Riding a Steeple chase

All Saints Church
hosted the ride.
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It's a great idea for a church-sponsored ride, tour the county while navigating from one church to another, steeple to steeple.

Despite the fact the first and second churches didn't have traditional steeples, which felt slightly ironic, it was a great ride.

The Steeple to Steeple ride is the second sponsored by the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin, bringing together riders and members of ELCA churches to fight hunger.

I joined a group of 25 on a tour of four churches across 62 miles of beautiful country.

We started climbing out of Chapel Valley to the Capital City State Trail and were on our way.

Cooksville Lutheran
Rock County
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The group moved pretty quick and I was bringing up the rear.  It wasn't a race, so place didn't matter; however, rides are more fun if you can stay in touch and ride with the group.

This was really the case for me on yesterday's ride.

A beautiful day, sunny and cool (high 70), came with a strong breeze out of the west.

Going east was fun at a brisk pace.  The other directions offered varying degrees of difficulty.

That's where Julie, Jon, Kevin, and Peter came in.

Peter escorts a Snapping Turtle
safely across the road.
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I rode with Julie for several miles coming out of Verona on some of the most beautiful back roads I had ever seen.

Up to that point it was mostly riding solo.  Riding with someone makes the miles roll by faster.  Riding alone and out of sight of other riders is deflating.

I wonder what dog is going to chase me down the road.  Big hills and strong winds slow me down, and with no one in sight there isn't incentive to speed up.

After a stop in Oregon, I joined Jon and Kevin as we rode to Cooksville, a village just over the Dane County line in Rock County.  A few miles outside of town, Peter joined the group.

The treat station at the Cooksville church offered PB&J sandwiches, cookies, and delicious home-made donuts.

These rest stops are important.  It's a place to refill empty water bottles, grab some food, and stretch sore legs before heading out.

Christ Lutheran, Stoughton
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From there we mostly rode into the wind, like a miniature peloton, Instead of struggling individually to average 10 miles an hour, we could go 5 miles an hour faster together.

We stopped near Lake Kegonsa to rescue a turtle.  From there we pressed on to the finish and the prize - a cold root beer float.

It was an awesome ride - 78 miles (metric century plus the ride from and back home), averaging 15 mph - even better was helping beat hunger in south-central Wisconsin.