Midwest Tandem Rally 2012

Madison, Wisconsin

Written by Yours Truly,



Okay, story number three for this year!  A lot of people reading this have probably gone to a tandem rally or were a part of this one.  Even if you were there, I am still encouraging everyone to continue reading!  It's probably a whole lot different than you might think.  If you have never been to a tandem rally, they are a great place to spend time with your captain and/or stoker(s).  Even with a few minor difficulties, the end result is a lot of fun.

Friday August 31:

    Today was not my favorite as we had to drive over 8 hours to get to Madison, Wisconsin, which meant missing three classes, two of which I had tests in today.  I'm going to make those up next week, so no fear faithful readers...it will get done.  After dozing and sleeping over half of the time, I began to work on a story that is now 40 pages long!  No I did not write all of that today...but it would have been cool.  We stopped at a few rest areas, one where there was a church giving out refreshments for free but with a donation box eyeing you in the face.  How nice.  So we opted out of that but much later munched on cheese and Wheat Thins.  Road trip diet.  We ate at a Taco Bell where the cashier asked us if we wanted fresca Doritos.  Excuse me?  Is that even possible?  Apparently he was trying to ring us up for Dorito Tacos.  Awkward turtle...

   After arriving around 10 pm, we got checked in at the Marriott that has no refrigerator (come on people Motel 6 even has one!) and you have to pay $12.95 for internet access a day.  A DAY people!

   Okay....short entry today but deal with it because I have to get up early tomorrow!

Natalie really liked the cart thing

Saturday September 1:

    Hello and good morning WISCONSIN!  I hate getting up early!  Yay for lazy teenagers!  So we got up and dressed this morning before going down to the van where Dad and I pulled out the quad.  Natalie and Julie went down the street to McDonalds for breakfast so we could eat something before we left.  We ended up switching all of the timing rings to monster huge ones (they look kind of weird) but they eliminate almost all of the frame flex.  We spent over an hour fixing up and putting the bike together and in the end, we were off and rolling with only 1 minute to spare.  Dad never did get to eat. 

    The first part of the ride wove us though some roundabouts before dumping us on a trail right off the bat.  We got off of that and realized the wind would not be in our favor for the first part of the ride but no matter, right?  Between all of the turns we experienced, heading in almost every direction, the wind gods were out to kill us.  We had a headwind almost all of the time but we did catch onto a fairly fast tandem group.  The route was questionable.  Some of the signs (they used little signs instead of spray paint markings on the road) were not pointed the right way, according to the route sheet so half of the time it was a free for all.  We did manage to find the lunch stop eventually (but even then we thought we were lost) where we drank some Jolly Rancher grape stuff and ate some trail mix.  Back out on the course, we rode the long loop that was 13 more miles on which we had a nice little tailwind for awhile.  We turned relatively quickly, though and were fighting a headwind again in almost no time.  

    You would not believe the amount of feed back I got from people reading my stories!  Some common phrases of the day were "Who's the journalist?" or "Who does the internet stories?"  I am grateful that so many people are reading and enjoying my documentaries!

    Right before we got in, there was a sign pointing left but the cue sheet said right.  Well that was down right confusing.  Testing our luck, we rode to the left and found that we were correct (for once)!  For lunch there was a turkey sandwich that was huge, cheese sticks; Sprite, Diet Sprite, Diet Coke, or water; and cookies.  Regular Coke was the obvious favorite since it was all gone.  The sandwiches were actually very filling but there were no seconds on anything, not even drinks.  Le sigh.  We got back on the bike and rode into a headwind, crosswind, headwind, and then more crosswind.  We did manage to get a small tailwind section before getting back on the trail but that was very short lived.  On the way back into town, we saw the other quad family.  Un padre, una madre, y dos hijos.  The little boys looked like they were having fun and I am guessing their ages were around 6 and 8 years old. 

   We parked the bike in bike storage and got our stuff to take showers.  Natalie and I went down to the pool and swam for over an hour before coming back upstairs to take showers and chillax before going to get dinner.

    Finding dinner was actually a very interesting experience.  We first looked for a couple of places on the GPS but eventually settled on Mi Cocina.  That's Espanol for "my kitchen" for y'all non-Spanish speaking folks. The food was really over priced (and so was the beer according to mi padre) and it really wasn't super special.  Their flan was about $3.99 and it was really tiny.  Like really, really tiny.  Total waste of money if you ask me....

    When we got back to the hotel, the air conditioner was not working worth a darn.  Some dude came upstairs and looked at it, insisting that the 65 degree air it put out was perfectly normal for the room to be set at 65 degrees.  Okay....he came back up later and said it was much cooler in there while I was getting hot enough to take off my hoodie (and that's saying something because when we went into the room, I was freezing from getting out of the pool.  But I guess the sauna warmed me up).  After that, he bribed us with some chocolates that we were supposed to already have had and a free breakfast downstairs, $52 worth.  I'm sure it's still going to be hot so from a roasting llama, good night.

Getting ready

New timing rings!

The massive pack

Pace group

Wisconsin view

Bikers violating the front yard


Smile for the camera!

One epic picture by Miles, the MTR photographer

Sunday September 2:

    I almost died of a heat stroke last night (not really).  It was so stinking hot in that room.  Natalie woke us all up in the middle of the night screaming and throwing off the sheet.  Okay, this has not been so much of a positive experience....

    After getting dressed we rode the elevator downstairs and got a buffet for each of us at $13.99 a piece.  They said they wouldn't charge us any extra.  The food, especially the rubber pancakes, wasn't the best I've ever had.  It was okay but was it worth almost $58 for all of us?  No way in this crazy economic depression of a world.  I think I know why the national debt keeps going up...it's from the Marriott taking everyone's money!

    Okay, not the best statement ever but on we go...  At the start, we noticed there were a lot less tandem teams due to the short and medium loops having a remote start.  We caught on with the fastest group but the crazy hills at the beginning of the ride sort of made us slip a few places in line...or a lot of places to the point of not catching back on.  Sigh.  But there was an awesome down hill leading into the valley area where we were heading.  We pulled off at a gas station for a short stop.  Oh the wondrous contents of Squirt...  Afterwards we did catch on to a tandem group running about 25 mph but like I predicted it did not last long.  They pulled off at a SAG.  We took the announced minor detour onto a busy highway that took off a couple of miles.  We ate at the lunch stop where there was a gigantic COW!  On a float.  But still, a cow!  Lunch was the same as yesterday's and I could hardly stand to consume what little I did.  The sandwiches must have all been made at the same time since the lettuce was drooping and gross, the tomatoes were less than delectable, and the bread was soggy as can be.  Wonderful.  


    Back on the road again, we rode by the lake and were passed by a neat-o frit-o car.  Dad said it was a customized 59 Chevy.  My epic photography skills captured the moment.  Some time later, following a lot of hills, we got off for a break.  When we were going to get back on the bike, Dad smashed a wasp into his head that had taken up residence in his helmet.  Great job daddy.  For those of you who have read my CANDISC 2011 adventures, you will understand how bad of a reaction he can get.  Luckily he was okay and we stopped about 5 miles down the road for a refill on water.  The hill we had to go up was a wall and one worse than the hill that Natalie broke the spider on two summers ago.  One hill too many for me.  For those who don't know, we were doing a training ride to Powell Gardens when Natalie stood up on a nasty hill and broke the spider on the cassette....

    The end of the ride was the same as yesterday, minus the fact that we went up and around the long way with a some steep hills.  So nice of them...  When we got back it was "go into the room and change" mode.  We did manage to snag a late check out but time was running close.  While Julie was in the shower, I went to get ice but the machine on our floor wouldn't give me any.  I rode the elevator up to 9 and down to 7 to steal ice from them (lazy I know but after that ride, I wanted to fall asleep).

    We showered and were out of there relatively quickly and made our way down to the van where we set the GPS for the Amana Colonies.  But before we could head out, we really needed some food after the not so edible lunch.  Dinner/lunch was at Abuelo's and they had some good food.  The prices were better than the day before and the food was WONDERFUL!  But their flan was tiny and $6!  We didn't get any for that reason but soppa pias it was.  They were still delicious.  We will be visiting the Amanas tomorrow but tonight we stayed in a Motel 6.  The WIFI was extra, I am sorry to report but you do what you have to do right?

More bike pace groups!


Entrance to a winery...I think some tandems were very interested in this...

Super sweet car!

Ice for the wasp sting....OUCH!

Ninja picture of Dad Natalie and Julie from under a mirror

That is Abuelo...I think

Om Nom Nom

Courtesy of Miles, the MTR photographer

Monday September 3:

    Breakfast at the Amana Colonies...Sounds good doesn't it?  Well it was.  After munching, we walked around to some different stores and I found cow poop paper (seriously!) but I didn't get any.  :'(  Now that's just depressing.... the Amana Colonies have actually changed a bunch according to Dad but they looked nice to me.  We went over to the brewery where I got a root beer but the flies in that place were driving me up the wall! 

   On the way back, I read a book and worked on my story that is now 52 pages long.  But when I got home, I had to practice my scales for Orchestra.  Oh how much I love homework...

At least this weekend was a lot of fun!  I am giving Wisconsin a great rating!


Metal corn



Visit the other stories such as Hotter'n Hell 2012 written by mi padre!  It's a good one!

Or my other stories CANDISC 2011 or CANDISC 2012 as well as Oklahoma Freewheel 2011 or Oklahoma Freewheel 2012.  I love you guys reading them!





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