Thursday, July 22, 2010

AAN Day 32 - Rochester, MN to La Crosse, WI

Daily Statistics:
Mileage: 90.6 miles Average Speed: 13.6 mph
Vertical: 3488 feet Depart: 7:06 AM Arrive: 2:12 PM
Calories: 5643

Link to Garmin ROUTE DATA

Today started out very interestingly. As we went to breakfast, it was raining. When we loaded, there was a slight lull, and we headed out on the route. VERY quickly, it started to absolutely pour. On top of that, we had a nasty headwind which had the flags flying straight out and then some. Nevertheless, we continued on. The good news was that it wasn't that cold. I didn't even put on a jacket. Most folks had on all kinds of jackets, leggings, shower caps on the helmet, and who knows what else. I did leave my camera and phone in the luggage, because everything I had was getting soaked. As a result, the couple of pictures are courtesy of the Swiss boys, who came along at just the right time.
There really wasn't much new on the early route anyway. More corn and soybeans, although at a generally smaller scale. When we got to the small town of Rushford, we were routed onto a very nice bike path along the Root River for about 15 miles into the small town of Houston (MN, not the other one in TX). It was a very nice change of pace from the roads. Coming into that point we had dealt with a bunch of demanding rollers for about 10 miles, making the bike path even nicer.
After the second SAG, we were back on county roads (with a steady drizzle for about an hour or more), with a tough climb up Hallel Hill about 73 miles into the ride. We then sailed along a nice ridge road most of the rest of the way to town. Of course, the first of the two big milestones of the day was the welcome to Wisconsin. I am including the version with Daniel and Bruno, as they were kind enough to share with me.

The second big milestone came less than a mile later, when we crossed the mighty Mississippi River. Again, the shot is courtesy of my Swiss friend. From the Mississippi, it was only 3 or 4 miles to the motel. I had to spend a little time getting the dirt off the bike, and I was a mess myself. I don't think the socks I wore will ever be the same.

Tomorrow should be a fun day, weather permitting. We spend 34 miles on the Elroy Sparta Rails to Trails Route. It includes 3 tunnels of up to about 3/4 mile long. Apparently, we have to walk the tunnels, and I will put my dollar Wal Mart flashlight to work.

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