Today was the birth of the “Poodleboys”! It’s kind of a long story: On one of my last long solo training rides…I was riding along the Seminole County section of the Cady Way Trail, which happens to run near a couple of homeless camps. I was cruising along minding my own business when I approached a guy who was clearly homeless riding his bike (bags of cans, blankets, etc. draped off the frame). As we entered an intersection…I stopped for traffic…he kept right on going, as if he owned the road! Cars screeched to a halt…he just kept rolling. I eventually caught up to him and as I passed I said “Howdy”…and kept rolling. I heard him mutter, just loud enough for me to hear…”I bet you own a poodle”. Clearly, a derogatory comment (lycra shorts, shaved legs…). I slowed and asked …”what did you say?”…to which he responded…”I said excuse me sir”. I replied, “good answer” and went on my way. About 20 feet later I looked back just as he swung a left into his “camp”. He quickly stood up and shouted…” what I really said was…I BET YOU OWN A POODLE!!!!” I bust out laughing!
So, back to yesterday, Iain was riding with us and conversation somehow turned to the various “groups” that have formed on this ride. We call Kasper’s group of Greg, Paul and Bill…Team Europe. Mostly because for the first 3-4 days Kasper and Guenter rode together. Team Europe now refers to any group that includes Kasper! Judd asked Iain what we were called. Word is we were being referred to as the “Hammerheads”. Rob thought we should change our names …and quickly came up with “The Poodleboys”! So, during last night’s route rap with Mike, he mentioned we’d all be riding 14 miles out to the breakfast location in Liberty,Ill. He also made it clear that he wanted to handicap the start…”Hammerheads” starting 15 minutes behind everyone else! That’s when the “Poodleboy’s” became official! By the way, Mikes Place in Liberty, Ill. has the best breakfast I have had on this entire trip…and you know “I likes me some breakfast”!
The handicapping was completely ineffective! We decided to crank the speed up right out of the hotel…and by mile 10 had reeled in everyone who had been allowed to leave earlier. We got to Mikes and grabbed a seat…we were hungry!
Today was another picture perfect day. Clear skies and highs in the 70’s. We passed thru some really nice small towns and miles of wide-open farmlands…that stretched out dead-flat to the horizon. The 30 mile section between Jacksonville and the outskirts of Springfield were pretty brutal with 20+ mph headwinds and about only about a dozen trees to buffer the wind. It’s amazing what a small bunch of trees can do to make peddling easier. We started across with a group of 6-7 and ended up with just the 3 of us.
It’s great to have Rob and Judd, as we are very well matched as cyclists. We are all 3 very safe riders and have developed a good system of visual and audible queues to help avoid hazards in the road. When you are pace-lining…the guy in front is responsible for calling out holes, cracks or debris that may take down the riders behind.
Springfield is a really beautiful town. Most of the downtown area was closed today. We visited the local bike shop…searching for close-out bargains! Dinner tonight was at Bob Evans. Rob mentioned to the waitress that “he usually insists upon a kitchen tour before ordering”…bear in mind , this is Bob Evans!! He never stops!
The Landes family came from all over Illinois today to cheer Rob on. If they aren’t here today…they’ll be coming soon! I believe half of this state is related to him!
The pies at Mikes Place!
My breakfast at Mikes Place!
a view of today's route
when it's flat...it's really flat! But the winds more than make up for it. Today, they were really howling!!
Rob and Jeff about to cross the Illinois River