Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 32: Rochester, MN, to La Crosse, WI

Today's Mileage: 90
Average Speed: 13.4 mph
Max Speed: 43.0 mph
Moving Time: 6:40
Blog & Ride Details

I cycled to the Mississippi River ...

... from Oregon!

Willpower will get you over mountains.

Our final morning in Minnesota began with 30 miles of torrential downpours and blistering headwinds. As I trudged along, sealed within my rain jacket, rain pants and shoe covers, I couldn't help but think of all the things I'd rather do than cycle in the rain. Lay in bed under a downfeather comforter in my old apartment on West 51st Streeet listening to the tink-tink sound of raindrops on the aged, rickety fire escape just beyond the exposed brick walls. Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea watching beads of rain stream down the 31st-floor windowpanes of my new apartment overlooking Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Sit in an over-sized chair in a dim library with a good book. Lounge in a stable while raindrops tap on the wooden shingles and horses stomp softly in their stalls. But I wasn't in any of those places. I was maneuvering over slick road surfaces, being slapped in the face by pellets of water and straining to see the road through foggy eyewear, which Oakley told me would not fog.

As the cyclists began to arrive at the first SAG stop, the cloud cover was starting to clear. I tossed my rain pants in the SAG bin and shed my rain jacket. Aside from clammy sweat, I was still dry! I decided against removing my shoe covers; even with clearing skies, I was expecting a lot of road splatter. And with the help of the rolled-up rain jacket stuffed in my back pocket - just in case the rain returned, I could have an ass like J.Lo's all the way to Wisconsin. I was pretty excited about it.

The highlight of the day - aside from riding over another state line - was seemingly endless miles of gorgeous bike paths, winding through the Minnesota countryside. If I'm ever wealthy enough to own a second home, I'll purchase one along the Root River Trail so that I can cycle to Barista's Coffee House on summer mornings. Best white chocolate and raspberry scones ever!

The terrain in southeastern Minnesota was an unexpected surprise. Throughout the day, anyone could have told me that I was in a Midwestern cornfield, the jungles of Costa Rica or the foothills of The Appalachians, and I would have believed all three. There was even a curve and a bend, where we were overlooking fields of crops, and the mist-covered hillsides in the background could have been lightly stretched into a believable backdrop of Vietnam.

After a one-mile, 10% grade climb and a screaming descent into the Mississippi River valley, we had officially crossed over into eastern United States territory. I still can't believe we began ... in Oregon.

More images from Rochester to La Crosse:

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


MELI. said...

bikers are sure the best at finding the best spots and having fun. what mileage!! Im so inspired :D
great blog - I've added it to my reads
xxo. from SF <3 meli

Unknown said...

wow you guys are moving right along!! geez!
and don't worry about having a J.Lo booty because "it's not your booty it's your beauty" that counts! lol
love you mean it

Monique D. said...

...ya know, it just occurred to me in looking at your pictures, that you'd have to take your bikes into the hotels.