I have a confession to make: I love cycling and The Kickapoo Kicker was one of the best racing experiences of my life!
SR and I took off with one of the many start waves from the Viroqua, WI high school and we actually cycled the beginning together (and took a major wrong turn together). It was so fun to be in a race where I could keep up with SR at the start. He eventually pulled away in a faster group, but I found another group to ride with. I met people from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin and it is amazing how easy it is to hold a conversation in a bike race (as compared to running). Not surprising, though.
|Here is the altitude profile from fellow cyclist, Greg Padden. Sorry the scale is missing.|
I raced without a Garmin or watch and took my time at the three very well-stocked aid stations, really enjoyed myself, but also really pushed myself. I began to realize the competitive side of it, though, when a couple riding together would not allow me to draft behind them, even briefly! The final stretch was brutal- a 24% grade hill!! When I reached the finish, I learned that I had actually beaten the female course record from last year!! I had no clue what time it was or what place I was in because of all of the different waves starting at different times. I guess I finished in just over 5 hours. I still don't know the final results of this year since they haven't been posted yet.
We didn't stick around long. We were both so excited and happy on the way home. What a way to see such incredible scenery! What fun!
That evening we went hiking at Perrot State Park with my parents, Natti, her step-sister Cora, Christian and Mattias. It was a gorgeous night to see the Mississippi River. No clouds and no wind. There was such a jovial mood. We ate dinner at the Trempealeau Hotel. At one point, after downing an entire glass of New Glarus Fat Squirrel beer (on tap), I lay in the grass playing with Mattias, watching the river with the bluffs in the background, listening to a talented live singer and guitarist playing Gram Parsons covers and suddenly it occurred to me: this was the best birthday I could remember. I am so incredibly blessed.