Welcome all current and new Cycle Mesabi members to 2007, our 18th year.
The success of the 2006 season can be placed, for the most part I think, on using the Tuesday-Thursday format for our ride nights. While the weather put some dampers on the early part of the season, like that's news, and the lack of sunshine and warmth did the same at the latter end of the season, we did enjoy a solid number of riders on both nights throughout the summer. On several Tuesday rides, we reached 30+ riders, and most Thursday night rides found rider numbers in double figures.
Some new faces greeted us old-timers at the Hardee's, and then the mall, parking lots, with the majority of them stayed around through most of the full season. This year we will again have 25 official ride nights for both Tuesday and Thursday, with a few changes which I will detail a bit later in this newsletter. By this second paragraph I have probably lost half of you already! Maybe not. (If I knew how to put pictures in among the text, I might keep your interests longer!)
As with all recent ride seasons, the Tuesday night rides are, in theory, for beginners, families, kids, and for those wishing a shorter ride at an easier pace; while the Thursday rides will be reserved for the more experienced riders wishing a longer route at a faster speed. Each ride night will have a rest stop half way along the course, and at least for the Tuesday group, no one will be dropped or have to ride back on their own. Again that is in theory. The Tuesday group rides should begin and remain in the 15-20 mile range, while the Thursday night rides should stay in the 25-35 mile area. Let's always be mindful of the newcomers; we do want them to continue to ride with us after their first experience with a club ride. We all started by just making it around the block a couple of times, remember?
Within that 25 ride time frame, we are planning on at least two transport rides for the Tuesday night group, perhaps three if this proves popular, and four transport rides for the Thursday night riders. Unless we bunch the Thursday night transport rides closer together, we generally run out of daylight if we try to squeeze in a fifth transport ride, but if we limit the miles of that fifth ride, we could do it. Anyone can suggest an additional transport ride, but if you want to try this later in the summer, please consider the miles wisely. As always up here, road conditions and construction can and will determine where and how far we can ride. If memory serves we at all, I don't think we planned a single ride last year which took us on Townline East of 1st Avenue!
Therefore, the Tuesday night rides will begin on Tuesday, April 17th at 6:00PM at Hardee's on the Beltline. Yes, we are back at Hardee's, or at least within that area from the back of the Holiday station/store to Hardee's. The starts at the mall parking lot just did not seem right, at least to me, and who else is writing this letter? Most of you stopped reading a page ago. (Perhaps if I tweak you a bit along the way, you will continue reading!) Dave and Rene Ahonen, I hope, will be in charge of the Tuesday night sign up sheets again. Thank you both.
The transport rides for Tuesday will be the Swan Lake/Pengilly loop which, if we wait until August, should include the Mesabi Trail from Nashwauk to Pengilly, and a Mesabi Trail ride chosen by the riders themselves. All transport ride dates for the Tuesday night group will be chosen two weeks in advance.
Here is a new twist for the Tuesday night group. For the first time, and suggested by George Marlow, I will be assigning single people or couples to come up with the route or routes for each night just as the Thursday night riders have done since 1990! It is the height of silliness for me, or anyone else for that matter, to walk around at 6:00 among the riders milling about to ask if anyone has a route they would like to do tonight. The usual responses are always, "Don't ask me", "I don't know", or my all time favorite, "Ask someone else", and finally, "You do it." No more!!! Ride marshals will be picked for each night other than the transport ride nights. Of course, anyone can ride either night they wish, and that could get you chosen as ride Marshall both nights! Is this a great country, or what? Do I have your attention now? Thanks, George.
As for the Thursday night group, the rules are the same as they have been since the start of the club. The core-group riders will again be chosen at least once to plan a ride for a particular night of somewhere between 25-35 miles, and act as ride Marshall that evening. If for any reason you cannot be there on your ride night, it is your responsibility to contact someone else to either deliver your route, or plan one in your stead.
Once again, the four planned transport rides will be the Goodland/Triangle ride in May, the McCarthy Beach ride in June, the Up North ride in late June, and the Mesabi Trail ride in July. All riders are free to ride either or both ride nights, of course, but be warned that the Thursday night rides are longer, faster, where you are pretty much on your own. There will be a rest stop on the Thursday nights.
Therefore, the first Thursday night ride for 2007 will be Thursday, April 19th at 6:00PM at Hardee's on the Beltline. Please keep in mind that 6:00PM is always the start time for both nights with these two exceptions: All transport rides will begin at 5:30PM at Hardee's to allow us time to drive to our starting point, and ALL ride nights in September and October will also begin at 5:30PM as we begin to run out of daylight.
On to other news. As for the Mesabi Trail, construction on the section between Pengilly and Nashwauk, which was begun late last fall, is scheduled to be completed by August of ‘07. Scenic 7 to Marble could be started and completed this year as well, but our Federal money for this section has been, not delayed, but according to government regulations, only a fifth of the $100,000.00 put aside for it can be given out each year. Twenty thousand dollars will start my car, but it isn't enough to build a 3.5 mile trail. McKinley to Biwabik, which was also set to start last year, is facing the same financial fate. Giants Ridge to Embarrass, down on paper in all its glory, is in the works for 2008. If all the stars and planets align themselves this summer, we will become the first and only Centennial Trail in the United States: 100 continual miles of paved trail!
In additional news about the trail, the 3rd Annual Great River Energy/Mesabi Trail Ride will take place on Saturday, August 11th this year. There are four starting points: Marble, Nashwauk, Hibbing, and Buhl. All rides will end in Alcott Park in Virginia. Bike and body shuttles have been arranged, with food and music and party-times in the park for everyone at the finish of the ride. As many members as possible, I hope, will volunteer to work this ride, or ride the ride which celebrates our wonderful trail. For $35.00 per person, it's a hell of a deal. You can also help out the trail's repair costs by purchasing a trail pass for $12.00. It's money well spent.
Let's all make a good effort this year to ride as many club rides as we possibly can, and let's each of us try to bring in at least one new member. Cycle Mesabi will be 18 years old in May; in human years, it's still only a teenager, and while most of us are not, we all still have many good years left in our legs. Hope to see you on the 17th or 19th. Make it your best year yet!