Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 35 - Fond du Lac to Manitowoc - Colleen's Ride

Day – 35 – Fond du Lac to Manitowoc, WI
Chicago Colleen breaks away

Euphoria Meter (1-10): 5
Today was a very pleasant day, cooler temperatures, some headwinds, some tailwinds. Rolling terrain with very prosperous looking farmland. The trip was accented with a trip to John Hubert’s high school alma mater, a Franciscan seminary school, a 3 city fireman’s parade we participated in and our first view of lake Michigan.

Ride Stats:
Distance: 60.6 miles
Riding Time: 3:52 hours
Max Speed: 33.3 mph
Average Speed: 15.6 mph
Total Miles traveled: 2,574
Miles to go: 1,055

Hard to believe…. Our 35th day in a row of perfect bicycling weather. Not a hint of cloud or rain in the sky. The winds were mostly cross and at our backs 10-15 mph. There is bad weather around us we see on the weather channel each morning, but wow have we been fortunate!

Incidents and Rider Report
I may have forgotten to mention that Max Mendelson ran with the Gerard pelaton yesterday and at the very end broke his chain and was able to coast in to the sag stop for repairs. Colleen fell yesterday while riding at a decent clip. She was trying to take her rain jacket off without dismounting her bike but did not succeed. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt badly but did draw blood. Her four year old nephew is very interested in the blood part. Although Colleen’s injuries are now a day old and pretty cleaned up, here’s how the hands looked after 24 hours for little Matthew’s benefit:

How I Feel (1-10): 10
I felt really good today physically. All systems were a go. There were a few times my rear end complained, butt for the most part it felt pretty good. This week was full of very long rides, four centuries in four days and we’re still riding. These were not flat, tail wind days either. What amazes me is the stamina and extra resilience I seem to have on these long rides. I do get worn down but seem to bounce back after a little food, gator-aid and/or rest stop. That is bounce back to riding with zest and enthusiasm.
Emotionally however, I am starting to really miss the companionship of my wife, family and home life. Now that I only have 15 days remaining, I am getting eager to complete this big goal that I set. This is a long time to be away for me. The longest ever n my 30+ year relationship with Cindy. For 35 days now I’ve been doing the same routine over and over and over again. Tonight Bob Frame and I broke away from the buffet line to treat ourselves to a big night out at Applebees and be served. It was a nice treat. The thing that keeps me going on this trip is kind of like the Balucci in Animal house and his sense of a “mission from God”. That mission is my desire to propel myself from “sea to sea” on my own power and bicycle. The different city every day definitely breaks things up. The people I am riding with and rooming with are all great travel companions. They are interesting, fun, adaptable adventurers all interested in the same goal, to ride “every inch” of the Northern route across America. This is what keeps me going now.

Stuff that happened:
The ride today was brief and pleasant. We were able to sleep in, we didn’t have to load our bags until 9am. Everyone was ready at 8:30, but the box didn’t open til 9. Everyone took off shortly thereafter. John Hubert took Colleen and I to his High School alma matter, St. Lawrence. This was a prep school for seminary life. He went there for two years and enjoyed the experience, but wanted to complete his education in a public school system. John is now a first office for American Airlines and lives in Connecticut. It was interesting being with him as he wandered around the small campus explaining the purpose of each building. The buildings were closed for the summer, but he did meet a brother and a maintenance fellow who both talked with us at some length about who still taught there and what had happened to various people John knew thirty years ago when he attended the school.
From the campus of St. Lawrence we road to the town of Mt. Calvary. The town was preparing for what looked to be a really big event in a really small town. Through the 2 mile main street lawn chairs were lined 4 rows deep filled with people who eagerly awaited the fire trucks, bands and who knew just what else. We figured the only way out of town was through that street so away we went. Little did we know that we were to become part of the Parade! It was kind of fun, people waving at us and cheering us on. We are easily amused.
After this little bit of fun, John Hubert took off and I had the pleasure of riding with Colleen Brier. She is a young teacher in Chicago who is a strong rider, but doesn’t realize her potential just yet. I had fun getting her to ride with me at a faster clip. She hadn’t been used to drafting and did very well at it. She encouraged me to go faster so she could get more of a workout! It was a fun day getting to know her and John better.

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