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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Wisconsin Triple Crown, Part 1

Saturday, May 18th 2012 kicked off the organized ride season with the Arcadia Brute, the first leg of the Wisconsin Triple Crown. The Triple Crown consists of 3 rides (hence "Triple") beginning with the Arcadia Brute, then the Kickapoo Kicker, ending with the Dairyland Dare. If you sign up for the Triple Crown instead of as individual rides, you have the opportunity to receive a Triple Crown jersey. In order to qualify, you must complete all three rides with equal or greater distances on each successive ride. These are not the typical flatland ride to which we are accustomed. Arcadia is located on the western edge of Wisconsin, in the Mississippi river valley, which has differences in height between the valleys and the tops of the surrounding hills in the neighborhood of 650 feet. 

The trip started on Friday with leaving work early (but not early enough) to accommodate the 300 mile drive to the western border of Wisconsin. Our friends Scott and Paula, had rented a cabin outside of Arcadia, and kindly offered to share the accommodations. I don't expect much in rural Wisconsin, but the White Deer Lodge was actually very nice.
Katy and I did not arrive until almost 7. I still had some bike maintenance to do, so I quickly set about doing final prep for the ride.
I must once again thank Scott and Paula. In my haste to get to Arcadia, I neglected to bring critical supplies. There was cold beer in the fridge on our arrival Friday night, and a pot of coffee ready to go on Saturday morning. Crisis averted! It's times like this that one learns the kind of people they are spending time with. Real friends share beer and coffee.

Saturday morning arrived too quickly. Some coffee, a bit of breakfast, and off we go to Arcadia to start the ride. The Brute has a number of distances to choose from, starting with 50k and going to 200k in 50k increments. This is still only May, so the smart distance would be the 50k. Katy is clearly the smart one in the group, and selected the 50k. Being a little less intelligent, I planned to ride the 100k, and Scott the animal was set on the 150k. We set off, and after what seemed a short distance, the 50k course diverged from the others. We paused for a moment to wish Katy well, and a local farmer asked about all of the cyclists.
We wished Katy well, then Scott and I continued on. After another short distance, the routes for the 100 & 150 diverged. We have now reached the point in this story where I prove to be the biggest idiot. I selected the 100k route because I am not in peak condition. When the routes diverged, we were all still fresh, and had not hit any killer hills yet. When Scott suggested I tag along with him on the 150k, and that it "would be more fun" with us riding together, my brain should have done the math determining that I was not ready for that distance, combined with those hills. Instead I heard myself say "Okay, Why Not?". Clearly I need help. The answer to the question "Why not" is
1. You are not ready.
2. You are now obligated to do at least 150k on the next two legs of the Triple Crown.

We hit the first rest stop at 30 miles, getting resupplied with food and water. You can see me texting Katy to let her know I'm an idiot and that I will be a bit later than originally planned.
We continued on, with the hills getting steeper and longer as we went. At one point we went through Fountain City along the Mississippi river and paused for a photo opportunity.

We continued the ride, climbing away from the Mississippi and through the hills and valleys of the area. My brain was getting a bit fuzzy at this point, and I really only remember climbing hill after hill after hill.
Pain or pleasure, (in the mind of the athlete these two are often confused) all things come to an end. We completed the ride, putting on a good face for the photographer at the end.

The ride statistics and map from my Garmin are available here. Katy and I had thought to head home after the ride, but there was no chance of that. I was ready to fall over from fatigue, and would likely have cramped while driving. In this case we chose the smart move and stayed another night. All of us went out to a local establishment for some fine bar food, then went for a walk around the cabin, enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Special thanks to Bright Shots Wisconsin for the finish line photos, and especially to Paula for providing coffee, and putting up with all of this bicycling non-sense. Additional thanks to Katy for caring enough to be pissed off when the text I sent didn't get through and she was wondering where the hell her idiot husband was.

To be continued....