Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Now's the Time to Roll the Barrel. For the Gang's All Here.

We had a lovely after work CX country ski session last night. Since it was just John and I, we were able to ski about twice as fast as we did with our friends on Sunday, and get a real work-out. We ran into a bike racing friend who was skate skiing, in training for the Birkie and chatted with her for a minute, but other than that, we kept moving. I don't think I'm anywhere near the speed I was at last year, but I got to ski almost every weekend last year and this is the only the second time this year.

Because it is supposed to get bitterly cold here for the next day or two, I thought I'd escape into another great bike ride post. In June, 2013 my niece graduated from high school. We went to Madison to celebrate with my brother and his family. I told my brother that John and I would bring our bikes up and try to ride them around on Sunday, if he had some good cue sheets we could look at for fun routes. He did us one better. He scheduled a ride for us with some of the guys he races canoes and cross country skis. They were mostly professors at UW and one of them was an ice speed skater and was telling me about some of the insane crashes he witnessed in races.

He decided we would ride from Madison to New Glarus - a 60'ish mile, hilly route. It sounded great to John and I. The wonderful thing about Wisconsin country roads, is that there is very litte car traffic on them. It was so nice to be able to ride without getting buzzed by cars.

My brother is a year older than me and I think he was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. I was still recovering from the Noro Virus, but was getting my strength back. On the hilliest sections, my brother would ride next to me to make sure I didn't get dropped. John almost never does that, unless he thinks I'm not feeling well, so it was kind of nice not to have to worry about riding by myself down roads I didn't know. There was one long, climb in particular that my brother kept telling me he'd wait for me on and not to worry if I couldn't keep up.  Luckily for me, it was long, but it wasn't particularly steep. I'm pretty good on the long climbs, so by the time we hit the top, I had not only kept up, but we had dropped a couple of guys we were riding with. My brother told me over and over how proud he was of me for riding so strong on that hill. Hell, I'll take all the props I can get when it comes to riding hills.

My brother and his friends have a very different idea about social rides than John and I and our friends. My brother's friends are in it to race to every town sign and see how hard they can push themselves and not stop for very long in fear of losing their legs and most importantly, they don't really drink on them.

I know they always say it's not about the destination, but the journey. Well, in this case they were wrong. The journey was great, the route was beautiful, but New Glarus was like a little taste of Wisconsin heaven. I'm sure it didn't hurt that we got there on a day when they were having their beer and cheese festival, complete with euchre tournament and live polka band. See what I mean? Wisconsin heaven.

My brother's friends were just planning on getting something at the bakery and heading back to Madison, but I wanted to stay and check out the spectacle. So we talked them into going into the beer tent for one and I got to meet the head of the polka band and he told me about how he met his wife and cracked me up with a few more stories before my brother's friends had had enough and were ready to head back home. I'm glad it's so close, because I definitely want to do that ride again sometime during their next Beer and Cheese festival, when we are with our friends who will want to hang out in New Glarus forever.

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