Miranda Gohn letter: Russian bicyclists saw our real America
The letter writer writes about the Minnesota visit of Russian bicyclists.
Mikhail Gorbachev was a peacemaker. If I remember correctly it was in New York City where President George H.W. Bush and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev met.
The Soviet Union National Cycling Team with American collegiate team cyclists set off from that city to ride across the United States and stopped in the Twin Cities on their way to open up the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle.
Their route was U.S. Highway 12 from the Twin Cities and most likely went through the Litchfield and Willmar areas. They stopped in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where the local cycling community arranged housing at the local YMCA, meals and support services.
The Soviet National Cycling Team riders we speculated were their B team of reserve riders. We noticed they rode older red painted aluminum frame Treks that were in tough shape but they were super strong riders as we figured any Eastern Bloc country would be. The pace was fast and it was tough for all those riders since given the weather, wind, road conditions, terrain and distance they never really had much of a chance to recover on days. Misery loves company!
The Russian riders who were about college age along with various East Coast American collegiate cycling team riders were super friendly and we joked all the time. It was their chance to see the USA from the larger metropolitan areas like the Twin Cities to the rural with the hospitality it offered. Wonderful memories!