Winds were blowing at 35 mph Monday morning when I decided it might be smarter to workout at the local YMCA instead of trying to ride a bike.
As we finished our exercise, my wife, Sofia, and I walked out of the Y, we saw a man in a boom lift working on lights in the parking lot.
Waving at us, and yelling “Hi,” the fellow in the cherry picker seemed to know us.
Sofia and I, on the other hand, were trying to figure out who he was.
We waved back and walked toward our car.
As we did so, the man above began lowering his lift and was saying something to us.
I walked toward the cherry picker and, as we spoke, I realized I was talking to Ben Hines, the youngest son of my friend and fellow cyclist, Bob Hines.
It was a windy day, Ben said – so much so that being up in the lift was a bit scary.
The brief conversation drifted to a 74-mile bike ride Bob and I did Friday. I was pretty tired and sore that night, I told Ben.
Bob didn’t want to do much that evening after our ride, Ben said.
And Sofia wasn’t too happy that I didn’t get home until just before sunset either, I could have added.
But it was a great ride.
We rode east out of Willmar on Kandiyohi County Road 23 to County Road 9 where we headed north until we reached County Road 10 on the edge of George Lake, my favorite lake in the area.
My parents bought a cabin on George when I was in high school. My brother bought it nearly 20 years ago.
Since we were in the neighborhood, I suggested we stop at the cabin for a minute.
From there, we headed for County Road 32 and went east.
We turned onto the Glacial Lakes Trail near Spicer and headed to the trail’s end and beyond.
It ends at the Stearns County line, but Paynesville, a city just a mile or two north of the line and Stearns County added enough paved trail for bikers and hikers to reach a point on state Highway 23 across the street from Paynesville’s high school.
Sign in the school parking lot points the way to a bike trail that winds through several of the town’s neighborhoods and down to Lake Koronis.
Unlike the Glacial Lakes, the trail to and around Koronis isn’t built where a train once ran. Instead of being flat, which a train requires, the trail to Koronis runs over the area’s rolling terrain.
After already riding 30 miles, the hills of the Paynesville area were a challenge.
But hills are one of the joys of cycling.
There’s the satisfaction of reaching the top of a hill and the joy of seeing how fast you can coast down.
One hill in particular near the end of the circuit around the lake is just nasty. It takes several minutes to climb and there’s a sharp turn near the end of the descent.
There’s about a mile and a half between where the trail ends on the lake and where riders can reenter the trail to head back to Paynesville. We stopped at the Subway in town located across Highway 23 from the high school.
There we talked with a fellow cyclist who lived in the area. He informed us that there were plans to complete the trail around Koronis this summer.
It was a great ride, even though it wore us two old guys out.
For cyclists with some common sense, it’s worth it to drive to Paynesville to ride around Lake Koronis.
Or, if you want a little more challenge and significantly less soreness in your posterior than Bob and I endured, drive to Hawick where there’s a parking lot on the Glacial Lakes Trail and is a lot closer to Paynesville.
You’ll get to Paynesville much quicker and with a lot less pain.