2017 Ride to the Depot
(Reported by Martin) This paid ride benefits the Kickapoo Rails-to-Trails conversion, a worthy cause! Mike B., Rob H., Martin, Jeff D., Alex, and Neil F. (at least) showed up. I ended up with 124 miles at 19.5 mph moving speed, not too bad in the 90 F heat.
Mike Balajewicz and I rode over to White Heath, 15 miles from Champaign. After signing in, woofing down some granola and blueberries, and filling our bottles, we were off around 9:15. It was overcast and still only 80 F. Halfway through the south loop, we met Larry Fitz, John Prince, Jodi Heckel and many others at the aid station in Allerton Park. After refueling, we were off around the park to Monticello. We met up with Rob Hornbaker, who was riding the loop in reverse, just past the bike trail that runs north along the tracks in Monticello. Now the trio was united, but on the way out from White Heath, Mike was not feeling well and decided to head home. Wise choice, as the north loop was brutal once the heat index climbed towards 100 F. Rob and I kept up a fast (20 mph average) pace anyway in this loop also. We saw Jeff and Alex at the Depot in White Heath, but I could not talk Jeff into riding the third loop with us. Rob and I cut the third loop short after the aid station in Allerton Park, manned by Aaron and Jeff (Jeff had ridden over with his daughter in tow in the heat!). We rode straight to the Monticello blacktop instead of around the west side of the park. Back in White Heath around 2:45, we woofed down some Dragon pizza, had a J. T. Walker’s beer, and then rode home. 94 miles in 5.5 hours, plus another 30 miles to and from White Heath made it a solid ride on a very hot and humid Illinois summer day!