On Thursday, after our long ride from Kentucky to Indiana, we arrived at Saron United Church of Christ in Linton, IN. It was a traditional and quaint town, with small but comfortable homes lining its main street. We walked into the church and were welcomed by upbeat jams blasting from huge loudspeakers. A Zumba class was in session, and even though our legs were fatigued from biking 130 miles, we decided to join in on the fun. That night, we were treated to an amazing dinner of sloppy joes and fruity deserts.
Yesterday was our first official off-day. We celebrated July 4th by walking and riding in Linton’s annual Independence Day parade. Harry, one of the gentlemen from the church, invited us to his farm after all the morning festivities. We were, again, fed by some very generous and skilled chefs. Some of my teammates tried (with no avail) to lessen the extreme tan lines from our jerseys and shorts. Others went for a splash in the pool or played cornhole. That night, Todd, who had purchased a variety of explosives from a local shop, led the team in some fun celebratory activities for Independence Day. It was a glorious day off.
This morning, we woke up feeling much more refreshed than usual. Starting our ride in the dusk, we felt the sun slowly rise behind our backs. It was a brisk morning, with mist floating lightly above pasture and water. Riding on wide gravel roads for several miles, it was both turbulent and tranquil. The backroads we were riding on, coupled with the pastoral landscape, were reminiscent of scenes from a country music video. The 90 miles from Linton, Indiana to Effingham, Illinois were relatively flat and seemed to take no time or effort at all. It’s pretty amazing how well the long and challenging days in the Appalachians have prepared us, both mentally and physically.