A Day At The Races

Saturday we woke up to a cool Michigan morning just a bit south of Grand Haven ready to ride the final stretch of our route into Grand Rapids. The day was to be a short 75kms with no elevation gain worth noting, a couple stops at CRC churches and the home of Tyler Buitenwerf. We were anticipating riding past 11 different CRC church buildings during the day. In addition to our contingent of 150 cyclists 130 others were joining us “officially” for the day and numerous others “unofficially”. Considering the fact that I met 3 of the bandit riders and- never figured out who was riding along as part of the “official” ride-along there could have been many more than 300 of us on the road. Leaving camp in the morning at around 8:05 we were of course taking up the tail end of the group and had approximately 300 people ahead of us to pass during the day. Riding with me were John Vanderveen, Brad Geerlinks, and Marc Vanotteren. This was a group of guys included all of the perpetual City-Line-Sprinters and we were excited to compete in what we’ve been calling the second biggest sprint race of the summer. The race into Grand Rapids, Jersey city being the other big one we were looking forward to. (The Canadian border sprint will happen on a Ferry and therefore doesn’t exactly count because we couldn’t race it).

The day started out with us riding along hovering just below 40kph keeping a running tally of how many people we had passed so we could gauge how many were on the road. We were all the way up to 126 riders within the first hour of riding and everyone had smiles from ear to ear. After rounding a bend we saw in the distance a town line sign for Lemont Michigan, a little race to scope out the strategies of the other guys we were riding with. It was a long gradual downhill followed by maybe 100 yards of flat to the finish. I was up front and could see John Vanderveen was perched just over my right shoulder. We were heading north and the sun was still low in the sky so I decided I’d try to lour him around me on the downhill hoping to make my move at the bottom of the hill. I looked left and watched his shadow and could see him move further to my right and come up alongside me. Exactly as I had hoped I felt confident I was positioned correctly as we neared the bottom of the hill. I quickly glanced down at my speedometer and noted we were traveling at 54 kph. I was going to need every gear I had if I was to get ready and stand to sprint this line against John who is geared faster than me. At this point my chain skipped and I lost tension in my chain and my pedals went for a whirl. If you’ve ever been walking up the stairs and expected there to be one more step before the top you’ve felt the same feeling. You try and place your foot somewhere and there’s nowhere for you to put it. My left foot made that attempt and landed nowhere, it came unclipped from my pedal and my bike veered sharply to the left. I wasn’t about to make any sharp corners as I was now moving faster than 54 kph so I continued in a straight line. I tucked in my arm and went for a slide down the road on my right shoulder and then on my back. I saw Marc ride by while sliding on down the road and began to scramble to my feet so I wouldn’t be hit by any one of the other riders coming behind me. Marc told me later I was on my feet before I had stopped moving. A quick couple steps and I was in the ditch and made my way to a patch of grass in the shade where I parked myself.

It was about here that the serious praying began and group at the side of the road in the ditch began to grow. John who had dislocated his shoulder numerous times before started to feel things and get the lay of the land. His initial reaction was that it was dislocated and asked if I could move it. I moved it up from by my side to above my head without much trouble and it just felt better there so that’s where I kept it. Soon enough Betsy, a nurse, rode up to the scene and did her version of the little diagnosis. Hers sounded like 50% dislocation and 50% broken collarbone and the prospect of the end of my tour loomed large. The other guys were all rather sobered by the situation and did what they could to help out and throw in a few words of encouragement. My new camera which had taken a grand total of one photograph was absolutely destroyed so Brad snapped a few photos of the wreckage on my behalf. Art Smit pulled up in one of our 10 passenger vans and my bike made its way in between the seats. Soon enough we were headed for the hospital Art driving and Betsy along as my hospital tour guide.

The hospital visit included a few Xrays which seemed to be “Let’s put this arm in the 4 most painful positions I can think of and then take photographs of it” and some rather suspenseful moments waiting to hear what the news would be regarding my prognosis. Betsy was great to have along and even though we never really did discuss the fact that my tour might very well be done her comments did help to bring peace to what was far from a peaceful situation. When the doctor eventually arrived back with the news the results were good, or great, or fantastic. I had no breaks in my shoulder and by his physical exam my shoulder was no longer dislocated and the X-ray did confirm that fact. He commented that I had done a number to my AC joint and he was going to call it a shoulder contusion. Later on a physiotherapist checked it out at camp and said that the AC joint was most likely separated. For all the non anatomy majors out there that is the bit of your body that holds your collar bone “down” and I would have to agree that mine is more likely described as “up”.

So basically from the time my foot came unclipped everything went in the best possible direction it could have. There is no question that I had God looking out for me. The road was smooth and I slid a long ways rather than grinding to a halt. I also was fortunate to have been able to tuck myself in before sliding and did so in a more elegant way resulting in less road rash than any other sprawl on the pavement would have. My head never smacked into the ground but my helmet does suggest it would like to be replaced so I will do so as to not suffer any consequences at a later date. I had people with me who knew what to do and insurance to make treatment and a full diagnosis available. The doctor’s orders included no mandatory rest and he told me that if I could ride there from Seattle he figured I was able to attempt continuing on Monday. My front wheel ended up in the shape of a pringle and while my bar tape, seat and derailleur are scraped up they are not broken. I had access to a new front wheel which has replaced mine now and should treat me well for the rest of the summer. I also was notified lated that I was named the honorary winner of the sprint into Lemont. John Vanderveen did end up winning the big race into GR for those of you who are interested.

My arrival into camp was a bit overwhelming to say the least. I had just been sitting for a while in the van and just wanted to lay down in the shade and get some food. I had 4 complete discussions after opening the door before I could even get out of the vehicle. I then proceeded to do the awkward left handed handshake with all sorts of people who I would have loved meeting and talking with under almost any other circumstances. If you’re reading (and I know a few of you are) I apologize for lousy first go of things. I didn’t catch a single name in the whole process but did figure out that I had an hour before someone was coming to pick me up to shower in her house, to let me do my laundry and have a real bed for me to sleep in. I finally got on my back in the grass and put a few drugs in me and that’s where I stayed for the entire hour letting everyone who asked know that I was allowed to ride on Monday and would be making an attempt to do so. The conversation repeated itself all weekend long and I’ll have to admit I am a bit sheepish telling people that we were racing when I crashed.

My host for the weekend was Cobi Hofman, the wife of the pastor who way back more than 50 years ago baptized my Dad. She had been a part of the CRC that I was riding as a representative of during its very early years meaning even though I’d never met her before we did have an endless supply of topics for discussion. We did watch a bit of the Olympics, which I haven’t otherwise had an opportunity to do and I was fed well. I also had a good bed to sleep in for the weekend and got a ride to check out Neland Ave CRC on Sunday morning.

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Deeper into the heartland

If you think the jokes about the pilgrimage to Michigan by the SeatoSea bike tour are growing old… you’re only getting a few of them. There are new ones each hour of every day around here. Seems like everyone has the same sense of humour in that department.

Friday we rode north from South Haven to Grand Haven and rode through the town of Graafschap and Holland on the way. The very first CRC ever hosted us for lunch and a peruse of the little museum in the basement. A stop at the bike shop in Holland and then a stop to pick up a new camera. Followed by an afternoon on the beach at Holland State Park. 3 hours of sunburn later we finally decided to hurry up and head north to make it in time for dinner. Only half an hour late for dinner we rolled into the conference grounds and were just in time for the last few Steaks from the BBQ.

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Newsletter #8

Here’s the newsletter from SeatoSea communications headquarters: The link for end of week 7!.

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The promised land…. Michigan

We rode into Michigan today for the first time. With more than 60 cyclists from this state there are alot of people excited to be here. There was in fact a lineup at the “Welcome to Michigan” sign to have their picture taken. My camera is broken, perhaps temporarily perhaps permanently at the moment so I didn’t bother standing in that line.

I set out this morning with Johnny Pierce, Peter Rabbit, Jody, Stretch (Marc VanOtteren) and Kevin Pasma and we were soon joined by Lawrence. The route started out through a wealthy community along the shore of lake Michigan and the road was flat… we were flying along in the mid 30s and having a great time with overcast skies and perfect temperatures.

Reuben then passed us while people were taking pictures of the Michigan sign and I latched on to him for a bit. The road took us away from the beach and through some tree lined backroads in hardwood forest which were beautiful. Soon enough though we passed a few people who didn’t exactly want to be passed by a couple guys with silly grins on. They organized themselves and came howling past us at more than 40 kph. We of course latched on to the group and made 6. Pieter Pereboom, Jim, Josh Nyenhuis, Nathan Beach, Reuben and myself.

That group worked well together until Reuben’s tyre had a sidewall bulge and he needed to change it. He was heading to visit some friends and wasn’t planning to ride the whole day anyways with us so I just unclipped my second tyre from below my seat (Markus got the other one a couple days ago) and our group left him in the ditch to fend for himself. You don’t get alot of pity when you’re the cream of the crop. Sorry Reuben!

From there on in it was an efficient paceline working into the wind in the high thirties. When we were about 15 miles out from camp the pavement improved by a huge margin and that pace picked up a bit (now hovering around the 40 kph mark) as we no longer had all those potholes to dodge. Oh yes, there are a million potholes in this state. When 10 miles out from camp Pieter peeled off the front of the paceline and said “bring us home”. Looking at my odometer I thought we had about 5 kms left and decided to give it a shot. Well that 5 kms was more than 3 times longer than I thought it was. As that 5 kms dragged on I kept being able to dig a bit deeper and kept finding a bit more strength. I haven’t really pushed the pace for nearly 2 weeks and when Nathan Beach and myself pulled into camp it was really satisfying to be burning from the tops of my hips to the tips of my toes. (Trying to do the last hour of my 5 hour century into Wray was the last fast day.) In any case, I was beginning to wonder if all this riding was still making me faster and I suppose the answer is still yes, if only a bit.

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I often say entries will be brief but this one will probably actually be that way.

A beautiful send off this morning at Trinity put me in a great mood to get out there and ride, but also to keep up with the discussions etc. I don’t know how many people I spoke with but did give out a dozen little cards with more stats and a web address. Anyhow, the reasoning: Aaron spoke of the fact that we’ve got unfinished business in this world while we’re still here. That while he biked home yesterday he still has 2.5 weeks left. Similarly when we reach New Jersey we’ve not yet finished addressing the issues of poverty that surround us.

We rode through Roseland this morning and stopped at Roseland Christian Mission. When I have an internet connection that can upload YouTube I’ll have another video and will comment more then. I also got a comment about “great legs for a guy” from a guy named Jim and promised I’d mention the fact of my first compliment on my blog tonight. In case you check I did keep my word.

We rode a good section of bikepath after a lunch stop at a CRC church though the trees… beautiful once again and got to spend some time on the beach and climb a dune this evening. Photos from the day are in the gallery for this week but aren’t linked from right here… sorry.

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Yet another long day

I registered for all my courses for next year tonight on the computer while uploading a few videos. That means I’m going to cut the typing short and let the other evidence speak for itself.

We rode a 60 km section along a bike path today on what I guess is towards the western edge of the greater metropolitan Chicago area. It was nice not to be on roads and deal with traffic for a good portion of the day but those paths aren’t terribly efficient in letting you maintain your speed so it took far longer than anticipated to cover the distance. That combined with a later start (stayed up late to try and watch the meteor shower last night) and a few long breaks to rest Stephanie’s knee and all told we didn’t arrive in camp until past 4 pm. So first… a couple videos from the bike path.

Following that we had some city riding to do and I feel like we must have hit every stoplight along the way. Progress once again was slow but that was a good thing for Markus Lise who had me behind him when he ran into tyre trouble today only 10 kms from camp. Markus rides a Long Haul Trucker which in the world of sweet touring bikes is really quite something. You could easily go on a bike trip to Yellowknife on that bike in January, it’s a beast and can handle anything. Anyhow, when he had a big gash in his tyre and the patch wasn’t holding on the tube things weren’t looking good. The option of catching a ride into camp wasn’t very appealing so we decided to do what we could and that was replace his tyre (36 mm wide) with my spare tyre (23 mm wide). The rim quickly got the nickname ‘behemoth’ and when the tyre was loaded onto it you could see rim on both sides which in case you were wondering is not normal at all. Anyhow the tyre held and he was able to ride all the way to camp on it. Photos of the patchjob and a video of the success:

From there on in to camp we rode through the thick of Chicago rush hour traffic combined with a bit of construction. One road was standing still on new pavement so Kevin and I decided to race… the obvious thing to do when all the cars on the road are parked right? Anyhow, Kevin rode up the white line and I rode up the yellow line going 40 kph up the hill for maybe 3 kms shouting at eachother over the cars as we went, whether or not it was the actual highlight of the day is up for grabs but it definitely had the highest levels of adrenaline!
A photo from the start of the race when we were both still on the white line:

Trinity College has been a great stop… as I’ve said pretty much every time some group goes out of their way for us. It really doesn’t grow old, I ate dinner with Louis (another rider) and a family from just south of here. It’s fun to give insight into what it’s like to be on the tour to people who don’t have it all straightened out exactly. Their eyes really grow wide. Oh, and Louis’ group managed to find a shortcut today when they got lost. That wasn’t the case for most people, plenty of riders did extra mileage, some as much as 25 extra miles today just getting misplaced at various spots along the bike path.

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Into Illinois

We rode again mostly through Wisconsin today, one thing I notied while on the road was that it seemed like the immigrants to this area made a more intentional effort of maintaining their bits and pieces of European herritage than was the case in most of the previous states. Often along the road there’d be homes and farms with what I’d consider a distinctive style. Even a few patches of cobblestone here and there. The fields are smaller on average than anywhere else we’ve been and the patchwork of forests and fields is all jumbled up and follows contours in the hills rather than a big old boring grid. It seems more welcoming, more like these communities are nestled in here for the long haul. They brought bits of Norway, Germany and Sweeden (the ones I could pick out today) along with them when they arrived.

In some sense the ruggedness and barrenness of some of our earlier weeks in the mountains display a certain beauty. This landscape on the other hand displays another and I might even like it more. While the vastness of the mountains and the naturalness of the Cascade mountains shows God’s glory in one way, the development here in Wisconsin displays another, the way we as God’s people continue to shape the earth. While I’ve experienced alot of “God is evident in the wilderness” comments in the past few years God’s handiwork is also seen in the earth as it has been subdued and sculpted. While scripture does begin in a garden it ends with a big city and there’s something to be said for that fact as well.

So… the ride? It was two sections of 80 kms for myself as I stretched it out into a full century. We had lunch served and hosted by a local CRC church at the midway point. I also drafted behind a garbage truck for a few hundred yards. I gave up because it stank but did snap a picture of what it feels like to draft a big truck.

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The chase ends…

My derailleur hanger stopped chasing me across the country today. After missing me by about 8 hours in Sioux Center on Tuesday morning it hitched a ride with someone from town to Madison this morning who was attending the celebration service and finally landed in my hands. I’ve covered more than 2500 kms on my bent hanger and finally it got to be replaced. Now you might think that something that can last 2500 kms when nearly broken wasn’t all that close to being broken and in some sense I do agree with that notion, but every person in every bike shop who saw it cautioned against riding on it more than I had to. Every SeatoSea cyclist who looked at the stress marks on it thought it was probably going to give out in a few days. Not so, you can call it luck, you can call it misdiagnosis, call it what you want I’m calling it God providing a way when there seemed to be no way. Take a peek at some of these photos, it’s not kinda bent it’s really bent.

So I’ll quote from Exodus a story that’s kept me trusting that fiddly little piece of aluminum to get me through a new day when I was sure going up plenty of hills that I was sure it wouldn’t survive. (Yes sure is in that sentence twice on purpose, I would put it in there 3 times if I could do so in a grammatically correct manner but I’m an engineer and getting it in twice was tricky enough.)

    Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.”

The Lord’s prayer reminds us to ask daily for our daily bread, that God provides enough for each day and that’s enough for me. If you would have asked me any day between Craig Colorado and Fennimore Wisconsin (Friday’s stop) whether or not I’d make it Madison with that hanger my answer would probably have been no. But ask me each day if it would last the day and my answer would be (usually with a lump in my throat) yes. But that patch of Moses’ story doesn’t end there, it ends with the important part and because time is short tonight that’s where I’m going to leave it for this evening as well:

    So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD”

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Sweet Sweet Saturday

Saturday are great

  • We wake up and the kitchen staff always cooks us pancakes and bacon on Saturday mornings. They make sure we’re going to have a great day.
  • The kitchen staff often cooks too much bacon and by the time we’re allowed to have a second go round at it all of the early risers are already an hour down the road. Anyhow that means those of us still bumming around camp get to have a dozen pieces of bacon and put it on our sandwiches.
  • We don’t have to ride the next day so no-one complains about going a little faster on the road or having a few more sprint races along the way.

I left camp just as the rain for the morning was slowing down with Nick Ellens, Steph Webb and Katrina Miller. We rolled along clocking a good pace for the first 30 kms and the rain finished up. Nick and I contested three city line sprints within the first hour. Each one played out slightly differently but each was great here’s the inside scoop. Hopefully it’ll give you a little taste of why we love these little races, there’s alot of strategy involved:

  1. Long gradual uphill to the finish – The sign was obviously placed and Nick and I discussed whether or not we’d be sprinting today. After we agreed yes I pulled out from the back of the paceline and went to the front leaving him 3 people deep so I could keep an eye on him. He decided to go for it about 150 yards out and I have no trouble catching his draft as he moves by. We accelerate to ~55 kph and I have to debate whether to jumpt one or two more gear to go for the pass. I luckily choose to gear up double with 30 yards to go and win by a wheel length (finish speed 64 kph).
  2. Long downhill with a kink uphill to the finish – Nick has been first in the paceline and we crest the hill and see the sign. He opts to back off the pace and tries to let me pass. I refuse and pull up next to him instead watchin if he’ll put on the brakes as an indication for me to go for it. Nick knows this trick and just coasts next to me as he selects his gear. The finish line is getting painfully close and he begins to accellerate and tries to box me in. I cut across to the other side through his draft at the bottom of the hill and pass him to the other side. It’s mano-a-mano to the finish and I was probably better rested as I had been drafting him. It’s only a half wheel length but our finish speed was still 55 kph.
  3. Blind finish over crest of the hill – I’m leading the paceline this time and we see the 1 mile marker, I note the mileage of the finish for my odometer and assume that Nick has done the same. 400 yards from the finish he begins to query me where the next water stop is and I’m sure he’s trying to plan a sneak attack. With one eye over my should I check my cue sheet as he moves out of the paceline alongside me but seems to still be pretending he isn’t going to race. With 200 yards to go I decide to just go for it and sprint over the crest of the hill, three in a row! Whether or not his strategy was planned or not is still an open question because he left Steph and I in town when we stopped for water (Katrina had dropped back by this time) and he didn’t need anymore.

The rain had stopped by the time we got aboard the local bike path that I understand is built on an old railway bed. It’s called the “Military Ridge Trail” or something similarly nondescript but it was really really beautiful. A tree lined path that we followed for about 13 kms through trees overhanging the curvy route thrugh the forest… anyhow, I’m lousy at decribing this so I’ll just post photos and a video instead:

I don’t know if you can understand the video but we’re discussing that the rain was probably a good thing as it meant we were not subject to a massive dustbowl riding down that trail.

The trail spit us out onto a weaving road through rolling hills surrounded by bits of forest and crops… again super beautiful. This road spit us out into the town of Mt Horeb which was, of course, super beautiful as well. We pulled over at a little sidewalk bistro flying a dutch flag where a dozen other SeatoSea cyclists were stopped. Someone ahead of us had stopped in for coffee and the owner decided that all of those cyclists needed a few treats. Muffins, cookies and banana bred were on the house and we sat curbside with a bunch of cups of fantastic coffee and shouted “free goodies” to the rest of the seatosea-ers who were riding by.

From there on in to town we were riding the coffee buzz and hummed along some more spectacularly paved roads into Madison and caught a bit of familiarity with the local bike scene in Madison. This city loves bikes and is proud of it, the riders we talked to all spoke highly of the cycling community here and are proud of how cycler friendly the layout of the city is.

Prior to our arrival in camp cyclists gathered at a local park and proceeded to ride in to the church together. Again… descriptions are lousy compared to videos so here’s the footage:

Our reception at the church was great. There were women here willing to cut hair, there were those tubs that bubble and shake that you put your feet in (I’m sure they’ve got a name, I just don’t know it) and people were getting massages. I did the foot thing while waiting for my turn in the haircut chair, I don’t think it did much for my feet but the haircut is a good improvement, no curly mess above my ears.

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A couple long days

Thursday morning arrived early as usual… actually the earliest day yet in my experience I agreed to wake up at 5:30 if you believe it. Steph was going to try riding the whole day and wanted an early start. So I crawled out of my tent and had it packed away by the time breakfast was set to go, it was weird having all the selections remaining in the breakfast line and for packing a lunch.

We were out of camp at 6:50 am. Now as impressed as I was at being on the road before 7 there were still probably 50 people ahead of us. The sun wasn’t exactly “just rising” as we left but it was awfully close. The breeze was from our left as we rode and while it was a cold departure (required arm warmers that morning) I didn’t want to carry a jacket and all the other junk because I’d just need to carry it for the rest of the day. So off we went and the miles ticked by riding two abreast when heading east and then Steph drafting off me whenever we needed to head north into the wind.

About 50 kms into the ride we were greeted with a Hsssss and a tyre change was in order. Steph’s time was only 8 minutes, much much better than Hilena’s 37 minute tyre change a couple weeks ago. No problems though we were back on the road and the miles continued to tick by until Rockford. We ground to a halt and found some shade in the park and just sat down. The problem with sitting is that you don’t stop sitting. Some endurance sports enthusiasts will know the motto “beware of the chair”, it’s something you hear now and again. Basically no matter how slow you’re riding your bike or are running you’re moving alot faster than when you actually take a seat because you’ll be there for a while. Well those sayings don’t start without reason because once we sat down in the park it was a long long time till we got rolling again.

The final 50 kms wasn’t terribly quick but we were “wary of the chair” so to speak and continued along without another big break. Some more windmills graced the horizon (which was pancake flat for a good portion of the day) and a few calculations and estimates measured the tip speed of those big long blades to be 120 miles per hour. That’s fast!

The arrival at our destination in New Hampton did eventually occur and instead of pulling in and setting up camp we went off in search of ice cream first. Well, there is no ice cream shop in town so we had to stop by the grocery store and buy a whole half-gallon. We came back to camp with that half gallon of ice cream and 5 lbs of ice for our knees and parked in the field. Aaron helped us with the ice cream but that was mostly a 2 person affair. I ate 1100 calories of Blue Bunny goodness all by myself.

Friday was another 100 miler, the third in a row, and while I had done 6 in a row last week this one would prove to be the toughest one to date, but I’m giving away the ending so I’ll start at the beginning. It was a damp morning and I felt like I had paid my dues as far as waking up early was concerned for the entire week so slept right till 6:45 and snuck into the breakfast line just before 7 am when it was going to be packed up. I had to dig around camp for a spare map for the day as mine had gone missing and was nearly the last person out of camp besides the sweep team at 7:45 am.

The road started out rough but the hills were rolling and the sky was blue and there were loads more trees than I’d seen in two whole weeks so I wasn’t complaining. I caught Steph and Justin quite quickly and let them draft me to the 40 km mark. From there on out they were interested in longer stop than I was and I continued to work my way “through the pack” so to speak.

I was making good progress and was on track for a quick ride above 30 kph while riding solo. The miles ticked by and I caught up to Art Smit who was driving a support vehicle in one of the towns. I high tailed it down mainstreet and was able to catch the draft of his 10 passenger van as he left city limits. For the next 3 kms I stayed in that draft doing between 60 and 70 kph up and down hills until we needed to pull over to let a silo on top of a flatbed semi-trailer pass us in the other direction. From there on though Art accelerated too quickly and I lost him.

My sandwich consisted of two meatballs each the size of my fist which I proceeded to eat at my “time to eat reminders” at about this point. That meant however that I consumed zero carbs for about an hour and a half three hours into my ride… hold that thought.

We descended into the Mississippi valley down a big hill and I videoed the occasion.

Following our arrival in Wisconsin I needed to climb back out of the valley. The climb was a great grade and I was till feeling relatively strong at around the 130 km mark of the day and decided to really hammer up the hill. My arrival at the top greeted me with a bit of lightheadedness. I continued to roll along for a few more kilometers and I was getting dizzy. I started to eat and drink, I took in some salt pills not exactly sure what was going on. I then started to get a bit shakey now only 20 kms from camp and decided I’d better have a seat and let my body catch up with me. The meatballs although they tasted great weren’t getting processed in my belly as I rode with the intensity I was riding with. That meant I might as well not have eaten anything for the past couple hours. My glycogen levels were down and my body was telling me to stop so I did. Only 4 more people were ahead of me at this point in the ride and I parked in the ditch and fell asleep under a tree. An hour later I woke up when someone decided to take my picture. I still wasn’t 100% and went back to sleep for another half hour. I stole this photo from Pete Vannoord who snapped it as he rode past, quietly of course allowing me to sleep right through.

By the time I did finally wake up and finish off those final 20 kms more than half of the riders had passed me again and camp was a bustling city upon my arrival, everyone also felt the need to ask me how my nap was.

Today was my most intense experience of “bonking” (cyclists speak) or “hitting the wall” (runners speak) ever and it wasn’t a ton of fun. I guess it did teach me though that while meatballs are wonderful they’re probably not a good idea to have as my sole source of food for such long portions of a ride.

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