July 18th: Osceola, WI to Red Wing, MN
July 18th Statistics – Osceola, WI to Red Wing, MN:
- Today’s Biking Distance – 79.5 miles
- Today’s Average Speed – 12.4 mph
- Today’s Time In Saddle – 6.4 hours
- Today Ascent – 3,722 feet
- Total Trip Biking Days – 27
- Total Trip Biking Distance – 2.140.1 miles
- Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 79.3 miles
- Total Trip Ascent – 61,823 feet
Today’s ride offered every challenge. First, it was forecasted for a 60% chance thunderstorms all day (and looked like it was going to rain any moment at 7 am). I skipped breakfast (again) and left before everyone else. After riding 6 miles, I found that our route no longer had pavement. Fortunately, the road had hard packed gravel, the construction only lasted 3 miles, and the rain held off. I kept ahead of the rain for about 20 miles when the rest of the group (who had some sprinkles as they left Osceola) caught up and passed me.
A downpour started just as we approached Stillwater, MN. While the other riders took shelter in the van or someplace else, I put my camera and wallet in a baggie, unpacked and put on my Gore rain gear (jacket and helmet cover – I was already wearing my yellow Gore rain booties), continued biking and passed them. The rain stopped after 15 minutes and the other riders caught up and passed me at about mile 35. Near Afton, MN, the sky opened up and an even more intense downpour began for the next hour. Being the Marine (or driven person) I am, I pushed right on through and passed the rest of he group (and never saw them until dinner) who sought shelter (and lunch) in Afton. The rain was welcomed in one respect – it kept me cooler as I had miles of unexpected tough climbing (7%-10% grade) after Afton.
When the rain stopped I thought the day’s challenges were over, I was wrong. The sun came out and the temperature rose, 15-20 mph headwinds began, and the climbing became even more challenging (almost 4,000 feet for the day). On several long hills I was struggling to go 4 mph. I finally arrived at our hotel in Red Wing at 2:30 pm (30-90 minutes before other riders).
A disappointment today was not being able to spend time in several quaint and interesting towns we passed, i.e. Stillwater, MN, Afton, MN, Prescott, WI, and Red Wing, MN (home of the world’s largest boot pictured below – size 678.5, which I saw through the window of their museum this morning at 7 am).
We had a great dinner in Red Wing at The Brickhouse (which was important as I realized at dinner that I had not had solid food all day except a banana and several cookies at the SAG wagon about 10 am). My “Inferno Burger” stuffed with pepper jack cheese, onions and jalepenos topped with more pepper jack cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, and grilled jalapeños and served in a cheddar jalapeño bun was outstanding. It brought to my attention that I am having a hamburger for either lunch or dinner every other day because that is what is available. The good news is that the hamburgers have been exceptionally tasty and I have no guilt considering my daily exercise and genetically driven low cholesterol level. The large caramel ice cream sunday was the perfect finish for an exceptional day of biking (or that was how I rationalized it).