Minnesota..doncha know

These past few days have been absolutely wonderful. From Wisconsin, we started climbing hills again which was a nice change of pace from the flat lands of the midwest. For me, my journey detoured from the rest of the group these past few days of riding.

My first detour was that when we were riding from Madison to Reedsburg. Since my Grandma and Grandpa Clark were about .5 miles off route I traveled with four others (Nick, Jon, Yiming, and Fei) to go and visit with them. We were provided a great lunch and my favorite cake that my grandma makes (chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting…delicious!). It was wonderful to see them and I was lucky to be able to visit my family, which is very important to me!

After our detour, we took our time to get to Reedsburg, stopping at a homemade swing outside the town center in the little town of Denzer, to relax, enjoy the scenery and weather, which was perfect! After a nice break and having some fun on our route, we finished our day in Reedsburg.

From Reedsburg, I drove the next day to La Crosse. Nothing to spectacular really happened that day, but it was still a nice change of pace. Driving, however, is not very fun or eventful. It does make you realize how much you really want to bike and get back on the rode. Although an integral part of the team, the driver doesn’t really get to experience the ride like everyone else. It also doesn’t help that we are used to eating so much, that when you drive you feel guilty about eating the food that is needed for the riders to sustain their energy. Driving, something that I don’t like to do,puts in perspective where we are going and the distance we are actually traveling. Many times I just stare at the road, not taking in the scenery when I’m on my bike. I joke often that I see more pavement than the country itself. Either way, our trip to La Crosse was ended with potential good news.

We received information from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN that we might have the opportunity to get a tour of their cancer research facility. Taking us off route and having to scramble to find stay over locations, we rerouted and headed to Rochester.

The ride to Rochester was one of my favorites, thus far. Since we were told that Mayo had us scheduled (or were scheduling) us for an event around 4 PM, we had to wake up at 4:30 AM that morning to make it to Rochester in time. The ride was beautiful! At dawn we took off over beautiful valleys and it felt like you could touch the sky. Descending into an early morning fog, we were able to experience our first early ride and enjoy a great morning and fun adventures of ridiculously muddy trails. Needless to say there was a lot of mud on our tires. As the day progressed, we rode quick enough to make the 87 miles to Rochester, but then the Nick’s phone rang with bad news, the Mayo Clinic couldn’t give us a tour.

Although we were upset, we made the best of the situation. We relaxed as we rode the rest of the way into Rochester. As some still went to the Mayo Clinic, some of us went to check out the downtown. The people in Minnesota have been, by far, the kindest and most supportive group of people that I have met! We were repeatedly approached, thanked and supported by strangers on the street, given free coffee by Sopra Sotto in the University Mall, and also made some good contacts at the coffee shop where a gentleman that we met set up a free meal for us.

Minnesota, who knew that it was as beautiful and so full of great people. This detour has been the best decision that we made. The generosity and kindness of these people will be remembered and we are so greatful for the support that we have been given. With this support and love we have found we will continue our fight across the country and against cancer!

With time to think on these bike rides, I have also found that it is really time to start looking for a job. However, what am I going to do with an Economics degree? This trip has made me realize that although there are things that I could do, I want to do something I love. People across the country have expressed love and compassion for what we are doing. I truly appreciate all the support and happiness found along the way. Without happiness and the true joys in life, whatever yours may be, people will remember your generosity and kindness. We remember those happy and fun times rather than those monotonous days of continuous work.  

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