It’s been a while..

It’s been over two weeks since my last blog post, and there isn’t enough time in my day after biking to recap it all in great detail. That being said, I will try harder to be a better blogger the last half of the ride. Now for my sporadic 22 day run-down:

Columbus, OH: On the eve of our event day, we went bowling at the sketchiest bowling alley I have ever been to. I bowled a 131 (pretty dang good, I’d say) which instantly made this bowling alley one of my all-time favorites. The next day, a bunch of us went out to breakfast together and then cleaned our bikes (fantastic team bonding). The ride out of Columbus was my first century! Those 104 miles passed quickly with Kara, Cannella, Catherine, and Peter by my side.

Indianapolis, IN: One of my best friends from high school (Brianna!) came and visited me. It was good to see her and catch up over dinner before having to return to the stayover. Our stayover had a turf football field in its backyard. This was an awesome perk, but after playing soccer, my ACL-repaired knee hurt for the first time all summer. It’s back to being pain free now, don’t worry (and I scored a goal, so it was all worth it).

Champaign, IL: Riding into Champaign was very weird for many of us because we took a route that we often took during our training rides this spring semester. The familiar-ness gave my group déjà vu but helped us gauge how much longer it would be until we returned to our alma mater. I loved rolling up to the Alice Campbell Alumni Center and seeing my friends there to greet our team. (Special shout out to : David, Merril, Meridith, Neha, Julie, Linsey, Jackie, Charles, Brianna, and my mom!!) I was also able to head over to Grainger and help my little brother Logan register for classes for his freshman year!  That night I was able to see more of ‘my gang’ that I had been missing (Molly, Alan, Hovey, and Becks). This day was a rush of excitement, and I knew these next couple of days in Illinois would be just as amazing.

Clifton, IL: “My Hometown”- My family (mom, dad, Logan, Madison, and Grandma & Grandpa Orr) brought some food for the team, ate dinner with us, and bought me a delicious smores blizzard. (This day was my bud Robbie’s birthday. He and another hometown friend, Kim drove through a crazy storm to catch up with me!)   Later that night, Catherine and I SaranWrap-ed Aash’s bike. It was fun to watch him unwrap it the next morning, and he has finally admitted that we were clever and that it was a good prank.

Chicago, IL: We rolled to Millennium Park where many of the team’s family and friends were waiting. Even though I’m not from the Chicagoland area, I still had a few friends there to welcome me- Jess, Amy, and Steph! I stayed with Steph that night in Chicago and then went home the next day. I was picked up in Chicago by Kim and Kari, and then we picked up another friend flying in from LA—Megan! I loved being home this weekend, especially because it was my brother’s graduation party, and I was able to spend lots of time with my hometown friends, Sarah and Kim.

(sorry for all the naming, but I’m just so thankful I was able to see so many of my friends and family these past few weeks)

Madison, WI: We were fed by the UofI Alumni Club of Madison, and one of the members was actually best friend’s with my old principal’s son! (Mr. Pankey’s son, for those of you who know him) The food was amazing as always when provided by our stayovers. That night we went to the Union Terrace and hungout by the lake. The beautiful sunset and relaxing atmosphere of the University of Wisconsin campus made us all wonder if we made the right choice by attending U of I.

Rochester, MN: I had been to Rochester previously with my Grandpa Orr on one of his cancer treatment visits. Our team toured the same parts of the building that I was able to see with my grandpa which was pretty neat. It was great to see one of the ‘meccas’ of cancer treatment and research shown by a current chemo nurse and cancer education specialist.

Overall the rides have been fine, some days better than others. Recently we haven’t had the best of weather, but it’s awesome to have the ‘nothing can stop us’ mentality and blaze right through the rain and wind. I have a new pair of shorts that are about three inches shorter than my others, so hopefully my tanlines will get a little better. Another recent development is our team’s ability to get donations from Great Harvest Bread Co (2nd time now). I love bread and PB&J, but these past few days with rich, hearty bread have made my lunch stops even better.

One last thing: I got my first two flats… simultaneously! I hit a rock with my bike and received a pinch flat in both tires. Now that’s luck.

We're pretty good at sleeping anywhere, but giant bean bags are my favorite stayover amenity.

Catherine and me with the 55.5ft Green Giant

 

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

 

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