Day 16: WINDianapolis

Today the team rode 71 miles from Richmond to Indianapolis, Indiana. One word to describe today, WINDY! Those who call Chicago the windy city obviously haven’t seen Indiana. We had 20 mph alternating cross winds and headwinds for the entirety of the ride, oh what fun!! In my personal opinion wind is the worst poison because no matter how hard you try you can not go faster and the resistance is enough to leave you winded. Although we bikes through a literal wind tunnel the day was still great! The route was relatively flat. We also had rest stops at good gas stations and our final rest stop at Dairy Queen which was incredible. This gave us the energy and positive vibes to finish the last 12 miles which were nuts! When I said Ohio was the pothole capital I had not been through parts of Indy. Holy cow there was not one smooth portion of road for the last 12 miles.

Today the ride was dedicated to Maggie’s grandpa who has pancreatic cancer. I would also like to thank Tabernacle Presbyterian for hosting our team tonight in your beautiful church. We also got a delicious meal provided by an active alumni named. Tomorrow we have the pleasure of riding with the chancellor and president of the University of Illinois foundation. We will be riding with them until we arrive back in Champaign.

~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 1
Song of the day: Blown Away -Carrie Underwood
Memorable moment: We all wore out jerseys backwards as part of the mosher activity

Day 15: The BIG 100!!

Today the team rode our first CENTURY (105.6 miles to be exact) from Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Indiana. There was a lot of anticipation and anxiety leading up to today but I think overall it was must more manageable then expected.Man, was it cool to see the 105 miles on my bike computer. I never knew I would be able to do it and still be able to have energy afterward! It goes to show of physically and mentally tough everyone is becoming each day. When talking with everyone it was so great to see the new found confidence everyone had. Just a few short months ago we struggled when riding 60 miles and look at us now, tackling 100 miles! The day started out cool and cloudy which was perfect riding weather, around 60 miles the sun came out and it started to get really warm. 87 degrees and humid the team pushed through a relatively flat day with very few climbs! We had several good rest stops today. One being at a waffle house, yum! We also crossed another state line today to Indiana.

I would like to thank the Richmond Friends school for hosting us tonight. The ride dedication for today was for Alex Timmons Aunt would battled cancer.
~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 2
Song of the day: Centuries – Fall out boy
Memorable moment: The team getting our second lunch of the day at the Waffle House! Also crossing the border of Indiana at 100 miles!!!

Day 14: To Columbus we go

Today the team biked 65.9 miles from Zanesville to Columbus, Ohio. The day started out with a few big climbs out of the hilly side of Ohio. It then turned into rolling hills which was a relief after several days of climbing. The countryside of Ohio has changed my overall opinion of the state. The feeling of looking down at the green grassy hills that you just climbed is one of the most rewarding feelings. We have all come such a long way and each one of us has accomplished a day we thought in the moment we could not. Today we had our rest stop at a farm that had lots of locally sourced food. Matt even ate a whole rotisserie chicken!
I would like to thank Trinity Episcopal Church for being our hosts for tonight. The ride dedication for the day was from Emma. She dedicated the ride to her friends mom who had breast cancer.

Today I interviewed a rider of the week: Justin Hauter

What’s been the best part of I4k so far?
I think given the wide ranging impact of cancer so many people are willing to let down their guard and talk to you.

What motivates you to do push ups at rest stops?
I remember the first day it just keeps my mind in it. It gets me in a routine of focus.

Favorite cheat food?
Reese’s peanut butter cups

What’s your favorite artist?
Chance the rapper

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I wish I was a better singer

What’s your dream place to live?
South Africa -Cape Town

What has been your favorite day on I4K so far?
Day 7: I really enjoyed mowing the lawn in Buffalo

Team Knife or spoon?
Knife for peanut butter spoon for jelly

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Telepathic

What’s been the most challenging part of I4K?
Cumulative toll. After weeks the exhaustion seems to pile on.

New edition to a crayon box what would you be?
Shamrock green- spring, new things come to life, it’s got energy

What will you miss most?
Waking up to Phil’s beautiful eyes

~Tailwinds~
Mandy
Flat count: 1
Song of the day: ghost town
Memorable moment: While the team was out exploring Columbus they stumbled upon a graduation and decided to crash it.

Day 13: Zany in Zanesville

Today the team rode 80 miles from Wooster to Zanesville, Ohio. Today was one of the hardest climb days the team has had and several of us were feeling exhausted toward the last 20 miles. I also drove the van as part of rotation today. It was a lot harder than it looks to handle that bus up and down hills meanwhile keep track of teammates and stay on route. The route was very beautiful however, with rolling hills and lush trees all around. Today the ride was dedicated to Kathy’s aunt also named Kathy who had pancreatic cancer.

I would like to thank the hosts at Westwood Baptist Church for their kindness and extreme generosity of providing our team with Chipotle. I have never been so excited to see Chipotle before and it brightened the mood of the team immensely. We also get to sleep on cots tonight which will feel like a dream. They have been hosting teams for 11 years, and it is so incredible to see the connections that have been made between the organization and our hosts throughout the years. Without amazing people like this to host us we would not be able to have the best summer of our lives.
Tomorrow should be less hills as we head to the west side of Ohio to Columbus!
~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 1
Song of the day: Castle on the hill
Memorable moment: Justin the most positive and undefeated person on the team felt defeated today and in his words “hit a wall”. If this doesn’t sum up today I don’t know what does!

Day 12: What is it about Wooster?

Today the team rode 80 miles from Cleveland Heights to Wooster, Ohio! Today was a doozy, and getting out of Cleveland was a nightmare. Ohio has got to be in the world records for most potholes! We began the ride on the Cuyahoga river trail. Some people loved it, others could barely breath due to allergies. The air was thick with dust for all the trees it made it very difficult for those with allergies. After a ways of climbing in the warm sun we made it to lunch. Rolling in exhausted and low on moral is the exact opposite from the way we felt rolling out of lunch. T-Roy, a local store owner has invited Illini 4000 teams to his local store for the last few years. He is a legend! Spoiling us with meat and cheese sandwiches, fruit and something very rare this summer.. veggies. He also gave us a free voucher to get ice cream at his store which was delicious and just the pick me up the team needed after a rocky start. Thank you so much T-Roy and all the others that we met at the shop for your kindness and warm welcome on such a tough day!

I would also like to thank Westminster Church for hosting us tonight and providing us more than enough space.
~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 1
Song of the day: Another one bites the dust
Memorable moment: Singing to Nick for his birthday during breakfast as he ate his oats and giving him a very I4K worthy card. Also the delicious pizza and ice cream the team got for his birthday! First Illini 4000 birthday celebration (“check that off the list” -Caroline)

Day 11: Rockin and Rollin in Cleveland

Today the team rode 0 miles today as it was our first rest day!!! It was so nice to be off the saddle for a little while and explore Cleveland. The rest day could not have come at a better time as most of the team was pretty broken down from yesterday’s ride. We started the day off by visit the Cleveland Hope Lodge. We got to get a tour around the facility by the legend, D.Weber. It was great to see such a wonderful place where people going through cancer can take refuge free of cost. From the Hope Lodge the team split into two groups, some went to Edgewater beach the rest went to the Rock n Roll hall of fame. Some people even got to meet the drummer from the band Journey! A few people also checked out Wahlburgers ( Mark Wahlberg’s burger chain). It was a fun and somewhat restful day!

I would like to thank Grace Lutheran church for hosting us for a second night and providing a delicious dinner! We even got to conduct a portrait with the pastor of the church.

We are back on the saddle again tomorrow for more hills and more miles!
~Tailwinds~
Mandy

Flat count: 0
Song of the day: Don’t stop believing
Memorable moment: Lauren, Justin, Mike and Ryan got free milkshakes at Wahlburgers