I’m pleased to say that with rest and medication my back is strong again. But after having taken a week to recuperate I was worried about the loss of training for our long bicycle ride that’s fast approaching. I did a test ride a few days ago and things seemed fine, so this weekend we were “cramming” our rides: 30 miles on Saturday, 40 miles on Sunday, and 50 miles today. I’m happy to say we succeeded (and we’re still standing too!). But our weekend brought a little bit of everything. The last half of our Saturday ride was finished in a torrential downpour. Although we waited out the thunder and lightning in a Subway store, we couldn’t wait out the rain and we arrived home looking like the proverbial “drowned rats”. Sunday’s ride was in 90 degree temps with high humidity and a 25 mph headwind. And today’s ride started with a 10 mph headwind and temps in the 70’s, but we turned the headwind into a great tailwind on the return. We’re fortunate to have access to some wonderful bicycling trails here in Minnesota. Sunday we rode on a segment of the Gateway Trail which originates in Saint Paul. Today we started our ride in Faribault and rode the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail through the woods and pasture-lands of the central area of the Minnesota. This area was once part of the “Big Woods” of the state and provided some welcome shade and beautiful surroundings. Being able to experience the landscape and surroundings on a bicycle is one of the best ways to see an area, and this week we’ve seen a lot!