Monday, August 4, 2014

Two Rivers (Half) Century

Two Rivers Century is a really pretty ride along the Kankakee and Iroquois Rivers. It’s sponsored by the Kankakee River Bike Club, which did a great job. Great SAG support, well-marked routes, and excellent cookies along with the standard bananas and Gatorade at the rest stops.

Entry fee was $30, which benefits the Greenways & Trails Fund of the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley, working with multiple governments to develop the riverfront trailways. Money well-spent, I think: the first couple of miles took advantage of a truly amazing paved trail along the Kankakee River.

The routes are set up with a nifty “loop” system. Add up the loops to get the length you want. I went with the Red and Green loops, which add up to just shy of 50 miles.

Along with riverside trails, the route wound through residential neighborhoods, forests, and farmland. Very little car traffic, even for a Sunday morning.

The corn’s looking especially robust this year. Lots of rain. This Illinois boy cannot wait for the sweet corn to start coming in.

Here are some of the hundreds of people who passed me along the way. I averaged 13.81 mph along the course, which I imagine most of these folks could do with two flat tires and a broken femur. The only people I managed to pass had wicker baskets on their handlebars and “I (heart) my grandchildren” jerseys.

One of several bridges, just before a very welcome rest stop. Those are dozens of flower baskets full of petunias (or something, I don’t know flower names) lining the bridge.

With about 10 miles to go, there was this wonderful shady stretch that helped revive me for the final push. It wasn’t overly hot — about 85 F — but it was humid. My left calf started cramping just as the finish line came into view. It was a near thing. I had been slamming water the whole way, but I probably should have been chugging Gatorade at the rest stops to replenish the salt.

Naperville Rotary Ride is next Sunday … I’m thinking metric, but only if it’s cooler and/or less humid.

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