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A wonderful gift, yesterday afternoon provided. I got out of work early and scampered home to make the most of the afternoon. JG was already home and our plan was quickly solidified. We were going biking! The weather predicted rain and a drop in temps for Saturday so we knew it was ride Friday or bust. I was jonsing for a tough ride down the back roads, preferably with several nice climbs.

I’ve realized in my time here in Minnesota that I really enjoy riding when there’s a change in elevation. I like to downshift and get out of my saddle for a serious climb and exertion of effort. I have a lot of power in my legs and I like to unleash it. It makes me feel productive and like I’m making athletic gains. Then after the ride, when I woof down cookies and beer, I feel like I’ve earned them two times over.

With this mindset, I took control of Friday’s ride and set off for the back roads over some slight protests by JG. She’s a fan of a specific paved trail heading out of town that, while beautiful, doesn’t pose the same challenges of elevation, wind and giant semi-trucks that the open road does.

We made it out and back in just over 2 hours and logged 30 miles, many of them in heavy wind (not my favorite, I felt like I was moving through thick molasses). Florence + the Machine played over and over in my head and provided a nice soundtrack for the uphill climbs.

Remember this picture from a bike ride last month?

Well, now that spot looks like this:

You may think that the pale yellow and dried out corn crop that was previously here got hit by the year’s drought, and thus make a comment that you hope those farmers had good insurance on their crop, but I’ll save you the trouble (and laughter from everyone around you) by letting you in on a secret. That dried out and at first glance, unusable, corn is actually meant for horses and cows and the farmers let it stand in the fields to get completely fried by the sun before they harvest it. All part of the plan, you see.