Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Root River State Trail - May 15, 2011

After having to cancel the AirMed Bicycle Group Ride on Saturday, May 14, 2011, because of rain and cold, I was more than ready to get out for a long ride.  Fortunately on Sunday the weather cleared and temperatures reached 17 C but with some pretty heavy wind from the northwest.  I had heard about all the nice paved trails in Minnesota so I ventured over to Houston, Minnesota, which is only 20 minutes driving time from downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin.  My thought was that with the bluffs and woods I would be protected from the wind and for the most part I was right.

My plan was to go long but I only had the afternoon and by the time I got everything together and drove over to Houston it was after 13:30 CDT. So I figured I would go 100K and just turn around at the 50K point.  I was pleasantly surprised that in exactly 50K from Houston I would arrive in Lanesboro, Minnesota, which is the headquarters of the trail and bills itself as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota. The picture to the left and the one below are just a few of the many bridges along the way.

This map and plenty of information about the trail can be downloaded at the Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails website.  I printed out a copy which was nice to have but not a necessity as the trail is well marked and is 100% paved so all kinds of bicycles can easily navigate it.  

In the section of the trail I did there was only one small hill that was about a 5% grade, so a good ride for all levels of cyclists.  On this particular day there seemed to be more families and recreational riders near Lanesboro as they have a large shop that rents cycles.  I am sure in the summer the trail could be quite busy.

The Root River Trail, which is part of the larger Harmony-Preston Valley State Trails, follow old railroad tracks along the Root River and is nestled among very scenic bluffs with plenty of SAG stops in the small towns along the way.  The trail passes through RushfordPeterson, and Whalan before I turned around in Lanesboro.  The picture to the left is from Rushford.

The total time I was out was four hours and 50 minutes and riding time was four hours and 10 minutes.  The main SAG stop I took was in Lanesboro where I found a nice park bench and relaxed in the sun after briefly walking around this very quaint town.  My picture below was taken by a cyclist I ran into who was also out getting some good distance cycling in. He told me that the Harmony-Preston Trail was also very scenic and included a few more hills especially on the way to Harmony, Minnesota.

The stats from my Garmin can be seen below.  My average speed was 24 KPH for the just over 100K ride and because of the flat nature I was spinning the whole time.  Unfortunately, my cadence meter battery was out as I would have been interested in the reading.  Next time!

This trail will be a very nice route for a future AirMed Bicycling Group ride so I have added it on our site.