I took advantage of the freakishly warm weather to ride the Sakatah "Singing Hills" State Trail today. This was my second time on the Sakatah - the first time I started in Mankato and made it to Waterville. This time I started in Faribault and made it to Waterville. So, I guess I've ridden the whole trail in kind of a limp fashion.
The brochures tell us that "Sakatah" means "singing hills". I am pretty sure those hills are singing thanks to the relentless southern cross winds I've experienced every time I ride this trail. The first time was the worst by far - steady 20 - 30 mph cross winds dried us out like dead bugs. The trail from Mankato east to Waterville is pretty open, so the prairie wind has a lot of fetch to get going.
Today the wind picked up steadily throughout the day. I hit the trail about 11:30 in a slight breeze; by the time I stopped for lunch in Waterville the wind was kicking up dust and blowing my gloves off the table.
These early season rides are always kind of a humbling ritual. I am not in as good of shape as I would wish. The cycle-specific fitness from last year seems to have slipped as usual. The good news is that it always bounces back pretty quickly, but that makes some kind of sloggy rides until that happens.
According to the mileage chart in the brochure, this was about a 43 mile ride. I can't personally vouch for that because my little bike computer thing died an early death less than two miles from the trail head this morning. I bet that's pretty close, though. Forty three miles is nothing to brag about, but that's about what I was hoping for on this ride.