The fare was $25—many times the Metra to Harvard, which zipped passed us as we slowly swam along the traffic of the Interstate. I’ve noticed modern bus lines tend to avoid the downtown areas of all but the biggest cities, stopping instead at odd malls and filling stations on the fringe of town, so I didn’t get to see much of
I had stupidly left my Wisconsin Bike Fed map (as well as the CBF map) at home (Rule #1: you can never have too many maps.) I also left the mapquest directions to the motor-lodge on the printer. Regardless, I had plenty of time and it was a loverly day, so I blindly set out on a course parallel to U.S. 14. I decided to make a 5 mile detour to visit
After 34 leisurely miles I arrived at the Super-eight. A man stormed out of the office incensed over the high-season rates. Fight the power brother, but I had no alternative but the pay the near $100 per night. I left a note for the organizers at the front desk detailing some road closures, laid about my supercooled room and was asleep by 8pm.
I paired up with Ken for awhile. “I wonder what the people in these towns do” he wondered aloud as we passed through suburban Edgerton. We speculated on their livelihoods and the local economy. This in mind, I procured some locally produced snack food items at the first checkpoint, Landjagers and strawberry licorice, both rather fresh and excellent.
We caught up with Mike and Dave in New Glarus just long enough to say hello.
I rolled into
I reapplied the ointment…
A graduation kegger bonfire beckoned, so sweet the bare shoulder sirens I nearly missed a turn. I rode ahead a bit to trip 200 miles at the 18 hour mark. The same damn bumps jarring the same damn pains on the approach to Edgerton, where the need for warm food reduced us to the MacDonnald’s drive-thru.
Bill was wired on caffeine pills, talking a mile a minute. It was hard to hold it against him, as he had apologized in advance. Mike and Dave (and Ken, somewhere behind us) had all gotten less than 2 hours of sleep the night before, per usual. Myself, I was plodding along wearily, the wrapped haystacks looking like giant pillows. I’d nod off, snap to with a swerve and ride on the adrenaline for a few minutes. We hit the motel, 250 miles in 23.5 hours, an hour-fifteen improvement over the last brevet and another personal best.
Sunday June 10. The nap made all the difference. I departed with Jim, Thomas and Johnny at 8 am sharp. I didn’t expect to keep up and didn’t, but the roads were pleasant, the weather beautiful and my spirits high.
The route for the last 126 miles traversed entirely new terrain, not far from Kettle Moraine. A few folks had warned me of some hills in the first leg, the largest of which was a steep valley of
I ate an omelet sandwich outside the
At the Whitewater checkpoint, I came across a rider with a broken spoke, tire rubbing the frame. The wheel was a shop loaner and the deep V made the nipples inaccessible. He was a mere 45 miles from the finish, but not planning on going to
Closer to the halfway point were Johnny, Thomas and Jim on their return. It was all business at the half way mark, the checkpoint in
Bluff Rd. was particularly a scenic 8 mile stretch of two lane blacktop, with picturesque farms and Georgian style brick homes. It was here that I broke my longstanding
There are numerous variables to consider in comparing the rides. This ride was rather hilly, while that one was almost entirely flat. This was a loop and that was one way with a wind advantage. For this I have trained, for that I just jumped on the bike. Balmy June vs. freezing November. A cat nap vs. no sleep. 30 lb bike vs. 17 lb bike. 27 gears vs. 1 fixed.
Ultimately, I rate the St. Louis ride as vastly more difficult due to simple geometry. A touring bike aims to suspend you in the most comfortable position possible to coax the miles out of your body. Sitting on track bike is the like crouch of a cat pouncing ceaselessly. The fact that I could even attempt an additional 40 miles, was proof enough. The day after
My feet were screaming, but I didn’t care; I smelled blood. For the first time in all four brevets, I kicked it into the large chainring. I hung in the drops, head down, sweat steadily streaming from the tip of my nose. 16, 18, 20 mph. OK, OK, OK, was repeatedly spray painted along the shoulder as if the road was crying uncle. I did a 7 mile straightaway in 25 minutes.
7 miles. 4.5 miles. 3.5 miles. Approaching Delavan. I see the giant ocho, there, in the distance. Motherfucking stoplight. I coast into the parking lot and practically into the lobby for my last stamp. 376 miles. Final time: 37 hours and 47 minutes.
I am a Super Randonnuer. I am qualified for P-B-P. I am going to Paris.