Saturday, August 17 – 2252 miles down, 1021 to go
Another day, another century.
We’re in one of these quirky parts of the route where we had to string together some longer riding days. Plus, we’re riding these in Iowa and Illinois, so after the mountains we should be in fine shape. Sure. When making plans like this in the future I’ll always add in a “Wind Factor”. And we haven’t been calling the wind “Mariah” lately, but many other colorful names. Luckily we had some fresh legs with us to help us cross the mighty Mississippi and head east. Dave Parker was going to be riding with us to begin.
Dave and two of his buddies, John Harrington and Joe Jamison, rode out today with us. I found out that Dave was unable to ride a bike with Parkinson’s as his right side would freeze. But, he received deep brain stimulation and his freezing and tremors were minimized. To celebrate he bought himself a new Cannondale bicycle as he could once again ride. Recall that Dave used to ride at least a century a month. He was in fine fettle as we all assembled and pushed off around 6:45am. Dave’s goal was to ride 30 miles as that was as far as he had ridden to-date in his current situation.
It was a thrill to climb up and over the Mississippi on the highway 92 bridge. The sun was just coming up, it was cool and clear, and there was mist laying in some of the low areas. Really pretty. We let Dave lead us for a few miles to honor his effort in getting back on the bike, but then the aforementioned wind became a headwind, so we all took turns leading after that. We rode leisurely for a couple of hours and were coming close to the 30 mile mark. When we hit 30, Dave said he’d like to go a little more, so we hopped back on the bike and went another 5. It was tremendous to watch Dave push past his previous limit and to get those 35 miles done.
Dave’s wife Lori was there to help load up the bike and there were hugs and thank you’s all around as we said our goodbyes. It was great to see Dave Living Well on his bike. Joe also turned back at that point, but John was going to ride the whole route with us and assist us with those fresh legs heading into the wind. John is an interesting gentleman and he’s the president of the Quad Cities Bike Club, the 6th largest club in the U.S. with 1200 riders. So there were plenty of conversation to be had.
Had some tired legs on our team today, so we happily let John take the front. As always it took awhile to learn what pace everybody was comfortable with, but that happened soon enough. He pointed out that it’s rare to have an east wind blowing in Illinois. Gee, we’re just lucky I guess. We didn’t have any Parkinson’s events planned for the afternoon or evening, but we were going to be staying at the house of the Peterson family in Neponset, IL. Kathleen met Sarah Peterson and her family while at CU and they’ve been close friends ever since. We were looking forward to the stay as the Peterson’s do everything first class, and they had a pool that was calling our names.
But first we had to ride 21 miles past Neponset to Princeton in order to make the route and the mileage work. And that wind was working on us. When we made it to Neponset Kathleen decided to spend time with her good friend (and the pool) so she went off to the Peterson’s. Rick, Tom, John and I continued those last 21 miles. It became apparent that the team was fading as there were struggles up even the shortest hills. We finally made the town line of Princeton and immediately loaded the bikes into the trailer as we were all done.
We said our thank you’s and goodbyes to John as he had been a big help during the day, helping us cut through that wind. The Quad City Bike Club is in very good hands, I’m thinking. He’s a strong rider and a very good guy.
When we got to the Peterson’s we were greeted with cold beers and a Hot Stone massage therapist that Sarah had lined up for us. Like I said, first class. The house and the grounds here are fantastic and four of us were staying in “the treehouse”, which is a house set amongst some trees and not a Swiss Family Robinson thing. Tom was in the basement of the main house. We unloaded and hit the pool for a refreshing dip.
Ed Peterson joined us poolside and opened some wine and we had an interesting conversation about his company. Ed runs Martin Engineering, a very successful company that makes conveyor belts and industrial vibrators (minds out of the gutter please!) for a variety of industries. Ed and his wife Pat are our largest private donor to the ride, and now they were opening their home to us so we could rest a bit and enjoy their hospitality.
Soon the steaks were on and we enjoyed a wonderful meal and more conversation. Along with the steak we had baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salad and peach cobbler. Man was it a wonderful dinner. Then it was bed time, especially for those of us who don’t drink red wine very often (that’d be me). Many thanks to the Peterson’s for their generosity and for all they’ve done for us.
Next we go to Naperville where we’ll switch sag drivers. I get to see my son Isaac soon!