Trial Run

92 miles.  That was a long way to ride.  Yet here we are, sore, exhausted, and content, in Fairmount, IL, at Faith Church.  We are together and as we gather round in this cozy gymnasium, the reality is sinking in for many of us concerning the magnitude of the coming journey.  This weekend has been such an exciting time for us all!  It is a trial run stayover, and we find ourselves alone as a team at last, the 20 riders who are mad enough to bike across the country this summer.  The magic which began at our first team meeting back in October has been working to build a team throughout this school year.  We’re already best friends, and it’s awesome!  We have great expectations for the days to come.  The summer rapidly approaches… 19 days from now we board a train bound for New York City.

On today’s ride out of Champaign, we biked through Kickapoo State Park again (last weekend’s ride), and into Indiana!  We saw a number of beautiful things along the way, from swans and apple orchards to rolling hills and crops sprouting.  As we conquered mile after mile together in small groups, we faced the good and the bad.  After many miles flying east with a powerful tailwind, we experienced pay-back time… which is when we had to rely upon one another the most.  Drafting, for you non-cyclists out there, is where riders follow each other very closely so that the person in the front (pulling) blocks the wind for everyone else, doing significantly more work.

When we rolled into tonight’s stayover, we learned our chore partners.  Essentially, tasks are distributed among riders each night and morning, such as cooking, dishes, policing, van packing, and waking everyone up.  We cooked our first meal as a team: spaghetti, lentils, and pasta sauce.  Afterwards, we got ice cream at Casey’s.  A quick 30-mile ride is ahead of us in the morning!  The next few weeks we’ll continue our training as the riders are swept through a whirlwind of final exams, final projects, and many people graduating. The end… or just the beginning?

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