Day 18 - Kankakee, Illinois to Wabash, Indiana
We were really getting into the
flat section of the country with cornfield after cornfield after
cornfield. This was definitely the place to form pacelines and
just hammer. I got into a small one in the morning along with
two of the Three Amigos. Dan and Lori can really move on flat
land and did very well in a paceline, despite not having ridden
with large groups before. Unfortunately, we also got quite a bit
of rain in the morning, so staying in the paceline meant getting
sprayed in the face with water from the unfendered wheel in front.
We kept our group together fairly well until lunch.
Lunch was in
a nice shelter and included some nice hot soup and nachos with
melted cheese. Lunches really varied a lot day to day. Throughout
the trip we had pasta salads, rice, grilled tomato and cheese
sandwiches, and burritos, among other things. We did discover
that Susan really liked black olives, but she began to notice
that many of us didn't, so somewhere near the end of the trip,
she stopped putting them in every single salad she made!
I rode with Dan and Lori most of the rest of the day. I tried
to convince them that they didn't have to be in a large group
to take advantage of drafting. I had noticed in the mornings when
I'd catch the three of them (David was off riding by himself that
afternoon) that they were never drafting. I guess they had a lot
to talk about. We got a little three person paceline going until
we reached a few hills near the end. I did try to egg Lori into
a town line sprint, and that's when I think I hurt my achilles
tendon. All the sudden I was in extreme pain. I stopped and stretched
and took an ibuprofen. I ended up taking my foot out of my shoe
and pedaling one legged most of the way for the final ten miles.
I iced it most of the evening in hopes of salvaging the trip.
I was greeted with another great surprise when I reached the
hotel in the form of a half dozen roses from a friend back east.
It was exactly what I needed. I never anticipated how lonely I
could get in a big crowd. I was almost always with people and
for the most part, they were really great, but a card or package
from home really lifted my mood considerably. Lori had given out
the hotel list to all her friends and family and received stacks
of encouraging letters and cards every day. I will definitely
do the same if I ever take this kind of trip again.