Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Milltown Cycles Fall Gravel Tour: Rawland Ride Recap

We had a great ride on Sunday.  The weather cooperated with just a few sprinkles felt during the afternoon.  About 25 people showed up for the 12 noon roll out.  Folks from as far away as Brookings, SD and Fargo, ND made the trek down for the ride, thanks guys!  With a group start, people were free to ride the course at whatever pace they liked.  We marked all of the corners with signage, cue sheets were provided as a back up, but I don't think any one needed them.

Lots of smiling faces on the roll out.  The weather was really nice at the start.  Rain the night before really helped keep the dust down as well.

Rolling hills outside of Dennison and near hero gravel conditions kept the smiles going.

I love this shot.  Plenty of farm activity was happening all around the course.  Several people commented on how they thought it really added to the feel of the ride.  I couldn't agree more.

Many thanks for all the hours of work Jim put in on this and all of our Fall Gravel Tour rides.  He is the guy responsible for these routes, much of the cue sheet work, and the maps.  This is taken on top of one of my favorite hills heading towards Cannon Falls.

One of two fat bikes on the ride, Justus was riding this gorgeous Fatback.

He made me wish I was on my Pofhal, the hills made me glad I was on my Casseroll!

The other fat biker on the route was quite the inspiration.  He recently turned 60 and decided to start riding.  This was the first year he's seriously ridden.  It was impressive to say the least!  Photo headed up possibly my favorite road ever, Shady Lane Trail in Sogn Valley.

On top of the bluff, Shady Lane flattens out and winds along through fields and woods.  Only a lane wide, this road makes you feel like you're riding in the middle of no where.

A couple of Fargos headed towards County Nine.

After crossing County Nine the route swings south west and starts to head back.  This barn next on 330th street is a favorite of many riders.  It over looks a gorgeous little valley with oaks, cattle, and a spring fed stream.

Eventually we made our way to Boe Trail, the second Minimum Maintenance road on the course.  This was horribly washed out last fall and has not been repaired.  It is impassible by car for obvious reasons, but made for a killer highlight section on the back side of the course.  The line on the far right was about a foot ride, and was ride able for those who felt inclined.  Kevin rips it below on his great looking orange Salsa!

The home made road closed sign on Boe was a bit understated perhaps!

Despite the threatening skies we stayed dry for majority of the ride.  There were small drops occasionally, but the weather really cooperated for us.  The skies coming back into Dennsion were pretty amazing.

I had a wonderful time last Sunday.  Thank you to all who came and helped make the ride great.  We look forward to the next ride in a few weeks.  Take care all.  


Captain Bob said...

Nice post Ben! Makes me really really wish I had been there....

Wally said...

Nice. Sure wish I could have made it.

Don said...

Couldn't be there on Sunday, so I rode most of the route the following day. It was my first gravel ride. I rode my Larry shod Mukluk. Had a blast.

2 questions:
Are the gravel roads always that nice?
Would Black Floyds be an OK tire choice?

Hoping to make it to the Henderson Holler.

Ben said...


Gravel roads aren't always in that good of shape. A lot of gravel conditions come down to moisture content and rain, and what the road surface is made of. Gravel can be really brutal when fresh rock has been laid, or when dry conditions lead to big ruts and washboards.

I would think you could get away with Black Floyds save for hard cornering. They would roll well on almost any gravel. Climbing in loose conditions may also be an issue.