This morning it rained lightly for a moment during breakfast. Luckily we were sitting in a shed of some sort, nice and dry. During the cycling it stayed dry the whole day except for a half hour in the morning. Put my foam cover on and cycled shirtless. After it stopped raining and the sun started shining it looked like the road was on fire, such a nice blanket of smoke.
Because we het gained a hour yesterday we had to get up a hour earlier. My sleepy head packed everything in dark, eat and left. Together with Harry, because he had some problems with his Garmin Edge 800, so I was his navigator for today.
When we got up this morning Machiel reported that besides mice and squirrels we have some new thieves. Raccoons. A night the tried to crawl into his tent to search for food. He chased them away and also tried to chase the rest of the little thieves who were stealing our bread et cetera away. But they are pretty stubborn. When I stood like a meter away and stamped his feet and yelled, he just sat there, looked at hem like: "yeah, what do you want?". The also got away with a number of Clif Bars.
This morning I woke up with the thought of the hotel in the back of my mind which really helped getting over setting up the tent in dark and and the wet stuff. When we left we first took a short ride through a nature area. Then we got on the big road which had a lot of traffic which came from the highway directly into Madison. There were literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of cars coming towards us all in a slow moving line. We were moving in the opposite direction and only 10 to 20 cars overtook us. No wonder people are stuck in traffic.
Yesterday and today it was quite foggy for the first hour and a half, but it soon cleared up. The route we took today went by a old railroad track for 55 kilometers. It meant less climbing and there were even three tunnels to cut off the peaks. The route started in Sparta (maybe after the Dutch bike brand) and ended for us in Elroy. It was a very pretty and well paved path made out of crushed lime stone. It kind of reminded me of our province Drenthe back home. The trees next to the trail provided shade and kept us cool.
This morning I noticed that I could not get up to speed, I was tired. I ate a Clif Gel and a Clif Bar (Chocolate Brownie) against my will (together with a cola) and that did the trick. The only problem I have is getting warmed up in the morning. Maybe I'll try to eat a gel when I start tomorrow morning.
The 'camp ground' from yesterday was not very good. Breakfast was nothing more than a can of soda and a little sweet roll. But some 50 kilometers down the road was our stop at the Freewheel Bike on the Greenway though Minneapolis. There I ate and drank something until the rest arrived (I got there first). The Greenway is a kind of bike highway going straight though town. It used to be a old rail track and that's why there are almost no stop signs on the entire route (except for a few places).
Yesterday I wanted to get up and I felt quite fit, but not today. Didn't want to get out of bed and still very tired. Today was only going to be a 174 kilometer ride, so not such a long day. Because I demanded to much of my body yesterday I had some mild knee trouble today. During cycling it's not that bad. Just keep in mind to make nice circles with your feet. Tomorrow will be a short day with only 91 kilometers.
When I left Benson this morning I saw this sign at the liquor store.
This morning there was something typical Dutch at breakfast. Mary, one of the local people from Minneapolis, had brought chocolate sprinkles. Not that it was very helpful beating the tiredness from this morning, because the first two hours I could not get warmed up. I want to go back to sleep! To few hours in the night. My heart rate monitor also agreed I was kind of dead, because it stopped functioning. But after eating a Clif Gel, a bar and a gum I started to feel a bit better.
The past three days I've been riding with my iPod on. That way time passes more quickly when your riding on those long stretched roads. I want to look for some new earbuds because these are not very comfortable and they don't keep the sound out very well. One of the German riders has some kind of ear muffs to lower the wind noise.