Total distance: 48.7 miles

We knew that today would be the “big” day. We had at least two cat-5 climbs (had to look up how cyclers grade climbs, cat-5 is the easiest they bother with) to get up and over the Baraboo hills. We also awoke to utter surprising weather – a 50-degree morning with a projected high of only 56 (in late July!?!). We also had a stiff 10-15 mph wind out of the northwest — exactly the direction we were headed.

Our early start was postponed by a small mishap. We were meeting James at a designated spot (the mostly likely source of a mishap!) at 7:30am and got two texts in quick succession: “my tire’s a little flat” and “oops, I have a flat that I have to fix.” He’d discovered how frustrating micro-pumps can be and ripped the valve stem out of his tube. Lori and I managed to find a bakery and rough it with fresh danishes and coffee while James wrestled with tube and  tire. All was well by 8:30am and we were on our way.

Our day was broken up in the two distinct sections by the ferry crossing at the Wisconsin river (recommended by everyone we spoke to). The south half of the route included the new trail along highway 12 (fairly unnoteworthy) and linking together several back roads north of 12. These proved to be absolutely beautiful in the mix of morning sunlight and shade. The small hills warmed us up for the the big ones, and James and I vyed for top speed on the downhills (high 30s — still nervous at high speeds on these bikes).

Besides the danish I’d had, we hadn’t had any breakfast and didn’t really think about where we’d eat our first meal of the day. Lodi was nearby but for reasons I can’t recall, we didn’t head that way. We were lucky to find a marina/bar/pub at the intersection of JV and 188 — Sunset Harbor & Grill. There we devoured some burgers, fries, and a basket full of bacon. Defying the wisdom of any health nut, we decided that bacon was the key to biking success — it certainly helped this day.

Our advice about the ferry was spot on. It was a fun and unique link on a bike trip (shared by many other bikers that day heading to Devil’s Lake) and lead to Marsh Road and a beautiful approach to the park with absolutely no traffic.

The two cat-5 climbs are in the park. The first is on the entrance road that climbs the terminal moraine. It’s not bad at all. The second is on the south shore drive and is a series of very steep switchbacks. On a compact double, it was tough to stay on my saddle but again, not too bad. It’s over before you cough up a lung.

We cruised mostly downhill into Baraboo and discovered the wonderful trails along the Baraboo River.

Challenges with lodging….don’t stay in the Log Lodge Inn in Baraboo.

Dinner at the Little Village Cafe in Baraboo was added to our list of incredible meals. Everyone claimed that they had chosen the best meal.

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