Cycling Date: Thursday 17-July-14
Mileage: 88 miles
Weather: Wet. Definitely wet. Rain most of the day. Low 60s to start. Low 70s to end. Winds out of the SE.
Highlights of the day:
We finally had our first day of rain. 31 dry days in a row. We were due. It wasn’t all that bad (she writes having been in the van all day). Forecasts warned of potentially strong thunderstorms. None appeared. The showers were intermittent with a few on the heavier side. We all got wet. We all got dirty. Lots of laundry and bike cleaning tonight.
SAG stops today were great and worth mentioning today. Location, location, location. SAG #1 – roadside park complete with a stream and little falls. SAG #2 – Bistro’s Coffee House in Houston MN. Hot coffee, hot chocolate, sandwiches, and raspberry or blueberry cream cheese croissants. Both stops provided the standard break for the riders to refuel and top off water bottles but with the added scenery and gourmet treats, they also gave the riders something to talk about after the ride today.
We crossed paths with the Habitat 500 Bike Ride. It’s a bike ride that raises money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. Their riders were heading in the opposite direction from us, right past the 2nd SAG stop. We pointed and waved, cheering each other on. A few of their riders stopped to chat at our SAG stop. We were even visited by one of their ride officials asking if we needed any more assistance. These Midwesterners can sure be friendly!
On the bike, riders were treated to more two-lane country roads through farm land. We added a new olfactory note to our repertoire – turkeys! Yes, they were indeed most fowl. The farms are looking more eastern than western. What do I mean by that? Rolling terrain covered in corn and soybean. Large red barns next to two or three dome-capped silos. Images worthy of jigsaw puzzle status.
We had another very nice bike path. Described by riders as mostly downhill, tree-shaded, and in great condition. The only complaint was the grass clippings that covered the path. Wet tires picked up the clippings and they ended up in clumps near the brakes. One rider stopped wondering what was wrong with his bike. It wasn’t rolling as it should. Removing the fist-sized wad of grass stuffed under his rear brake caliper seemed to do the trick.
Off the bike path, there were the hills. You might have heard that the Midwest is flat. Not so much. The rivers & streams did a fine job cutting into the landscape. Ridges flank the roadways winding along the river. Our big climb of the day was on a road that went up, along, and then back down a ridge to the Mississippi River.
The Mississippi River is the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. We crossed over our 5th border and into our 6th state. Lots of pictures were taken. This time, we didn’t have the sun in the wrong place. Time to dry out, clean up, and rest for tomorrow.