Even when you are new to an area you get stuck driving the same roads and going to the same places. Luckily we have friends and colleagues who invite us to events that are new to us and get us past the familiar. This weekend all four of us participated in a bike riding fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. (If you haven’t donated yet there’s still time! http://www.bike4bgc.com/riders/view/?id=851) There were 8, 25 and 50 mile options but we picked the 8 miler so the girls could do good while enjoying an easy ride instead of slogging up hills on a hot July day. The event started at the Edgewood College and High School campus. I had no idea the campus was so extensive or so pretty. (On a side note, I have never come across a Catholic school with a secular name. I’ll have to check the history on that.) After meandering through a wooded area we came out on a bike path that skirted Lake Wingra, the smallest of Madison’s three lakes. I had never been to this lake or the Hienry Vilas Zoo that we soon passed. The zoo was started by the Vilas family over one hundred years ago with the stipulation that it remain free to the public forever. Can’t beat that for cheap entertainment! We’ll have to put it on our list of things yet to do in Madison. The path brought us out along Lake Monona, a familiar spot since that is the way we typically come into Madison from Verona. The view of the city there is always stunning.
We circled back to Edgewood along Monona Bay with pretty houses across the street from the water. When we finished the ride a party for participants was already in full swing. This being Wisconsin, of course they were serving local craft beer!
A colleague of Mark’s has invited us on several longer bike rides with a group he regularly rides with. As I have mentioned before, Wisconsin is not flat! We haven’t encountered any giant hills but many steep ones that keep on rolling. Because it’s all farmland there are beautiful views. This time of year it’s green as far as the eye can see with lots of barns and cows.
Last week we stopped for a break in a town called New Glarus that was settled by Swiss immigrants in the mid 1800s. Much of the Swiss culture is evident and we refueled with some delicious pastries! The host the Alphornman (really!) Triathlon there every summer. We’l be away this year but I’ll have to train for it next year. I missed the Appleman Triathlon in Littleton this year, the first year since its inception that I haven’t competed.
We took an easier route on the way back and for one five mile stretch didn’t need to change gears at all. That never happened in the suburbs west of Boston.
My new adventure this summer has been sailing. Olivia wanted to take a sailing class and talked Rose into it too. As I was registering them I thought, “Why should they have all the fun?” so I signed myself up. As a member of the UW Hoofers Sailing Club on Lake Mendota I can take unlimited sailing and windsurfing classes. All my instructors and most of my fellow classmates are UW students but I’m determined not to feel old! The club is located at the Memorial Union Terrace, a popular hangout for students and community members alike. It’s a fabulous place to relax and grab a beer (it’s Wisconsin, remember?) after being out on the water.
My first windsurfing class was cut short due to an approaching thunderstorm and the second was cancelled because of high winds. I’m not making much progress in that area but I did get my light rating on the smallest boat, the Tech. That means I can sign one out and tool around on Lake Mendota practicing my skills! I’m still not too confident about sailing. I’m a good swimmer and the UW lifesaving station always has its eye on the boats on the lake so I’m not concerned about bodily harm but I am a bit anxious about doing something unfamiliar and not feeling completely in control. But it’s good for me to push the limits of comfort right? Besides, Olivia has no fear and is quite competent. Maybe I’ll take her with me on my first voyage.