The bulk of my summer ride schedule was set back in November. 2015 being a Paris Brest year the randonneur schedule was jammed into May and early June leaving the 1000 for the first week of July. With a few weeks off I figured the I would ready for Challenge #3 the first week of August. Then one by one we all bailed on the 1000, bad knees, bad weather, too hot, all good excuses not to ride a 1000 km in less than 75 hours. So when Hal suggested I join him for the Summer Challenge the second weekend of July I was ready.
We rolled out of Morden Saturday morning ignoring the weather warnings of heat and storms.
Ride on non paved roads and trails from Neepawa to Rossburn and four waypoints in Riding Mountain Park and back to Neepawa
The way-points in the park are Deep Lake warden station.
Reeves Ravine trail
and the east gate of the Park.
Ian Dallas Me(Pete)
Ian and I planned on riding together Dallas jumped along as we left for Neepawa.
Schedules and stars aligned for August 15-17 2014
Fun, see part of Manitoba that I haven’t seen before, challenge myself.
Neepawa to Rossburn on the Trans Canada trail where passable, gravel roads to the Riding Mountain National park. Central trail through the park to Lake Audy then park roads and trail (beach) bushwack around Clear lake. Gravel road from Wasagami to the East Gate. To get to Reeves Ravine Trail we took a trail in from the bottom of the escarpment. East and south though Kelborn on dirt and gravel roads to Neepawa.
Meeting the other challengers Dan and Hal at Whitewater lake. The drop out of the Park to the East gate, who’d of thought there is a road with switchbacks in Manitoba.
Manitoba ain’t all flat we rode 380 km with a total ascent of 1304 meters.
The Birdtail valley in Riding Mountain park is beautiful even seen though the haze of way too many miles on a bike.
You can’t trust a man on a horse to know what its a good surface for a bike.
500 km on gravel roads on a recumbent bike seemed like a good way to spend a summer weekend. I have ridden most of the paved roads in southern Manitoba and it would be good to see a different side of the province.
A quick look at a map made it clear there was only one good basic route: the combination of CFB Shilo, Spruce Woods park and the Assiniboine river made a route straight east impassable. Sand would make a route around the north of Brandon unsuitable for a bent, so south out of Virden it would be. Using numbered gravel roads is a good idea but to do that adds 20 km. Why can’t we just go straight east? Sloughs that overflow the roads–that’s why, 2 km of water and goose crap on the road was the first fun part. 20 km of freshly graded road came next.
The roads after Wawanesa past Glenboro were nice. The sand I expected never showed up. The next questionable section is east of Holland, the Tiger Hills. Bents and I don’t like hills. North out of Holland on hwy 34 got us to a road east that avoided the hills and scored us an open drive in diner in Trehern.
Off the escarpment down into the flats of the Red River Valley hwy 305 was the logical choice. Some idiot had taken a plow to Crown Valley rd.
The Sandilands are the next challenge– not a whole lot of roads, sandy soil and marshes limit the choices, Dawson road out of Richer deteriorates to “trail not maintained travel not advised”, maybe I should have used my fat bike, to how long will it take to walk the next 20 km, the hardest stretch by far. The final 60 km were a Red Bull fueled rush to Falcon lake.
Thanks to Hal for offering the Challenge, Ian, Dallas, and David for putting up with me and my bike. Got to mention the road crews that do such an incredible job keeping the gravel roads in unrideable shape.