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n the early spring I was talking with my friend Hal about a project he’s been working on over the last few years called Operacion Muerto. As he describes it, Operacion Muerto is a series of off-road endurance challenges that require participants to identify their own routes. It is not a race, but it follows a number of pre-selected checkpoints and a typical route spans 400 to 500 km, all off pavement. Riders must commit to the dates they intend to attempt the challenge beforehand, and once committed, may not change due to poor weather. The challenge is only completed after sharing your story online with accompanying photos. I was looking for something new to try and decided I would give it a go. Having never attempted a ride this long, it would certainly test my limits, even if it wasn’t a race. Mostly, though, it sounded like a fun way to spend a weekend getting lost in the woods on a bike. Sign me up! This is my account of the 2014 Operacion Muerto challenge, a 420 km loop that runs across Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada. I made my attempt together with my good friend Graham Madden. Our ride began in Neepawa, a small town in Eastern Manitoba. MUERTO ACCOUNT

We pulled into Neepawa at about 9:30 pm on Thursday, August 14. The sun had already set, making it clear that the dog days of summer were coming to a close. Our plan was to find somewhere to camp in town and hit the road by 9:00 am the following day. This was my first Operacion Muerto challenge, Graham’s second. Graham and I were on the same page here – we decided to do the ride in three days, riding easy but long days, getting a lot of sleep, and eating well. This wasn’t going to be a ride where we’d kill ourselves just to see if we could do it. Our ride was about stopping for a swim, kicking back in the shade while passing around a bit of bourbon, sleeping in, and taking the scenic route whenever possible. In the quiet hours of the evening, we toasted in hopes of a successful and fun ride over a few beers and called it a night by midnight. I was excited and nervous, but quickly fell into a deep sleep. FRIDAY, AUGUST 15: 180 KM

One of the great things about sleeping in a tent is how easy it is to wake up early. I’m not much of a morning person, but there’s something about waking up with the sun while camping that just feels right.

Bunyan Velo 49

Profile for Lucas Winzenburg

Bunyan Velo: Travels on Two Wheels, Issue No. 05  

Bunyan Velo is a collection of photographs, essays, and stories celebrating the simple pleasures of traveling by bicycle.

Bunyan Velo: Travels on Two Wheels, Issue No. 05  

Bunyan Velo is a collection of photographs, essays, and stories celebrating the simple pleasures of traveling by bicycle.

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