First, sincere thanks to Dave and Rob for their behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-camera hard work. It would not have been the success it was without your efforts. THANK YOU.
I missed the warmup ride on Friday, but the Friday get-together at Tony’s Tap was great. Nice to see some friends from previous rides, and to put names with new friend’s faces. This is a really remarkable group – different backgrounds, ages, education, jobs, from different parts of the country – but we all enjoy cycling and the people it brings together.
On Saturday morning, we met at the guest house for another warmup ride. Immediately, we’re climbing – this is a theme that repeats itself many times. Good roads, and the group stopped often enough to keep everyone together. In Dodgeville, we rode a rails-to-trails that I think is called the Military Ridge Trail. It ran the gamut – pavement, chip-n-seal, gravel, sand, and mud. The muddy parts made it a little risky to keep the speed up, but I don’t think there were any casualties. We agreed to meet up again at the A&W in Dodgeville for a root beer (as a recovery drink, of course), and then to head back together. A quick shower, and it was off to Hollandale to set up the bikes for the show. There were some VERY nice machines there, and some that are the only example of the breed (at least the only examples I’ve seen). A lot of time to talk and meet folks that weren’t at Tony’s the night before. There was a lot of accumulated bicycle knowledge in the Hollandale town hall on Saturday – truly staggering. There was bread, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to take the edge off before dinner. The dinner was first rate, can’t say enough good things about it. Afterwards the awards were handed out, and I apologize for not remembering the recipients. Then we packed up the bikes, cleaned up, and headed back to our various accomodations. Sunday’s ride awaits.
We met at the Hollandale town hall again Sunday morning at 8am, for coffee, scones, bananas, and other assorted delicacies. Fuel, you know. Dave and Rob were in the cat-herding business and were mostly successful. We rolled out around 9am, and guess what – a relatively flat start for a little while, then a right turn and a respectable climb. Someone had painted a purple COPPI on the road about 2/3 of the way up. The climb and subsequent descent theme played out often and was unrelenting. A couple of the climbs on County Road Z and Sandy Rock just weren’t fair – you crest what you think is the top, only to see a “wall” yet to be climbed. It wasn’t actually a wall when you got to it, but it was a little demoralizing to see it and realize that you’re not even close to being finished with that climb. But you persevere and you earn the reward on the other side.
One of the descents early on came up to a T, with a left turn and the fresh chip-n-seal had left a fair amount of loose gravel right where you needed to stop and check for traffic. There were a few skidmarks in that gravel when I got there, but I didn’t see any evidence of bandages, blood, or abandoned bike parts – so apparently everyone got through that part safely. County Z had a few rough spots, but for the most part the roads were in great shape. My GPS track showed a couple of descents at over 40mph, so I guess the work to climb up for them was worth it.
The rest-stops-that-weren’t-rest-stops-because-this-was-an-unsupported-ride were welcome, and a sincere thanks to those folks spending their time to help a bunch of moderately-insane cyclists enjoy a great ride in beautiful southwest Wisconsin.
Brats back at the Hollandale town hall afterwards were a nice way to crown off the weekend. Congrats to Allan and Pete for being beasts. A welcome to his first event to Nic with his very nicely done Trek. Nic and I rode together on Saturday and Sunday, and I enjoyed that very much.
I feel privileged to have enjoyed the people, bikes, and the rides as much as I did.