Day 28, to O'Fallon: A record-setting day - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

May 20, 2022

Day 28, to O'Fallon: A record-setting day

Today I biked like it was my job. I posted this pic on social media before heading out. CAPTION: Happy #biketoworkday ! Although I'm not actually going to work today, I'm with all of you in spirit who are biking to work or wish you could be, as I continue west. Special thanks to the Goreville United Methodist Church in Goreville, Ill., one of several churches and firehouses and homes whose doors are always open to cross-country cyclists. The hospitality in this country is truly humbling and inspiring. ALT TEXT: I stand on the left, looking off into the distance, wearing a charcoal hoodie, pulled back to reveal my light blue t-shirt that says "BIKE TO WORK DAY 2019" on the chest. I'm also wearing my yellow helmet and cycling glasses, and a very unkempt, four-week-old beard. In the background on the right is a church, its pointed white facade adorned with a wooden cross, and a white steeple behind it.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Friday stats

Start: Goreville United Methodist Church in Goreville, Ill.

End: Super 8 in O'Fallon, Ill.

The Daily Progress: 115.15 miles!

NEW RECORDS:

  • New personal record for most mileage in a day while on a bike tour
  • Blue's longest day by mileage ever
  • Blue's first century
  • My third-longest day by mileage ever, ranking after only the two days of the Phoenix To Tucson, Tucson to Phoenix! (PHTTTTPH!) Ride

Flat tires: 1. First one! It was this morning before I left. This made for a late start (10:30 a.m.) — and a late finish (10:30 p.m.).

The Ascension: 3,077 feet — ah, I didn't realize how little climbing there was. That certainly helped!

Ice cream flavors: N/A. Just the sweet satisfaction of mileage (and Chips Ahoy!).

Lodging expenses: $103

Food expenses: $35, gas stations, a Dollar General and a Subway. The trifecta of quick snacks and meals.

Friday highlights

The weather forecast warned about strong winds today out of the south-southwest, and considering that I was headed west-northwest today, I expected a strong crosswind but wanted to go at least 40 miles, ideally much more, because tomorrow's (Saturday's) forecast looked awful. Well, as soon as I hit the road, I decided I should change course and make use of this wind. 

My original plan for the weekend meant riding mostly west along the TransAm for about 80 miles and then leaving the trail and heading mostly north to St. Louis about 60 miles. But if I changed course, maybe I could use the wind to tear through some northbound miles and put my effort toward some westbound, or northwest-bound, progress. Also, the forecast looked bad tonight too, so camping was a bad idea anyway. 

The idea worked! Well, at least for the first 60 miles. Whenever I was heading due north, I was easily topping 20 miles per hour with fairly little effort. Heading west was sometimes a challenge because of the crosswind. Roads heading northwest weren't much better. A lack of lodging options was the excuse I needed to push on. I even briefly considered trying to get all the way to St. Louis tonight, but I knew I'd probably hit a wall, and it had too many risks, namely the weather and the battery life of my lights.

As I veered off the TransAm, Google quickly led me down some roads through quiet farmland, as seen on this cracked, worn road ahead. Based on what former pastor Bob told me in Sebree, I think that's wheat growing on either side, thick and green and about two feet tall.
Heart 1 Comment 0

When it got dark, I realized that I did a bad job of preparing for these quiet roads, should I break down and need help. I knew I had what I needed to survive, but a little extra water would've been nice. 

I pushed on and tried to enjoy what nature provided, which was an amazing light show of fireflies flickering in a thin cloud above the fields as I rolled between them in the dark. The tailwind was dying down, but the sparkling cloud grew and surrounded me.

Above a dark green field, hazy clouds are illuminated from behind as the sun bleeds its red-orange glow in a streak just above the horizon as sunset rapidly approaches.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Update to the soundtrack of my mind (the previous day's blog entry)

I had forgotten a few songs that had come to mind in past days, but I remembered two more of them today. I have gone back and added them to the original blog entry. They are:

  • "No Rain" by Blind Melon. I was sitting under the shelter of a bathhouse at a campground and watching the rain, waiting for it to ease up a bit before I went and got soaked on a 20-mile ride that ended at the church with Betsy. I was considering whether I liked "watching the puddles gather rain." In hindsight, yes, I think I did like watching it more than riding in it.
  • "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! Something reminded me of the gasoline fight in "Zoolander." Speaking of "Zoolander," in a separate conversation in which I joked about being really, really ridiculously good-looking, Dani pointed out that I am riding Blue steel!

Today's ride: 115 miles (185 km)
Total: 1,282 miles (2,063 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 4
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jeff LeeI lived for six years in Lebanon, a few miles to the east of O'Fallon. If you haven't figured it out yet, the best (almost only) way to get to St. Louis from O'Fallon is to get on the great Madison County Trail system. Take it all the way to Venice, IL. Ride a few miles through Venice and take the McKinley Bridge (with a separated bike and pedestrian lane) across the Mississippi. Then you're on the Riverfront bike trail which you can use to get to the Arch, and downtown St. Louis.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Jerry George115 miles in one day, after biking for 27 days makes it official, you are definitely The Rambling Man!
You should treat yourself to a gallon of Ice Cream and Chocolate Chip cookies after that.
Enjoy St Louis!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago