Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 31, Madison Wisconsin

BEST: A change of plans last night when the pastor from a church offered to let us sleep inside the airconditioned facility. I packed up the tent in under 20 seconds and moved 100 yards to blissful temperatures.

WORST: Headwind after 30 miles of hills, and then 40 miles of it.

MOST UNEXPECTED: At our lunch stop we had some Carr Valley cheese curds. One of the riders remarked on how great their cheeses were, many awards for excellence. Just before the next check in spot we found a Carr Valley cheese store that had just opened 4 days before and we indulged.

Last night after the Fried (broasted) chicken we walked back to the fairground site and a gentlemen came by and was asked if we could help him. Instead he asked if he could help us by opening up his church to us to sleep on the floor with air conditioning. Let me think, do I want to sleep in a tent next to a busy road in 95 degree temperature heat at 1:00 a.m., or .... get out of my way. The only down side is that they were having bible study for children and they didn't leave until 8:30 and some stayed even later. A lady with two kids wanted to talk to me about the trip, and I finally had to politely excuse myself to get to bed for a 3:50 a.m. alarm.

We got started on the ride at around 5:15 in warmish temperatures. I did enjoy the first part of the 99.95 mile ride which had many short hills where you could get momentum going down and almost get to the top of the next hill. It did require some work, but there were some very fun descents. The scenery was wonderful and varied,, but I am still seeing the cornfields, although many of them are looking parched due to the drought. After the first 30 miles, we got back on SR14 into a strong headwind and reached a lunch point at Beck's food stop which included a free animal petting zoo, and other fun things for kids. The headwinds continued until mile 70 when we made a turn into a sidewind which was not too bad. After our checkin point of 72 miles, with a stop just about a mile before at the Carr Valley cheese store, we hit rolling hills again as we approached Madison with some grades in the 6-8 % range. The Carr Valley cheese store provided us (we took) samples of the cheese, and we each purchased a small chunk of cheese to eat. We stopped at a bike store at mile 83 so some of us could have a smoothy (not me) and buy new bicycle chains (not me). We pedaled on through Madison to finally arrive at our dorm (Chadbourne) on the University of Wisconsin campus.

The campus is humongeous with a lot of similar designed buildings of block shapes using sandstone blocks. Legos for older people.

We arrived fairly late after a very long day of pedaling, and I did not have a chance to blog following a shower, laundry, dinner at the dorm, and a trip down to the Student Union next to the lake where I bought a ice cream sundae that was yummy. (Babcocks ice cream). I went back up to the dorm and the group decided to go back to the student union for some beer at the Rathskeller. We were having a good time when a live band started performing. I would describe them as a three chord band with a screamer for a singer. They were very upbeat in their music, but the place cleared like a bunch of cockroaches finding food, and we enjoyed/suffered through the band. I thought they were okay, but would only give them a 75. The second band was much better and I then left and went back to the dorm for sleep in an air conditioned room with a bed, sheets, pillow and a bedspread. Best dorm so far on the trip.

This ride was difficult for some of the riders who were exhausted at the end of the day. The temperatures were in the 90's and with the hills, wind, and final hills, it was a killer of dreams. Some riders didn't make it until 6:00 p.m. and just missed getting destroyed by a downpour of biblical proportions. It had not rained here in months, and this rain overwhelmed the storm drainage systems. Thunder and lightening about every 5 seconds. Just after the rain eased is when I braved the trip for ice cream, and when the group discovered I made it back in one piece we migrated back for the beer.

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