Day Twenty-Five: The Prologue to Salem, IL

 Today was the first day I got to ride after our mail drop day in Bloomington, where Mike Short sent my aero helmet. Today also happily coincided with the Prologue of Le Tour de France.

Mwa ha ha.

I set off this morning, donning my aero helmet and a big grin, just waiting to attack the flats with my highly aggressive aero profile. I would mount my attack in various stages, various bouts of wind cheating and related awesomeness.

The first stage was the breakfast rush. I decided to push it to breakfast at about 27 MPH, which is tough to do on cold muscles. My reward for the effort was sausage and vegetarian biscuits and gravy - delicious!

After breakfast, I decided to take the first few miles slowly, as the standard warmup, before pushing. Once I did get up to speed, I was able to hold about 24 MPH until, well, I got bored. Here in the corn flats of southern Illinois, things get pretty boring pretty quickly. I used my high-speed superhero skills to chalk the route for everyone else, and waited at lunch for some people to ride with.

After lunch, I helped chalk an alternate route, then, in the town of Xenia, I decided I wanted to ride with Jane. She was in Flora, some 9 miles back, at the Dairy Queen.

Time trial time. Zoom!

I got to Flora about 19 minutes later, holding good form and wishing I were more powerful and in better shape. KRud mentioned later that I looked pretty awesome, in the aero position, with the helmet, zooming along. Skip later told me that he was worried about me, since I was breathing really hard and looked to be in a fair amount of pain after my little stint. Jane, of course, knew I was just fine, and gave me a couple of minutes to ride around the block and cool down. I rode about 20 more miles than everyone else, what with all the back and forth of the day's riding. Riding fast and turning around is a good way to both get exercise and be social. I'll start doing it more often.

I finished the ride with Jane, which was fantastic. She's getting so much stronger, I can ride with her comfortably on a good day. We got to Salem, IL, and - surprise - found that, instead of staying at the city park, the First Christian Church would be willing and able to host and feed us. Excellent!

We finished the day with an affordable housing meeting on the state of housing in every decade for the past few decades, and with planning the route into St. Louis. Apparently, East St. Louis is bad enough that we should seriously consider a reroute. Hm. This turns a 70 mile day into an 80 mile day.