Our first day in the Driftless was in Minnesota. While we did ride up one ridge, it was a gentle stair step climb and then it was one of those awesome ridge rides. After that was 42 miles on bike trail along the Root River, avoiding until the very end any lumps or bumps in the road. On our second day in the Driftless, this time in Wisconsin, Lon routed us over county highways, thus keeping the climbing to sedate gradients of no more than 8%.
So, Today? Today? May I say that today, while not as aggressive as the challenge rides so popular in this area, it was still significantly more aggressive than yesterday. Lon had us thinking another day of long, but not aggressive climbing and the initial ride was along numbered highways and county roads. But then…then…we turned onto a named street…and another…and the ups got steeper and the roads rougher…uh, oh.
As we rolled down (and up and down and up and down) County S near the second rest stop, we could see that after the rest stop we had yet another significant up….sigh….so as I told my human to eat enough, but not too much at that SAG….and then…then…we turned onto the road that would take us to the rest stop.
Ha! There before us was a wall of asphalt. If you wanted snacks, you had to climb that wall. Turn back to the gas station? Or dig deep into low gears? Up we went. Oh, now this was a Driftless climb. Someone’s GPS read 25%….I don’t think so. My front wheel never wanted to pop up so probably more like 20%. Still. Significant. Heart pounding. and leg burning for the human. But, thankfully short. And, thankfully, only one of those in 3 days of Driftless riding. We know there could have been more.
Funny thing, though, that up we had seen on County S before the break we were worried about? Felt pretty flat compared to that wall. And, shortly after tat we crossed over into Illinois and while still rolling terrain, more sedate climbs.
So, Wisconsin is completed and goes on the books as pretty terrain with rolling hills, but the worst roads so far. The highways were OK, but some of the backroads were patches of patches of patches with patched patches. Our fellow riders from Illinois say that Illinois roads will be worse and, hate to say it…after 1/2 day in Illinois they might be right. Time will tell.
Rumor has it tomorrow is a recovery ride for the Real Riders complete with a direct tailwind. So maybe my human will let me ride the whole day….I can but wish.
Details 79 miles 4583 feet of climb 14 strain
Reading List The Mocking Bird Next Door Marja Mills. Multi-year interview of Harper Lee and her sister.