May 15, 2005

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


If I were to pick out one thing in Ely that brings a smile to me it would be the Trezona Trail. Born from the demise of the Iron Industry, it is a trail that basically circumnavigates the area of the Pioneer Mine. This is where many seek a dose of exercise and well-being. The Trezona basic circular route is about 4 miles. There are offshoots that lead to Vermilion Community College and Grand Ely Hotel, but most stick to the main route.

What is nice about the Trezona is it is a multi-use trail. You can walk, run, bring your dog or bike. Bicycling is my choice. After 28 years I finally retired my Raleigh ten speed bike for a more forgiving Sun Recumbent. All the flaws of a typical bike had come to limit my biking to less than twenty minutes. Beyond that length and my neck would stiffen. Ah, the pleasures of growing old. At fifty something, most parts still work, but their working time definitely is shorter than what it was twenty years ago.

With the switching to a recumbent, time has been pushed back. As converts to recumbent bikes are well aware, all the health issues of a traditional bike concerning; knees, back, neck and butt are negated on a recumbent. Case in point is in the first week I got my "bent" I rode around Highway 88. From door to door it was about 16 miles. No aches, no pains, no stiffness the day after.

Like many others who are fighting the battle of the bulge - the curse of vast prosperity - I have a recumbent stationary bike in my basement. The problem with any exercise equipment is it is downright boring to use. Same four walls, same unchanging environment. To be on the Trezona Trail instead of looking at concrete is freedom.

It is fun to hop on the old "bent" and take off for the Trezona. No matter where you are in Ely it takes less then 5 minutes to get there by bike. From my house it is less than two minutes. I get on via some shortcuts by the 3-mile marker. My usual routine is to do two laps and on the weekend I may do three complete circles for 12 miles of exercise.

I prefer to go clockwise. The reason being is that the hills are more balanced for biking in that direction. Going clockwise gives you only two hills where you need to put the pedal to the metal. Otherwise, all the other hills, including the ones that rise up for a long stretch are easy to take at a good speed.

It seems the walkers mostly prefer to go counter-clockwise. When I pass a walker I either say hello or give the Ely nod. It is interesting that I often get comments from walkers going in the opposite direction as me as to how fast and how many times I circle the Trezona. It is kind of a relativity thing, but to them it seems I must be zipping around at 30 mph. The fact is, we really meet sooner because they are always walking towards me and in my course of two laps I may pass them three times. I hate to give up the illusion of being a super biker, but much of the illusion of speed is their own fast walking pace.

I do usually take the trail at close to my top gear and so always feel a wind. It gives my old ticker a good run for its money and keeps me mentally engaged in my biking. There is a lot to do in one four-mile ride. Of course, enjoying Nature is the most important. In June and July the wild flowers are in full force. This year was a good year for Daisies and Devil's Paint Brush flowers. With this being one of the coldest summers on record the flowers have faded early and now the most colorful things to see are the first hints of Fall.

Most people walk the Trezona. However, I have seen skaters as well as one of our best cross-country skiers doing inline skiing. Many walkers bring their dogs who probably cover twice the distance as their masters checking out every smell and noise.

You would think that the trail would only be busy during nice sunny days, but I have ventured out on even misty days and seen the trail populated. To some a walk on the Trezona is as much of their daily routine as getting up from bed. Summer is short in our neck of the woods and many are very zealous in not wasting a minute of it.

As to how long I can enjoy my biking this Fall will depend on how soon the trial becomes white with snow. With more frost warnings this summer then I can remember, I get the feeling we may have a white Thanksgiving for sure. But if it is not going to be a White Thanksgiving, I know that the day after, I will be on the Trezona working off the extra piece of pumpkin pie.

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