Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another Speedbump

Last week, my wife and I spent 3 days driving across the northern part of Wisconsin, with the hope of getting a route planned for the record attempt. From information I recieved on the current record holder's story, Fred Boethling, I was under the impression that most of Fred's route was along Highway 29. And when I first examined this route on a map, it appeared to make the most sense. And as we drove along on 29, I could see that much of the steeper climbs that smaller roads would include, would be a bit flatter and less severe. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, we also discovered that bicycles are not allowed on Highway 29 anywhere east of the Chippewa Falls/Eau Claire area. So my first question was: "What did Fred Boethling actually take to set his record?" The answer came to me yesterday morning while talking with a customer at work. It seems that Highway 29 was an ordinary two-lane highway back in 2002, when Fred set the record. But according to my customer, the state did some major changes to the highway a few years ago. Last night I did some research and discovered that in 2005, the State of Wisconsin "upgraded" the corridor to a four-lane freeway/expressway, making it now illegal for bicyles. Highway 29 had long been known as "Bloody 29" because of the prevalence of grisly fatal traffic crashes along significant portions of the highway.

At least now I know. And quite possibly this is why no one has challenged Fred Boethling's record that he set in 2002. But I've already begun to work on an alternate route. I am not defeated yet!

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