Back to Day 13: Wahpeton - St. James, MN Forward to Day 15: Faribault - Hudson, WI

Day 14: 30-Aug-2002 St. James - Faribault (map)
Today's distance       85.1 miles
Time moving: 7 hours, 33 minutes
Time stopped: 2 hours, 24 minutes
Ending elevation: 1031 ft
Max speed: 25.0 mph
Moving average speed: 11.3 mph
Overall average speed: 8.5 mph
Cumulative climbing: 2141 ft
Cumulative descent: 2155 ft
Total distance: 866.5 miles

A long day, with lots of traffic and a blown tire in Mankato. Glad I carried a foldable spare tire. The ride out of St. James was pleasant, with wide paved shoulders and light traffic along county road 13. US 60 wasn't too bad -- heavy traffic bit also wide shoulders. Still, it was much like riding on an interstate highway. Mankato was a mess -- I should have stopped for better directions. I was looking for the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail, which is a paved rails to trails project that runs 39 miles from Mankato to Faribault.

One of the things you notice when bicycling is how many cars and trucks are driving around on bad tires -- out of balance, blistered, tread separating -- there are far too many going whump-whump-whump down the road. Well, as I was getting close to Mankato I started hearing or feeling a similar sensation coming from my own bike. A couple of times I stopped and looked for a problem, but the wheels seemed to be true, and I didn't see anything wrong with the tires. Well, when I was in Mankato it suddenly got much worse, and I could actually feel the seat of the bike moving up and down with each rotation of the wheel. I got off and now I could see the tube, under 85 PSI, pushing its way through the sidewall of the rear tire. Hmm... Simply touching the valve stem was enough disturbance to cause the thing to blow out. I took the wheel off, and the tire sidewall had separated from the bead. I dug out the spare tire and tube, and in about 20 minutes was moving again.

Then I got lost. Well, not lost, but going in the wrong direction. The MN state bike map lead me to believe that the Sakatah trail met a road that it doesn't appear to meet, so I had to backtrack and get back on a major road until I found the trail.

This trail runs from Mankato to Faribault on an old railroad grade. It is paved the entire 39 miles and is in relatively good condition. It passes several public and private campgrounds and has a nice run through a state park and past the beautiful Eggers Prairie. I sprinted the last 5 miles to meet Markey at the Dairy Queen, where we had arranged to meet. It was wonderful to see her there, after so many days of being alone among strangers. I had an Oreo Blizzard, then rode to the motel.

Typical trail scenery and condition.  Very nice compared to riding on the highway.  I met a total of about 10 cyclists on the 34 miles of trail I rode.

Along the trail.

Back to Day 13: Wahpeton - St. James, MN Forward to Day 15: Faribault - Hudson, WI