Day 21: St. Paul, MN - Wabasha, MN
Distance: 94 miles
Vertical: 1,250 feet
Biking time: 7:08
So I know what you all are thinking. Matt and Nigel took over 7 hours and only went 94 miles. For those of you who like math would realize that that means we averaged around 13 MPH, just below the speed limit for Pokémon Go. If you’re Josh than you are also probably wondering why, for the first time, both of our phones died on the ride. While there is truth to the fact that Nigel and I were looking into buying portable chargers and iPhone mounts for our bikes so we could catch trans continental Pokémon, we did not (or did we).
Because we took so long and our phones were dead we nearly gave poor Mama Josh a heart attack. He paced around the Lutheran Church that opened its doors to us today frantically thinking of all of the bad things that could have happened to us (sounds kind of half glass empty if you ask me). After waiting until 7:20, about an hour and a half after we should have been done, he drove around town for about an hour looking for us. Luckily he found us 5 miles out of Wabasha. Before my phone died we wrote down all of the turns we had to make on a small piece of paper that I stuck in the back pocket in my bike jersey. When we approached an intersection, we pulled the notecard out and my back sweat basically tore a huge hole in the center of the paper and caused the ink to smear all around it, yielding it unreadable. Not that instructions are of any use to me. I had the map two days ago and got lost four times. Oops.
Today we were plagued by Google Craps, I mean Google Maps. There were three separate times that it would have us make a turn, go a mile or so along the road, turn into a cul-de-sac, make a U-turn, head back down the road we just went down, and then continue on the road we were on before it made us make the initial turn. I ragged on Nigel for being a bad navigator (only ironically because I’m so directionally challenged that I still get lost in my home town) until his phone died and it was my turn to give instructions and I got us in the same pickle. I thought Apple Maps was crap but at least it doesn’t say “turn left left right left right right” in one constant stream. There were 20-mile stretches where we would only go a half mile before checking our phones again to see what Google Maps was doing.
I sound sort of like a broken record bringing this up, but we had headwinds again today. Probably the strongest ones I have seen. This bike ride has taught me a lot about how wind behaves, like how storms suck wind in instead of push it (which is what happened to us) and that regardless of what direction you turn you always have a headwind because biker’s curse is completely factual. There were 23 MPH head winds for the majority of the ride, and instead of being smart and drafting off one another, Nigel and I both took the wind head on as we biked side by side, talking for almost the entire ride. Tackling it this way was much more amusing because we would play our favorite game of ‘say the city your in in the dumbest accent you can think of’ and throwing our hands in the air like Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, challenging the wind to try and get stronger.
The wind today was comically bad. Like so bad that Nigel and I never really got upset. It was so strong that we would actually go faster going up the rolling hills than we would when we went down them because the hill blocked the wind. One fairly steep and long hill in particular I tried going down without pedaling and toped out at 9.8 MPH. Nigel even proclaimed that he liked the wind because it cooled us off today because it was 97 degrees with at least 400% humidity. It was like biking in a hot tub while getting sprayed with a mist machine in at the bottom of the Mariana Trench during a flood. For lack of better a better word and for our reader’s pleasure, I would say the air was rather moist today.
When I bought my clip-in pedals for my bike, Nigel was very adamant that I take them out riding a lot to get used to them. He told me that it is really easy to forget that your feet are stuck to your pedals when you stop and if you forget to unclip then you slowly tip over and look really stupid. This terrified me. For those of you who don’t know me, clueless and unaware are two adjectives that describe me perfectly. The last thing that I wanted was to further my ‘smart idiot’ reputation and fall at an intersection while not moving, so I have been paranoid and as a result have never let that happened. Nigel, ironically, has not. He has already fallen once due to this issue on the second day (I already talked about it in a blog post) and did it a second time today. About 80 miles into the ride, and 20 miles after we came to a “screw this we are just going to bike slow and talk” conclusion, we approached the fateful intersection. I, like a seasoned veteran, unclipped elegantly. Nigel on the other hand did not. I heard him gasp so a turned around and saw that he unclipped his right foot out of his pedal but accidently leaned to the left and didn’t realize he unclipped the wrong foot until it was too late. After colliding to the earth he sort of just laid there in a state of reflection as I laughed at him for his third fall of the trip. Clutz.
Today was a monumental day for us Cycle for Charvatists for reasons other than Nigel falling three times and us setting an all time record for most U-turns. We hit the half waypoint in our fundraising, raising just over $10,000. It’s always so motivating seeing donations come in and hearing positive feedback from all of you guys. It is a really good reminder that there is purpose to our bike ride besides mad calf gains and tender butts.
Gotta catch ‘em all,
P.S. The back and forths that Nigel and I do are not to be taken seriously. The only time I ever complain is when he struggles to make it to our end destination, sort of causing an endless banter cycle.
P.S.S Our phones died today (and the GoPro) so unfortunately there are no pictures.