Day 31

Today we rode for Jack Hoffman (link to his name), who we met yesterday. He is a survivor and a fighter! Our stayover, First UMC of Valentine, provided a delicious casserole, fruit, and toast for breakfast. Then we got rolling, in the great state of Nebraska. We are currently in Cherry County which is part of the sand hills region. We realized more what sand hills mean because of the cacti on the side of the road… And covering the ground at our campsite. We rode just 62 miles to the Cottonwood State Park and arrived early enough to set up our 5 team tents and play numerous games of mafia.

While riding today, we kept expecting to see towns that would have yummy ice cream for us to eat, but that was not the case for most of the ride. There were no towns over 100 people, yet there was a rather unique grocery store in Cody. This store was owned by the community and run entirely by high school students. It was refreshing to interact with such highly motivated students! Crazy thing about Cherry County: some students have to drive up to 90 minutes to get to the 75-person combined middle and high school!

Today is a monumental day in two small ways: we crossed into our third time zone; and we completed 2,000 miles of riding for the trip so far. One month ago today we arrived in NYC! With all we have accomplished as a team, it seems worthwhile to reiterate our goals for this summer. If you’re new to this website (welcome, and thanks for checking out Illini 4000!), you should know that we are a team of 20 cyclists from the University of Illinois, biking from New York City to San Francisco to raise funds for cancer research and patient support services. Along the way, we video record peoples’ stories because almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way – this is the Portraits Project. Just so you know, we are collecting donations for this summer’s ride until the end of August!

Well, it’s time to eat s’mores and enjoy the campfire. The sun is setting on the Nebraska plains and we are all ready for a cozy 4-person tent experience. Good night world!

New time zone today!

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