My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 33 -- July 23rd -- La Crosse, WI to Wisconsin Dells, WI

Miles Ridden: 91.7
Avg Speed: 14.0 mph (includes tunnel walking)
Avg Heart Rate: 109 bpm
Climbing: 2,352 ft
Calories Burned: 2,123 (need to recalibrate)

385 Miles in four days ... nice roads ... Elroy Sparta Trail ... tunnels ... pie ... a wrong turn ... camera goes poop

Today' route and map --

I took full advantage of the extra half hour of sleep this morning ... hotel breakfast (waffles, eggs, hash browns, and sausage) was at 6:30 and luggage load at 7:00.  Eve with the extra 1/2 hour, I was not 100% this morning.  Maybe it was the beer I had before dinner last night.  Maybe it was the buffet food I had for dinner.  Maybe it was the intensity of the past three days ... almost 300 miles in three days.  Whatever the reason, I started the day with a bit of headache and a little queasiness in my belly.  Today we rode another 90+ miles.  The day was really three different rides.  The first segment gave me a good opportunity to shake off my headache and warm up.  The roads were very nice (among the best we have had) and mostly flat. It was more populated, but still included lots of corn.  We did start to see some of the dairy farms that I think of when I think of Wisconsin.  Thought I might have been in Maine, as we went through Bangor and Rockland.  We hit our first RR crossing with a train ... this would be the last picture my camera would take.  I will need to head out tomorrow and try to locate a basic digital camera for the rest of the trip.  Other ABB riders took a few shots of me and as usual, we shared several pictures amongst the group.

Overcast Start, But The Rain Held Off

A "Yankee" in Wisconsin??

Waiting On The Train

My Canon's Last Picture
The second segment of the day was a 34 mile excursion on the oldest rail-trail in the country ... the Elroy Sparta Trail.  We started in Sparta, the self proclaimed bicycling capital of America.  ABB set up our first SAG outside the trail head.  My camera did not produce the shots of me at the trail start or of me being "Ben Bikerr".  The trail has a packed dirt surface that is rideable for road bikes, although I would have enjoyed it more with wider tires or my hybrid.  The trail is very well maintained and actually charges $4 for daily use.  It follows an old rail line, but really distinguishes itself from other trails that I have been on .  Why?  It includes tunnels that go through the mountains (hills).  These tunnel are completely dark and require a flashlight or bike light.  In addition, the surface and darkness prevents you from riding and walking is required.  It is amazing how dark these tunnels are without any artificial light. As I expected the temperature inside the tunnels was cool and it dropped about 20 degrees just before we hit the first tunnel.  The first tunnel was the longest (3,810 feet according to the sign).  Water flows down the sides and tops of the tunnels.  It was pretty neat and felt like we were approaching heaven as we got closer to the "light" at the end of the tunnel.

Sparta ...

Teresa and Matt ... Picture Me Here

Sandy as Ben Bikirr ... Picture Me Here Too

The Trail

Outside the First Tunnel (Me on The Left)

Heading Down The Trail

Next Tunnel

Coming Out of the Tunnel

Entering Heaven?
Two more tunnels and a long haul on the trail made for a long day.  My stats include the walking time.  When we stopped for some great homemade pie in the town of Wilton, I was ready for good old asphalt, but I had to sweat out another 15 on the trail.  It was slow going and a little slippery.  There was also a lot of traffic coming the other way ... mostly unhelmeted families.  Yikes.  At long last, we reached our ending point (the trail goes for over 100 miles, we did 34) in Elroy.  The 2nd SAG refueled us and topped off the water bottles for the third segment into Wisconsin Dells.

Dave and I rode the final 30 miles pretty quickly and powered up the only big hill of the day (a 14% burst).  I did my usual screaming descent at just shy of 50 mph.  After that we really hoofed it popping 23+ mph for a good portion of the segment.  We finally started to see a few dairy farms.  We missed a turn toward the end and added a few miles to our route, but quickly retraced our steps and found our way into the hotel.  With the slow trail speed and the pie stop, it was after 3:00 when we got in.  I napped until wrap at 5:00, then cleaned my bike and headed to Perkins.  Fun conversation with Matt, Mike, and Katie.

Dairy Farms Finally Start To Appear

It Was Muggy Out There
Wisconsin Dells is a tourist and schmaltzy mecca.  There are more go-karts, miniature golf, and water slides then you can count.  The cliffs and river makes for some cool looking sights.  We will ride through the strip on our way out of town tomorrow.  Another 83 miles lay in store as we head to Fond Du Lac.  Dawn Taylor is coming to see me at the end ... it will be nice to see a good friend.

Wisconsin Dells ... Cliffs on the River

Lots of Tourists and Tourist Activities

Leah Would Be In Heaven ... Slides and Water Parks Everywhere

Mini Golf Galore ... Just Like the One Leah and I Played in Bar Harbor
Good night moon ... good night trail ... good night tunnels ... good night pie (coconut cream was yummy) ... good night schmaltzy tourist stuff ... good night camera (and bye bye) ... good night Dawn (see you in Fond Du Lac) ... good night Amy (2 days upright ... I am on a roll)