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Stage 631 – Frazee to New York Mills

The journey through the lakes of north eastern Minnesota continues with stage 631 which snakes its way south east past a multitude of lakes and over a number of river crossings. The stage is dominated by water and the road is rarely flat. Having said that, there are less than twenty feet between the ascent and descent and at just two hundred and fifty feet, the workload is not particularly onerous, although having said that, the worst of the climbing is reserved for the end of the stage.

Route ten by-passes Frazee by cutting between Town Lake and Eagle Lake straight out of the pen. The road is lumpy but gently descending at the same time as it crosses Otter Tail River next to Graham Lake after two miles. The old County Highway 10 from Frazee rejoins the main highway at a right hander after three miles then the road runs straight all the way to Luce at seven miles. Along the way, it passes by Gray Lake approaching four miles, Keyes Lake shortly after, and finally Rice Lake, from which the Otter Tail River flows from Little Pine Lake on the other (left hand) side of the road.

At Luce, where County Highway 60 crosses Route 10, the road bends gently left then runs straight again to Shuster Lake at nine miles: it sits close to Aerovilla Airport, and is nestled in between Mud Lake on the left and Devils Lake on the right. A second Airport, Perham Municipal Airport, is only a mile further on at eleven miles, then the highway scoots around the southern edge of Perham before crossing the Otter Tail River at fifteen miles. It flows between Big Pine Lake north of the road and Rush Lake to the south.

It’s after that crossing that the main climbing business of the stage kicks off and the road climbs away from the lowest elevation of the stage at fifteen miles to the highest four miles later. The climb is severe enough to demand a switchback ascent at Richdale and it’s on the final left hander just before the finish that the highway passes over the summit. The good news, if there is any, is that the summit at nineteen miles ensures a descent to the finish at 400th Street a mile later.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 289 feet / 88 metres

RGT Magic Road: 9Phg711s2W7P

Total distance: 20.49 mi
Max elevation: 1421 ft
Min elevation: 1335 ft
Total climbing: 288 ft
Total descent: -273 ft

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