Thursday I heard from Paul, last seen heading south out of Prescott, Wisconsin (see the end of the previous post to see the pix) on his way home to Cedar Rapids. Here's what he had to say:
I am still alive. I got home about 4 pm on Wednesday.
Highway 35 was a good road. It has a 3' shoulder the whole way to Winona and enough small towns along the way for supplies. Although it was a rather bleak day (I got rained on twice, but no tornados) the route is pretty. I had a slight SE headwind all the way to Winona. In Winona I spent the night in a better than average Mom and Pop motel. The rooms has refrigerators in them so I froze my Camelbak and then ripped the bladder the next morning when I put it into the backpack. Shit. Fortunately, the next two days were cool so I could get by with two water bottles.
On Tuesday I rode from Winona to Decorah. I got a late start onacounta it was raining when I got up. The storm blew through by 9, so that is when I started riding. The roads were wet, but I didn't get rained on. In MN I followed Hwy 43 through Rushford where it crossed the Root River Trail. South of Rushford are some nice climbs. Rt 43 is good, but it does not have a paved shoulder most of the way. The wind was strong out of the West and I was hoping it would swing around a bit to the NW but it never did. When I got to Decorah I had to decide whether to spend the night there or ride another 40 km to West Union. I stopped at a nice local bike shop which had an internet connection. The forecast was for a strong NW or NNW wind on Wednesday, so I decided to spend the night. Ate in a real hole-in-the-wall bar that was recommended by the bike shop owner. Tuesday night was Mexican (food) Night. Good food. Decorah seems to be a nice town.
There was still more rain on Wednesday, so I did not start until about 7:30. More wet roads and a few drops but no big deal. The big deal was a 15 to 20 mph NW wind. Hot damn. The roads from Decorah to Arlinton (a little town NE of Oelwein) are great: hills, vistas, and little traffic. After Arlington it is much flatter. No matter, flat with a tailwind is nice too. By this time the wind was NNW at almost 20 mph. Nevertheless, I never once felt my highest gear (46 x 13 = 93 in) was not high enough. There was one slightly downhill stretch of perhaps 0.5 km that I thought I would spin out my highest gear, but it did not happen. I just don't see the need for a gear bigger than about 90 in.
Anyway, Wednesday was a great day. It's not often that I get to ride 185 km on great roads on a 68 degree day with a 20 mph tailwind.
I had fun at the races, We'll see you in a couple of weeks.