What A Start!!!

This is a blog post you don’t want to miss… Today we officially started our trek across the country, but it was not as glamorous as we imagined. The day started off normal with our 7am departure from Central Park. However, it took the team about an hour to travel the 10 miles to the Gorge Washington Bridge (not surprising considering we were biking through the heart of NYC). On the way, it started to rain, and the temperatures plummeted, giving riders the chills deep into their bones. Although crossing the bridge meant the start of the rain, it was a highlight of the day as we got to see the beautiful city of NYC from afar.

Once in Jersey, our riders confronted many more challenges, in addition to the weather. Through five flats, a broken derailleur, many wrong turns, and a good dose of hydrogen peroxide, the team pushed through our first 70 miles and came out for the better!

Even though the first day was tough, it was worthwhile in the end. In New Jersey, we had the pleasure of staying with the family of one of our Illini 4000 founders, Anish Thakkar. They were wonderful hosts – greeting us with fresh watermelon, cold drinks, and hot showers. After dinner, our hosts surprised us with cake! As we sat around the table, we discussed the Illini 4000 and our mission. Discussing the purpose of our ride, especially after a tough day, reminded us of just how much our hard work will pay off.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the Thakkar and Sangankar families. We may have had a rough morning but your hospitality turned our day around! Thank you so much for always supporting us!

Photo by Mukesh Kashiwala

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