Moving On

The original purpose behind The Fourteen Percent Ride has long since been fulfilled. So, I've decided that Mighty Proud will be the last posting. It just seems right.

But, don't worry. Or maybe you should. In any event, I plan to continue. I'll keep riding. And writing. Click here to come along in my new blog ~ The Long White Line. <-- check it out!


As I've ridden for the last two years, I've picked up on the fact that Shirley, my darling wife, has been more worried about my safety than impressed with my "accomplishments." How do I know this? Well, when I'd come back and tell her, for example, that I'd hit 53.6 mph going down FO, she'd reply, "I don't want to hear it." Being the sensitive sort I figured out, after many such comments, that just maybe we were not on the same page here. But last week, she told me that she would "greatly reduce her focus on the 'fear for my safety' issue." We talked about the tour, looked at some maps, researched nutrition suggestions on the internet, and so on, just enjoying the idea of the ride. How nice is that? Thank you, Shirley!

Monday, April 30, 2007


Aero bars. That's the thing to beat the wind. Right. Bill loaned me a pair of aero-bars, devices that let you rest your elbows on pads while holding on to a bar sticking out ahead of the center of the handlebars. The primary purpose is to apparently make you about as unstable as you can be on a bike, every tiny movement of your hands being magnified into not so insignificant twitches in the direction in which the front wheel is pointing.

OK, so maybe, just maybe, they are supposed to force you into a more aerodynamic riding position. I took off towards Stoddard to give them a test. It was dicey getting into and out of them so I figured out right away that you wanted a long relatively straight, flat run to get the feel of it all. The wind was out of the east and I was sheltered by the bluffs a bit, but I think I could tell that the aerodynamics were more favorable. At Stoddard I turned towards Chaseburg. And found the wind. Just howling in the valley. It was hard to tell if the bars helped or not.

Wind can sap your strength. The force it applies increases with the square of the speed. That means that a 10 mph wind pushes with 4 times the force of one of 5 mph. At 20 mph, the resistance is a whopping 16 times that of the 5 mph breeze. So, every little bit of aerodynamic streamlining really pays off. I'll work at getting used to the bars.

I rode under partly cloudy skies as I pedaled to Chaseburg then back up to the top of County K. BUT, from this high point of the ride, I could look back towards La Crosse to see a really ugly dark sky. The wind was at my back and I got down the hill as fast as I could, racing towards home to beat the rain. I got home as it started to thunder and lightning. The rain came about 1/2 hour later. An eventful 31.2 miles.

Total ~ 705.8 miles.

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