Mileage: 88 miles
Weather: Hazy hot and humid. Low 80s to start. Mid to upper 90s to end. Humidity around 90%. Dew point up over 80. It was a hot wet one today.
Highlights of the day:
The heat has found us – Midwestern style – and that means the 3 H’s. Hazy. Hot. Humid. Now some could argue that mid-90s aren’t all that hot. But add a lot of wet, it can be incredibly stifling & potentially dangerous if not given the respect it deserves. The riders definitely took things a little easier today. Stopped a bit more and used a lot more ice. That’s a good thing. Keeping cool is important.
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. Iced coffee, smoothies, 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.
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! I normally include that they were indeed most fowl but the wind was in the “wrong” direction. It blew all the olfactory goodness away from us. I think we’ll figure out a way to get over the disappointed. 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. It provided a slightly cooler way to spin out 13 miles. 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. I’m guessing the riders would like it if I gave a little more detail on the “it went up" part. The climb was about a mile in length and kept up at a steady 8-9%. It definitely got our attention and Mother Nature added the extra triple-H (see above) to make it that much more challenging.
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. Unfortunately, you’ll have to take our word for it. Due to supporting the riders, van positions and camera positions – we didn’t get any pictures with riders at the Wisconsin sign or crossing the Mississippi River. Yup, supporting the riders ranked (waaay) above taking pictures. Geesh! Next year. We’ll get more pictures with riders next year…
Time hydrate, eat, hydrate, rest and hydrate for tomorrow. Did I mention it we all need to hydrate tonight?