|The flash on my camera did a decent job lighting up the tunnel, which was pitch dark except for a tiny bit of light emanating from the exit.|
|The cooler weather was working out great until about lunchtime; that's when the sky unloaded a thoroughly soaking rain for about an hour or so. The limestone trails were totally saturated with water. By the time we reached our camp at Reedsburg, all riders and their bikes were totally covered from head to toe in limestone muck. Thankfully some compassionate Reedsburg residents had their water hoses going and invited the mile long line of riders to hose down their bikes.|
The "Baraboo Ridge" on Day 4
Killer hills (ugh!)
|Riding in Illinois does very little to prepare you for any serious hills; we just don't have them. Day four would really put many of us to the test. My vintage 1985 12-speed bicycle wasn't cut out for hills. It wasn't going to make it much fun to go up them; it needed some lower gears badly. In my lowest gear I did my best to pedal up these monsters at 9-10 mph, but I had to walk up a couple sections with the steepest grades. Some of the stronger "legs of steel" riders actually rode up these hills twice as they encouraged the other riders on (show offs!). By the end of day four, my lack of adequate training was really starting to take its toll on my Achilles tendons, which were now inflamed. I normally take an Advil about half way into the day to help prevent inflammation in my knees, but this was easily a three or four Advil day.|
|Going up these hills was a real pain, but the reward was the high speed descent down their back sides. John, who was probably the strongest rider in our group, recorded a maximum downhill speed of 46.5 mph dragging the brakes. He commented that he could have easily hit 55 mph without the brakes, but was afraid of the consequences of a potentially fatal accident at that speed (not that he would have survived an accident at 46.5 mph in a whole lot better shape). I hit a maximum speed of 42 mph dragging my brakes, which was more than fast enough for me. The very next day I replaced my rear tire because a blister had formed on it. The tire looked ready to blow; thankfully the tire stayed together on those downhills on day four.||
John after the rush of his high speed descent.