I went to bed last night knowing I'd take a ride early in the morning. I fell asleep thinking about the four ways out of town and which I would take. I haven't ridden west in quite a while because it is the most densely populated, so I figured it was time to head that way and take the loop around Long Lake.
The trip out included one short stretch of dirt road along the short north end of the lake. The road is the kind that curves up a steep hill so you can't see the crest until you are on the steepest part with about 50 feet to go. Last time out here I bucked off near the top and today was no different. It just keeps getting steeper, and the dirt road more rutted.
The dirt road empties out by the northwest corner of the lake into a perky planned neighborhood simulating an idealized small midwest town with 1930s and 40s architecture, but construction techniques, building materials and pre-recession square footage from the 2000s. I normally don't like going up there because, although there is a paved path along the lake, they don't allow bicycles on the path. Only walking. And dogs. It just doesn't seem like a friendly place. This time I kept to the roads with names like Liberty, Pioneer, Reunion and eventually reached a lake path outside of the planned zone where bikes were welcome.
Coming back into town I tackled the hill on Pine Street. It is a steep downhill back into the St. Croix Valley that was challenging, but I used the "heel down" technique I noted in an earlier entry, and it was manageable.
I wish I had some new insight from this morning's ride, but I'm afraid I don't. It was just a nice ride on a cold morning through neighborhoods that I don't normally visit. Some rides are deeper than others. This one was more on the shallow end.