It was over a three-hour drive last night to get to the start of the Second Annual Fargo Sub-48. We arrived well after dark to find the place completely packed. Barely a place to park with people setting up tents in precarious places near their vehicles. Talking with one fellow rider that arrived before we did, we learned they had set up their tent in the woods just off a trail at the back of camp.
With rain coming down we grabbed the new two-person tent I bought just days prior, along with our sleeping bags and sleeping pads and headed off with flashlights to find a suitable spot to make camp for the night. The new tent is a Big Agnes like the one-person I already owned. The proficiency that I had developed deploying the one person daily for two months paid off here as I was able to get this one up quickly, considering we were getting soaked in the process.
In the morning we awoke to the sounds of others packing stuff away, getting ready for the grand depart at10:00 am. At least the sound of rain hitting the tent that put us to sleep was now absent. For me, the first order of business was getting something to eat. For my groggy friend, it was a warm cup of coffee. With our respective breakfast in hand, it was to the car where we began the task of unloading bikes, strapping on bags and filling those bags with gear. Loading gear was for me was the same system I had grow accustomed to the previous year. It just felt right to be doing this again. However the hustle and bustle of a 130 other riders also getting ready in this cramped camp had me a bit on edge. Not used to all the commotion.
After a quick rider’s meeting, everyone was on their way with the two of us being some of the last to depart camp. Within the first mile, we were greeted with a fairly decent hill. I could see up ahead that some people who, either by lack of conditioning or just being a little overzealous, had to make a stop mid-climb. Keeping a steady pace we climbed the hill, even passing people, but it was not without problem. After a month or two of absence, my friend’s knee pain had returned.
Throughout the day, it threatened rain and even let us have a drop or two but not enough for me to dig out my rain gear. The scenery was beautiful and I was content with being on the trail once again. My friend however was dealing with a worsening knee pain and now dealing with it in both knees. We slowed down the pace and took breaks more frequently, mostly at the top of long climbs. I could see on her face that every stroke was torture but she endured, not letting it get in the way of the experience, simply praying to God to take away the pain.
We rolled in the campground about five hours after setting off and found a nice level spot to set up the tent with the an all important picnic table near by. After setting up the tent it was off to get in line for the showers. Afterward, I was able to buy some ice for her put on the knee and hopefully take away today’s pain of peddling 42 miles.
A delicious dinner was supplied by Bone Ends food truck who specialized in burritos. We also enjoyed beer supplied by Founders Brewery. We did not visit long with other riders as the rains had returned. At this point, we decided to get in the tent and our sleeping bags and let the sound of the rain hitting the tent lull us to sleep one more time.