Day 33 – La Crosse to Mauston, Wisconsin

75 miles, 2493 feet climbed

This day was one of my personal favorites on the 2004 ride. Primarily because of the Elroy-Sparta trail, and secondarily because I got to get some pie from Gina’s Pies are Square in Wilton. I knew about it going into the trip because Bicycling magazine had highlighted it.

Sadly, Gina’s has closed and the trail is suffering from the effects of storms over recent years, including those this June. The maintenance budget is said to be minimal. My fear is that the trail won’t be rideable with road bikes in another 15 years and maybe not even with mountain bikes Very little of the trail resembled the medium gray decomposed granite surface that I recall from 2004. Instead, it was covered with sand and in a few spots, sandy mud. if this keeps up. In 2004 we rode the trail all the way from Sparta to Elroy; this year the second half was closed and we exited the trail in Wilton.

The Lemonweir River
On the trail a little east of Sparta. Here the surface was good compared to what was to come.
The entrance to the first tunnel. It was about a mile long with no “light at the end” until we were a good way through it. Water dripped from the ceiling, much more than in 2004 due to the heavy June rains. There was a second, shorter tunnel after this and would’ve been a third had the second half of the trail not been closed.
Joe and I at the end of our time on the trail. I’m in my new Sparta trail jersey, bought to remember the good times.

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