A Fleetwood Mac Moment

Cody and I spent the weekend in Wisconsin. Friday night we drove up to Mt Horeb to get my registration info for the HHH and visit the Grumpy Troll Brewery. Got the schwag (Salsa Cycles Headband for sale – cheap!) and retired to the beers. A fine dinner, too. Slept in the back of the Cochran minivan which is quickly becoming a team favorite.

Doing Zonker Proud

The HHH is one of the hardest rides I have ever done and I was looking forward to this years ride until I did the Dirty Kanza. Since then my motivation has been lacking so I decided to do the 100k event rather than the 200k. The 7 am start is nice and the weather was beautiful. We rolled out in our pack of hundreds and I chatted with an old friend from Madison that had been one of the hammers of last years 200k lead group. He was surprised that none of the other folks from our merry band of yesteryear were doing the 200 again except for him. I was not surprised.

So we rode up a really big hill and I found myself off the back of the leaders but a daring descent and a healthy chase later I latched onto the back of the 15 or 20 riders that were looking to “race” this thing. We had done about 20 miles and I was familiar with the course and took a turn that we did last year that apparently was not included in the route this year. Oops! So I rode what we did last year, about a mile out and back with a big and steep climb in the middle by myself. Who was right? I dunno. So I rode by myself and caught some folks and got caught by some folks and after some time I came to a T intersection with no directional sign. I stopped and looked around, another rider rolled up and we decided to turn left (why?) so we did and came to another unmarked T intersection and turned right (why?) and lo and behold, an official rest stop! I stopped to tell them they had some unmarked corners and they told me that a local militia of freedom and cycling hating farmers had taken down the signs in an attempt to stop the terrorists from winning. Or something to that effect.

I rode off and in no time at all encountered a large group of cyclists standing around at an intersection and another smaller group a bit further up in the shade, also standing around. I was confident of the direction I was traveling so I roared on by in the big ring for emphasis when they yelled at me to WAIT! WAIT! So I turned back and they asked if I knew where I was going and I said yes and they asked where and I said this way and they asked if I had a map and I said no and they asked if I was doing the 100 or 200k and I said 100 and then someone with a map said its that way and pointed the way I had been going and I rode off in an unhappy place.

I got passed by some folks. I was riding pretty slow thinking that this kind of malarky sure takes the fire out of the belly when I hit another unmarked intersection. FARMERS I thought and stood in the intersection trying to decide if I should go back or what when a couple of riders came up and said they had done this route last year and we should go right. So I rode with them and one of them told me I was spinning a bit fast for climbs like these (true story Michael!) and I might find it easier if I shifted down one gear. He got dropped on the next descent, which I thought was funny. We rode on and on with no course markings in sight and then there was another roadside aid station! I stopped to see where in the heck we were but the others continued on. The poor lonely man at the station told me we were the first riders he had seen all day and cursed farmers and all the damage that agriculture had ever done to the hunter/gatherer societies. He had a map and showed me that for a 100k rider I was way off course. I surrendered then and plotted a route to get back to the finish and the Cody and rode in.

It was an entertaining morning in the chamois for sure. As I rode in I contemplated the silliness of it all and found myself singing “You can go your own way” off key and loud as I rolled along. I enjoyed riding in the area at a relaxed pace and enjoying the scenery. I saw a fox and a woodchuck and 2 deer and lots of cows. The last climb was tough but much less tough after 4 hours of riding than it had been last year after 7. I was a bit disgruntled over the running of this event and I will not go back. They charged a formidable entry fee and online registration was a fiasco. The course markings were terrible. I already did the 200k in a fine time and after riding in the area again this year I think I would much prefer a tour to take it in. As Cody and I were leaving we came across one of these and recognizing it as a rare and precious flower that only blooms in SW Wisconsin for one day in June we figured we could make some bank by selling it on the internet so we picked it. Any offers?


I will write more about the rest of our weekend in Madison later, there are sneak peak photos available on the flickr site.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    “. . . a rare and precious flower that only blooms in SW Wisconsin for one day.”

    mr pickle–you’ve been in the sun and the lonely wisconsin hills FAR too long. that ain’t no flower–it’s a CAT.

    GEE zus. drink some coffee, son, and get some sleep.

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