Day 1

Well this is it!  Today was the first day of riding for the Illini 4000 Trek Bike America 2014 Team!  (That’s technically our full name.)  We left the beautiful St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church at around 7:00 am and rode to Central Park.  There we were greeted by a small, wonderful party of supporters.  We took group photos and dedicated the ride to Kathleen’s grandfather who was diagnosed with cancer yesterday.  We continue to realize how personally we are all affected by the disease in many ways.

Today’s ride was supposed to be 68 miles, but a variety of wrong turns and several confusing cues made the ride a bit longer for most of us.  From double flat tires and hills the likes of which we have never seen in Illinois, it was a fun introduction to riding with the team in totally uncharted territory.  We biked on all sorts of urban roads, wide and small, rough and smooth.  We gathered for lunch – always two PB&Js per person, then headed off to the Atlantic Ocean!  Our team together did the ritual rear-wheel dipping into the water, and we will put our front wheels into the Pacific Ocean when we reach the Golden Gate Bridge.

When we reached the stayover, everyone was ready for the wonderful comforts of the Sangankar home.  Anish Thakkar, one of the two founders of Illini 4000, lived in New Jersey until his family moved.  For the past three years, his neighbors, Bipin and Jyoti Sangankar have hosted the Illini 4000 team in New Jersey.  They invited Harsh and Rita Thakkar (Anish’s parents) and a lot of friends including relatives and people who have connections and would love to tell others about I4K.  It was great fun talking to some kids who have already found an obsession with bikes… future U of I students?!  We appreciate the generosity of all those who attended the dinner and dessert tonight.  To those who supported us through kind donations tonight, we express our deepest gratitude for their commitment of time and money to our cause!

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here in New Jersey, and we look forward to state #3 tomorrow: Pennslyvania!

The wonderful ritual rear wheel in ocean today!

Comments (3)
  • Javier and Mandi says:

    Great Job, Blake! We were tracking you (and did see that y’all got turned around a few times). Godspeed!

  • Peggy Nichols says:

    Thanks for the great posts and photos! It’s fun to get a flavor of your days.

  • msoltys Matthew Sotlys says:

    Best of luck to you guys! If I remember correctly our first day was a nightmare. I think that was the day one of our team members had to get several stitches after slipping on a metal bridge (hopefully the cues are different now). Keep riding hard!

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