The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mayor's Ride

Last week while riding with "The Mayor", he told me about a fat-bike ride he was planning on leading down on his old stomping grounds of Hastings. Festive also grew up in the area and possessed a lot of knowledge about the terrain we would cover. It sounded fun and I was allowed to invite two others if I wished. The area that we embarked on our adventure was on private property, which we had permission to access only because we were in the company of  the Mayor. He wanted to keep the group small and travel quickly to keep a low profile. I chose to invite Mark and Steve, not just because they are great riders with a sense of adventure, but they were the first to answer their phones.
      We rolled out of  Mr Mayor's sister's house around 10am and were in the thick of the river bottoms by 10:15. The area was not much different than the Minnesota bottoms but felt more primitive. There was no trail and occasionally we would come across ATV tracks and makeshift "camps". One of them was all set up with the comforts of home including a table, chairs, wood stove, grill, and even a toilet. None of this was under a roof and much of it was tied or nailed to trees for the impending seasonal floods, although I don't think it will flood this year. We rode from thick forest, to tall grass, through cattails at the perimeter of large and small lakes, the lakes themselves, a narrow shelf of ice along the mighty Missisip' and anything else the area could throw at us. The ride had a lot to offer. The log jam crossing was my favorite, at about 100 yards long. We had to carry our bikes over a snarled, twisted mess of large and small diameter logs, sticks, some trash and a big section of dock. The final 40-50 ft felt like a log rolling championship, as the logs we were standing on would shift, roll, or sink under our weight. Everyone got their feet wet! We ended up doing the log jam crossing twice as we discovered we were now on an island surrounded by open water. The lake we were going to cross had opened up, leaving a narrow section of bad ice in the middle that most of us were not willing to cross. Steve and Festive were most of the way across when they turned around. We had to backtrack a little before getting back on the same lake in a different, safer location. I have not ridden my bike on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, but riding on that lake made me imagine that's what it would be like. There was a ton of traction and low rolling resistance. Most of the surface was completely smooth, void of any imperfections and no frame of reference. These conditions make you feel like your floating  since you have nothing to focus on as you cruise on a massive white sheet of  frozen water. The ride was coming to an end now. We finished off on some railroad tracks, a very small amount of pavement and a couple miles of gravel. Once again, good friends and the fat-bike made for an incredible day.
Giving encouragement before the ride

Steve was constantly testing the safety of the ice for us

This did not feel safe 

The Mayor and Festive have both been hitting the gym this year and were playing catch with a boulder 

Festive gets mad at Steve and throws the boulder at his head

The Mayor is about to get wet!

Home sweet home

One of the many dock sections we found, this one was meant to be ridden

Log Jam

There is at least ten feet of frigid water under him

Break time and time to dry off

Steve says the ice is often thin on either side of a pressure ridge, we made him go first

The End



  1. Please I want more post more the ride Is not over I can't stop thinking about It HELP...Thks Josh for riding the great SO East of Hastings and posting one of the best adventures of the season until the next one my friend...Thks Mark and Steve for your LOL support and testing the Ice...

  2. Nice! Looks like a perfect day of adventuring.

  3. yo Mr Mayor, get your shit ready and join us on the "Man Trip", you will not be disappointed

  4. YO Death Rider come with me to REI Tuesday night I have some $$$$$ to blow.....

  5. does this mean your going on the man trip?

  6. Kickass blog Josh :) looks like you guys had fun!
    Kris Engstrom~

  7. For more great pic's from OF THE WOODS Blog look to the right and open.The man trip Death Rider Is looking better...Have a great time Indoors this weekend...The Mayor...