I have to say that this morning is the first time I’ve felt like I didn’t really want to ride. Physically I was fine with it but mentally I wasn’t convinced truthfully. Maybe it was the thought of a 107 mile day or maybe it was what I saw at 5:30 am. I woke up and the first thing I saw was dancing trees. Oh please tell me this wind isn’t going to be kissing us on the lips.
So the first thing I did was pop 2 Advils, just in case. On the way to breakfast I was thinking in the elevator of ways I might be able to ditch riding. Kind of like fake sick so you can miss school. I had it, brilliant, I’d order the catfish omelette and fake choke on a fish bone. But no I wasn’t sure how I’d fake a blue face and purple lips. OK McCauley just man up and ride. No I’ve figured out a fool proof out. The old I slipped in the shower trick. I’d take the TV remote and with a few well placed whacks on the forehead, I’m riding in the sick van all the way to Champaign. On second thought I didn’t want a damage invoice for a broken TV remote. What the heck I’ll ride, so I lube up all the appropriate moving parts, and slide into my kit ( you know those attractive revealing works of wonder that we cyclists wear ).
Well I’m sure glad I did ride as today was perfection. We gathered into a strong group of six and with the strong winds pushing us along we flew through the ride in 5 hrs 35 minutes. It was a hoot of a day and we didn’t even push that hard at all. We just flew literally. We crossed the Illinois River after hours of fun in the corn fields. I did come really close to going down at a high speed but managed to keep the shiny side up and the rubber on the road. My front wheel caught a giant gap and recess in the concrete and I thought I was heading for road pizza. I think my mountain bike riding helped and some luck.
We freight trained right into Springfield, Lincoln’s boyhood home. I’m not sure if he was born here as I understand it only as Abe’s boyhood home place. I’ll have to Google his place of birth. Lincoln also has his tomb and presidential library here which I wish we had time to tour. Herbert Hoover dedicated Lincoln’s tomb back in 1931. I’m not sure why it took so many years as he was shot in 1865. I’m curious as to that time line so I’m going to try and dig into it after this post.
Ironically Abe Lincoln held a Republical rally here 156 years ago almost exactly to the month in 1860. Our political party rally’s of today have come a long way but I’m not sure if it’s in the right direction. Interesting to try and imagine what they were like back in those times.
Anyway another fact I found is that Springfield was the home of National Cash Register. The mechanical cash register was invented here in 1884. Like you’ve been wondering where it was invented.
I began to notice yesterday how many farms and homes had small ponds as we rode all of the sudden out of nowhere they appeared at almost every farm and home. So I asked a local truck driver at a general store we ate lunch at. He was a really nice guy who we talked to for quite awhile. He told us about the government work program and grants back in the 30’s and 40’s. Jobs were created to dig these ponds. I asked if they were for irrigation water and was surprised when he said no not really. According to him almost all farmers here don’t irrigate. The only one he knew of that did hasn’t used his irrigation system much. Farmers rely on Mother Nature. I also had days before noticed how on all these gigantic yards and fields of grass there are NO sprinklers at all !!! People have massive amounts of lush green grass around here. I’ve been amazed by this for days on end. It’s funny the things you notice traveling slowly by bicycle. Lawn mowing is a ever on going task I’ve been observing.
I had a good dog chase today as this black attack lab roared out of his yard with his slower companion trying to match his speed. His owner yelled for him to stop but he was hauling so fast he tripped himself up somewhat. His bark and look told me his intentions were to have a piece of my ankle for his morning snack. Yesterday at a sag stop one of the guys asked me if I saw the dog chasing me for about 100 yards. I never knew he was there. I’m told it was the playful friendly Collie type of chase. There are harmless, let’s play chases and the, I’m coming to eat you chases.
The best conversations of today were around the post ride milk shake table. The subject was drinking, bars, and closing times of bars. The Brits were saying that most bars and pubs stop serving at 4 am. We told them how this is very late by our laws. They say some don’t close until 6 am but reopen at 7 am. But if you are smart and want to to stay for ” breakfast” they won’t kick you out and let you just stay there. They also had what used to be called ” lock in’s”. The pub would close at 1 am but if you wanted to stay ALL night they’d lock everyone IN and you’d drink until morning. But you couldn’t leave !!!! We asked Chris from Scotland what the drinking age is over there He replied ” 7 ” !!!
Cheers and I hope you got your bike ride in today. 🚴🏻