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Stage 637 – Paynesville to Grove City

This is another stage going south to avoid headwinds in northern Minnesota when Mark Beaumont rode it back in 2017. By the end of the stage, the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul will sit directly in the path of the shortest route to the Great Lakes: heading east on this stage, or indeed one of its predecessors, and bypassing those cities on their northern side would have been quicker on paper but not in reality at the time. The stage is lumpy at the start, calm in the middle then uphill at the end.

The rollout is south east and downhill on Highway 4 from the junction where it joins Highway 55 which delivered ATW to the finish of stage 636. The road crosses over Highway 23 after two miles en route to Paynesville, which it passes through a mile later. The road rises fifty feet in half a mile to four miles on leaving Paynesville, before losing it and regaining it again on reaching Lake Koronis at five miles. The first of those summits, at four miles, is the highest elevation of the stage.

There’s then a sharp descent to seven miles where Highway 54 bends right after crossing the North Fork Crow River, and from that moment on, the stage heads south. There’s an up/down away from the river but by nine miles, where Highway 4 passes to the right of West Lake, the terrain is flat. It remains flat, crossing a tributary of the North Fork Crow River at ten miles and the Middle Fork Crow River at thirteen miles. When the road arrives at Wilcox Lake and Miller Lake on the right at fourteen miles, it snakes right then left as it begins a six mile climb that doesn’t end until just before the finish.

Highway 4 runs south to nineteen miles where it meets Highway 12 at Grove City. The route hangs a right onto H12 through the city before turning left back onto Highway 4 and south again after leaving the city on its western side: however travelling west just seems wrong at this point in time. The climb tops out at the junction with 270th Street at twenty miles before the road bends left into the finish approaching Long Lake.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 338 feet / 103 metres

RGT Magic Road: 0lxs6aEuNFi7

Total distance: 21.95 mi
Max elevation: 1214 ft
Min elevation: 1103 ft
Total climbing: 337 ft
Total descent: -376 ft

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