Saturday, July 23, 2022

MS Ride Around Minnesota 2022 - Day Zero/0

This was the first year in....three....that I've done the MS Ride Across Around Minnesota [RAM] ride.  The last time was literally as I was heading into a new job.  My HR recruiter at the new company got me to sign on even though I was going to be gone the first week.  She wanted to lock me in and assured me, I'd still have vacation, by hook or by crook, later in the year.  Nine months later, I was on the plane home from a planning meeting in Providence seat to seat with college students from a dozen east coast schools being sent home as dorms closed their doors.  There was a virtual MS RAM in between. And then last year they had an in-person RAM, but I wasn't willing to attend yet.  I'm still not so sure it's safe with the new variant picking up more steam in Minnesota, but I seem to be unscathed.  Ming went last year, but didn't last long. I believe he was derailed by getting lost on the first day.  He couldn't go this year because of vacation allowance, but my friend Ben the School Teacher agreed to go as part of Forlorn Fenders.

I picked him up on the way to Proctor, MN, near Duluth.  When we got about two thirds of the way there, roughly two hours, I was kicking myself for not plugging in my phone because I'd been using it for directions.  That's when I realized I didn't have my phone cable.  That in and of itself wouldn't have been an issue, but it reminded me that the cable and my wallet had been in close proximity.  In the car.  But they weren't in the car.  They'd been on Ben's I probably picked them up.  Yeah, I'd had them in my hand when I grabbed  the bungie cords for the bike and I set them down.... uh oh....on the roof.  They definitely weren't still on the roof.

After a moment on angst and panic, Ben called a neighbor to do a search of the ditches, particularly where I would have turned the first corner.  I prepared to drive all the way back on a five hour round trip if anything was found after dropping Ben off at the campsite to get checked in so we didn't miss our window.  Forty dollars was found, and a few other stray items, but not a license or a credit card.  I called my kid and they took care of canceling my credit card.  We drove on and reached out to my folks.  My mom was heading toward the cabin and not only brought me money and a spare credit card, but bought Ben and I dinner [yum, Walley breakfast] at Tobie's in Hinckley.  Situation saved.  I didn't have to get more creative with asking a friend to bring me money and having my wife Venmo them immediately, or my wife hauling herself to Proctor the next day.  Older than fifty/50 and still being bailed out by my mommy.  Props to my pops for coordinating some of the calls while we tried to negotiate the timelines.  So appreciated.

We set up at the raceway in Proctor.  We were actually pretty happy to go get the free dinner and cash because we didn't have to listen to the car races.  They were LOUD.  By the time we were getting back, the last of the car trailers were pulling out.

We thought we found a good spot to camp, but what you can't see in this photo is the light post we didn't account for that kept the tents fairly bright all night long.  That might have come in handy when a storm rolled through around 4 a.m. to wake everyone up with big winds.  I don't know if it was the barometric pressure or something else, but I managed to get to the porta potty and almost back in my tent just before the first rain drops started to fall  My getting up woke Ben up as well, so he avoided being soaked as well.  I learned my tent isn't oceanic capable as the water pooled under an area near where my feet were and seeped in a bit.  It was easy enough to pull my legs up and sleep all tucked up, but that had a definite affect on how comfortable I was riding on day one.

My sister and nieces have used my tent a few times for the boundary waters and it's really starting to show it's age.  But it's holding up well once my sister bought me an extra set of stakes after the RAGBRAI crowd wandered off with over half of them.

These are the route captures for all the days.  This seems like a good place to capture those.

So, Proctor to Chisholm.

Chisholm Loop, as we now do one day where we don't pack up.

Chisholm to Biwabik.

Biwabik to Two Harbors

Two Harbors to Proctor.

I'm missing one small section that was less than a mile where we went from the campsite to the coffee/staging area.  I've added it in the totals.


  • Mileage: 296.68 [dang, I really thought we'd made 300]
  • Hours: 27.29 [I never turn off the odometer, so that includes rest stops, climbing to the top of Henger, etc.  We did average pretty close to 10 mph with stops most days, although the fourth day we picked up some velocity]
  • Ascent [as separate from descent]: 7322' [not quite a mile and a half]

The best part about the four a.m. storm was it cleared out by the time it was ready to ride.  Little did we know how hot and humid it would be.  But pretty at pack up and take off time.

Day one begins.  Ben and I lugging our luggage to the truck, ready to start five days of cycling.

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