Day 5: Fairbury to Mahomet, IL

19 Aug

Oh, what an awful day of riding: over 7 hours, and 50 miles of headwind, too much gravel on the roads, and hot sun.

I started out later than I would have liked, because I helped milk the cows and had somehow spread my stuff out all over Matt and Jenna’s garage, so I spent a good 10 minutes searching for my sunglasses…before finding them in my yogurt pot with whisk and tea candles.

The ride began okay, and although I was a little worried about the headwind, I was excited about the prospect of varied terrain. I’ll admit, using the word “hills” in this video is asking a lot.

The route today was directly south. My map showed I would go through a couple of very small towns, but by the time I reached the first one, Cropsey, I realized that those towns may not even warrant such a cosmopolitan title. The hamlet of Cropsey consisted of a grain elevator, a garage, and an old local bank that looked like it belonged in a 1940s film with big black cars and men in fedoras standing out front. I was already hot and tired from riding into the headwind, so I called my mom and Kathryn for advice about which of the “towns” I was passing through would have a gas station where I could refill my water. After a google search of Foosland and Saybrook, I opted for a two-mile detour west for lunch in Saybrook.

I would rather have gone out of my way to avoid Saybrook, but there was no choice. Getting back on my southward route to the east, I had to ride on 2 miles of gravel road.

And then I had my first mechanical stop, under a tree next to – you guessed it – cornfields!

The last hour and a half were particularly brutal – Spots of sun poisoning started bubbling up on my thighs, so I soaked my tea towels in melted ice water and tucked them into my bike shorts to cover my legs for the rest of the ride, and I pulled into Mahomet exhausted and incredibly frustrated, but grateful for Mark and Vicky’s kindness, a good shower, and a delicious dinner. Also, they told me all about their amazing trip to France during the 2003 Tour de France – witnesses of the incredible mountain stage of Lance’s crash from a lunchbag! I crashed early, to sleep, eager to get to Champaign the next morning and a low-mileage weekend.

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