Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dakota Rail Trail

Monday (June 1) was another Drag Me to Hell day at work. What does one do in that case? Three hours of workouts, of course.

I first did 2000 yards in the pool. 1000-yd warm-up followed by 4x200's with 30-second rest intervals followed by 2x100's at 20-second rest intervals. I kept the RI high as I was coming off a 3000-yard workout from Saturday. But I felt strong in the water. For whatever reason, I had been struggling since setting my 500-yard PR (7:57) on May 16 in the first triathlon of the season.

But, more importantly was getting to the bike. Just that morning I had read about a new paved trail located nearby.

The local Three Rivers Park District has opened its scenic Dakota Rail Trail between Wayzata and St. Bonifacius -- 13 miles of paved bike and walking paths that weave along the inlets of Lake Minnetonka, providing spectacular views along the way. The trail is built on the former Dakota Rail roadbed.

My only concern was how far from the Luce Line trail would I have to go in order to locate the Dakota Rail Trail. I shouldn't have worried.

I left the house in Plymouth and made my way to the Luce Line trail. This path is paved all the way to Vicksburg lane where the path becomes a limestone trail. The limestone trail is why I don't ride the Cervélo when I take this route. I don't want to get home and have to hose all that gunk out. So, I stick with the city bike and I do just fine. I usually take this trail to Ferndale, then turn north and hook up with Highway 6 and bike all over the Baker Park District.

This time, I turned south on Ferndale and went a short distance (1/2 mi?) where I picked up the new trail at the intersection of Ferndale and Grove Lane near Shaver Park.

Here's the route I took:

Total Trip Summary: City Bike (Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra)
Distance: 40.31 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,948 ft
Avg Speed: 18 MPH (per my bike as I stopped to take some photos and didn't stop the Garmin)

Techy Note - Send route to your Garmin or interact with the map here. Play the route via Garmin Connect here.

As you can see below, once on the Dakota Rail Trail the course is flat as a Kansas wheat farm.

The course is beautiful, especially the first half when you traverse the bays of Lake Minnetonka. It was a busy trail, but not so much that I was constantly barking, "On your left!"

When I reached the trails end in St. Bonifacius, I stopped to snap their welcoming sign.

There are a few areas where you have to cross roads that are laden with traffic. One such area is in Westonka. But otherwise, the path is very family friendly. It should be one heck of a ride later this fall as well.

So now I have a choice for 40-mile rides. I can hit the hills out at Baker or stay flat via the Dakota Rail Trail. And it's good to have that option.

Hope to see you out there!


Chad in the AZ Desert said...

It is always so nice to have places to run and ride where you don't have to worry about being teed up like a golf ball by some SUV. Enjoy it!

Vagabond said...

Awesome. I am patiently waiting the completion of the Luce line. I live right at Theo Wirth and 55. They should be done paving within the next 2-3 weeks I'm guessing, then I will have a wide open shot out West!!

Borsch said...

Looks like a fun ride! I'm going to have to make my way out there

lonstar said...

Maybe I'm just dense but it seems really difficult to find directions to where the trails actually are. The sites have a lot of high-level topo and discussion of amenities, and not a lot of specifics about how to get to the thing so you can ride on it.

Your writeup is the only useful guide I've found for finding the trail head - thanks for the writeup.