TRIP 2011

Update #18 - July 25th
Batavia, IL
3,267.43 miles (5,227.89 KM)

The past week has been a good one except for having another bike tire go bad. I'm not sure what is wrong with Kwest tires made by Kenda. For some reason, the sidewalls are thin and they are prone to blow out. That is what happened to my rear tire on July 22. It was fortunate that I found the blow out about a mile from a bike shop that was out in the country between Whitewater and Elkhorn, Wisconsin. I got a tire made by another company named Bontrager . The tire has a maximum pressure of 65 psi. I'm hoping that this will not be a problem because I'd like to get a tire that holds more than 80 psi. I'll be curious to see how many miles I can get out of the tire.

The thing that was great was that I caught the blowout before the tube blew out. I can't imagine what might have happened if the tube would have blown out on a downhill coast. That is what happened in 2002. While going down a hill near Dublin, New Hampshire on May 04th, the front tube blew out and I crashed. There was extensive damage done to my left shoulder. A two-piece artificial head for my left humerus (upper arm bone) was implanted in a four hour operation on June 07th at Maine General Hospital in Augusta, Maine.

I have really know idea on what caused the sidewall blowout. When I took my gear off the rear rack so that I could change the rear tire, I found one of the bolts that fasten one of the seat struts was missing. This might have screwed the position of the rear rack and this might have hit the rear tire but the blowout was near the wheel rim instead of near the tire tread. All I can say is that I'm so glad that my Guardian Angel protected me.

I really cranked out the miles last week even though I had to deal with high temperatures in Wisconsin. Between July 17th and July 23rd, I rode 400.47 miles (640.75 KM). This is by far the most I've traveled in a week this year. This was between Durand, Wisconsin and Batavia, Illinois. The beginning of the week I had to deal with high temperatures up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 Celcius) with a heat index up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 Celcius). Because of the high heat, I only traveled 35.04 miles (56.06 KM) on Tuesday, July 20th, between Wisconsin Rapids and Adams, Wisconsin.

That night, the blocking high that kept the area hot finally started to move Eastward and a cold front came into the area. Because of this, there was a fantastic wind that blew from the Northwest between 18 and 20 miles per hour (28.8 and 32 kilometers per hour). When I headed out from Adams around 6:30 AM Wednesday morning, July 21st, the temperature was only 69 degrees Fahrenheit (20.6 Celcius). By 8:30 AM, I was in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and had cycled 25 miles (40 KM). By noon, I was in Portage, Wisconsin and had cycled 42 miles (67 KM). By 3:30 PM, I was in Sun Prairie and had cycled 78 miles (125 KM). Since I was feeling okay, I decided to go on and see if I could pass the "C Mark (Century Mark)". Just passed Cambridge, Wisconsin, I finally reached 100 miles (160 KM).

photo of cyclometer showing 100 miles traveled

Since I still had some daylight left, I decided to see if I could get some more miles in. Right around dusk, I rolled into Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. When I finally stopped at the motel where one of the Lutheran churches in the area offered to get me a room for the night, I found out that I had ridden a whopping 118.83 miles (190.93 KM).

photo of cyclometer showing over 118 miles traveled

This was my 73rd C+ day since 1994. It was also my 7th longest day since 1994. The record is 27.9 more miles (44.6 more KM) at 146.73 miles (234.78 KM) on June 02, 98. It was also my 3rd 118 mile (188.8 KM) day. My last C+ day was back on July 29, 2010 at 100.43 miles (160.68 KM) On an interesting note, I had ridden over 2 miles (3.2 KM) for every year of my age.

Saturday, July 23rd, I wanted to get to Batavia, Illinois, which would be my next rest stop. I was anxious to connect with a fellow cycle tourist that I met last year along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Weigang Geng from China is finishing up his doctorate in sub-atomic particle physics and doing research at the FermiLab National Accelerator Laboratory. This is a picture that I took of Weigang last year.

photo of Weigang Geng on tour in the UP of Michigan 2010

What is so interesting about Weigang doing research at FermiLab is that when he took me on tour yesterday afternoon this was actually the second time that I toured the facility. I visited the grounds of FermiLab over 40 years ago during my very first cross-country trip in the United States back in 1974. This was right before I went back to (West) Germany after spending a year attending high school in Northwest Ohio as an exchange student for the twelfth grade. Fourty years ago, FermiLab was being built and this year the main tevatron (cyclotron) is being shut down due to budget cuts.

Just south of the Wisconsin State Line near the town of Richmond, I got on the
McHenry County Prairie Path Trail . The trail stretches 26 miles from Richmond to Algonquin where it crosses the Fox River and connects with the Fox River Trail. For most of the way, the trail followed the abandoned corridor of the Chigago and Northwestern Rail Line. For about 7 miles, the trail is ballast/ gravel. From Ringwood to Algonquin (19 miles), it is paved. There were a lot of interesting creatures along the way to check out. One of them was a really tiny frog less than an inch long.

photo of a tiny frog along the Prairie Path Trail in IL

Just beyond Algonquin, I crossed the Fox River and got on the Fox River Trail . I've ridden this 32 mile (51 KM) paved bike trail along the Fox River many times and one of my most favorite bike paths to take in the country. After a few days off the road, I'll be finishing the Fox River Trail at Aurora. From Illinois, I will be cycling East and Northeast to New York.

As I have mentioned in these past couple of updates, I have decided that this year's mission trip will be more of service to others instead of just riding. I'm not going for high number of miles. If I ride just 4,000 or 5,000 miles (6,000 Kilometers to 8,000 Kilometers). this year that will be okay. My plans will be returning to Shreveport, Louisiana and volunteering with the
Fuller Center For Housing of NW Louisiana in Shreveport again. I will possibly be there from possibly October or November of this year to possibly March or April of next year. Shreveport will become my new homebase.

I will keep everybody abreast through upcoming updates. Usually, I try and add a new update every two weeks along the way so the next one will be around August 10th, 2011.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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