Day 23: So This Is “Real” I4k?

Day 23:

Special shoutout to Mackenzie’s uncle for providing us with the desserts from Pie Five and Alia’s family friend for the cookies! We loved them!

I must apologize to those loyal daily readers out there for my slacking on blogging these past few days. I hope today’s post can make it up to you.

We dedicated today’s ride to Phil’s grandpa John who passed away from cancer before Phil was born.

*Speaking of Phil’s birth, fun fact: he was born in his driveway (in an ambulance).

Somewhat of a rude awakening today after a day and a half of a rest in Chicago and a combination of the longer mileage and extreme heat. During our time off we enjoyed spending down time with family and friends, and those who do not hail from Illinois got to explore the city and do “touristy” Chicago things.

With the hottest ride day yet from downtown Chicago to Lake Geneva Wisconsin many of us were wiped out by the time we arrived at our lake house stayover.  We have a team saying that “rule #1 is that every stayover must be located at the top of a hill”. However, since today’s spot did not follow this rule we rationalized that if it isn’t at the top of a hill, then it’s also not at the bottom…

Special shout out to my dad Paul and Steve Bailey for making it through the 80-mile day, you both exceeded my expectations. The tough day was broken up by the awesome rest stops we enjoyed. First stop was my alma mater of Loyola Academy in Wilmette where we were provided with refreshments, and then we cruised through to Mundelein where Phil’s family hosted us for lunch.  (The hose sprinkler was MUCH appreciated). After the awesome food at Alison’s in Frankfort two days ago, then being able to have access to our pantries at home, and today’s lunch, it will be hard to have to go back to PBJ.

Each day while on the road us riders find ourselves explaining the point of the ride, and then talking about the logistics of the trip, and what it took to prepare for a journey like this. Most of the time people seem shocked and respond something along the lines of “Oh I could never do something like that”.  Even though many of us were nowhere near the fitness level we are currently at, before joining the team none of us told ourselves that this insane mileage was something that we could not accomplish. And even though many of us never even got on our bikes for the first time until April, I don’t think any one of us ever doubted that we would be able to reach San Francisco.

I have been asked a few times if people ever quit and go home midway through the ride. I don’t think any of us ever even considered this as an option. For us, completing the ride each day is all about breaking it down. Making it to through the first 20 miles, playing games and chatting to get us to the rest stop, playing music or making up raps while looking forward to being able to get to lunch and chow down on some sandwiches, and finally cruising through the last 15 (because the I4k rule is last 5 miles don’t count).  Even though riding an average of 70 miles a day seems like a huge feat, for some reason each day is actually fun, and this crazy lifestyle is something we are all dreading being over.

While on the ride today, Steve expressed to me that he didn’t think he would be able to finish today, and surprised himself at being able to get as far as he did.  From our conversation it was clear the strategic rest stops made everything possible. Once you make a daunting 87-mile day just a series of three ride segments of 20-25 mile intervals, it doesn’t seem so scary anymore. After witnessing the progress this team has made and will continue to make, I am now a believer that anyone can reach a goal with a clear vision of what the ‘finish line is’ and the will to push through to get there. It is all about just breaking that seemingly far-fetched goal down into smaller steps.  I really hope that people reading this understand that none of us are superhuman or possess anything close to superhuman qualities, but rather we are just a determined group of college students that share an affirmative mindset.

Heat is still > Rain

Madison or bust.



Comments (3)
  • Charles Su says:

    Nicely said about your “secret” of breaking a big task into smaller and managable parts and keeping them fun! This trick could in principle be applied to everything in life, which is filled with challenges like yours. Congrats to Paul and Steve who rode along and succeeded today. Thank you for allowing parents like myself to observe closer at how you start a day, and how you finish. Your work ethic is apparent to me and your team chemistry is great. With people like you, what obstacle can not be conquered! I noticed at the back collar of your team jersey it has the team year printed, eight, ten, or eleven. It strikes me as a historical symbol. I can’t stop imagining one day a big Illini 4000 reunion with the reunion of all the discolored, once sweaty, but beautiful jerseys too. Gook luck to you all and smooth ride into the wild west.

  • frontpage frontpage says:

    Thank you Mr. Su! I really appreciate you keeping up with the blog. It means a lot to me

  • Deborah Metzkes says:

    I love to read about what you all are doing and look forward to each new post. Keep up the fantastic work everyone! Remember to look up occasionally (that means you Mason)!


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