There has been more riding than writing in the last month or so. But maybe only a little. However, today turned into one of those absolutely perfect days for riding. So why don’t you join me for a ride that will take us up Mohawk Valley Road and home along the Mississippi River.
You can see as we clip in at home that the day is cool (leg warmers and a single water bottle). What you can't see is that this is one of those truly rare days in the upper Midwest. There is little or no wind. Did you catch that? No. Wind. If for no other reason than this, it is a day to ride.
About four miles from home we are on Highway 35, out of town and heading south.
Just a couple of miles down the highway and we are at the turn off to begin the climb up Mohawk Valley Road.
There are three small hills to negotiate first; here we are, looking back down the first.
Continuing on, we are treated to views like this:
And soon, we are starting up the steeper part of the climb where sections reach grades of 14%.
At one point, we are left to ponder this situation:
Apples are not unusual in the area, but here on Mohawk Valley Road, there is not one apple tree. I'm thinking there is a story here. One of loss and regret that more care was not invested in securing the load in the rear of the pickup. Or something of a similar ilk.
Finally, the end of the climb – the intersection with Chipmunk Ridge Road – appears ahead. The grade eases up just a bit at first, a point were it is relatively easier to pause and look back down the hill.
But as a sort of farewell, the road rises steeply one more time before we gain the summit, such as it is.
Just past the high point, we come to the intersection with Proksch Coulee Road. Here, we will drop down a twisting descent.
Before we take on this challenge, however, let's ride on a ways and take in the view on the ridge. First, we can look down on the beginning of the descent. Riding a short distance farther provides a view back to the intersection. Next up, a stop to greet the crowd that has come out to check us out.
Then there is this. Worth the climb, to be sure.
Turning back we start down Proksch Coulee, pausing to greet one of the many cows in the area, this, apparently a fall blogging theme. Check out another encounter in this Redwoods and Running post.
It is an effort, but we are able to pull up on a slightly flatter section of the descent to capture this view of the road falling away. At a greater rate than it looks like here, I might add.
Coming out of the woods, we approach a farm where there are cattle of a slightly more exotic pedigree.
Having someone in a day-glo lime green vest stop and take their picture was not something this group appreciated apparently. I no sooner captured the image than the long-horned bull turned and trotted out of the barnyard, followed without hesitation by the remainder of the herd. They did not stop until reaching the safety of a a field a bit farther away and higher up.
There is another mile of gentle descending until we turn on Cedar Valley road for the short run to Stoddard. It is a nice, gently rolling road
with little more to offer than views like these:
Finally, we are back on the highway, now heading north along the river
and, at about 3 1/2 miles out, coming back into town.
So, there you have it. A wonderful 25 mile trip through the rural landscape south of La Crosse, just east of the Mississippi River. Not a bad place for a bike ride, eh?