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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Week Three of Summer Cycling

I'm now into week three of my summer of cycling throughout central Illinois, and I have all but thrown out the schedule of routes I meticulously laid out for myself. I've completed some of the routes, but given the wind, the rain, and some family hiccups, I just couldn't stay on track. Now, I simply look at the weather right before I start out, determine which way the wind is blowing, and decide on a route based on going into the wind for half the ride. I kind of like the whatever comes my way method of cycling. Some areas are brand new to me, bringing new scenery, roads, and people. So far, I've received nothing but smiles and waves from motorists, and I hope this continues through the rest of the summer.

A young red tailed hawk
This week, I ventured out to a small town I visited about 14 years ago to determine if it might be a place I wanted to settle with the kids. Though I liked the town, it was a bit too far from work, and there really isn't anything there. Not even a gas station. I'd kind of forgotten about the place until the other day when I was deciding on where to cycle. It popped up on the map, so I said, "Why not?" As I cycled south into the area, I wondered why I'd not been that way before. The roads were smooth, with a few hills thrown in here and there to keep things interesting. The fields changed from soy beans to corn to wheat to alfalfa. Creeks cut through the land, giving me bridges to stop on to get a drink and enjoy the swallows stirred by my presence. To date, that ride has been the most pleasant.

Love the white tail!
Today, I decided to venture back that way, but instead of going into the town, I continued south. I had seen four silos side by side the other day, and I wanted to check them out. So I did. I ended up at a church out in the middle of nowhere, so I stopped there, drank some water, then decided to return home. The silos weren't much to admire, just four brown silos in the middle of a field. I could have taken a picture of them, but they just didn't strike me as being photo worthy. I was a bit bummed as I try to get a picture of something on each ride, and at that point, I hadn't seen anything that struck my fancy.

The ride home was tough. I simply haven't been eating enough to keep fuel in the tank for 60+ miles. I know this. Still, I can't bring myself to eat what I need to. I try to eat a good breakfast before starting out, and I always take food with me for along the way, but after two and a half weeks of burning an average of 2300 calories a day, my body is saying, "Hey, you, eat more or I'm going to crap out on you." I really felt this today. I had no gas in the tank by mile 55. I ended up limping home. Once home and showered, I scarfed down a Big Mac and fries, a meal I very rarely eat. My taste buds were very happy campers, and my stomach was saying, "Finally. Now this is a meal, unlike those bananas and multigrain bars you've been eating." I know if I'm going to increase my mileage (I'd like to get to 80 miles consistently) I'm going to have to eat more. So, time to stop worrying about eating too much and eat to make sure my body doesn't crap out on me again.

video
Though I didn't get a photo today, I did get a short video of a killdeer playing injured to lure me away from her young. I was pedaling along when all the sudden four very young killdeer scattered into the road. I dodged two of them. The frantic parents were busy trying to convince me they were injured, and I was able to get some video of what they do to protect their babies.

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