Mankato, Minnesota: Following a very satisfying weekend with my family, yesterday I had to reckon with soggy Monday morning blues. After some tearful goodbyes with my son I set off for Minnesota during rain showers. We’ve dealt with all the other elements on this trip — hail, snow, wind, sun, hot and cold — so the rain completes the weather experience. Luckily I have Dan, a high school classmate who is a meteorologist in North Dakota, keeping an eye on the weather patterns in the region and giving me some heads up on Facebook. So the rain wasn’t a surprise. But it was yucky going for a few hours, and there were a few spills by some fellow riders. Eventually the precipitation stopped as we crossed into Minnesota, the fifth of ten states on this transcontinental journey.
In my two days in Minnesota we have cycled cross farmland — flat, expansive, industrialized farmland for as far as the eye can see. There are just two crops: corn and soybeans. That pretty much summarizes the views of my century ride today, with a few pretty barns and a small town or pig or cattle farm (and the odors that emanate) here and there rounding out the experience. As I told a fellow rider at a SAG stop, ‘I get it. They grow corn here. Next.”
It’s hard for me to make a corn field interesting, or even sound interesting. Immersed in so much food, I thought it might be interesting to elaborate on all the stuff I’m ingesting to propel me from one coast to another. Our days on the road are simple. We sleep. We cycle. We eat. And time permitting, we blog. In long-distance cycling food is fuel and you need alot of it. Over the past 30 days, I’ve had an enormous appetite and have been eating my way across America to feed that appetite. It’s not quality, nor is it even all tasty, but it’s fuel… and when I burn somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day I have to eat in terms of quantity. In other words, shovel it down. This is how I’ve eaten my way from Worthington to Mankato today. This is a fairly typical day.
Breakfast: Western omelette; hash browns; three pancakes; coffee.
Snacks: Banana; two fig newtons; two Gu (performance energy gel) packets; turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat bread; chocolate milk (excellent recovery drink). Increasingly I eschew the crap provided at the organized SAG stops — eg corn chips, pretzels; cookies; trail mix; honey roasted nuts; granola bars — for more healthy or nutritious offerings on my own.
Lunch: Half of a Subway turkey sandwich; iced tea.
Liquids: Lots of water; water with Nuum (electrolyte supplement); Gatorade; 1 glass of lemonade.
Dinner: Rather than another organized buffet dinner, NJ Mark, Helen, Alex and I opted for a private dinner at a real restaurant; a place with menus. For dinner I had some sushi, which is amazing considering I’m noweher near the ocean; some olives; a Caesar salad; and a huge plate of rigatoni pasta with a sausage Marinara sauce, which is good carbo loading for tomorrow’s century.
Now you know. To burn all this off I cycled 102.81 miles at a very comfortable average speed of 16.2 mph.
Days 29 and 30 summary:
Days 29 and 30 Route: Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Worthington, MN (Day 29) and on to Mankato, MN (Day 30)
Days 29 and 30 mileage: 71.41 miles (Day 29) and 102.81 miles (Day 30)
Cumulative mileage: 2,213.45 miles per my odometer
Climbing: 1,300 feet (Day 29) and 1,000 feet (Day 30)
Cumulative Climbing: 68,800 feet of climbing
Terrain: mostly flat