Rochester, Minnesota: I began today’s century ride just as I begin almost every ride on TransAmerica 2010. About two miles into the ride I start asking my fellow cyclists, “Are We There Yet?” This ritual began five minutes into the ride on Day 1 and it’s since become my signature expression. Some of my other co-riders (collectively, the “bad pennies” because they keep showing up) have their own idiosyncratic sounds. Leo has a whale squeaky toy as horn; Rod and Andrew have ding-a-ling bells; Sandy bellows “ARUGA.”
So as we cycled past more oceans of corn and soybeans with many miles ahead of us, there were ample opportunities for me to chime with “Are We There Yet?” And if I happen to be in the proximity of another bad penny, the horns/bells go off. Not everything we do in the saddle is frivolous; today I had good conversations that ranged from the shortfalls of the American educational system to the rigors of training for this journey, in addition to more mundane topics like, “did we just miss a turn?”
Today’s ride was an enjoyable one through more farmland. As we cross the Mississippi River and enter Wisconsin tomorrow, the prairies of the Mid West begin to taper and the hills begin to roll. There’s also a greater density of interesting barns for me to photograph. By the end of today’s ride I had fulfilled my daily quota of barn photos. My fellow riders also know of my quest to find the prettiest barn in America, and are frequently pointing out candidates, sometimes with helpful comments like “did you see that pretty barn about 10 miles back? Hope you got a photo.” I suspect I will have enough barn photos by the end of this trip to fill a book.
The other observation about today’s ride was a renewed consciousness about safety. Over the past couple days there has been flurry of minor bicycle falls — thankfully, nothing serious — so during last night’s rap there was a healthy general discussion among all the cyclists about safety issues, protocol and cycling etiquette. America by Bike, the organizer of this ride, has an impeccable safety record which is “no accident” in the words of Tour Leader Mike. The result from last night’s discussion is much improved communication. We say “on your left” when passing;’ “on your wheel” when we get behind other riders; “car back” when a car approaches from the rear. There was also an extensive discussion about pacelines, which generally I eschew. Usually we ride single file, but often on quiter roads we ride side by side to facilitate conversation.
Day 31 summary:
Day 31 Route: Mankato, Rochester, MN
Days 31 mileage: 102.5 miles
Cumulative mileage: 2,315.95 miles
Day 31 Climbing: 2,400 feet
Cumulative Climbing: 71,200 feet of climbing