Submitted By: Mike Ward

Trip Completed By: Mike Ward, Kyle Severson

Trip Date: 6/27/2020

Disciplines: Trail Run, Gravel Bike

Total Time: 5:24:30

Trip Report: Kyle asked me if I wanted to shuttle cars for a nice long 20 mile SHT trail run really early in the morning, from Finland Rec Center to Caribou Wayside. I had to peek at a bike route just to see… and since Finland is fairly inland from Highway 61, I found a perfect route back on all gravel. Perfect. I had to go for it. After leaving Duluth at 5:20am, we dropped Kyle’s car off at Caribou with my bike and a liter of water, then took my van to Finland. The run was excellent – hard though. Pretty warm but otherwise great conditions. We planned to stopping at Caribou Falls, just a mile or less from the car, to stop for a dip in the river. After a super hard run, dripping sweat, the ice cold river water felt so good. That is just a perfect swimming spot with sheer cliffs surrounding you. I felt pretty confident getting to the bike and setting off, despite being pretty tired. I wasn’t exactly confident on the route, though. I didn’t plot it very well. It looked pretty straightforward but I didn’t know the final mileage or when to turn. It seemed too long on Highway 61 to bike to Sugarloaf Road, but after a few miles I turned up. It was a grueling steep climb away from the lake. The sun was beating down on me, and I was certain all of my sunscreen washed off in Caribou River. Downhills were a nice break, but plenty of uphills still. I remembered Sugarloaf to 8 to 7. County Road 8 appeared and I took a left. So far so good. Good on water, good on food, legs felt OK but tired. I was starting to get uncomfortable. I was really looking forward to County Road 7 and the home stretch. I turned left on 7, but was unsure that I took the right way. But I kept pedaling. How could it not be a left? There were a lot of vehicles on County 7, and it was really dusty. That was tough, riding with dirt everywhere, in my mouth, in my eyes. I dreaded the sound of a car behind me or the sight of ATVs approaching. I started getting low on water, and had to think about rationing it out. I became very hungry, too, and ate the rest of my Clif Bar. It was the biggest relief to see the Crosby Manitou State Park entrance, and I knew that I was on the right track, and close. But not that close… the last miles were grueling. Hot sun on my exposed shoulders, dusty roads, and my legs were fried. Swimming at Caribou was the best part, but a very close second was rolling up to the Finland Rec Center trailhead, setting my bike down, and making friends with two picnickers who gave me a slice of fresh, cool watermelon. MMM! That was the best watermelon I’ve ever had. Excellent loop with about 20 miles a piece – run and bike!

Leg 1: Run 18.5 miles – 3:24:50

April 22, 2024 12:18 am
  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 17 miles
  • Time 7 h 28 min
  • Speed 2 mph
  • Min altitude 702 ft
  • Peak 1795 ft
  • Climb 2703 ft
  • Descent 3323 ft

Swim break/transition: ~0:20:00
Leg 2: Bike 22.3 miles – 1:38:29

April 22, 2024 12:18 am
  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 22 miles
  • Time 8 h 57 min
  • Speed 2 mph
  • Min altitude 643 ft
  • Peak 1598 ft
  • Climb 1637 ft
  • Descent 1017 ft

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