Distance 82 miles
Today we were to hit a new state, the state of Illinois and say goodbye to wonderful Wisconsin. Leaving Mad town was like leaving …..like all towns we simply can’t check it all fully out in a few hours after a long cycle ,but the show must go ,so on it was to Rockford
After the run in with the state trooper on what we thought were backroads on the previous day we took the gravelly “old road” We passed though Edgerton and stopped at a garage at Janesville for a sambo(sandwich).Its very difficult to try and eat any decent foods along the way so its usually do-nuts or burgers or fries any food at all that’s on sale at gas stations along the way(well that’s young Kerwins excuse for the massive Peter Kay –esque belly which is slowing his progress up the hills
The gruesome twosome plus myself passed over the state border to the sounds of many a car horn but not friendly car horns we had experienced in the like of Montana
The motorists seem to have it in for COA as we cycled our way through Beloit along a narrow road with pot wholes as big as our bikes where we had no choice ut to pedal faster in the fear of being ran over by the angry drivers of the queue of trucks behind us.
Upon reaching Rockford we celebrated prematurely at the best western in the city centre. Smiles were had all round and the usual handshake was given all round after another difficult day at the office, only to find that we were at the wrong hotel. Our hotel Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois was another 10 mile trek outside city centre .the 10 mile was to take approx an hour
We were met with what has to be our best reception yet.3 tv camera crews and the staff of the hotel and their bar and restaurant the Tilted |Kilt. We were overwhelmed with the response and humbled. Special thanks to Wendi for organising this
Please check out our YouTube video on Rockford fundraiser
Richland Center to Madison – Thursday 2 September
Distance: 65 miles
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.
Tuesday 31 August – Rochester to La Crosse
Distance: 101 miles.
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!