Wow, that was fast. Thanks to the awesomeness of MapMyRide and IDOT’s on-line bike maps I was able to plan my entire route in about 3 days. And there are surprises:
- It’s shorter. A LOT shorter than I was led to believe. Instead of 600-650 miles, the entire route is 513 miles. This is both good and bad. I definitely wanted the challenge of averaging near 100 miles every day, but at least this way I’ll be able to enjoy the ride more and worry about the miles less. Believe me, over 7 days it’s still a lot of miles.
- It was originally shorter than that. My initial ride was from Cairo to Chicago, ending at the North end of the Lake Shore Bike Trail. Now I’ve extended it all the way to the Illinois/Wisconsin border, so it’s a true bike from the bottom to the top of the state. This is awesome.
Below are the daily details of my ride along with a link to the route on MapMyRide.com. If you want to bike with me at any point during the route just send me a note and we’ll figure out how to meet up. I’ll have my cell phone on me so it should be pretty easy.
Day 1 – Cairo to Carbondale: 54 Miles (Sunday, 8/14)
The shortest of the days but also the second steepest in terms of total elevation gain at 968 feet. This should be a pretty scenic ride in the southern part of the state. I’ll start at the Days Inn in Cairo and finish at the Super 8 in Carbondale on Main St. With any luck I’ll still have some time to explore the city. I anticipate being very happy at the end of this day’s riding.
Day 2 – Carbondale to Centralia: 80 Miles (Monday, 8/15)
Now we’re warming up. 80 miles is definitely good for a day. I’ll be starting early, somewhere between 5:30am and 6am. Those of you who know me know how much of a feat it is for me to be up and alive at that hour, let alone in the saddle. I’ll end at the Bell Tower Inn in Centralia, hopefully before dinner time.
Day 3 – Centralia to Effingham: 63 Miles (Tuesday, 8/16)
Another “light” day, so I’ll use this as recovery. Also the lowest in elevation gain at only 499 feet. I’d like to consider this a “cruising” day where I just click off miles, but I’ve learned never to underestimate the heat and wind in Illinois. I’ll take hills over wind any day of the week, that’s for damn sure. I’ll be staying at the Comfort Suites in Effingham for the night.
Day 4 – Effingham to Champaign: 89 Miles (Wednesday, 8/17)
This will definitely be a grind-it-out day. At this point I’ll have 197 miles over 3 days with no rest day, so I think this will be difficult. Thankfully I’ve got some friends/co-workers in Champaign, so it will be good to see them at the end. This also happens to be where I “splurge” on hotels at the Drury Inn & Suites. Good thing I get a corporate discount through Caterpillar!
Thursday, 8/18 – Rest Day (and My Birthday!!!)
With over half the trip finished at 286 miles, I think I’ve earned a rest day. Sweetly enough, it also happens to fall on my 29th birthday! Rest assured I’ll be celebrating with a big-ass steak at Alexander’s in Champaign. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is invited to join me for the night out! I’ll have more details as it gets closer, but you can take this one to the bank.
Day 5 – Champaign to Kankakee: 100 miles (Friday, 8/19)
Ah, there’s my good old friend, the Century ride. Back to the grind after a great night off. Also low in total elevation gain (500 feet), so this should be cake compared to Door County Century in 2010 (watch me eat my words). I’ll end at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kankakee, probably a little bit whiny but glad to be in the Northern half of the state.
Day 6 – Kankakee to the Illinois/Wisconsin Border: 127 Miles (Saturday, 8/20)
Ah, what better way to end the ride than with back-to-back Centuries? Oh, and also the steepest in elevation gain at 1,000 feet! This is where mental fortitude will need to over-ride physical depletion. At this point it’s full-stop, leave nothing behind, the last day! You’ll be able to meet me at Lake Shore Realty in Pleasant Prairie, WI (3875 116th St.). Hopefully before dark!
And 513 miles later I will have done it. August seems so far away, yet so close at the same time. Ride on!