Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 3 Speed Tour

Another 3 Speed Tour is in the books. And from my vantage point, it was one for the ages. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time last year. Lots of fun and interesting people, taking in the shops and the desserts and the pie and the ride. It was all so new, and there was a sense of discovery that can't be beat. But at the same time, Nancy wasn't feeling well and hadn't been for several months. I know it was a struggle for her at times to keep up, and even to stay on the bike. In retrospect, she was a lot sicker than I realized at the time. So I have some mixed emotions looking back, knowing that while she did have fun she was suffering as well.

Fast forward a year, and what a difference. Health wise, Nancy has been doing great. And the tour, while still the same, had a very different undercurrent for me. It was much more fun knowing that she was not just dragging along, but truly enjoying herself in all aspects. The route of the tour was familiar and comforting, but we still managed to find some newness to get that sense of adventure. We also stayed at a new hotel, The Bridgewaters, which was wonderful. We got to see some familiar faces from last year and some friends from the area, plus get to know new folks. What could be better that to hang out with a bunch of people who share your same brand of crazy?

Nancy has already blogged about most of our trip, and has shamelessly stolen the cream of the photo crop (from her camera and mine, the scoundrel!). So if you want a first rate recap of the tour, check out her blog post. Below are some additional photos that she didn't already use, with my comments.

Consider the lilies of the goddamn field!

The woman who rode this bike really does have a foot issue, and every time we dismounted (or at least, when I saw her) she took her shoe off and put this boot on. Pretty amazing that she could do the tour at all.

One of the better pictures of my bike. Last year we tried to go authentic, with original cheap Brooks saddle, vintage rack and a wicker basket to carry our belongings. It was cute, but not super functional. Toward the tail end of last year's tour my bike started to make a horrible grinding noise and had sprayed gear lube all over the rear rim. I was terrified that something within the Sturmey Archer hub was about to fail and leave us 10-15 miles outside of Red Wing. I gutted it out and more or less white knuckled it back in to town, thinking the whole rig was going to come apart. Later, when I got home I realized that the rack's attachment point had come loose and lodged itself into the rear brake. The brake was askew and rubbing against the rim. The gear lube was just incidental. So this year I used a modern seat post mount rack with modern panniers. I also swapped out the crappy old Brooks for my nice one. I also added a frame pump, since I'm pretty sure we went through last year's tour without.

After our hike-a-bike adventure in Maiden Rock. This pic is easily within my top 5 favorites of all the pictures we took this year. No idea why Nancy didn't poach it.

Isn't she cute?

The oldest bicycle on the tour, 94 years old.

A super fun trinket I got from Sallie Gurth, a beer mug valve stem cover! Sallie makes these, and she and her husband Ron have a website where they sell them along with other bike themed jewelry. So here's a shameless plug. Go visit them at Velo Amore' and buy some stuff!

It's a Robin Hood sandwich! Several of us were noting the particular shade of red our bikes shared. So we put two Robin Hoods on the outside and the Dunelt in the middle for a photo op.

Nancy looking fabulous from behind, with her scarf flapping in the breeze.

That pretty much sums it up. We will definitely be back next year, unless the popularity overtakes us and we don't get registered before the cutoff!

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