To that end we have determined that several longer stints (longer than 50 min MTB flings) in the saddle would also be prudent, even requisite. Hence, this past Saturday, we determined to ride a century of some sort (km or mi). In typical fashion we found ourselves hitch-stepping our way along, flinching in the face of a hundred of anything on our beloved, relentlessly level, Red River flood plain. Tedium and wind were our significant concerns.
So we devised a plan wherein we would drive (gasp!) up somewhere North of Wpg and ride a route that would help us with longer ride goal, and help us answer several carto/geographical questions we'd come across while plotting our route: 1) What was the condition of the road the runs North East along the Brokenhead River? 2) What was the camping like at Patricia Beach? 3) Was the Peter Skrepetez Trail a rideable segue to Rd 43E? 4) Did the Floodway Rd that angles up to Mile 88N actually connect to it? 5) Where would be best to cross the Brokenhead Floodway?
Other questions were of a more individual nature: How much gear and weight was reasonable to pack (and push - pedal) along? How were the legs these days? How soft and slow, or hard and fast, might the roads be?
With these wonderings in mind, we drove up to the Mars Mill golf course, got on our bikes, packed them as if it was the real deal, and pedalled off.
1) The road that angles up along the Brokenhead River and heads through the eponymous Reservation is in good condition and easily passable (unless some randy grader operator comes along and tries to fix all the frost boils, thus ruining the well-packed tracks.
3) The Peter Skrepetez trail (and the railroad bed) is rideable. One section is low and the water on either side is high enough to run into the tracks, but it was all still rideable for us. And it segues nicely onto the 43E.
4) Floodway Rd is a good road, and angles up by Spring Well Colony to connect with 88N. All's well there.
5) There are several options for crossing the floodway. We crossed on 45E.
Not playing basketball for several years and then suddenly playing basket ball against teenagers can affect the knees. A little stretching helps, and soon things are right as rain.
Stopping for food is always a good idea.
As my dad would say, the upshot is that we're on our way to being good to go. The bikes worked. We rode at a (very) reasonable pace and covered nearly 100 km, while answering pertinent questions - you know, learning.