I Heart Sufferfests

With the weather promising to be decent and my body hankering for a tough workout, I decided to do a long ride today, one based on this route. The weather actually varied from cool overcast to light rain to cloudless sunshine, but the ride would have taken a long time in any conditions, and it sure did. I have never felt more trashed after a workout or race. Over the last half hour the only distractions from my screaming back were the expectation of cold Coke at home and the cramps in my forearms.

But the ride was also felt really good: fun to do and satisfying to have done. Training is weird like that. I hope I can go at least this far again a couple more times this summer and fall. A few pictures to illustrate the ordeal fun.

This shot’s from late in the ride, but the view is perfectly typical. It’s wonderful, wonderful riding.
Gravel Grinding

Fairly early on, I found this gorgeous ruin – probably of a mill – south of Cannon Falls.
Mill Ruins

I also saw a beautiful old headless brick silo. The farmstead was gone.
Headless Brick Silo

I loved this sign, versions of which I saw several times on the twisty, rolling country roads. It made me think, somehow, of zombies.
Deaf Cycle Past

Riding through farm country, it was no surprise that I saw lots of livestock, like these very sleek cows:
Horse Country

About halfway through the ride, I hit this climb, which was the toughest “ascent” of the route – though not because it was either long or steep. I was just tired and needed some food and water. The fuzzy black zones in the corners were caused by my camera lens failing to open all the way, but the blurry half-view pretty much suggests how I felt.
Uphill Struggle

I looked like this when I finally took that much-needed break:
Halfway Through

My rig, which I realized needs a good name, also enjoyed the rest. I have to remember not to lay it down on the derailleur side. Something chainy/cranky rattled all the way home.
At Rest

Not long after my break, just after I passed through the tiny town of Sogn, I found a stretch of road through these beautiful rock walls. After this picturesqueness, I pretty much stopped taking photos because I was back in the pain zone and because the remainder of the ride was in the wide-open country, where the sun was unrelenting and the wind was pretty tough, too.
Rockside Rocks

I looked like this after all that cycling. Not pictured is the giant bowl of ice cream I’m going to eat now.
Completely Done

One thought on “I Heart Sufferfests”

  1. I was in Cannon Falls too, but lounging by a lake. Those limestone walls are ALL OVER in Decorah.

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