We started at 6:30AM again today to get the majority of our miles in before the hottest part of the day. Despite the heat, we covered almost 250 miles in the past three days. The goal has been to make it to Carbondale, IL by the end of the day today, where we will reward ourselves with a hotel night.
We took a mid-morning convenience store break for ice cream and danishes. While we enjoyed our treats, two cyclists pulled in. Bryan and Dario are racing their bicycles across the country in the second annual TransAm Bike Race. They are among about 40 others and at the time were holding 9th and 10th place. We had heard talk of this group coming through (they’re riding west to east), and we passed several racers previously who must have been the leaders, but none wanted to stop and chat. Rather than steel frame bikes and heavy bags, these cyclists sport carbon fiber racers with very small bags. When Dario tried to lift up Rachel’s heavy bike, he shook his head and in an Italian accent said, “Impossible!” Despite their lightweight setup, these guys are extreme, riding 200+ miles per day with only ~4 hours of sleep per night. Bryan joked that the leader must be an alien. Not because he is so fast, but because he only sleeps for a few hours in between stretches of up to 36 hours on his bike.
Some of Bryan’s maps had been damaged by rain, so we cut up ours and gave him what he needed. Good luck, Bryan and Dario! (http://www.transambikerace.com/ Dario Valsesia and Bryan Heselbach)
We felt inspired by Bryan and Dario, so I think our pace quickened for a little while after meeting them, and all we could think about was how to reduce our pack weight to be more like them.
With about 15 miles remaining for the day, we passed through a wildlife refuge with shady roads and a few lakes that would have been lovely to jump in.
Trip stats, to date (Day 39)
- Cave-In-Rock, IL to Carbondale, IL
- Daily mileage: 85.8mi; Trip total to date: 2,312.5mi
- Daily riding time: 7hr 15min; Trip total time: 204hr 59min
- Daily ascent: 5,075ft; Trip total ascent: 123,978ft
- Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0