We were hosted in the beautiful Blessings B&B in the town of Fremont. The owners, Rick and Eve, put us up for free and cooked us a great breakfast in the morning. We’d highly recommend Blessings B&B for a visit!
Journalist Jenise Fouts interviewed the team for the Sentinel-Tribune newspaper in Bowling Green, Ohio. The article can be read here, and the lads also got their picture on the homepage of the Sen-Trib wesbite!. Click here to read the article online.
A big “Thank you!” to Jane E. George and her family for making the interview happen!
The COA team were interviewed in their hotel by Irish American News (IAN) journalist Katie Hamilton. She recorded a short video and also wrote an articlefor the IAN website, which should hopefully be reaching the print edition in October. Click here to read the article and learn all about William’s brush with death.
Today began with a stunning breakfast prepared by Margaret at Littledale farm, and we departed hoping for plenty of downhills to go easy on our full bellies.
Onwards along Highway 14 we travelled through quaint towns such as Spring Grove and Black Earth. As we approached Madison, a town of 75,0oo people, the traffic got noticably heavier. As we continued along Hwy14, the mysterious red line we saw that morning on google maps became clear – we were about to be kicked off another road by another State trooper. Luckily we were right beside an exit and a Trek bike shop, so we took the opportunity to get some route advice for tomorrow.
Today was also made exciting and a bit rushed because we had arranged to meet the Mayor of Madison, Dave Cieslewicz, at 2pm. We made the appointment and had a nice brief chat Mayor Dave. We were presented with some lapel pins and a picture book of Madison. After our meeting, Rob provided one of the funniest moments of the week in his confrontation with a jaywalker. The exact words of the conversation will remain privy to those in the car at the time!
We were glad to get to the Super 8 Motel in time to enjoy the big spacy rooms kindly provided for us. That night we investigated Madison’s reputation as a “university town” and the results of that survey confirmed the rumours. Ever the professionals though, the Team retired to bed before the night turned to morning.
La Crosse to Richland Center – Wednesday 1 September
Distance: 75 miles
It’s now September and we’re into our second month! Woohoo. And onwards we went along Highway 14 on a lovely day for cycling. The terrain was hilly at times but we kept a good pace throughout. One disruption was a ten-mile stretch of roadworks where the top layer of road was completely stripped away. This made a very bumpy downhill ride.
Today we passed through the raccoon-orientated town of Coon Valley, and some Amish areas that meant we weren’t the only people on bikes. One funny moment was when we stopped at a gas station for a break about 20 miles outside Richland and asked some locals how far it was to Richland (a good way of getting to talk to people). We were told it was about 50miles to Richland – that lad mustn’t have been too local!
When we arrived into Richland, we piled into the car for the drive to Littledale Farm – our accommodation for the night that was a few miles outside the town. The lovely farm is owned by formerly Manchester-based Margaret and Graham. The farmhouse is also used to breed sheep but acts as a B&B too. It was great to be up in the hills in the peaceful surrounds and we all had a good night’s sleep. For dinner Margaret kindly arranged the local Irish bar O’Finleys to donate some food which was a welcome surprise.
When we looked at our pre-prepared route sheet last night, we were relieved to see that today’s ride was only 55miles long. So off we went to google maps to see what roads we could take. Unfortunately for us, Minnesota is a State where we were prohibited from riding on the Interstate. The result? A 55mile ride turned into a 101 mile ride. Damn.
We awoke a little disheartened but ready to roll. That was until we opened the curtains to pitch black clouds and thunder crackling overhead. Off we went to breakfast and fortunately the weather had cleared by the time we were ready to begin. We decided to risk riding on the Interstate because the recommended route was so much longer than the alternative (101miles vs 55miles). Typically however, the ‘rebels without a cause’ were pulled over by the local State trooper after 6miles on the Interstate and kindly told to get off the road at the next exit. So we jumped off at Eyota and bought a map to plot our course.
We followed Highway 14 from that point all the way to La Crosse. The ride itself was very very humid, we saw one reading of 90% humidity. And although the heat wasn’t stiffling, sweat was pouring from us because it was so muggy. It made it hard to breath at times, and we were literally pouring water into our bellies (Will’s having the largest capacity). During the ride we passed a few milestones: ; we crossed the Mississippi River; and we passed into the State of Wisconsin. Arriving into La Crosse we were delighted to arrive at the classy Bentley Wheeler B&B (http://www.bentley-wheeler.com) which is a beautiful period house that we had all to ourselves. That night we enjoyed a few shandies to celebrate our achievements but it was early to bed for the Team – such commitment!
On the Saturday the 4th of September we headed over to the Irish Oak pub on North Clark Street, Chicago. Our fundraiser there was organized by the talented Lauren Duchscher of the Big Onion Tavern Group and Brendan at the Irish Oak. They managed to get Jameson and New Belgium to donate free whiskey and beer for the night!
Pub-goers paid $5 in exchange for a ticket which would get them two drinks. This was an extremely clever and extremely popular way to raise money! From the ticket sales and the guys and girls at the Irish Oak a record $826 were raised for Livestrong!
We had one of our best nights out yet, with shots of Jameson flying around left, right and centre!
On August 22nd, the Cycle of America 2010 team reached South Dakota’s premier tourist attraction, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The heads of 4 U.S. presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt – are carved in granite on the rockface.
Watch the lads as they pose for photos, attend a presentation and suggest a future addition to the mountain.