Monday, April 18, 2011

Mankato trail updates, bike column and other musings

Just a few quick notes:

  • Here is a link to a column I wrote in today's paper about my experience of grocery shopping on a bike. Anybody who read my blog post on the topic should enjoy it. Unlike the blog entry, it's less about the groceries I was able to get (i.e. no grocery lists or pictures of groceries spread out on my dinner table) and more about the strategy and mindset I used for it.
  • Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai broke the world record today for fastest marathon time, completing the Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds. His time bested Haile Gebrselassie's previous record -- set in 2008 in Berlin -- by almost a full minute. Because the race had a strong tailwind, and because the course is predominantly downhill, Mutai's time won't be recognized as the record by track's international governing body. Tailwind or no tailwind, it's pretty incredible to average a 4:42 mile for an entire marathon. I only know a handful of people who can run a SINGLE MILE at that speed.
  • An extensive amount of biking in the area over the past few days has revealed the following trail updates:
  1. The Minnesota River Trail is still mostly closed due to high river levels. However, after looking at the trail from the viewing pier at Riverfront Park, it likely won't be closed for long. The river level is gradually dropping and only small sections of the trail remain under water.
  2. The new support pier at the Red Jacket trestle bridge is still under construction, so trail users still have to use the detour on the Highway 66 bridge across the Le Sueur River if they want to continue on to Rapidan. According to the Blue Earth County Communicator newsletter, funds have been obtained for the project through FEMA Emergency Disaster Assistance and the bridge should be completed by fall 2011.
  3. A section of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail just east of Mankato that had previously been under construction has been completed, making the area considerably safer for trail users. Previously, the trail required users to cross the railroad tracks in order to continue on toward Madison Lake. However, the trail now links up with a newly-constructed overpass bridge that crosses that tracks without interrupting the trail. Even better: there are no longer any unpaved sections of the trail for users to endure. I wrote last fall that the Sakatah needed a lot of work to make it a premier regional trail. Well, this was a big step in the right direction.

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