So I had another post from a few days ago but unfortunately, the internet went out before I could actually publish it. Time for a short recap.

We made it to Champaign!!! I was welcomed by my cousin Jessica and her roommate Lindsay. It was great to see them there and our ride into Champaign was really fun because it included a nice tailwind. The Alumni Center treated us to a bunch of snack foods that I made into a huge meal. We made it to Dos Reales and all of us ordered 1 of everything on the menu. The food was delicious and the service was great, as always. I got to see my sister Anna for a little bit which was nice (even though our time was majorly cut short) because I really miss her. I stayed at Ana’s condo with Ana, Jeff, Jillian, and Diana. We all took real showers and dried off with real towels. We slept on some comfy beds and her brother made us a delicious breakfast. While in Champaign, I learned that I share an all-time favorite movie with my fellow teammate, Bridget. Both of us love The 10th Kingdom–a 800 hour long TV movie that combines all fairy tales into one story.

This trip has made me realize that I do love Illinois for many reasons, but one of the reasons is for all of Illinois’ flat land. It’s so wonderful. But I do not love all the wind that gets blown our way.

So fast forward a few days to our arrival in Chicago. It was a short ride but a lot of us got lost and my group (Bridget, Michell, and Erik) ended up going into Indiana about 4 times. As Michell would say when we pass swamps: “Ewww.” We were welcomed by our families and friends and even a few Blackhawk fans. I heard that 2 million people came to Chicago just for us. It was an amazing feeling to see all of our loved ones there. My mom and younger cousin Sarah were there for me and I was so happy to see them. After some pictures and after we all got our bags, my family and I left to grab a bite to eat at the Cheescake Factory. It was delicious and I ate everything in front of me plus more. Afterward we stopped at R.E.I. where I was able to buy a few things I needed, including a brand new sleeping bag that is so amazing. Before I was using a sleeping that only unzips about a foot down my side, so not even past my hips. But now my sleeping bag unzips all the way down to my feet so I can breathe at night!!! I spent the rest of the night with my family and got to bed early. Then I woke up early to seize the day and get some errands done during our rest day. I got a tune-up on my bike which is great because my bike is actually pedaling better than it was when I first got it. In the evening, I went back to Chicago and was able to meet up with a few friends that I hadn’t seen in a while which was great but I was definitely ready to get going again on our journey.

Our ride leaving Chicago was also our ride-along. This is when friends and families of the riders come with us on a 30 mile ride to Highland Park. This ride was fun and we were pretty much on bike trails the whole way. The church that we stayed at in Highland Park is the church that Kyle and his family attend. They provided us with dinner and breakfast. Even though dinner was provided, a few of us couldn’t pass up the Chipotle that was just down the street. Fortunately, all of our burritos were free because the manager there thought that what we were doing was really awesome. Free burritos mean happy cyclists. But really it’s just the random acts of kindness people do to support all of us. After our burrito fest, a few of us went to Barnes and Noble for free wi-fi. Myself, Ana, and Michell were very happy because it was the first time we got to use our wonderful laptops on the trip (we picked them up in Champaign/Chicago). Plus we started a super cool club because we are all Macbook users. I think Bridget captured what our club is all about on her digital camera.

While in Highland Park, all of us also had the honor to talk to John–one of the co-founders of the I4K. It was so awesome to talk to him and to hear him speak about the I4K and its creation/the very beginning. He is an extremely inspiring person. Me and a few other girls spent the first 15 miles of our ride the next day talking about how cool he was. We also tried to plan other awesome adventures because John has us convinced that we can achieve anything we want, which is true.

Fast forward to yesterday. I took my first big spill. It was raining and I crossed over some railroad tracks too fast and at the wrong angle. So I flew off my bike and did not have a gracious fall. I landed on my left side and then bounced off the asphalt to land flat on my back. It was pretty scary because when I opened my eyes I was laying on the other side of the road. I have some scratches on my knees and on my left arm. My back is also very sore from the fall. Yesterday I felt like I was going to vomit because it was a very sharp and constant pain. But the girls I was riding took really good care of me, especially Ana and Diana. Thanks ladies.

Because of my fall, I volunteered to drive the van today. Pi also joined me because he woke up feeling pretty bad in the morning. As the day progresses, I am feeling less and less sore so that’s good. I hope all is well for those hills tomorrow. Anyways, driving the van is actually pretty cool. It was awesome to see everyone riding their bikes and it made me so proud of everyone on our team! I also liked being able to see the rest of the team more often during the day. But being in the van made me realize how much I really do enjoy what we do each day. Even though there were tons of hills, I wished that I could have been out there with everyone. There’s nothing like a granny gear in the morning or throughout the entire day. I love my granny gear.

Tonight was a wonderful night. I showered at the local pool, watched a few minutes of Lord of the Rings, and went to the local Chinese Buffet with 13 other riders: Jillian, Megan, Jeff, Maxwell, Conor, Nate, Kyle, Tracey, Kevin, Szymon, Jordan, Diana, and Michell. The other day Diana told me how a Chinese holiday was coming up so I told her we should get some Chinese food to celebrate and Jordan made it all happen. The food was great, all 9 billion plates. Jillian really enjoyed the doughnuts. Conor really enjoyed the crab rangoon. Max and I really enjoyed the honey chicken. We all ate so much food and they definitely had to refill a few items because of us. Right down the street from the buffet was a carnival and I really wanted to go. Conor said he would go on the Tilt-a-Whirl with me because a) it rocks and b) it would have been a nice contest to see who vomits first. Max wanted to give the Tilt-a-Thirl a go too but we didn’t go because the others were on the burst of popping with each breath and eye blink. I will be going to the next carnival we see because I love carnivals and all carnival rides. Except the Gravitron. The Gravitron is a recipe for disaster. It was an interesting van ride home from the buffet. With every bump, several groans followed. Nate freaked me out when he almost made himself vomit.

I have 1 pun point. I hope to increase my score soon. I was given another one, but Lil John took it away.

Thanks for reading this. Sorry for any typos.

Comments (3)
  • gfairbairn gfairbairn says:

    I forgot to mention how the ladies on this team have great girl talk, especially when it happens right before the Wisconsin border.

    I also forgot to mention how the Topol’s, the parents of a previous rider, gave us a great stay over. It was a lot of fun and it was very relaxing. Lake Geneva is super pretty!

  • Hi Gabrielle, Thanks for the update. I hope your back is feeling better. I am thankful that Ana and Diana took good care of you. I hope mother nature has been kind to all of you. It has been great to read everyones blogs. All of us readers truly appreciate the time taken to post the experiences. Take care, be safe and ride strong!

  • Fei says:

    man gabby, you have some long-ass-entries lol.

    Seriously though, I really enjoy reading them. Takes me back to freshman year when I was in your shoes. Sitting here in my cubicle, there is nothing I’d rather be doing than to get on the road and RIDE AGAIN.

    Keep ‘em coming and leave no details behind.

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