Ride to Monroe

The first 'real' recumbent ride of the season was a blast, a fitting term since most of it was along an old railroad line.

It's always best for me to start a ride day early, and I was off and moving before 6:30 Monday morning heading down our main road east toward the Badger State Trail.

The rush of wind going downhill made me think a sweatshirt would have been a good idea, but after an hour or so of riding, the temperature had warmed up and I wasn't chilly anymore.

It's been a while since I rode during the week and my only company on the trail were some early morning folks getting in a workout ride and a couple of commuters riding into work.  Me, I was heading south with a first planned stop in Belleville for a breakfast of Hot Chocolate and a Pancake.

The trail was quiet.  Songs of birds - robins, goldfinch, blue jays - and the chirps of frogs punctuating the early morning solace.  Watching the sun come up was a treat to see, as it lit up the landscape as the morning broke over the horizon.

At one point, I noticed the rider next to me on the same type of bike and going just as fast and slightly ahead of me.  To preserve the event, I stopped for my camera and quickly caught up to my riding colleague and was able to snap a couple shots of him before he rode off toward the sunset.

The train tunnel southeast of New Glarus was a place of drips, drops, and splashes as groundwater made it's way through the cave ceiling and walls.  It's no place to try to ride and the quiet walk along the former rail bed let me think about all the trains hauling much needed ammunition for the troops fighting during World War II.  During the war, guards protected the tunnel from potential saboteurs and made sure the men fighting for us had the bullets and munitions they required.

While I ride I like to take my camera along for interesting shots, and the picture at the bottom of the blog struck me as a quintessential Wisconsin Countryside scene.  The bright red of the barn, the cool blue of the stream, and the budding green of the trees and grass paint a great picture of the emerging spring in these parts.

After crossing the Sugar River Trail, I was onto a part of the trail I had not yet ridden and noticed I was slowing down.  Then it occurred to me.  I was going uphill.  The incline wasn't great, but it kept going and going.  It traced a ridge line to Monroe along the tops of hills and kept me moving up until into the Swiss Cheese City.

There was one point I stopped to remove a tree from the path so I could get on my journey.  In another place, I stopped after hearing the deep bass bark of a big dog.

I hadn't seen him (or her).  He hadn't seen me, only had heard me.  I stopped, retreated, and listened.  Finally, the dog became quiet.  In calculating my options, I knew if the dog was close to the trail, unleashed, and up to mischief - I couldn't outrun on my bike going uphill.  On the other hand, I didn't know if the dog was on a leash or behind a fence.  All I could guess was it's rough size (house-like) and that I either rode back down to New Glarus or faced my fear and ride to Monroe.

I started up the hill again.  The bark was closer.  I could see brush and trees along the trail, which meant the dog wouldn't have a clean run at me if he was loose.  I sped up.

Then, as I passed the house the barks intensified.

Slowly losing its' volume as I continued up hill and the dog stayed behind.   There were about seven miles to Monroe at that point, and I was enjoying the ride as it started to drop in elevation a bit and I could pick up some speed.

I wheeled into Monroe about twenty minutes later, a little tired, satisfied, and ready for lunch.

First ride down, many to go.