Daily Archives: July 22, 2010

Day 32 – LaCrosse, WI

Garmin Data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/41443140

After riding two centuries, I was really hoping for an easier day than we had today. It was tough mentally and physically — but as Jeff said this afternoon when I told him my legs were “out of gas”, “That which does not kill us, only serves to make us stronger!”  … yeah, right.

Nan and I overslept — her Android phone has to be rebooted every week or so and the only way we know it has gone in sane is to set the alarm feature and NOT get woken up! UGH!

It was a good day to oversleep since it was pouring rain! I quickly got dressed and went over to breakfast where most everyone else was done and heading out. By the time I went back, packed up and loaded my luggage there were only a couple of cyclists left. Jeff (staff) was assigned to ride sweep, so I told him that I’d like to ride with him today. I’m so glad I did — that was probably the single best decision I made today! We had a great ride together. Of course I don’t have any pictures of riding in the rain because I had my little camera safely stowed away in a baggie.

In addition to the rain we had a stiff head wind during the first couple of hours of riding. Jeff and I still managed to have a good time. We chatted and when the wind got strong we yelled instead — but we shared stories all the way. Jeff is such a strong rider that he can was able to chat a little more comfortably than I was. I listened and was able to share a few stories when the wind or rain let up a little. The hardest part of the whole thing was getting my feet wet. I wore my bootie covers from the start so my feet actually stayed dry for quite a while. Eventually though, the water did seep past the top of the bootie and down into my socks. That is the worst feeling! Once wet I was fine. My feet didn’t particularly care to be wet and they got wicked wrinkled again — but I didn’t care. It’s the getting wet part that I don’t like.

Jeff and I stopped at one corner to wait for Ellen and when Jeff got off his saddle he looked back at it and cracked up laughing… it was covered with soap foam! Apparently, when we all did laundry in Sioux Falls (and he borrowed detergent from me…) the soap did not completely rinse out of his shorts! Well, we had fun making jokes and calling him Sudzy after that!

At the first rest stop we all shed our rain gear as it looked like the sun was trying to poke through. Beth (shown below with Jeff) kept on her garb a bit longer than most.

I took off the outer pair of bike shorts. Both pairs were soooo wet that I think I was wearing an extra 5-10 lbs of water! I wrung out the outer pair and stuffed them into my back pocket and we rode off. A bit later I thought I should find a way to get them to dry out a bit so I could consider putting them back on.  As it was, the remaining pair that I was wearing were drying out nicely. I got the idea to wear the second pair kinda like a super woman cape and used the little black clip (like we have at work) to pin the lges together. Leo has a picture of me with my “cape” — I’ll get it from him and include it. Should be good for a belly laugh!

There were dark storm clouds all around us for the entire day, but once that initial rain stopped, Jeff and I and Ellen had little patches of blue sky directly over us. If we started to ride too fast, I’d warn Jeff that we’d ride ourselves right back into a rain cloud so we kept a nice moderate pace. We were the last ones to the SAG and Ellen asked us all to avert our eyes so she could find a tree …. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of us all facing the road. Good thing it wasn’t a bigger group ‘cuz it would be like herding cats to get any more of us to do this!

From left to right… Fred, Barb (staff) and Jeff (staff).

I got a couple shots of Jeff and Ellen while we were riding — gives you an idea of the terrain and the rolling hills we’re riding through now. I’m excited by all the TREES and the under growth. Just yesterday we were in crop land and today, there are TREES. Ahhhhhhh, a nice change from corn and soy beans.

We rode 10 miles on a gorgeous bike path into Houston (no, not Texas – Minnesota!). Nan didn’t take the bike path and saw THREE Norwegian Fjord Horses. OK, who’s got the Fjord Horses…. I’m gonna get her photos and post them. It would have been neat to stop and talk to the Fjords and their people, but I was on the bike path. I wouldn’t trade riding on that path — nice and wide, smooth with a tree canopy most of the way. There was quite a bit of debris (leaves, small branches) from the morning rain that we had to navigate around. Even so, it was definitely a hightlight. And, it ended at a bakery that served KILLER raspberry cream cheese croissants. YUMMY!

That’s Ellen with the red jersey and bright yellow helmet cover and Jeff riding in front of her in his “vintage” ABB jersey.

I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the puddles at the bakery SAG. And Karen with her “indoor” SAG setup — she had to work real hard to keep everything dry yet make it available to all the riders. She’s just the best!

After the second SAG we had about 7 miles before we hit the “Wall” (again….). This wall was 1 mile long steep climb. Jeff said that it is about the last big climb we’ll see until we get to New England. Guess that means I’m stuck with Rollies for the next couple of weeks (oh JOY!). The climb afforded us fabulous views of the area.  About this point in the ride, my legs were feeling more like jello than steel. I rode up the hill more on will power than muscle power — but I got up it and enjoyed riding along the ridge and looking down at valleys along either side of us. Simply stunning country!

And we ended the day by crossing over into our sixth state (OR, ID, WY, SD, MN are done) — Wisconsin. Jeff, a proud Minnesota Golden Gopher, was sad but not me. I’m happy to say goodbye to the skinny shoulders and rough roads! Bring on the Cheddar Heads!

Tonight I got a visit from some dear Fjord friends, Sue and Denny Plein. They live a little ways from where we’re staying so they drove over and visited while we ate at a local buffet — it was fun to catch up and talk Fjords! Sue reported on the Blue Earth show and I caught her up on the Colorado evaluation.  Thanks you guys!