Sunday, June 26, 2011

MRT - Biking Day 5

Bagley, Wisconsin to Galena, Illinois

Time: 6:24:17

Distance: 72.484 miles

Average Speed: 11.3 mph

Max Speed: 31.8 mph

Calories Burned: 2376.0

Fat Burned: 226.7 g

I woke up this morning and all the early risers had already eaten breakfast at Hardee’s! I had apparently missed the breakfast plan discussion last night in my post-strawberry margarita stupor, so I had some gas station fare for breakfast. That was apparently the better choice anyway as the Hardee’s goers were jealous of my yogurt and banana.

Today’s riding was actually fairly uneventful overall. It was a pleasant day to ride, warm and overcast. My knees still hurt, so I didn’t race to keep up with John and just kept it steady with Jack, Bev, and Barb. We rode through a lot of farmland again and stopped for brunch in Cassville, Wisconsin. I had the best sandwich ever there. Steak, egg, and cheese. It was heavenly. Like, I might move to Wisconsin for this thing.

Lone tree in the middle of a field

After lunch, we continued on. Today’s ride was the hilliest by far. I just kept it slow and steady and tried not to put too much stress on my knees. As I mentioned above, we rode through a lot of farmland, both agriculture (corn) and livestock (cows, sheep, horses). I talked to all the cows we saw. California claims to have the happy cows, but the Wisconsin cows seemed pretty happy to me. I even passed one field where when I started talking to the cows, they all started frolicking as a herd and running alongside me. That was pretty awesome. The other interesting thing I saw today was cemeteries. In rural Wisconsin, they have random cemeteries in the middle of their fields. Most of them were pretty small, maybe just family plots, but it seemed strange to have a cemetery in your corn field. Although, out here, it’s apparently commonplace.

Places to eat out here were pretty sparse, so we ended up eating lunch at a gas station too. We did some more climbing, some of which was a little steeper than the last few days. The downhills were pretty steep today too. Some of them were pretty scary. Steep and in some places on poor roads and I rode my brakes a lot. In fact, I’m going to need new rear brake pads when we get back. We also rode on some ridge top rollers, where the road stretched out like a ribbon in front of you. I liked being able to see the path all laid out in front of me like that. I saw a lot of signs for “supper clubs,” but every time I saw one, at first I thought it said “stripper club.” It took a couple of these signs before I realized they were advertising food and not naked ladies!

We paused briefly to regroup at St. Claras, which we are guessing was a convent at some point (possibly still is). Shortly after that, we crossed into Illinois. We had a little light sprinkling of rain as we made our way to Galena. We also learned that Wisconsin drivers are just super nice, as the difference almost immediately after crossing the state line was amazing. Wisconsin drivers gave us so much room, while the Illinois drivers zoomed right past as if you weren’t even there. A couple of them scared me and really made me appreciate the consideration of the people in Wisconsin.

We made it to Galena tired and hungry. The town was bustling as their annual wine festival was going on. We also saw a wedding party taking pictures on one of the trolley cars. I hope that couple has a long and happy life together; they really made me smile after a long day. Galena is a lovely little town and it would have been nice to visit more, but being tired and hungry and gross after a day of climbing, we didn’t explore too much. I did snap just a few pictures though.

Since the wine festival was going on, there was nowhere to stay around Galena. We ended up driving quite a ways away, to Clinton, Iowa for the night, making it a pretty late night for us.

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