Thursday, March 7, 2013

Windsor Wanderer 200K Permanent -- A Time of Change

I had the pleasure of riding the Windsor Wanderer 200K permanent with John Lee Ellis and Vernon Smith this past weekend.  The route travels on roads that are familiar from many prior brevets and permanents, but the CHANGE in direction on these roads made the ride seem brand new.  It was fun to approach the previously ridden roads in a different direction to see how the scenery CHANGED from this direction.

We started in low thirty degree temperatures which required winter attire. Immediately it was apparent that the angle of the sun was CHANGING, and we would have plenty of day light as spring is approaching.

John Lee and Vernon were bundled but cheery from the start in Superior
We made it to the first check point in Hudson with a gentle tail wind, but soon learned things would CHANGE.  I had never approached Hudson from the west, as all my visits had been from the north or east on previous brevets.
Vernon and John Lee in Hudson ready to CHANGE our direction of travel to the north and bracing for a CHANGE in wind direction.

Heading north and west toward Platteville, we began to experience wind CHANGING from the west to coming from the north, and even an apparent southerly wind at times.  We shared many bad jokes along the way, which was not a CHANGE from previous rides.
I think Vernon preferred to endure the gentle wind rather than my bad one liners.

Vernon and John Lee take time to enjoy the CHANGING scenery and good company.

 Leaving Platteville, we were unsure if we would get to experience the Rawhide Power Plant as the wind seemed to gently increase.  The temperatures were also increasing leading John Lee to begin shedding layers and delight in the ability to ride without his winter coat.

John Lee models his second attire for the day with the lack of his winter coat leading all to  be optimistic for the coming spring.
 As we made our way north toward Windsor, we enjoyed the sighting of a bald eagle, a northern harrier, dozens of Canada geese, many Kestrel hawks, and even some morning doves and meadowlarks.  John Lee demonstrated his attentiveness to the lessons learned from his experienced wife, who is a birder, as he helped us identify these beautiful birds.  Who says you can't learn while biking?

The CHANGING views of Mount Meeker and Longs Peak allowed us to better understand their geographic relation to each other.

We arrived in Windsor after a glorious down hill on highway 257 (experienced by me only as an uphill on previous brevets, which traveled in the opposite direction, and generally occurred after about 200 miles of riding).
John Lee demonstrates his third CHANGE of outfits for the day as the warm temperatures allowed him to shed his vest and tights.

Leaving Windsor we headed south and the wind CHANGED to a head wind, and the route began to retrace familiar roads that we had previously ridden on the 400K brevet prior to a CHANGE in the route.  We all commented on the growth of Windsor and how it had CHANGED since our early days of randonneuring in this area.
Even the cows around Windsor seemed to be CHANGING their normal grazing patterns. 

Heading for the finish we continued to work together and enjoy the camaraderie of our ride as the wind continued to CHANGE direction, heralding the approaching weather front that would produce snow the day after our ride.

John Lee leads the way toward another hill setting up Vernon for his "interval hill climb" training.
 We took a slight detour on the way home for a pleasant visit with Pat Heller and Buster before making the final leg into a stiff head wind.

John Lee and Paul Foley enjoy the satisfaction of another successful ride shared with good friends.

 As the seasons continue to CHANGE, the Windsor Wanderer is a great ride to prepare for the heart of the upcoming randonnee season.


  1. I've done that permanent a couple times. It's a great one. I loved your pictures & write up .

  2. This is such a great write-up, Paul. The grind southward up Hwy. 257 from Windsor we all know is after 200 miles in the middle of the 600k, so most of us are not fresh at that point. :-)

    I loved the camaraderie with friends, and thanks for letting me tag along.

    -john lee