“I’m three weeks away from the Royal 162 and I thought I better get a solid training ride in. I did the Ragnarok 105 two weeks prior and my knee had acted up, so I wanted to test that too. I decided to do the Woodchipper 100 course. It’s a route that was created by some local bikers a few years ago. It’s gone through a few variations and I chose the most recent one from last fall. Tim Bauer gave me an extra set of cue cards and I was good to go. This version started in Rollag, worked its way toward Vergas, down to Maplewood State Park, over to Pelican Rapids, and back to Rollag. My first gravel grinder was the Woodchipper in October of 2014, so I like riding this route for the scenery and the memories.
I started out and the temp was in the upper 40’s and there was a healthy wind from the southwest. As I worked my way southwest, the sun was out and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. I made it to the Vergas trail, which are some minimum maintenance roads in the woods. It’s a great area for scenery and local legend has it that the Vergas Hairy Man exists in the area along with other strange phenomenon. The Sy Fy channel’s Haunted Highways series did an episode on it a few years ago. I’ve only been in the area a few times and definitely want to do some more exploring of it. It’s pretty cool!! I did get a little off course, but I corrected my mistake. When I came out of there, I took a 2 mile detour to go into the town of Vergas to refuel.
After a brief break, I hit the road and continued working my way southwest. The wind was providing a good workout. I made it to the Maplewood State Park area at around mile 62, the sun was gone and it was starting to rain. I thought “this will be interesting”, because I didn’t have any real rain gear on. My jacket was weather resistant and I knew that wouldn’t last long. Luckily I was in the trees, it was a light rain, and it only lasted for about half an hour.
I made it to the town of Pelican Rapids at mile 87 and refueled at the C store. I took off for the final 20 miles and the rain held off until the last six miles. I made it to my truck and of course it then quit raining. It was a good day and I ended up with 110 miles.”