This weBLOG contains writings and comments about all aspects of this adventure. Starting from early on in the application stages I'll keep comments here regarding fundraising, training, and ultimately the bike ride itself. It won't all be pretty: $10 000 is an enormous fundraising goal, 9 weeks on a bike is not a walk in the park, and living with a bunch of other crazy cyclists for 2 months is likely to generate some stories.

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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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