Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 35: Springfield to Champaigne -- Visitors from near and far

Pictures are here.
Miles: 103
Total Miles: 2693
Time: 6:21
Average: 16.2
Max 28.5
Flats Today: 0; Total flats:8
Climbing: Pretty flat again today. A few hills to get us close to 2000'.
Weather: Damp cool day. Never really rained because my socks stayed dry, but the spray off the roads made for bike cleaning session at end.
Body: Recovery day with almost no hammering. Back side still tender, but legs feeling pretty good.

Breakfast at Bob Evans! What a treat. And just another visual that we're getting close to OH. After four long days with hills and lots of pushing I told Leigh as we were starting not to let me out of her sight today -- I was riding her pace all day and was not going to hammer. And that is exactly what I did except for a brief chase Chuck started to track down Gerard toward the end. More corn fields all day long again. Tall corn, short corn, close to the road corn and far as the eye could see corn. Green corn, tasseled corn, straight corn, evenly spaced corn. When Bob had taken his 5th straight corn photo, Gerard posed the question: "What do we call this activity?" Answer: Cornography. Groans all around.

SAG stop 1 came quickly at 31 miles at Lincoln Trail Memorial Park. Missed the Lincoln cabin there somehow, but did not miss the many Zero visitors that were present in and on various vehicles. Lots of pictures, Korean conversations, and some bike fixing. After entering into some of all that with smiles and waves and some age related conversations (I have the sense that Koreans are very interested in how old folks are and how old folks think they are based on my small sample of conversations the past month) we headed out again into -- yup, you guessed it -- the Illinois corn field lined roads toward SAG 2.

Once there, we met Gene, former XCountry rider. Gene had driven a couple of hours from Wisconsin with fresh water melons to serve us at the SAG stop. Very neat touch. Turns out that Gene is also an expert on -- yup you guessed it -- corn! He shared a little of his expertise at route rap with a hand out and a brief discourse on how corn mating works. Quite a nice add to our usual L,R CR, US78, SAG#2 etc. discussion.

We continued in intermittent sprinkles, over some graveled roads, one re-direction due to construction, conversations about this and that until we reached Champaign and its city traffic for the last few miles to the Days Inn. As we rolled into the driveway, we were greeted by cheers and clapping. A good number of Zero's friends and family including sister, daughter and son-in-law with newly walking grandson in tow, had come down from Chicago to wish Zero well and celebrate his accomplishment. They were warming up on every rider that rolled in. Zero normally is in among the first wave of riders but today he and several of his riding companions had made a wrong turn taking them 20 miles out of the way. When he did arrive, he was greeted by a champagne dunking over his chrome dome, lots of cheers and well wishes. Kind of neat. I got to meet several of the folks and recorded them in the photos.

The rest of the afternoon was spent tracking down a Wal*Mart to get chocolate milk and a hair cut, clean and floss the bike after today's wet roads and hand wash some socks for tomorrow's ride. By that time it was ready for route rap followed by the dinner shuttle to Hometown Buffet. I missed the first shuttle while dropping the route sheets in the room. Shortly after I returned to the lobby to wait for the second shuttle run, I heard a familiar voice behind me say, "Hi Chris" When I turned to see who that was, there stood Joe and Peggy!! What a NEAT surprise that was. They joined us for dinner, met a number of the staff and riders and exchanged cycling stories. Turns out, they had come for a McIntyre family reunion and at the last minute, checked to see if they could connect. Them arriving 5 minutes later or me leaving on the shuttle 5 minutes earlier and we would have missed each other. Thanks Joe and Peggy for making the effort to look us up making my day!

The icing on the day, of course was my evening chat with Marcia who is hanging out with Steve and Leigh in VA at Danny Rules's wedding. Congratulaions, Mr. & Mrs. Danny & Nicole Rule!!!


  1. Isn't it weird seeing people you know at unexpected places? hope your cornicopia of visuals aren't leaving you bored..hehe...hope today is smooth sailing!
    p.s. Korey's mom told me she has loved following your blog and reads it every day!

  2. We talked about you and your adventures on Saturday when Pete, Alex and Stefan and his girls came to celebrate Teo's birthday. I look forward to reading your blog every day. I think it's because I'm getting to know you a little better, in a different way. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Be safe! --Tina