I didn’t sleep very well…not sure why. I woke up as we were getting gas on the West side of the Mississippi River. It was dark out, the trucks at the gas station were incredibly loud, and if you looked up at the lights, hordes of bugs were swarming around each bulb. The good news? Real toilet…

Our shift started in Old Towneship, IL, about 10 miles west of Greenville. The bad news was that the tire on my tubular disk wheel was done. There were cords showing… Lonnie and I ripped it off and got another one on while the other crew swapped my rear wheel to an American Classic Carbon 58 (the AC version of the Zipp 404, sans dimples). The thing I noticed immediately was how quiet the bike became! When you get used to riding a disk wheel, you forget how noisy they are…. Too bad I didn’t have the disk, though, as this was perfect aero wheel territory. Oh well, the glue would be dry for my next shift…

Off into the darkness. It’s about 70 degrees and the humidity isn’t too bad. As long as I am moving, it is quite comfortable and I am in shorts and short sleeves with arm coolers to help with the humidity. It’s a pretty straight shot east on the 140 to Greenville. It’s easy cruising at 21-22mph…no wind and gentle ups and downs. As I pass the 127, I see a van off the side of the road with a recumbent rider just getting on his Carbent… “Hi Tim!” (who else could it be?)

I continue on into Greenville, which has a steep little climb in the middle of town, and I signal Lee to pull up beside me. “Lee, get on the radio and ask JV if he doesn’t mind taking a longer pull.” Quizzical look from Lee. “I didn’t come 2000 miles to blow past my friend with barely a hello. We are going back so I can ride with him for a bit.” Lee gets on the radio and after a few minutes lets me know that JV is okay with the plan. So, a couple miles later JV and I do an exchange, we throw my bike onto the van and actually drive the WRONG direction!

A solo rider is allowed to ride with another rider for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. I intended to enjoy my 15 minute “prison” visit with a dear friend (“mellow out over there, big guy, this isn’t a conjugal visit!”). Tim was moving pretty quick…we got me out on the road and pretty soon two friends were riding through an IL night, enjoying the cool air and each others’ company.

Aside from general yakking (Tim was completely lucid at this point), I remember three things about our short ride. Remember, Tim is riding his Carbent with his Bent Up Cycles Aero bag on the seat (with bottle holders). He turns to me and asks, “Dana, want a beer?” “Huh?” “Seriously, do you want a beer?” He reaches into his bottle holder and starts handing me a beer bottle. It was O’Doul’s, but I almost fell over laughing! I declined…I was riding and didn’t want my BAC to get too high!

A couple minutes later, he asks me if I want to race….seriously…. I told him it wouldn’t be fair as he had a disk wheel…

A couple minutes later, his crew called me back to the van to deliver some food. Apparently, the game was “guess what it is?” To this day, I still don’t know what I gave him…he thought it was something with ham and cream cheese. When offered some, I declined…I’m a kosher vegetarian….

Too soon, my visit was over. We wished each other a safe race and my van shuttled me forward to meet up with JV. Thanks for you patience, JV, that visit meant quite a bit to me. Later, Lee pulled me over to tell me that I definitely did the right thing…I responded that it was the only thing to do…

Now back to racing…things slowed down a touch as we rode through Vandalia. There were a few turns, a few traffic lights, and we didn’t want to get lost. Once we got on the open road again, though, it was back to a beautiful night! 11 miles later, outside of Brownstown, JV took over. I got back on outside of Altamont, and took it another 7.23 miles. JV then took it into the control.

This was a fun control. One of the media crew interviewed me, and I was having way too much fun! (see RAAM site for the video) As I was leaving, I asked the staff where Team doc2doc was. I was told that they had left 12 minutes earlier, and were looking quite wiped out! Woohoo! Now we are racing!

We get on the road, and 1/2 mile later, we make a wrong turn. Well, that was a waste of 4 minutes! Back on course…there’s a rider ahead…let’s pass them! Eventually, we pass and realize it is a solo rider. He works hard to keep up, but we hand off the baton in Deiterich, and JV is off!

I am on my way back to the RV, and a few minutes up the road we pass the doc2doc rider. He looks wiped, and we are feeling pretty good. Finally, some racing! JV and I meet at the RV, take an outdoor shower (yep, it’s 4am), and try to get some sleep.

An IL night

Vandalia

A long, straight road

Out of Effingham