass, we saw a cyclist at the top.
It was Jarrett Hubbard waiting for us.
He had planned to ride with us for the weekend, but couldn’t for a variety of reasons.
The three of us proceeded to the Glacial Lakes State Trail and met Tom a few miles later.
He drove to Willmar and pedaled back up the trail to join us.
We pedaled past New London and Spicer.
As we approached the trailhead in Willmar, we saw two women in the parking lot.
Sofia, my wife, and Aggie, Tom’s wife, were waiting for us.
There was hugging and photo taking and Pedal for Project Impact 2014 was over.
This year’s ride may be over, but you can still contribute to the cause.
You can mail a donation to: Safe Avenues, PO Box 568, Willmar, MN 56201. Please write PPI on the memo line of your check.
Donations can also be done online at www.willmarshelter.com. Just click on the donate button at the top of the home page and follow the instructions.