The Strada Fango

      I have thrown my hat in for the Strada Fango.

Less than two weeks away, I hope my training proves adequate.  I have been doing some dirt and gravel rides to get the feel for what this is like.  I realized I haven’t ridden a bike on the dirt since I was a kid riding BMX.  I never got into the mountain biking thing.  Riding on dirt roads and trails is pretty fun.

 I discovered a great trail just yesterday, and riding distance from my house.  It is in the Minnesota river bottoms, the  Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.  It basically takes you from the visitor center in Bloomington across the floodplain forest and along the river to Cedar/Highway 77. There is a pedestrian bridge there (it is hidden from view from the road above, never knew it was there!) that takes you across the river to the other side.  Then you can continue along the river to the end of the trail, near the historic town of Mendota.  The rest of the route is paved.  From Mendota you ride up the road a little ways and access the Mendota bridge, where you can cross the river again, and ride through Fort Snelling State Park (there actually are some more dirt paths in here, too). Then up and out to Post Road, which takes you by the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport, and on to 34th Avenue past the Mall of America. Then on to American Boulevard, which takes you back to the Refuge Visitor Center.

Along the way on the south bank of the river, I ran into a surprise.  

Some industrious beavers had built a huge dam that apparently had some leaks.  It’s draining created these little creeks or gullies, washing into the river.  Thanks to the beavers, though, for providing the needed timber to fashion a bridge.

  No, I didn’t ride across these.

                                                                 I had some mechanical problems along the way.  Problems with my shoes and cleats and pedals.  Like, I couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals.  This became quite frustrating and nerve wracking.  Aarrghhhh!!

Here is my bike when I got back to the car.  I had to exit my shoe to get off my bike.

  Well, this turned out to be quite a ride, one that I will do again. (after I solve the shoe problem!)  Hopefully, good training for the ‘Fango, too.                            



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