This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
Day 13 - Mitchell, SD to Worthington, MN. 137 miles, 2240' climbing.
Well, we truly were in corn country now. I had been complaining about
the lack of trees, or rather cover for pee stops, but finally I had a
bathroom everywhere. I started to wonder though, as I made my way out
into the field, if it really was private, since everyone who passed
said "Hi, Pamela".
After emerging from the field, I was caught by Susan and Debbie on the
tandem, and Mike and Roberta keeping them company. Nancy had also
joined them and was trying to take it a little easier. She was
wearing long sleeves, tights, full fingered gloves, had a white face
from the zinc oxide, and frankly was a little scary looking.
Fortunately it stayed cool for the next few days, so the extra
clothing wasn't too unpleasant for her.
We watched the rain clouds roll in at lunch. We headed out hoping to
stay ahead of the storm, but it looked hopeless. I stayed with Susan
and Debbie, figuring I was going to get wet one way or another, so why
not have company. We had a great time talking about tandems and girl
drivers and all the comments we get, and I hardly even noticed the
rain. By the time we reached the final snack stop, it had stopped
drizzling. Joanne came out to great us with a tray full of snacks
looking like a car hop. Susan and Debbie had had enough, and needed to
start driving home, so they packed it in for the day. I found Ed
Haldeman here and we decided to take the final 30 miles together. Ed
tells the best stories and entertained me all the way back. At one
point we saw a dead baby fox lying on the side of the road. Ed
commented that Rebecca might like the fox tail, and we decided to go
back. He took out his pocket knife and cut off the tail, placed it in
a plastic baggy and put it in his seat bag. He did say I should remind
him not to use that blade on the coffee cake the next morning! I
stayed away from coffee cake the rest of the trip!
Rebecca loved the tail. It went along with the "Road Kill" beef jerky
she had bought earlier in the day. I guess this road kill thing runs
in the family. I told Ed after that, that I could always tell if
there was a Haldeman riding in front of me by whether the road kill
was missing "usable" parts.
While riding along, we noticed more dark clouds ahead of us, but they
dissipated before we reached them. For once, it was the really fast
folks who got drenched, while the more leisurely riders, just got a
little damp after lunch.
At the hotel, Ann (of Ann and Dan) and I started talking about saddles
and saddle sores and I offered to let her use one of my spare Miyatas,
in exchange for a pull through Illinois. The Miyata would hopefully
help with some of her problems, but it is hard in the back so it might
feel a little harsh at first. She decided to try it for a few days to
see if it would help.
We did have another heavy storm during dinner, but stayed dry on the
walk to and from. It was quite a change from the Tornado warning the
same hotel received on the June tour.
Day 14 - Worthington, MN to Albert Lea, MN. 123 miles, 1260' climbing.
This was the day that Robert from New York was in for quite a surprise
and a serious workout. Having never ridden a tandem before, Robert
looked at Lon and Lon's tandem as a free ride, and had arranged for a
morning of serious torture stoking with Lon. Robert is not what one
would call of small stature. He had joked a great deal about the
incredible draft that would form behind a tandem with the two of them
riding. He even made up a "Wide Load" sign to hang on his own
backside. What he didn't know, was how sore his bum was going to get
sitting on that Brooks Leather Torture Device (maybe I should
trademark that phrase) and how tired his legs were going to be trying
to keep up with Lon. But he soon would find out.
This was also our first Susan-less day. Richard and I left a little
early as usual, but apparently we left a little too early and rode a
little too fast, and we passed the first snack stop before the crew
arrived. We rode on through town figuring that maybe they were setting
up on the other side of town. I had seen two of the vehicles drive by,
but not the caravan. After climbing the hill out of town I knew we had
missed the stop for sure. And a few minutes later we came upon Ed with
a snack stop set up just for the two of us. We both begged him not to
tell Susan, so we wouldn't get in trouble for leaving early, and
thanked him for the special stop. Susan was very adamant that riders
not leave early unless they were really slow. She had a list of people
who had to wait, and yelled at them for leaving too soon. Well,
normally we were really slow, but it was really flat or even a little
downhill. Fortunately no one ratted us out.
At some point before the next snack stop, Robert (thumbing his nose at
me) and Lon and a few drafters passed. At the snack stop, I saw both
Robert and Lon's singles coming down off the trucks. Apparently the
tandem free ride was over. Robert seemed a bit surprised that Lon
never coasted and that even with the softride his butt was really
sore. He had to learn for himself.
I asked Lon at this stop if he would be willing to take me on as
stoker on Sunday. The weather forecasts were showing that we would
probably get rain on Sunday, and in my opinion, the back of a tandem
is one of the best places to be when it rains. Sunday was also a very
hilly day. Lon commented on the hills, and I explained that unlike
Robert, who's Achilles made it difficult for him to stand, I could
stand, and had a lot of tandem experience. I also said I really wanted
to ride on a rolling day so I could enjoy some of those wonderfully
We stayed pretty close to I-90 again. Mostly frontage roads, except
for one little detour that added 10 miles to the route. A few racer
types followed Lon through the original route and walked through
pretty deep mud for a ways, reaching lunch at the same time as those
who rode the extra 10 miles.
The afternoon went pretty fast, as I got into a train with the
Penseyres brothers. We hit a very, very rough section of road, and I
really, really wanted a softride. The Merlin absorbs a lot of shock,
but this was awful. I stood for a long, long time. I think we were on
this stuff for 6 miles, and it was such a relief when we finally hit
smooth roads again.
I found myself riding with Gale and Pamela. These two were roommates
and had ridden together for the whole trip, despite just meeting in
Washington. They had very compatible styles and got along great.
Pamela worked in a health club and Gale is a racing grandma. Gale had
fractured her leg just 8 weeks before PAC Tour. The advice of Dr. Bob
Breedlove had enabled her to train and still do the ride. I stopped
thinking about the pain in my back after hearing her story.
We reached the hotel and a great surprise. Terry had baked some
absolutely delicious chocolate chip cookies, and sent them along with
his ride report from Day 1. The cookies were the best medicine. I
never realized how much a package from a friend would do for my mood
on the ride, but it really perked me right up.
John, a rider from Ireland, was the next rider granted a chance to
stoke with Lon. So John and Lon spent a little time setting the bike
up for their ride the next morning. John had a bit more tandeming
experience than Robert. He had stoked a tandem trike in a 24 hour in
England. Tandem trikes are even scarier than single trikes, and take
even more trust to stoke than standard tandems. With this experience
and John's awesome legs, Lon had picked a great stoker. Very few
riders would be able to hang onto the Lon and John train.