Day 16, Aug 2nd

Start: Worthington, MN

Finish: Austin, MN

Miles: 144

Elevation Gain: 1400'


Countryside Inn

3303 West Oakland Ave.

Austin, MN 55912


Click on an image to see a larger view

What a difference a day can make. Today was much more pleasant than yesterday, even though it still had its share of undesirable elements and more than its share of mechanical problems (at least for me).

When I looked at the Weather Channel this morning, I would have bet we'd be drenched by the time we arrived in Austin - almost the whole state of

The "fog" in the background is actually dust from a gravel pit, but the image is pretty anyway

Minnesota was covered with thunderstorm or severe thunderstorm warnings. But somehow we managed to avoid them and the weather turned out to be quite nice.

At breakfast, Susan added french toast (one of my favorite breakfast foods) to the menu, as well as sausages. She had many takers and it was a great

We had another road-construction adventure today

start to what I found to be a pleasant day.

As we rolled out of the motel, the temperature was perfect at just around 70, and it seemed to stay there for most of the morning. We were also greeted with a light tailwind which made the 30 miles to the first rest stop very pleasant.

We did have a little difficulty finding the right route out of town, though. Several of us missed a turn because the mileage on the route sheet was a little off, but we quickly got back on track. One rider, however, didn't figure this out as quickly and the support van had to go find him to get him back on course. He declined the offer to be driven up to the rest stop so that he'd be on track time-wise, so he was in for a long day.

About 10 miles from town, I managed to drop my water bottle. Since Kim was right on my rear wheel, it took me a while to slow down and turn around, and by the time I got back to where I thought I had dropped it, it was nowhere to be found. John gave me one of his extra bottles at the lunch stop so I'm back to two.

About ten miles later, I had my first mechanical problem - the flange on the front hub (where the spokes attach) broke off, causing my wheel to become significantly warped and making it impossible to ride on. That makes two catastrophic failures for the SpeedDream wheels on this trip - they clearly don't stand up to the PAC Tour test. Granted, the roads we've been riding are not exactly smooth, but I would have expected better durability.

Fortunately, Doug came by about ten minutes later with the equipment van and loaned me one of his Rolf wheels. But then less than 40 miles later, one of the spokes on this wheel broke. In this case, the wheel was not so out of true to make it unrideable, so I started limping toward the second rest stop when Steve came by with the support van. He gave me another spare wheel which, fortunately, made it through the rest of the day without incident. I bought a new replacement wheel from Lon when I got to the motel.

By mid-day, the temperatures had warmed up a bit, but no where near as hot as yesterday. The winds had also shifted so we had a bit of headwind, but again, not as bad as yesterday.

After lunch, we had another road-construction problem. This time, the road was in a bit better shape than the muddy mess we tried to ride through yesterday, but was still quite rough. The only somewhat difficult section was getting around the bridge that was out, but I simply got off my bike and walked. The road continued to be pretty rough to the last rest stop which takes its toll on the equipment and body, but was no worse than the roads we had for most of yesterday. I'm hoping that we'll see some improvement in road quality in the near future.

We had tail winds and cross winds for the last 30 miles into Austin and the temperatures remained reasonable, partly because a thunderhead was starting to form to the west. As I mentioned early, we never did see any rain, but it sure felt like it was going to for the last half hour or so of the ride.

Most of the riders got in between 3:30 and 4:30 this afternoon, so we had plenty of time to relax and get dinner at the restaurant next to the motel. Let's hope tomorrow is at least as nice as today.

Susan and crew made French Toast for us for breakfast Lots of soybeans today ...and corn, too

There was a Prairie Dog exhibit at the second rest stop today A little one room schoolhouse near our rest stop I walked my bike across this section, but a few brave souls road through it