Every year the team of managers from Erik’s embarks on a cycling trip, a pedal-powered thank-you for everyone’s hard work. Erik’s crew has ridden everything from the streets of NYC, Mountain biking the Whole Enchilada in Moab, and an Island hopping road tour of the Pacific Northwest. Part of the fun is that the destination is a secret, until the day of departure. This year when we showed up to Erik’s HQ there was a fleet of Raleigh’s new Tamlands decked out for some serious gravel riding over the next four days.
Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa proved the perfect testing ground for the new Raleigh Tamland with miles of cornfields and ribbons of white gravel roads twisting and climbing through the bluffs.
Riding 75 to 120 miles in a day on pavement is an undertaking; adding gravel to the mix definitely enhanced the experience.
Day one we rode 98 miles from Bloomington MN to Lake City, day two was 120 miles to Decorah, Iowa. The third leg to Preston, Minnesota was almost a rest day at 76 miles, with the last 12 miles on the Root River Trail, that is if it were not for the profile of the first 64 miles which included some grades as steep as 14%. The fourth day’s route was another 76 miler, but the more popular ride on the last day was a last minute alternate 46 mile direct route to Rochester.
The ride definitely lived up to the term Epic, at 370 miles, and nearly 20k feet of climbing on some of the coolest terrain on roads right in our own back yard. There were some tired legs, lungs and backsides for sure, but nothing a little hot tub soak and PBR recovery beverages couldn’t help. Now, I think I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.