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Today was one of our shorter ride days, only ~35 miles, but it has definitely felt like a long day. We left Homewood, IL a little bit later than usual this morning full of good food and excitement. Our stay over in Homewood graciously cooked us dinner last night and a fantastic breakfast in the morning to send of us off to Chicago. Also, last night I was able to meet up with some family and friends which was amazing. Even though it’s only been a little over two weeks, I feel like I have missed so much back home and last night was a great stress free evening to catch up.

Our ride into Chicago was eventful to say the least. Our routes can be misleading at times, which today caused some groups to ride in to Indiana more than once. With the Blackhawks parade, the Cubs-Sox game, and the Blues Fest all going on in Chicago today we were riding into a busy area, and that really means something considering we’re talking about downtown Chicago. After meeting up on the lake front our team dodged our way into Millenium Park and into a large group of people awaiting our arrival. It was awesome to see so many people this year, from family and friends to alumni riders to the folks from ACS, everyone was so supportive. It was really nice to see and talk to parents knowing how relieved they were to see their sons and daughters safe and sound for the first time in weeks. At one point we squeezed in near the Bean for some team photos before riding over to the dorms at UIC where we have arrangements to stay. Once everyone secured their bikes and bags, riders began to head out with their families/ friends to enjoy the rest of their day. The UIC dorms are actually really nice and have tons of room, beds to sleep on and showers in every room. These are all luxuries after getting used to our life on the road.

Once all the riders were taken care of I was able to take a quick shower before meeting with some riders from 4k for Cancer, a similar organization that puts on cross country bike rides raising money for cancer research. The 4k just happens to be staying at the UIC dorms as well tonight before they head out to Kankakee tomorrow. Our two organizations haven’t crossed paths since our inaugural year back in 2007, so I was very excited to meet with them to talk about how their ride is going. We shared similar stories about the rides, food, and generous people, but also shared tips for how both of our groups can improve. Even though the 4k for Cancer has been around longer, I felt that both of our groups came out of the discussion with new ideas. I think what I enjoyed best with meeting with the 4k for Cancer is to see other young college students from an entirely different side of the country also working to make a difference. It’s so easy to just give up on a cause, but there are groups like us still working hard and fighting for a cause they believe in. I certainly hope our two groups can stay in contact in the future, beyond when I and the students I spoke with are around.

So now I have a few other I4k chores to attend to before enjoying a little free time tomorrow. When we return after our rest day our two new ride leaders, Jordan and Steve, will be taking over some responsibilities and I can’t wait to see what they are capable of. Both gentlemen are perfect for the role and I think only great things lie ahead of us!

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