Saturday, July 11, 2009

Springfield to Champaign IL 114 miles - 2,677.9 miles cum

More stories from Norbert and Meiri's excellent bike ride adventure! You may or may not know that the distance from Springfield to Champaign is only 97 miles. You might ask how come it took 114 miles for me to get there. I will get to it later.
Again, the day started out overcast and cool with a threat of rain. The humidity was high so again we decided not to carry rain gear as we would get just as wet with or without the gear. Meiri and I were loafing along going about 13 mph when the paceline of Bob, Chris, Leigh, Chuck and Gerard came up behind us. They slowed down to chat and started to tease Meiri about pulling me all the time. I said I was going to let her pull me to New Hampshire, I have not pride. Meiri immediately picked up the pace to 15mph which impressed the group. She kept it up for about 15 minutes and then ratcheted it up another 2 or 3 mph. Now they were really impressed, she was pulling the line at 17 to 18mph. She kept it up for about a half hour, then Chuck took over for a while but she and I kept up with them. We rode with them to the 1st Sag stop which was at the 31 mile mark. Meiri did great. She gets her big touring bike moving and then there is no stopping her.
After the Sag stop she and I started riding with Zero and one of his friends who had come down from Chicago to ride with him. The Korean film crew was back and they were filming again. This is where the adventure or mis-adventure gets started. We were all talking and managed to miss a critical turn. After about 7 miles we were supposed to cross a major road. We didn't see it but figured the route sheet was off which is not that unusual. The riding was easy as we had a pretty good tail wind and were sailing along at about 15 or 16mph chatting away. Zero's friend was not a very strong bike rider but he was having fun. After about 9 miles, I really started getting bad vibes about being on the wrong route. Meiri, Zero and I stopped to talk it over. I called Michele to see what she thought and she said the route sheet was accurate today. The only conclusion was we missed the turn. Now we had to go back against the wind. Zero's friend did not stop so Zero had to chase him for a mile to turn him around. We retraced our route and got back on the correct road. After 6 miles we came to a store where we took a break. We had added 16 miles to our ride! Not Good! Zero's friend was done so he called his support and got picked up. Zero had a date with a group of people at the hotel at 3:00PM so he caught a ride as well and Meiri and I continued alone.
The route today was mostly through back country roads lined with tall green cornfields. It rained us a few times but it was warm enough to feel comfortable and dry us out quickly once it stopped. We also rode through several old towns with some need old buildings and homes. We did notice that in general the farmhouses in Illinois were maintained a little better than in the previous states.
We managed to get to the hotel at 5:30PM a hour and half later than we expected. We averaged over 15mph for the first 60 miles and when we hit 97 miles, our original mileage, we were still over 14 mph but the extra miles took about a lot out of us. Wait until tomorrow!!!

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