Velo the Lake 2012

9/15 — Challenges

September 15, 2012

This day’s Velo the Lake ride had its own set of challenges – the first big hills, negotiating the bustling streets of Thunder Bay, trying to rendezvous with Diane after some confusing differences in the maps we two were using, and some really narrow areas of pavement to right of the white line on the Trans-Canada Highway. This last issue proved to make me an irritant to at least one angry driver, and she let me know in no uncertain terms that, although I had not ridden in “her lane,” I was mentally challenged and should get off the act of procreating road (my words – hers don’t require much imagination), even stopping her car to make sure I got the message. I indeed did get the message, and she may be right about all that. But, ride on I will, doing nothing illegal and always keeping to the right of the white line, if the pavement will allow me to do so.

The first big hills were not a problem for the 1980 Trek 515, recently set up by my friends at Twin Ports Cyclery in Duluth with a 14-32 six speed freewheel, and Shimano Deore rear derailleur. This bike still runs the original SR crankset with 52-40 chainrings up front. Granny gears they ain’t, but good enough for Grampy. Tomorrow’s ride from here at the Birchwood RV Park and Campground, 12 miles west of Nipigon, to Neyes, Ontario will bring many more big hills. Then we shall see what the old man still has in him…

The scenery from Grand Portage to Thunder Bay was the best so far, including the spectacular overlook just north of the crest on Mt. Josephine as you come out of Grand Portage. I’ve included a photo, but it doesn’t begin to capture the majesty of that view. Another highlight would be the numerous sheer rock cliffs and bluffs south of Thunder Bay, which are just awe-inspiring,

Finally, let me say that Tailwind v. 3.0 was the best Tailwind release so far. Free of over 90% of the swirling counter-eddies that have plagued previous releases of Tailwind, v. 3.0 more than delivered on the promise of 109 headwind-free miles along Canada’s North Shore of Lake Superior from Grand Portage, Minnesota, to near Nipigon, Ontario. And, Tailwind 3.0 shipped with an unexpected bonus add-on, the Magic Cow Interactive Wind Assistant. This serendipitous plug-in automatically changes the wind direction from southerly to westerly as the user changes his general direction, always keeping the wind at the rider’s back.

Seriously, how long can this go on? The Theory of Limited Wealth would suggest that I’m hogging all the “good stuff,” leaving precious little for everyone else to share. On the other hand, the Theory of Unlimited Blessing suggests that headwind or tailwind, either way, it’s ALL “good stuff.” I like the latter idea, if only because it suggests that it’s not my fault. Given that, I could not ask for more…

The view from Mt. Josephine’s scenic overlook — Isle Royale in the far upper left distance.
Another view from Mt. Josephine
Farmland south of Thunder Bay

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