Day 32 – Springfield to Champaign

Mileage – 87 miles

This has been a tough week of cycling, long days with high mileage, but tomorrow is rest day and we are all looking forward to that.

Usual start time this morning and Chris and I set off together and cycled most of the day with one another.  The terrain was easy going with a few small inclines but nothing that would phase experience riders like ourselves.  The one thing that was annoying though was the wind, pretty much a headwind all the way to the first SAG at mile 32.9.  We were passed by probably the biggest peloton yet seen on tour, 10-12 riders all trying to make the best of the headwind conditions.  Chris and I joined for a few miles but then slipped off the back and just did the best we could to get to the SAG.

After the stop, we teamed up with Mary (the bagel lady) and Lois and formed our own small peloton of 4 riders.  There were long straight roads to contend with and sometimes it was difficult to work out exactly where the wind was coming from.  For the most part we found shelter in a staggered formation spread across the road, quickly changing to a line formation when a truck approached.  Most of the car drivers though were very accommodating and simply passed us on the opposite side of the road.  At mile 45.6 we took a well deserved break at a Dairy Queen, (yes you guessed it another banana shake) before heading on to the next SAG at mile 63.6.  As we beared right onto SR 10E the wind direction suddenly changed and we were very grateful for a favourably tail wind which stayed with us for the rest of the day.  We made a quick stop off at the SAG and then headed for Champaign, a final 24 miles away.

As we entered Champaign, we crossed over several rough rail tracks, something that we had been warned about but we negotiated them successfully.  We stopped st the local bike store on the way into town and they kindly tightened by bottom bracket for me which had started to creak again.  I purchased a new jersey, rain jacket and back light which was showing signs of battery failure before reaching the Drury Inn and Suites.  Dinner tonight was buffet style at the hotel.

Another day of sad news in that when we arrived we were informed that Richard, one of the U.K. riders had taken a fall at one of the rail tracks and was in hospital with a broken collarbone.  It made us all realise just had quickly fortunes can change – get well soon Richard.