Day 20: Marion, Il to Farmington, MO
Total Mileage: 107 miles
An overwhelming couple of days: back to back centuries, three state lines crossed in three days, and a whopping 311 miles in the past three days (average of over a century each day). Riding 134/135 miles the previous day was a huge accomplishment, but all of us had sore muscles and really didn’t feel like getting out of our hotel beds. Alarm clock was set to 5:30AM, but the snooze button won. It took a while for me to get out of bed, change into cycling gear, and get my duffle out to the host van. Had a great hearty breakfast at Drury Inn, the hotel we stayed at. I always wonder what strangers think about seeing 20+ young adults walking around in chamois shorts and cycling jerseys out in public?
So today was tough. The midwest is infamous for it’s humidity and hot weather, and today was no exception. Biking through 90+ degree weather is very uncomfortable and requires us to constantly hydrate so we don’t pass out from dehydration. Water becomes your best friend and powdered drink mixes help keep things interesting. Not sure how scared I should be of Kansas.
Today’s team name: “Takes a Tumble” with Danny, Will, Athina, and Ali. The name is exactly what it says, Danny and Will ran into each other after a dog chased Athina and Ali, and Ali just randomly fell after one of our water stops. A very interesting day, but an awesome group to ride with. The semi-autos on a two lane highway we biked on were not considerate at all, which made for anxious riders. Not to mention, we were riding into headwinds when these trucks were speeding past us, allowing us little shoulder room to travel. But hey, we made it safely across Illinois into Missouri. Danny was especially ecstatic when we crossed into Missouri, since he’s from St. Louis
The last 25 miles of the trip were the hardest of the day. We were under the impression that Missouri would be fairly flat with small hills, but that wasn’t the case. Hill after hill, we climbed, only to find more hills after the one before. And these hills weren’t just normal hills, they were much steeper and much more frequent than expected. When you factor in how tired we were from the century the day before, the reroute, the heat, and the hills, it all became mental. We knew we were physically capable of riding the rest of the route, cause we’d seen the terrain before. I was fortunate to have such a supportive and strong team to back each other up during the last stretch. We started off as the 4th group leaving in the morning and came in first to the host. Not to mention, we were the only original group to make it into the host. I’ve never been so happy in my life to see a stop light when we entered into Farmington cause the 25 miles before that was all hills, cornfields, and farmlands. Civilization is a great sign that you’re somewhat near the host, which is always what I look forward to. We were all sorts of emotional when we arrived at the host. It was such an accomplishment and it felt good to finish as a team. Yeah 4K!
“Come to Missouri, they said. It’ll be flat, they said.”