Two-Day 200 | Adventure Ride

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As with most adventures they start out innocently enough with a few beers, a simple idea and a desire to see it through.

Thus was born the Two-Day 200 | Adventure Ride.

My friends Diane and Keith (aka Birdman) both seemed willing to ride with me from Lindenhurst, Illinois where I live, up to Cedarburg, Wisconsin – a small town suburb just north of Milwaukee. I had just read a review of the town and the great local cycling paths, so I was interested in seeing for myself. So we set a date and did absolutely no training outside our normal riding. Brilliant!

Strava Maps

Diane took charge right away knowing I would be happy just wandering my way north without a map and Birdman would be happy to follow. A plan was created and a map was produced! What could go wrong. Well as good as they are maps always need a little on route revision. Diane’s map was mostly perfect in every way, it just never made a distinction between paved, gravel and chip seal surfaces on the bike paths we took.

Mostly it was fine, but for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of riding on Chip Seal, think chunky, sticky black tar oatmeal, but almost smooth. You earn every turn of the wheel, rolling is less than if you were in mud. Not a suitable surface for an easy ride. Luckily it didn’t last long.

Rest Stops

They say an army moves on its stomach, well we must have been an army that day because eating and drinking was all that was important to us. We ate well. We drank, too much for riding but we dealt with the hardships. Local pubs and breakfast stops worked well for us. But on Saturday morning we were treated like kings and queens when we stopped at my son’s home in Milwaukee. He and his lovely wife set a spread worthy of any five-star hotel, we didn’t want to leave. But press on we did, fattened with egg pies and sausages, and a hint of fruit to say it was healthy.

Wind is your friend.

In the midwest we don’t have mountains. We hardly have hills. But we do have wind. The kind of wind that wears on your soul and sucks the energy from your legs as you madly spin away to reach a snails velocity. That was Saturday. All day. But the sun was out and good spirits prevailed as our trio made the way home. Taking plenty of time for rest and picture stops we rode along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. I’ve lived here thirty years and I’ve never been to some of the places I saw on this ride. The very definition of an adventure. Seeing new stuff.

The setting sun.

As the day came to a close and the little trio of adventurers arrived within a mile of my house I took a moment to watch Diane and Keith ride home in front of me. I always say I’m just taking pictures, which I do most of the time. But this was different, this few moments in the back of the group allowed me to give thanks we returned safely. That we all made the Two-Day 200 out and back together. And remembered once again, that friends are what really matter on your adventures, not your speed, not your distance but your laughter.

Thank you my friends Diane and Keith for a great Two-Day 200.  Ciao.

Follow Michael Valenti:

Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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