I came back to cycling in 2010 after slogging through the most heartbreaking professional and personal period in my life. In the aftermath I suffered from stress illnesses, weight gain and depression. The tank was empty. After our first winter in Northern Minnesota I had a reawakening of sorts. The quiet forested roads surrounding our home were ideal for cycling. I had been a serious cyclist and somewhat serious mountain biker back in college, and so I bought my first bike in 20 years.
My first ride on the local bike path was 12 miles, and I almost didn’t finish it. But there was a second ride, and a third. I broke the 25 mile barrier, dropped a few pounds, learned a bit about on the bike nutrition, and did my first 50 mile ride in three decades. On one particular day I was descending a hill with a tailwind, and remembered the joyful sensation of flying on a racing bike.
I was hooked…again.
I ordered a red Trek Madone and signed up for a century ride that August – which I completed in something like 6 1/2 hours. Since then I’ve ridden 18,000 miles, give or take. I’ve also lost 60 pounds, but found my thrill of adventure and sense of humor.
I’m also a Lutheran pastor from Northern Minnesota, and am positively smitten by the belief that Christians can make a God-sized difference in the world by acts of love and charity motivated by their faith. Charity rides in my community are on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and our local alternative pregnancy center.
The quiet roads of Northern MN wind past lakes and deep forests through the hills of the Iron Range. The north shore of Lake Superior is nothing short of stunning – the crown jewel being the challenge of Mt Josephine with the rewarding views across the lake out to Isle Royal. This part of the country is a slice of cycling heaven.