Originally (and still) known as Delano-Henderson-Chaska in the RUSA Permanent Database
This is a mainly rural route in the Western suburbs/exaburbs of Minneapolis. It is very scenic with many sections in very isolated areas where there is absolutely nothing for miles. This route is for experienced riders and requires the ability to deal with minor bike issues (tire changes, tweaks, etc) as well as riding 120+ miles in 13 hours. Unlike a brevet, this permanent can be ridden at any time. You will need to gather receipts from each of the controls with the date and time. You need not have someone sign the brevet card (the receipt substitutes). If for some reason, a listed control is closed, you may get a receipt or use an ATM from any business close by. This theoretically could happen in either Green Isle or Henderson (it will not happen in Delano). Please let me know if this happens. Do not forget to stop and answer the question for the informational control at Assumption either. This is the one thing that you will need to write down on your brevet card (besides signing at the end) – so it will be a good idea to bring a pen or pencil with you. The question will be different each time you ride the ride.
Parking for this permanent is located on Virginia Ave just down the street from YesMart. Do not park in the YesMart parking lot as you will likely be towed. Virginia is a quiet residential street so there should be no problem.
This area is fortunate to have 2 very good Asian Bistros (Thando in the Texa Tonka Shopping Center and Wok in Park across the Street at Minnnetonka and Utah). These make great places to grab something post-ride.
Ride according to all the laws. Do not run stop signs or lights especially in Wayzata or Orono – even along the bike trail. The police can and will ticket you for doing a rolling stop (aside from the fact that it’s dangerous). The ticket is something like $130, so don’t make this the most expensive permanent you ever ride.
This ride is a loop and can be done clockwise or counter clockwise. This recap assumes counter-clockwise, but the major points are the same no matter which direction you go.
Leg 1 – St Louis Park to Delano
The first 4 miles are down Minnetonka Blvd. Riding early in the morning, Minnetonka is typically not busy and is nearly flat for about 4 miles. The turn onto McGinty is just past 494 and goes up a small hill. As you come into Wayzata, you will cross Hwy 101. This is a very quick light and you may need to either use the pedestrian trigger to make the light change or carefully cross (per state law). Wayzata also has Starbucks and Caribou for those that simply can’t get far without of fix.
The turn onto Ferndale is at the end of the business district and crosses railroad tracks. You will see the entrance to the Dakota Rail Trail on the right immediately after crossing the tracks. I highly recommend taking the trail option at this point; it parallels the road and avoids a very busy road.
From Orono Orchard Road until you hit Hwy 12 near Delano, you will be on county roads that are typically not busy, gently rolling, and picturesque. Once you turn onto 12, be careful as traffic is very fast. There is a very wide, nicely paved shoulder though so it is safe. The first control, Holiday Gas Station or Coborns, is visible from Hwy 12 on your right.
Leg 2 – Delano to Green Isle
As you leave the control, you will turn back onto Hwy 12 going right. This will take you through Delano which has some traffic. Make a left turn onto CR30 then another left onto West River Road/CR 16 just after the bridge over the Crow River. CR 16 is very scenic, rolling hills but generally downhill, and will take you through Watertown along the Crow River. Though not a control, you will pass the Crow River Coffee Shop just as you roll into town. There is also a grocery store that will be open from 7:00 am to 10:00pm. The next stretch outside of Watertown is on Hwy 25. There is a decent shoulder most of the way and there isn’t much traffic. CR25 is also gently rolling mainly through farmland. You will pass through Mayer (gas station which may be open).
Hwy 25 will seem to end at a T intersection; the right turn will put you on Hwy 5/25 for a couple miles before you take a left on N Central Ave. This intersection does not have a light so be on the lookout. Central will take you through a small residential area at which point you will come to a 5 way intersection. Go straight through this intersection (name changes to Faxon Rd). You will pass many services, grocery, gas stations, fast food etc if you need them. Be careful crossing Hwy 212, there is a light, but it is a major highway.
Once you leave Norwood Young America, you will once again be on gentle rollers all the way to the informational control at Assumption. There is virtually nothing left of the town except the cemetery. It’s very old and has a plaque dedicated to the former church. Worth a look around if you have time. The route will take you around the cemetery to Green Isle.
As you come into Green Isle, you will see a full sized baseball stadium on your left. Both free water and restrooms are available (though you may as well go to the control). Even though Green Isle is only about 300 people, it has a real fondness for little league and they have won several pennants. There is also a very large catholic church in town that is quite beautiful. The control is a Cenex station at the corner of Hwy 25 and Hwy 5, just over the rail road tracks. It has a decent selection of sandwiches, pizza, and other food as well as an indoor area to sit and eat. I highly recommend eating here if you are not planning on a sit down meal in Henderson. Henderson Shell is very small and doesn’t have much, though the town has several nice bars that serve food.
Leg 3 – Green Isle to Henderson
This is the shortest of the legs. As you leave the control, backtrack over the RR tracks and take the small frontage road on the right (Railroad Street). This allows you to avoid riding on Hwy 5 which is busy and has no shoulder. In a couple tenths of a mile, you will turn left at the T intersection, the next few miles are just about the flattest part of the ride through farmlands, you will then descend the bluff into Jessenland and turn right on CR6 (Scenic Byway Rd) to go into Henderson. The control is just at the corner of Hwy 19 and CR6 (a Shell station), turn left and left again to enter. There is also a short cut that avoids the light on Hwy 19 just at the corner. Henderson has some nice bars and has a unique retractable levy at the Minnesota River, if you want to ride down 19 and take a look.
Leg 4 – Henderson to St Louis Park (50 miles)
CR6 is a rolling road through the Minnesota River valley. You will pass an old church at Jessenland, a few farms and quarries, but the view of the river on your right is very nice. It’s a Minnesota scenic byway and one of the highlights of this ride. CR6 turns into CR40 near Belle Plaine, though you will not pass through Belle Plaine on this route. It isn’t part of the route, but if you want a nice detour, turn right on Hwy 25 and go about half a mile down for a really nice view of the Minnesota over the Belle Plaine Bridge – optional, but still very nice.
CR40 winds past the river for another mile, then you have a long climb out of the valley. It’s only about 4-6% but it is a mile or two in length. There are some additional hills up and down on CR40 which will pass through East Union.
You will descend again on CR40 then go straight at the bottom up a long hill (CR11) near Carver. This is a long climb, but not terribly steep. As you get to the top, stop your bike and turn around for a lovely view of the entire area. You will then cross the new Hwy 212 on an overpass, your turn is just past this point. There is a long descent into the Chaska/Chanhassen area. This area is full of gas stations, fast food, restaurants, etc. Though not a control, you can certainly refuel here. If all you want is water, there is a park called Fireman’s Park on your left as you come into town – it has free water and restrooms.
You will take a left onto Audubon Road and climb out of the valley once again. There is a bike trail along the road if you want to take it. Most roads in Eden Prairie either have shoulders or bike routes/sidewalks. Excelsior also has a decent shoulder, though sometimes it can be dirty. Baker Rd was recently repaved so it is in great shape. It will take you back to Minnetonka Blvd which will take you back to the start at YESMart.