With much anticipation, Debbie arrived yesterday and to my incredible surprise Kristen walked in with her. All along we’ve been planning on Kristen coming along for this visit but she kept telling me she couldn’t get the time away from work. But that was a snow ball cover up for this surprise. I’m in another world having them here as its been a time warp away from my family. So after hugs, kisses and jubilation, we headed out for a delicious Italian dinner. And I got to drive a rental car which after a month seemed a little strange. It is so nice having them here, it puts me in a different mind set.
Today is a rest day which gives us all a chance to slowdown and reflect on where we’ve been and the experiences we’ve been having.
I can’t say the bike riding in Illinois so far has been enjoyable. The roads are in poor shape, no shoulders and bad drivers. On top of that the traffic getting to the hotel was horrid. With that being said, our camp is in a funk. Yesterday we lost a rider. At a tricky railroad track crossing Richard was clipped by a cars side view mirror and went down. He broke his clavicle and took six stitches to his elbow. Sadly his tour is over. All of us went into a funk over this news. Fortunately he’s not going to fly home to England so he’ll be riding sag for at least 10 days. After that I’m hoping he can maybe manage some short rides I hope. But he’ll continue to be able to see and experience America. Keep your chin up Richard and heal quickly
Yesterday’s ride was very fall like, semi cool and crisp. But that wasn’t on our minds as we set off for an 87 mile day. Yes indeed, The Wind Cried Mary…. in your face style. It was one of those rides where time seems to stand still and each mile was a grind. It was payback day after our previous day’s joy ride. Another factor came into play as well. We had endless miles of road cracks the kind that are perpendicular to your travel and are spaced every 10-15 feet. So it’s constant, bump, bump, bump. These cracks just beat you up and wear you down. I remember years ago I went to Minnesota for an Ironman race and had these exact same bumps. Same corn fields, same bumps for miles and miles. Yesterday brought back a vivid memory that I’ll never forget.
We did what we could to counter the winds by riding in our longest biggest pace line yet. The pulls in the front were hard but it made the ride more tolerable. Try as you may, there’s no counter punch to the road cracks. In any case we completed a 624 mile week and everyone’s ready to sleep in and catch up on life for a day.
THE SCIENCE OF SADDLE SORE PREVENTION
As you might imagine spending every day on a bike saddle ( seat) is a butt cheek challenge. So we enlist many products and remedies to try and stay ahead of the pain. For me, so far so good, and all is under control I’m happy to report. Chuck, who’s riding his third cross country tour told me in 2012 his saddle sores had saddle sores, ouch ! So I’ve included a photo of the many tricks in my bag of prevention. They range from baby diaper products to commercial Chamois creams and butters to farmers balms for cows tender utters, honest. As you can see there’s a true art and science and everyone manages under their own terms. Chamois creams and boy butters are semi frequent topics of riding conversations. As are brands of biking shorts and bibs and the types of chamois comfort. It’s kind of like butt cheek management which comes along with sitting for many hours on a seat not built for comfort. One thing for sure when getting ready every morning is you want to be sure not to mix up your sun screens, chamois creams, and toothpaste !! Not shown in my photo is the WD-40 nor axle grease.
Many thanks again for all the kind donations to the ALS cause as well. They continue to motivate Jim and I everyday.
Howard along side an American beauty. I call this shot, the Brit and the beauty, two classics together
Fuel to battle the winds espresso and sugar
Farm equipment and road signs
Video, crossing the Illinois River