|Happy Summer Solstice!|
A couple months ago, my husband surprised me with a two day bike tour in the driftless area. We'd done many tours, some long, some short, in what I consider to be one of the best places on earth to ride, so I was more than willing to set aside my dreams of riding in the Madison naked ride again this year. We saw this as a quick chance to get away, explore some roads we hadn't been on and for me, do a bit more training for the Ten Thousand, which is quickly approaching.
|Oh oh. We're following all the Horribly Hilly markers. This can't be good.|
|Pinnacle Road got it's name for a reason. I briefly thought this gun could take my pain away.|
|Almost every road in the driftless area is this pretty.|
Of course, the problem with my thinking was not about being able to handle the hills--I've done many of 'em and have survived, the distance--it was a measly 65 miles each day, or carrying weight on my touring bike--we'd done 8-10 day tours in the hills before. The "problem" came in with climbing the biggest hills we could find for over 50 miles each day while carrying extra weight, being attacked by gnats and horse flies, not carrying enough water (we each carried 3 20 ouncers), and getting soaked the first day. When we hit Blue Mound Trail early in the first day, after climbing Moen and JJ, I knew something was up. After checking his cue sheet, I quickly realized he had put us on the Horribly Hilly route! 18% grade hills aren't big enough for you? Let's throw one or two 20% graders in there too.
|A luna moth in Governor Dodge park.|
|This motel fridge must look familiar to any Wisconsin cyclist|
|My look of confusion as I crested another farm roller|
This whole experience was wonderful but also an eye opener. I consider myself a pretty strong climber, but have now realized why we didn't see any other tourers on this route. The biggest eye opener is how much fluid I needed. Never on my other driftless tours did I go through this much. It makes me very nervous about the upcoming Ten Thousand which will have very similar conditions. No, I won't be carrying the same amount of weight, but the climbing will match what we did, will be on gravel and will be very exposed to the sun. Time to start asking myself a bunch of questions!
Want to know some of my favorite roads from the ride--even the painful ones? Here they are!
Day 1: Of course I love Zwettler, Blue Mounds Trail, Pinnacle, and Knutsen, but I had never experienced the joy of Erdman or Dyerson. Norwegian Hollow near Gov. Dodge will also be one of my favorite roads--one not to miss.
Day 2: Jacobson off of Y South of Dogeville was beautiful! After that, I don't think any of the farm rollers disappointed in beauty or pain. McGraw, Sunny Ridge, Twin Bridge, Birch Lake (this was amazing), Sylvan, Star Valley, Sandy Rock and Perry Center are all worth a visit.
|Markhm rolling up and over hills covered in oak trees|
|Birch Lake Road|