Ear Bugs, Photos and the past few days

First of all let me just say my ear is fine – the bug on the other hand, did not make out of hte ordeal alive. Since I last posted we have crossed into yet another state and are currently in Rochester, Minnesota. I’m currently at the Rochester Public Library where the internet connection is extremely slow (dial-up is fast compared to this) but I will try to update some photos if I get a chance to use the church computer later today.
 
The ride into Reedsburg, WI on Wednesday turned a bit interesting with about 10 miles to go when I had a giant bug fly into my left ear. It went all the way into the canal to the point where when Steph looked in my ear he couldn’t see it. I sat on the side of the road shaking my head as if there were water in it for a few minutes as I could feel it moving around inside my ear making a loud echoing sound (a rather unique experience). Shaking my head was an immediate reaction as I didn’t know what to do. After a few minutes Steph started dripping water into my ear at which time the bug came out. A truck drive passing by saw me sitting on the side of the road and stopped to see what was wrong however by this point the bug had fallen out of my ear and was laying on the pavement. We decided to put the bug in a bag and keep it in case anything should happen to my ear but thankfully all is fine! As if the day needed to get more interesting, when we arrived in Reedsburg I went to the post office to mail some stuff home and free up some space in my bag. I locked my bike to the stairs while there and when I went out to unlock it afterward found that my lock had jammed! After unsuccessfully trying to free my bike for about five minute a man came out of the post office and offered to help. He was also unsuccessful at freeing it so I walked back to the church to find help. Jon walked back to the post office with me and was also unsuccessful at freeing it but thankfully we found someone who had a pair of pliers in their trunk and used them to cut my lock. It was a rather think cable so it cut rather easily – a good thing in this case but not for the protection of my bike! Jon K. and Ben made us dinner which we followed with a trip to a local ice cream place where they had homemade waffle cones.
 
On Thursday we rode into Lacrosse, Wisconsin it was rather uneventful compared to the day before and luckily we didn’t have any "bug in the ear" incidents. I rode with Xixi, Yiming, Fei and Takaya for the day and we made a stop for ice cream at McDonald’s with about eight miles to go. (I’m on a ice cream diet this summer as in eat as much of it that I can!) The church where we stayed in Lacrosse provided us with dinner which tasted amazing as most food does after a 90 mile day and connected us with the local YMCA to take showers.
 
Friday – In our first "early" day of the summer we rose at 4:30am in anticipation of a 100 mile day to Rochester, MN. To our surprise we awoke to find that the route was only about 85 miles however we still needed to cover it and get to Rochester by 4:00 pm. (While in Reedsburg we had been contacted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester about possibly touring the clinic. After a team vote we decided that this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up and with a full team effort re-routed and changed our route to go to Rochester rather than the Twin-Cities area.) We were on the road shortly after 5:30 am hitting the road just as the sun was rising. Less than a mile down the road we crossed the Mississippi river and crossed into Minnesota. Crossing into Minnesota reminds me of crossing into Missouri last summer as the rolling hills seemed to appear right after crossing the Mississippi. We climbed a rather long and winding hill and then had a long decent where I reached 42 mph. Some people decided to re-climb the hill so they could fly down it again and broke the 50 mph mark on the final stretch. Mid morning  we cycled along a bike path that was so muddy in parts that our bikes quickly looked as if we were mountain biking. I was riding with Andrew, Steph and Jay and Andrews bike got so muddy that the mud clogged his breaks so he could barely pedal. When we exited the path at about mile 35 we found the rest of the team cleaning the mud off of their bikes as well. From there we continued on to lunch around noon time at mile 60. We departed lunch around 12:30 with about 25 miles to cover by the 4:00 pm, which is when we wanted to tour Mayo. With about six miles to go we all met up at a gas station in Chester, MN. When Nick and Jon pulled into the water stop they informed us that Mayo had just called an that they were unable to give us a tour thus allowing us a bit more time in our schedule. About half of us decided we still would like to go and see the Mayo Clinic so after a short break at the gas station for slushies and water we continued on our way. While we didn’t get an official tour of the clinic we were able to walk around and talk with a few people. The building is rather amazing and I was amazed to learn just how many people come to Mayo from all over the country and world. Unlike a normal hospital/medical building Mayo is rather open and a very people friendly environment. I’m glad I went to see it even though we didn’t get to talk with any doctors.
 
Andrea and Connie made an amazing dinner last night and afterward we celebrated Ben’s Birthday with cake and ice cream! Today we are off enjoying a rest day, taking care of team business and hopefully in a little while I’ll find a way to upload photos for your viewing pleasure!
 
Happy Summer!!!!!!

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