Wisconsin Hills 2: The Hills Strike Back

A bike has died this day.....

I have now done this permanent 3 times and each time there is just something new.  I'll bet that when Gary put it together, he had no idea that it would go so far as to destroy his bike.  Of course, he does also note that whenever he rides with me, he has flat tires, exploding tires, and now a destroyed bike.  These things just don't happen when I am not there as a witness (could it be a new lesbian super-power?)

Hills of Wisconsin is a great ride.  126 miles and 7,000 ft of climbing including some long tempo climbs, gargantuan rollers and some semi-short things that just make eyes get really big on the approach.  I've gotten much better at climbing since riding this ride.  Totally worth driving an hour to get to the start.

On this particular day, Gary was letting me use his mighty cool generator hub.  I had been thinking of getting one, but wanted to get a feel for what the drag would be like.  So even though it wasn't a night ride, we strapped it on anyways.  I think proceeded to forget to inflate my rear tire and wondered why all the drag was on the rear instead of the front - oops!

It was supposed to be a very hot day so we left early.  That meant me leaving my house at 5:00 am for a 6:00am arrival and a 7:00am start.  There had also been some road closures so we were testing out new detours (I'm sure we will really appreciate the road closures once they are open again, just not now).  As previously mentioned, having 60 lbs of pressure in the rear tire made me feel like I was riding with a sandbag on my rack and we went along at an average of about 14 mph for the first 30 miles.  Oh well, at least I got a better workout.  The temperatures were in the 70s and it was quite pleasant.  Since Cty Q is gravel, we had a new detour (the previous detour was now under construction) and it was quite nice, passing through the town of Downing and down a nice winding, hilly road called 130th St.  Everything is incredibly green this year since it seems to rain more often than not.  We got to Knapp and I used my frame pump to get some more air into the rear.  This really improved things.  It was about 9:30 and we had a slightly longer stop than normal.

CRQ from Knapp has a 19% climb right out of the control.  It's one of those grin and bear it hills that makes me appreciate thigh muscles (all of them).  At the top, we cruised along until we ran into another rider out for the morning.  We stopped and had a nice chat for about 20 minutes, he and Gary had mutual acquaintances.  It rained for about 4 miles, but the rain was warm and we didn't even bother with rain gear. At about 11:45, we pulled into Downsville, somewhat of a side trip, but there was a cafe worth having lunch at.  At least, it might have been if their kitchen hadn't turned out to be a serial operation.  Really, we didn't plan on spending an hour there.  Some riders from the TCBC were on a Wisconsin Hills Ride from Spring Valley so it was nice seeing lots of bikers around.

I always enjoy the ride up to Menomonie along the river and consider it to be a highlight.  Devil's Punch Bowl State Park is there and is always worth a glance.  It was starting to heat up a bit and I needed to fill bottles.

Just outside Menomonie, we started up a little hill.  Gary was ahead of me and I dropped back to find a better line on some rough pavement.  There was a loud bang and suddenly parts started flying out of the back of Gary's drivetrain.  He skidded a little and executed a brilliant roll off the bike.  I rushed over and found he had barely a scratch on him.  There wasn't even a scuff on the bike.

Of course, that didn't mean that the bike wasn't a goner.  It died long before hitting the pavement.  The rear drive side dropout had shattered causing the wheel to go off true, catch the derailleur in the spokes which wrapped it upwards until it struck and cracked the chainstay.  The spokes, to give them credit, bent but did not break.

We stared and then got out the phone.  Gary called Debbie, hereafter known as Rando Spouse, since we were really only an hour from his house.  We walked the bike back to the corner and waited until she appeared with a new bike.  By this time it was 4:00 pm and we were pushing the time limits.  But back on the road we went.  We cruised along the new detour (since N is under construction) with a brisk tail wind to assist.  Up through Knapp we went and up a nice new hill to Wilson and along 100th Street to Burkhardt.  We made it in plenty of time, which was pretty cool, all things considered.   Rando Spouse even had really yummy food waiting at the finish.

On a happy note, Gary was able to negotiate a warranty/discount on a new bike! 

The Bike is dead, Long Live the Bike!
When not to ride
Three Amigos in Iowa - plus skunks