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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

22 Miles

Our starting line, Gray's Bay or bust
 The length of Minnehaha Creek is roughly twenty-two miles. On Saturday, Vandy and I began our cycling trek at Minnehaha Falls with our sights set on Gray's Bay, 22 icy miles away. We opted to skip the quarter mile section of creek from the falls to the Mississippi River mostly because we just wanted to get moving. We did however ride down to the base of the falls to admire the up-close view of the frozen backdrop and set the tone for the day.
depressions of broken ice are common the first 5-6 miles

This is a really fun section on a kayak when the water is moving fast
 The first ten miles or so were review. I've ridden them a number of times so I was eager to get to the unknown. Last year I rode (w/AF) all the way to 169 and a little further, so the unknown wouldn't come until the last 6 or 7 miles. The whole thing was a joy to ride anyway, it went so quick I wanted it to last a little longer.
Some one was kind enough to leave this chair in the creek so i could relax in the middle of our ride

This is the guy with the skates, we thought we were hard core until we met him
 With the really cold temps there was very little watery, wet, slushy, overflow. Not to be confused with the frozen solid overflow that makes the riding fast and smooth, the watery stuff can wreak havoc on a drive train. Many sections had newly frozen overflow that was smooth enough to ice skate. It just so happens we met one such individual who was skating the entire length of the creek just as we were riding it. He started at Gray's Bay and when we met him he was just upstream of Meadow Brook Lake. We were impressed enough to start plotting our own adventure on skates as we chatted and rode.
I just need a few things at the grocery store

Taco Bell, yeah were tough, anyone that can eat this shit and then ride a bike is tough 
 In the final few miles Vandy stepped up the pace quite a bit, and before we knew it we were face to face with our destiny, the dam at Gray's Bay. This small barricade at the eastern edge of the massive Lake Minnetonka is what makes the whole thing possible. If it were not for this little dam controlling the lake level the kinetic energy of flowing water might keep the creek open year round thus making our ride impossible.
beautifully frozen overflow

The final stretch
 When we got to the bay we had planned on "a little icing on the the cake" or "throwing a pancake on it" for the grand finale' by riding to Big Island. I am not familiar with Lake Minnetonka and had no idea just how large it is and how far the additional ride out to the island would be. After rounding the bend a few miles out on Wayzata Bay, in gale force winds, the idea was scrapped. We headed back to the western edge of Gray's Bay where our pre-placed shuttle vehicle was waiting.
I'm so awesome and I don't even know it  :)

This is what makes it all possible
 It was a great ride with a good friend. I was glad to finally make the goal I've had rumbling around in my head for a few years a reality. Not knowing for sure if the conditions will permit such a ride is what makes this one so sweet to have completed. I'm not the first, greatest, most awesome, or foremost authority, to ride this, but if you have not ridden the creek, do yourself a favor and get out there, it's a blast. No, it's not completely safe so use your best judgement.
Wayzata Bay, black ice 

More like Green Ice


  1. Taco Bell..."Anyone that can eat this shit and ride a bike is tough." Love it!!!

  2. Right on. Next w balloons on. Ring ringy.

  3. I have wanted to try that the last couple years, maybe next year! Can't wait. How was under all the bridges and little lakes and spillways, like 50th and browndale dam? and meadowbrook lake or what ever it is by excelsior blvd?