Pedal For Project Impact: Day 5

The sky to the west was really dark this morning.

Date: June 7, 2013

Route: Bemidji to Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, on Paul Bunyan State Trail.

Distance: 81.92 miles

Time: 7 hours, 22 minutes

Average speed: 11.1 mph

We rode a fine line this morning.

This sky was representative of how the day’s weather turned out.

As we pedaled out of Bemidji on the Paul Bunyan State Trail, there thick, gray clouds to the west. It was sunny with blue skies dotted high fluffy, white clouds to the east.

It was a matter of a slight meteorological variation that would determine our day and our ride.

It didn’t rain and stayed mostly sunny and cool the entire day.

And we needed nearly the entire day to reach Pequot Lakes, because we found out the hard way that Google Maps’ description of its bicycle version as “Beta” is definitely accurate. I checked it again when we finally made it to Pequot Lakes and Google Maps’ directions said it was 71 miles from Bemidji to Pequot Lakes. It turned out to be 10 miles more.

When you’ve pedaled 70 miles, as we had, 10 more miles is an unpleasant surprise.

Part of the reason it took us quite a while to discover the discrepancy was the fact that Pequot Lakes wasn’t on the signs on the trail or on signs on nearby roads or highways. Much smaller towns were listed on the signs with their distances from a given point on the trail, but not Pequot Lakes.

When we found a map posted at the trailhead at Backus, we weren’t thrilled to find out we had to pedal another 18 miles to our destination.

Today’s ride also cleared up a mystery for me.

Actually, it assured me that my memory still worked a little.

Two years ago, I rode in another fundraising ride, which took riders on the Paul Bunyan Trail and I remembers a segment that was definitely not built on the route of an old railroad track, as most trail are throughout the country.

This portion of the trail that I remembered featured some steep climbs and descents as well as several sharp turns. I thought the segment was closer to Bemidji and couldn’t understand why we hadn’t encountered it Thursday.

It was farther south and we rode it today. It’s a fun stretch of pavement, but a lot of work, which made me wish all the more that the route hadn’t been 10 miles longer than we anticipated.

Because the sun was out most of the day, I was again able to take more photos than I could earlier in the week, so here’s a sample.

Bob heads towards Pequot Lakes.
Lake May
A segment of the Paul Bunyan State Trail was definitely not built on an old railroad track route.
Bob takes on the more challenging segment of the Paul Bunyan Trail.