The Driftless region of Wisconsin is a maze of ridges, hollows and broad valleys. When the glaciers receded, large push-piles [called moraine] were left behind. Spread your fingers and push them through a sandbox and you get a picture of the process. The little hills of sand between your fingers bears a striking resemblance to the topography in this part of Wisconsin. All the hills begin with an initial rise followed by a flat or slight drop – then the grade ramps up dramatically to as much as 22% for about 100 yards.
Cyclists who ride these roads refer to these dramatic rises as walls. Though it’s likely they have other more colorful names to describe them, the term wall sums it up. Our ride today criss-crossed back and forth across the ridges: gut busting wall followed by a 40 mph descent. In all we did nine of these over the course of 84.5 miles, climbing 7149 feet today. Three times I went deep into my reserves as our day drew near to an end. Three times I quit and threw my bike over the guard rail to decompose [being made mostly of carbon] in about 30,000 years – but that was just in my mind. I kept riding.
I don’t know what it is that makes endurance athletes keep going, but I am afflicted with it. We go out and flog ourselves, and then tell everyone we know how much fun we had, and how they should do it, too. But is was fun, and I’d do it again. Well, I’m pretty sure I would after resting for a few days.
Total miles 274.5, Total climbing 20,171 feet
Post Script…I’m resting tomorrow, and then I’m back on the bike Saturday and Sunday for the MS 150 charity ride.