Sparta to Baraboo, WI

I slept in a bit today. Usually, I’ve been waking up two or three times a night, and will use the restroom or just check the time and try to get comfortable again. Today, I only recall waking up and rolling over once at 4:30am. Even though I set my alarm for 5:30, I didn’t wake up until almost 6:20; I don’t remember if I just turned my alarm off or what. I did my usual dressing and packing routine quickly, and made it back to Trinity Lutheran Church on my bike a little before 7:00 for breakfast.

I’ve been able to sleep on my sides more comfortable lately, which is my usual preferred position, so I guess I was just catching up on much-needed good sleep, on top of the long day yesterday.

Bruce and Patti were ready to go, so I stuck around and waited to leave with Robert. We went at a very casual pace; I just used the ride as a recovery day.

The route started us off on the Elroy-Sparta State Trail. It is a rail-trail that is not paved, but the loose gravel is very minimal, and the dirt is pretty well packed, so it’s not a bad ride even on a road bike. There are three tunnels of three-fourths, one-half, and one-third of a mile, which you are required to walk through, and I used my headlamp, which was helpful.

We stopped at Gina’s Pies Are Square, a fantastic pie shop and cafe in the town of Wilton just off the trail. Jeremy, Mary, and several other riders were there as well, including Charlie, Geri, and Sally, three women from Appleton, WI who are on the tour for the week. Now I can’t decide if the pie was better here or at the A&M Cafe in Interior, SD. I’m sure in both cases, timing has a lot to do with their appeal.

Lunch was at the end of the trail at mile 36 in Elroy. Then, we had the option of taking either a road route, or continuing on what is called the 400 Trail. The road route was very hilly, and the trail was 6 miles shorter, so Robert and I opted to stay on the trail. It went on for another 25 miles. We were pretty tired of trail riding by the end, but we heard the road route was pretty windy, so I think I made the right choice, considering how I felt today. We still had another 20 miles of road to cover anyway, with its fair share of hills. After the last water stop, we met George from San Diego, so I went ahead on my own.

About ten miles from Baraboo, I went through the small village of Rock Springs. As I passed through, I saw Peter sitting on the corner with Huck (from Vermont, on the tour for two weeks). I didn’t notice anything unusual, so I said “How’s it going?” and whizzed on by. I saw a bar around the corner, and there were several bikes parked out front (one of them look like Colin’s), so I thought this looked like a perfect time to stop for my first mid-ride beer.

It turn out that the people inside weren’t with our group, but were four Canadians for Thunder Bay, Ontario, doing their own cycling tour of Wisconsin. So I enjoyed a Miller Genuine Draft on tap (somebody explain that concept to me) with them as we swapped stories about our trips. During the conversation, one of them asked, “Are you with that guy sitting across the street, bleeding all over the sidewalk?” I didn’t have any idea what they were talking about.

It turns out that Huck had fallen, scraping his knee pretty badly, as well as breaking his wrist. Peter had been waiting with him for the SAG van to take him to the hospital. He got back to camp that night, all bandaged up, but feeling great, and was back on the bike the next day. I found out later that he had fallen before lunch, so he had ridden at least 35 miles in that condition before I had seen him! So for all of this, I plan to give him the weekly “Tough As Nails” award this Friday.

Finally in Baraboo after 79 miles, dinner was a fantastic buffet at the Glacier Rock Inn. A few of us went back there after Tour Talk; I had a Fat Squirrel, which is an amber ale from a local brewery.

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