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Daddy Date Nights at Battle Creek

Words by Rich Sherman, Saint Paul store manager

"Daddy Date Nights" are on Wednesdays. It's been a standing date with my best friend and riding partner, Peter, for years. It's a time I cherish and look forward to every week. Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn't, but it's always on the calendar.

Sometimes the moons align, where the weather and trail conditions all converge on the right day of the week, and this particular Wednesday in early April aligned that way for us.

I live in the Battle creek neighborhood, so we rode from my house to the trailhead overlooking Hwy 61. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and it was a perfect 70 degrees. It was the perfect setting for my first mountain bike ride of the season!

For those that don't know me, I ride an electric mountain bike. More specifically I ride the Orbea Rise and let me tell you, I LOVE this bike. As someone who only rides once a week it's great to have a little extra push from the electric assist. My friend Peter is a different story. The guy is an absolute BEAST on a bike and still rides "acoustic" bikes. Alas, even with no motor he still leaves me in the dust.

This day was no exception. It was my first ride of the season and I planned on taking it easy. However, post-work Peter had different plans! Apparently he had some work demons that needed to be dealt with on the bike that day. So as we dropped in at the lookout I quickly realized that I would have to crank up up the assist and hold my own to hang with Peter that day.

Despite being well out of breath, the trails at Battle Creek were riding as good as ever! The dirt was tacky, fast, and there were no greasy spots to be found. So good, I felt like a hero! We were flying through the woods at a record pace, hitting all of the features, climbs and descents along the way.

All too quickly we are making our final climb up to the top of GOAT trail. For those who don't know this legendary local trail, it is one of the fastest and most fun sections of in the Twin Cities. A lot of riders come to Battle Creek just to session this particular trail. It would be considered a mostly downhill run with a lot of jumps, drops and rock gardens. I'll be honest, I've never been a rock star on this particular trail. I can ride down just fine, but you won't see me on Red bull TV anytime soon. But on this day flying down GOAT I could do no wrong! I hit the jumps I normally skip, carved the turns at speed, cleared the doubles, and hit all the drops. By the time we got to the bottom I had goose bumps. What a rush! Peter was riding amazingly as well, and obviously beat me to the bottom. We looked at each other and instantly agreed to run GOAT again. Not something we normally do, but today everything lined up.

The second run was just as much fun as the first. Lots of laughing and screaming with excitement as we made our way down. After we descended the second time we continued on the trail and finished up the rest of our ride. Every turn, jump, drop and climb came easily to us that day. Frankly, this is one of the best rides I have ever had at my home trail.

As we pulled up into my driveway I had a huge smile on my face. A lot of spring rides can be painful, but not this one. It was magical. I rode better than I deserve.

Good rides or bad rides, Wednesdays are special to me, and I look forward to many more "Daddy Date Nights" with Peter this summer!