by Mike Nistler
Cliff Borgerding was a happy man last Saturday as the sun made an appearance for the 14th annual Caramel Roll Ride along stretches of the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail.
Nearly 300 bikers showed up in Albany to take part in what has become a yummy tradition. At the registration table and along the various routes of the ride, gooey caramel rolls are available to participants.
Borgerding, the man in charge of the event, couldn’t have been happier the cold, wet spring weather central Minnesota has been experiencing decided to take a hiatus for at least one day.
“We didn’t have as many as last year — 331 or the year before 396 — but a good showing nonetheless, and everyone had a great time on the trails,” Borgerding said.
Riders could choose to explore three different stretches of the LWRT, all leaving from Albany.
The northern ride took riders on a 10-mile trek to Holdingford and then continued on to Bowlus (7 more miles), to the Mississippi River (4) and to U.S. Highway 10 (2) for a total of 23 miles one way or 46-mile roundtrip.
The western excursion went west to Freeport (6) and to Melrose (6) for a 12-mile ride or 24-mile roundtrip.
And the eastern ride traveled to Avon (6), and then to Collegeville/SJU link (6) and to St. Joseph (3) for a 15-mile ride or 30-mile roundtrip.
Funds raised during the ride help provide funding for the trail association to continue to promote the trail. Part of the proceeds will support efforts of local communities and groups to plant more trees and shrubs and to fund the “Saintly Seven” project to extend the trail to the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, Borgerding said.
And while most of the volunteers wore bright-yellow Caramel Roll Ride T-Shirts, Borgerding was decked out in a T-shirt that promoted another ride to be held this Saturday called the Lady Slipper Nature Ride. That second annual affair is intended to bring attention to the Minnesota State flower that grows along the trail and needs protecting.
Borgerding said the Lady Slipper Ride will be a more leisurely pace with the focus on enjoying the natural beauty of the trail. Riders will visit St. John’s Abbey Arboretum, including the Stickwork Sculpture. Minnesota Master Naturalists will be on hand to explain the biological and natural beauty found in the Avon Hills area
Borgerding is one of the trail’s biggest supporters, and after only a few minutes of talking with him, you can tell why. He has grand ideas to increase ridership on the trail, which this year has been down due to the weather.
For more information on the Spunk Days Lady Slipper Nature Ride, visit www.lakewobegontrails.com. You can register online or the day of the ride. Official check-in is between 8-10 a.m. at Lake Wobegon Park in Avon.