What a day! We had about 20 cyclists from Champaign, Urbana, and Bloomington come out to ride the unofficial Ride for Ray. The day started off great with a fast group riding 40 miles to Allerton Park in under 2 hours. At this point, Me and two others, Jim and Corey, split off to tackle the 200k route.
This is where it got tough! The winds were not in our favor for most of the remaining 84 miles. Jim had gone on ahead to meet up with his family for lunch, so it was just me and Corey. When we got to De Land ant mile 65, we saw Bill, Mark and Stephen taking a break at the Casey's. We stopped in to say hello. These guys started in Urbana at 5:30. How did we catch them? They had the flat bug. Three flats already! Wow, that's unlucky.
We decided to ride along with them to hopefully have some help in the 15-mph wind with 25-mph gust. It wasn't long before Stephen had another flat. At this point they were down to their last tube. Corey, being the nice guy, gave them his only tube in exchange for a couple patches. I still had a tube and we only had about 50 miles to go.
Well, guess what? Apparently, flats are more contagious than corona!! Corey had a flat about 20 miles later. We got it changed and headed back into the wind. Now we just had to fight the wind for another 30 miles. Mile 108, white Heath. Flat!!! Yep, Corey had another blowout. Time to put the patches to work.
Just as we had finished patching the tube, Mark, Bill, and Stephen came around the corner. Well, at least now we're all back together. Also, I found $25 in my camelbak when I was digging around for Corey's patches. Bonus bucks! Only 16 miles left to go, and 12 of those miles east down 1200 right into that wind.
Mark and his group pulled away a bit and I hung back with Corey to make sure that patch was going to hold. We struggled along with the gusting head winds, and at times could only sustain 9 mph. Both of us also ran out of water with about 8 miles to go. Normally, that wouldn't be an issue, but when you're averaging 12 mph, that’s still a long time to ride without water when you've been riding for over 7 hours.
Bart to the rescue! Bart was texting me to see if we needed any help after I had updated them about the second flat. I decided to take him up on his offer. We....need... water! With about 4 miles to go, here comes the unofficial sag wagon with two cold bottles of water! After a brief rehydration, Corey and I were off for the final few miles to the finish! As we crossed the finish line, Rae, Bart, Mark, Bill, and Stephen were all there to cheer us on. What a ride!