Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 33: La Crosse, WI, to Wisconsin Dells, WI

Today's Mileage: 90
Average Speed: 12.0 mph
Max Speed: 47.4 mph
Moving Time: 7:34
Blog & Ride Details

Mike Munk gave us triathlon credits for today's route, which followed the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in the Wisconsin Rails-To-Trails system for a majority of the day. Each pedal stroke was like swimming in the thick Wisconsin humidity. We cycled nearly another century. And we "hoofed it" through thousands of feet of old train tunnels that had been blasted, dug and constructed in the 1800s.

There were three tunnels along the section of trail that we cycled. The ride leaders instructed us a few days in advance to purchase small flashlights. I downloaded a flashlight app on my iPhone, which worked pretty well; however, I plan to include a comprehensive shopping list at the end of this blog, which will note all the things that ABB failed to include in advance but instructed us to purchase later, like a flashlight and a bandana. You can put ice in a bandana and tie it around your neck so that the ice melts slowly on your back during long, hot rides. It really works well to keep you cool in the dry heat out west. But I digress.

The tunnels were so long and so dark that there was absolutely no riding. It was eerie how dark darkness really is. It would have been incredibly creepy if I had been alone. In fact, I'm not even sure I could have entered any of them on my own. As we exited one of the tunnels though, I watched my fellow cyclists walking ahead of me and wondered - if there is a bicycle heaven - this must be what it feels like to walk toward the light. I found something peaceful in it. Others, like Gerard, lingered within and took extra photos with beautiful angles.

This was our fourth high-mileage day in a row, and my body is definitely starting to feel it. We have 83 more tomorrow and then a short day of 57 before our next rest day. Mileage-wise it has been a tough leg along the journey - not that any leg has been particularly easy. Even after a day's route has been completed, you often can't just lounge. Whether it's cleaning your bicycle or finding something else that needs to be fixed or adjusted during mechanics hour, there's always something to occupy your time outside of the usual stretch, shower, laundry, RAP, dinner. Trips to the local bicycle shops when available. A run to WalMart if there is one in town. And if you're trying to keep a blog of your experience, that's the biggest "time suck" of all (to quote Jim).

But as the days become a blur, I'll have a condensed way to look back on this journey and remember what I can. I just wish there was a way to remember it all.

More images from La Crosse to Wisconsin Dells:

Click here to view my entire photo album of Day 33 [TBA].

The Ride Leader's Official Report:
Across America North


Monique D. said...

"It was eerie how dark darkness really is." So true. Love the pics!

Wisconsin Dells said...

Wow! these are really true awesome places!