September 8, 2003

Well, Scott...

Dammit! It happened again!

Just when I thought I'd gone over the edge...I keep going and find there's lots more on the other side than I ever imagined. I'll wise up one of these days.

Don't mean to bore you with this stuff, Scott, but you're back behind the desk now and could not possibly be MORE bored. That's OK, you had a really nice weekend so we don't feel too bad for you. Besides, somebody needs to tell you about the TRIPS so might as well be me.

I was a bit hesitant about riding this one thanks to on again/off again training schedule. Do good one day...screw up, get behind, get frazzled, lose out the next. Ah, the joys of unemployment. Among other things.

When I looked down J and saw those hills, I thought, I'll make it to MusCOEday, I always do...maybe not back though. You all rode ahead while I slugged on behind. (I don't mind riding by myself at all, but I can't see the friggin' map so I rely on others to point the way. Not always so smart, eh, Neil & LW?) The ride up Roelke and our little group's subsequent mechanicals and navigationals made question marks big on the road. Add to that LW's heat problem (if it gets to him, who's to save me), wind in the face and I'm thinking-toasted I am.

In spite of all, of course, your road plan (dare I say SE is The Duke of Wisconsin backroads) and the local scenery is beyond compare in the universe. All our list-members staying behind on these rides are missing out on THE BEST BICYCLE RIDING in the whole wide world. Quiet, deep peace and tranquility, green lush forests, expansive ridgetop vistas, big fat white clouds, almost total self-sufficiency, no traffic, fantastic company and on and on. Did I mention good food and cold drink? PLENTIFUL.

After great lunch in shadow of magnificent FLW digs in Spring Green, we poke up C and plow straight into MusCOEday headwind. Pull in burnt and nearly cramping around five, a little late but always just in time for most satisfying cold brew and some good laughs hanging out down by the river. Things are looking better now, tomorrow will be what it is. Speedo says 70 miles. And that's with loaded satchels and plenty of ups.

In other words, a full day folks. You can DO IT, but not for the weak knees or faint of heart.

We eat and drink well, however, as we always do, and sleep by the river is deep and sound and full of colorful dreams. Blissful sounds corny but I'm a flatlander and we got the stuff EVERYWHERE.

I get up slowly, and unusual for me, am last out of camp. I'm kind of rushing to catch up. Maybe sleep was TOO good? Can it be? Get to Mary's Sunrise, gobble down some food as you all pay your bills and run to fill bottles so I don't get left behind.

LW, Wendy, Richard, Roger and I get nice paceline going down 130 and savor pretty decent tailwind. No traffic, mostly flat smooth road, Sunday early morning sun, mist in the air, LIFE IS VERY GOOD. We round the corner beneath the big gnarly face east of Lone Rock to head back up C to Spring Green. We're at 17 mile marker and group stops for rest.

But I'm riding just fine now and in the spirit of these trips I tell 'em they'll catch me. Roger and LW know how to turn the big gears...up down no matter.

Sunday morning on C was sublime. Big flocks of Sand Hill Cranes, an almost deafening swarm of Redwing Blackbirds, deer, to be sure, hazy late summer sunshine. Charge right up the backside of C, over the hill, down to Spring Green and on up T. County T is unbelievable. Rolling, scenic, no traffic, warm but not hot, just the full sounds of wildlife to disturb the resolve. The fatigue I worried about in the quads yesterday was non-existent. It's Walter Mitty playing the role of Lance--as me and The Green Witch wind our way up the most fertile Tour de France valley you ever saw. Feeling very very good.

I finally stop to check map and squirt myself and take a chunk out of a Powerbar and I see I'm only about 5 miles from Barneveld. WOWIE ZOWIE. My speedo says nearly 50 miles and I ain't stopped once. Feeling REALLY good now. In fact, I veritably sprint up that nasty last hill to Barneveld, stop to pound down a couple of nature's TRUE sports drinks, Coca Cola, of course, and on I charge with the wind, head down, right through Blue Mound, Mount Horeb and finally along Military Ridge to Riley.

Hey, Scott, I don't really care for the bike trail, gets the mechanicals dirty you know, but it must be all downhill as the bike just seems to be out of control!!! Seriously. I'm on the brakes the whole damn time trying to hang on. Or is it like a horse to the barn? I dunno, but oh boy, WHAT FUN! I stop occasionally to shoot some pix and arrive at the famous Riley Tavern just in time for the last of the best BBQ I've ever tasted. Thanks very much, Riley Tav. Or was it just me? DOESN'T MATTER, does it. What's good is good.

I've had lots of memorable 60 mile rides in my life, but this one nudges all the others at the top of the list. If it keeps going like this, LW and all the other Usual Suspects, I'm in till I'm a hundred. This is definitely NOT Iowa, and it may not even be Wisconsin, but it's as close to heaven as this poor soul will probably ever get. And that's close enough for me.

Buy you another beer sometime soon I hope.

Your friend,