I can’t think of a title.

So I thought that our ride into La Crosse was one of the best riding days of the trip so far. It was an 86 mile ride and I rode with Jaime, Ana, Bridget, Diana, and a very special guest: Greg. I was the pace leader the whole ride and it was actually really cool. Jaime rode behind me and was our group’s navigator. She has a really great sense of direction that is very handy. We all pushed ourselves and kept a pace of around 20-22 MPH consistently, which is really good for us (minus Greg who rides around 54 MPH in a tailwind uphill on fire on a gravel road).

We started the morning off right with some bagged milk and doughnuts. Then we got to our second rest stop of the day and were able to complete a portrait (thanks to Max!) of a two-time cancer survivor. At our third rest stop, a lot of us stopped at Piggly Wiggly and Taco Bell for lunch. I bought cheese curds and locally grown strawberries for the team and got quite a few people addicted to cheese curds. I also bought Taco Bell…

Once we got into La Crosse, we were welcomed to a very nice church and free showers at the YMCA. Then a few of us went and got ice cream at a local ice cream parlor. The pastor, named Taylor, at this church was so awesome. He has completed several Iron Man triathlons and rode with us during the next morning’s ride to Rochester for a few miles. He climbs hills like they are downhills. It was really cool to see someone who is that talented ride. Taylor changed our route in the morning a little bit so that we could catch some great scenery of the Wisconsin/Minnesota border. It was really pretty we took some great pictures at the top of our 1.6 mile climb.

The rest of our ride into Rochester wasn’t so fun. It was rainy and we had a major headwind pretty much all day long.  Lots of hills too. But, once we got into Rochester, we were fortunate enough to tour a Hope Lodge.  Hope Lodges, which are funded by the American Cancer Society, provide cancer patients and their families a free and temporary place to stay while one is receiving cancer treatment in a city that is different/far away from their hometown. Our tour was wonderful and we even completed 4 portraits while we were there!

Yesterday we had a rest day in Rochester. A few of us woke up early to do some laundry–a special thank you to Ana’s dad who drove us to the laundromat! Then we went to the Mayo Clinic for a tour of their Cancer Education Center. This center is a place where several Mayo patients visit to learn more about the cancer they are facing and the treatments they may receive. The best part of this visit, for me especially, was reading a journal where individuals can openly write about their fight against cancer or their loved one’s fight against cancer. There were two entries that really impacted me and that made me cry because I related to them so easily. The following quote is one I read from the journal and I think it is really true: “One day. One life. Enjoy each moment. Waste no time, it is so precious.”

After our tour, I went with a few teammates to a Dutch restaurant. I have no idea how to spell the name of it but they made these really great Dutch pancake things. So good. Afterwards, I felt like a soccer mom because I dropped all the kids off to Toy Story 3. Then I drove to Target with Bridget and Jaime and hung out there for a good 2 hours. It was an interesting experience to say the least because A LOT of food was involved. Then I picked the kids up and headed back to our stayover. Later that night, Michell, Ana, and I visited Rochester’s Barnes and Noble. This Barnes and Noble came highly recommended by Conor and I am so glad we went. It was seriously the coolest and most magical Barnes and Noble I have ever been in. So awesome. There was literally a castle inside.

Today we rode out of Rochester and into Albert Lea. Today may also be one of the best riding days of the trip so far. I rode with Bridget, Conor, Jillian, Michell, and Tracey. The ride was so relaxing and a lot of fun. We had a great tailwind and the hills made the ride much better because it wasn’t boring at all. We completed 52 miles by 10:30 AM so a lot of us stopped at this local breakfast spot and enjoyed each other’s company. Then we all played at a park that was across the street. This was a ton of fun because we played this awesome game called Rocks for at least an hour and a half. Then we finished our ride and were all at our stayover by 3! Bridget and I went on a short run to BP to buy some gatorade (we were having major withdrawals) and now we are all off to eat dinner.

Adios for now.

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