Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 35: Fond Du Lac, WI, to Manitowoc, WI

Today's Mileage: 56
Average Speed: 13.1 mph
Max Speed: 29.2 mph
Moving Time: 4:21

A sort of inane fad briefly spread among a few people to be the first to initial the sign-in sheet at each SAG stop. And apparently, you're not officially first unless you get someone to take your photo to prove that you were the first to sign in. I used to play a game like that. It was the daily race after lunch to get the best mat before nap time in kindergarten.

It's pretty humorous when you take into account that the cyclists on this tour don't begin each day's route all at once. Some of the last cyclists to depart each morning can leave as much as 30-45 minutes after some of the first pedal out. A lot of people stop often to take photos or sample the local culture. Some take longer breaks at the SAG stops. Some are enjoying the day and paying little attention to those who overtake them. The sillier part of the whole thing is that 90% of the people following don't know who was first to a SAG stop or a hotel unless that particular person does a little of their own PR. So I made it my goal today to be the last person to sign the SAG stop sign-in sheet. And I had my picture taken. And I made sure that I told people.

But, even as I obnoxiously poke fun at harmless absurdity, I have to remind myself that everyone has different reasons for making this journey and very few of those reasons deserve judgement. Though there are a few (very few) egotistical remarks made here and there that make me cringe only slightly - which I have been told can become inevitable among those who are competitively-driven cyclists, I am not at all offended by the varying speeds of other riders. In fact, I relish the variety. When I desire conversation or company, I can easily find someone who is going whatever pace I might feel like riding each day or I can find a barren gap to ride solo when I want to be alone with my thoughts. I don't actively make note of who has passed me and who hasn't, but I absolutely love to ride fast on some days ... for me. Pacelining with The Geldings is incredibly fun. Riding with The Swiss Train is a great way to challenge yourself. A few cyclists are training for triathlons. However, today was not one of those days - at least on my pedals. Mike Munk labeled today a "rolling rest day", which struck me as an oxymoron. Even Joe wrote:

"Back home, I consider a 56-mile bike ride a full-fledged workout ... a 56-mile rolling rest day? Can that be possible? It's true [that] we have 2600 miles of riding behind us and have been [averaging] 90 miles a day for the last several days. But 'rolling rest day'? Ok, it was an easier day's ride than we've had in awhile, but it still required over three and a half hours of pedaling and the burning of 2600 calories."

An even more shocking revelation is that I am functioning in a world where setting my alarm for 7 o'clock means that I am sleeping in.

Most of the tour group took it easy today, recovering for more tough days that still lie ahead. Someone brought up a good point as we cruised along though. We have all day to enjoy the routes on this tour. If you're riding fast for the wrong reasons, plowing through each day, focusing on who you overtake in order to beat everyone to a hotel, where you just sit and wait until it's time to unload luggage, you only beat yourself. You miss the bigger picture of the world around you and a lot of really great moments when you forget that this is a tour, not a race. But this isn't a new phenomena; the ride leaders have openly mentioned that they see the same cycling behaviors, patterns and trends every year.

If you ever make a cycling tour of America into your own personal journey, enjoy the thrill of speed for your own reasons. After all, your reasons are the only ones that ultimately matter to you. Otherwise, it could be Day 35 and you still don't realize that you have no idea what the roses smell like.

More images from Fond Du Lac to Manitowoc:

Click here to view my entire photo album of Day 35 [TBA].

The Ride Leader's Official Report:
Across America North:

1 comment:

Monique said...

Looove the pics!! A carriage crossing sign?! Marytown's population is "more than St.Joe"?! LMAO!!

I also enjoyed this comment: An even more shocking revelation is that I am functioning in a world where setting my alarm for 7 o'clock means that I am sleeping in.

That's such a Katie/Moki thing to say :)