I decided that I wanted to challenge myself, and challenge myself I did! Yesterday I road out to Dodgeville, WI, and it took me on an adventure! No matter which way you try and go there was no escaping the hills(as I learned).
The route started out simple enough, it took the direct way to the “M”, I remember thinking to myself “no problem I got this”. I soon found myself saying “what the hell have I got myself into”, as the hills began. One of the most relaxing/scenic part of my trip was as I rode around the “M”, there was something magical. As Katrina effortless glided along, the cool Autumn style weather hit my warm face. The view was wonderful, and I found my self wishing this part would last the entire trip. Soon though, I arrived at my first turn, and the first of my real challenges. I want you to picture the letter ‘V” bold and capital. Now you have an idea of the terrain I was facing, well not true. Imagine the V with the downside shorter than the upside. As I crested the first hill on this road, I realized that it was NOT the top. Thus began the many hours of what I like to call Roller Coasters. VVVVVVVVV is a good way to describe it.
I eventually hit a rhythm, and found my stride so to speak. I often found myself wishing for a lower gear, and I would curse as I realized it was as low as it would go. As I rode along, I noticed that many of the roads had no signs! What the hell?? I began wondering if I missed my turn, and if I did I wasn’t sure I would want to back track. The only glimmer of hope was when I saw a sheriff’s officer ahead of me. I wave him down, and ask for directions. Turns out he was as lost as I was, but he had a map at least which was helpful. I realized that if I wanted I could take a turn earlier than I needed to, which would get me off these back roads quicker. I was glad to see the hwy up ahead, and sent out a little prayer for simply not dying on the before mentioned hills.
The highway was heaven on G/d’s green earth. Yes there was still hills(this is the driftless region after all) but the hills were gentle, the road smooth, and I had a 3 foot shoulder to ride on. I made much better time on the hwy, going from about 7-8 mph to 12-15mph. I arrived in Dodgeville, WI and decided it was lunch time. Enjoying my lunch immensely, I quickly finished it and after a quick check-in home decided it was time to go. As I was leaving a man walked up to me, asking if I was ok? I let him know that I was ok, and we soon had a conversation about cycling. Turns out he was a cyclist and tourer as well(though I suppose I am not technically a tourer yet). I showed him my panniers (insert link) and let him know how to find me on the bikeforums.com before I left.
Hitting the pavement it was time to head home. I soon found out something interesting about the highway, rumble strips! It felt like I was in one of those paint shakers at the store! I thought Katrina was going to fall apart right there! Luckily I was easily able to avoid them for the rest of the trip, but I would recommend watching out for them. I decided that it might be a better idea to avoid those back roads on my return trip, and would stick to the highways. Things were going smoothly except for one little part, I felt like I was going to Bonk! Bonking is when you are suddenly drained of all your energy, leaving you unable to continue on. I decided to pull over to a gas station in Cobb, WI and get some Gator-aid with a snack. I mixed the gator-aid with my water about 50/50 and ate a frosted honey bun(which I would later find out was 17 points). While taking this break a strong wind came, and knocked Katrina to the ground. As I rush over to check on her, I noticed that she fell on her drive train side. I was very please to see that my pannier had broken the fall, which I am happy to report did not break the pannier either. Picking her up, I realize that I can’t turn the handle bars back. They were catching on something that I could not figure out. So I did the COS(call of shame) to Mrs. BBB, I told her I most likely would need her to come pick me up, but I wanted to check out one more thing first. After hanging up, I take one final look at Katrina, and discover the issue. The mirror was catching on the seat. I felt like an idiot, but was glad to see that I would be able to countine. After a quick call home to belay the order of pickup, I hit the road again.
Things went very uneventful all the way to Montfort, WI accept I was getting a lot of pain in my legs. Part of this is because I really need a new seat, and the other part was that I had done a lot of riding. I stop and take another break, taking some Aleive(which worked amazing). I contemplated calling home and asking for a ride, but soon shrugged that off. I made the turn to the next highway, and gasped in horror. If the first highway was Heaven on earth, than this was hell on a bad day. The shoulder shrunk, the road got curvy, both horizontally and vertically! I hit the next town, Livingston, WI and had to take another break. I was beginning to feel the effects of about 6 hours on the road. I was drained, I was exhausted, and I was defeated. I saw that my wife had texted me, and I wrote her back that I was exhausted. She asks if I had been drinking water and if I needed a lift. I sat there looking at the screen, “did I want a ride home” I said out loud. Do I? Am I done? I knew that up ahead was some of the worst hills of this trip. Would it be shameful to get a ride from my wife? No it wouldn’t be shameful, but was I done? NO, I was NOT done, I WILL NOT QUIT. I mustered my strength and told her “yes to the water and no to the ride because I am to stubborn.” She was worried, but I knew I had this.
“what is going on?” I said out loud, my legs becoming a blur beneath me. I was climbing a BBBEH(big bad biker eating hill) and suddenly all the tension disappeared from the pedals. I realized my chain had slipped off the bottom ring. Now, I was wearing my bike shoes which clip in and I panicked. However, I did have enough sense to kick my feet out of the death trap of my great steed. I did not fall over and was very proud of that fact. The downside to this though was that I a was half way up this hill and stopped. I have 2 choices, walk or ride. Walking would be the easiest, but if you have read this blog at all you will know I don’t typically take the easy way out. I hopped up on Katrina clipping in with one fluid motion. I push, I push hard! Soon I was rolling again and found myself at the point I was fearing this entire ride home, Arthur, WI!
It was a sharp downhill into Arthur, I found myself needing to hit the breaks much to my saddens. Sadness because I knew what was up ahead. A BBBEH, not one though multiple. It seemed to never end, and I found myself praying out loud “G/D PLEASE MAKE THIS END”. I regret to report my prayer was not answered with a yes. I am happy to report though that I did not stop nor walk up these hills. As things often due on these type of adventures, the hills finally ended. Well not ended but at least became spaced out a bit more. The rest of the trip went by quickly and I soon found myself pulling into the “stable”. I came, I saw, I conquered! Round trip it was about 65 miles, and I feel I earned every single one of those miles.
I thought that today I would be to sore to move, and am happy to report that I was able to get 5.5 miles in today. I am now positive I will survive this bike tour next year.
I am also happy to share a link to our newest podcast at Fitastic Podcasts
Keep on Rolling,
Big Boned Biker