(from left/back to front) Mark, Mike, Chuck, Russ, John, Kujo, Pete, Lori, Karen, Michelle, Anna, Robin, Linda
So on Sunday a bunch of friends and I headed out to Marine, IL to take part in the Annual Peach Pedal. Of course my real reason for riding was not the pedal itself, but the need to pick up a homemade peach pie from Mills Apple farm. I know the name states it’s an apple farm, but they also grow peaches. Plus, they make the most awesome pies ever. You can get Peach, Apple, Rhubarb Apple, Apple Caramel, really, you name it, you can get it. They are all so good, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think the Peach probably wins for me.
A few days before the event, I called Mills and reserved 2 peach pies for me and one for Chuck. We wanted to make sure we had them waiting at the end of the ride.
We all gathered at the registration desk about 7am, where John handed out $3 off coupons. Once we were all registered, we stood waiting to start, I thought a few of the group members were in the bathroom line and that’s why we were waiting. I couldn’t figure out what was taking so long, and then Mark says John said to meet him on the corner. Well, we headed to the corner and didn’t see anyone. Chuck, Russ, Mike and I were together with Mark, Linda and Karen ahead of us. As we rode past Chuck’s truck parked at the side of the road, we saw that Lori his wife and Michelle had a flat tire on one of the bikes, we stopped and Chuck pulled the tire off for them. Looking back, we should have taken the time to have Chuck fix it. That would have been the right thing to do, but instead we left them to work it out themselves. On a positive note, they did fix it and since they were riding one of the shorter routes we still ended up finishing at the same time.
We headed north on Wagner road and found that it had been recently rocked, we later found out that about 75% of the route had been recently rocked. Let’s just say we spent a lot of the ride working on our bike handling skills. I hate gravel, which is why I have never attempted the Dirty Kanza race, I did feel like I was at DK during this ride though.
At the first rest stop, we were able to get back together with the entire crew, and I told John I couldn’t believe he just left us like that. Oh, of course he had some excuse like he thought he missed us and we already left. I may have spent a little too much time at the start chatting with a guy who had the coolest “Tony the Tiger” jersey on, I had to find out where he got it. So I guess you now know what I’m asking for, for Christmas this year.
Now that the group was all back together we headed out on the next leg of the ride. We spent some quality time together wondering who would go down in the gravel first. After fish tailing a couple times, I was sure it would be me. Our next stop was at a gas station in Livingston, where I bought a “Little Debbie” brownie. I shared it with John, and I don’t know about him, but it seemed like the best brownie I have ever had. Well if you have ever had a LD brownie, you know that they are not very good, but when you are so hungry your opinion sometimes changes. If I had one right now, I would probably take one bite and throw it away. Of course there have been times when I have seen some shot blocks on the road where someone has dropped them and seriously thought about picking them up and eating them. What we won’t do if we feel a bonk coming on.
On we went, right through the small town of Livingston as the only Church in was letting out. We had to deal with some traffic for a while with everyone leaving church. They were probably commenting, what heathens we were for being out riding our bikes instead of in church, but they were all feeling generous and no one tried to run us off the road, we can count that as a blessing for the day.
We may have counted those blessing a little too early though, it wasn’t long and we hit some railroad tracks and ended up with a flat tire in the group. The bigger problem was as we were waiting for the tire change a coal train rolled across the railroad tracks that we would have to cross, and of course it stops. It was stopped for a long time and although Anna thought we could crawl under the train and drag our bikes, that thought got vetoed. We decided to try a different route that would get us back on the real route without going too far out of the way. It was a good choice, but some of us missed a turn so Mike had to sprint up and get us back on track. The funny part was, Chuck the master orienteerer was up front leading us when we missed the turn. Well to Chuck’s credit, he didn’t have the map and was just pulling the group along, he figured someone with a map would yell to him to turn. What he forgot was the fact that he is half def and couldn’t hear them even if they did yell. It’s just a good thing Mike was there stop him before he ended up in Chicago.
After we got back on track we had a really nice pace line going when out of nowhere two guys came flying past us. Oh, if you ride you know how that works, you never let someone dust you out of nowhere. As the two guys pass us, Mark and Linda who were on a tandem, get the guys in their sights. John, who is behind me, looks up and says “oh no, it’s on”. Was he ever right, Mark took off after them and we all followed, I put my head down and it took everything I had to hang on, but we finally backed off after a mile or so. After a short recovery from that sprint we rolled into the last rest area and it was then that I realized it was Antonio a superfast guy that I ride with on the Tuesday Night Team Godzilla ride that had passed us. After seeing him, I was feeling pretty good that we stayed with them to the next stop.
We had about 6 miles to go to make the finish, so we headed out. We came upon the guy in the Tony the Tiger jersey and he fell into our pace line and rode in with us. Just before the finish, we passed Lori and Michelle finishing up the shorter loop, so we knew that they got the flat fixed without the help of that low down Chuck, who just left them stranded on the side of the road. OK, really they told Chuck to go, that they had it covered, but I like to blame Chuck for everything.
We stopped and got the group together for a photo op and Tony the Tiger took it for us. As we chatted with him, we found out that he was in from Wisconsin, but he use to like in U City, so he and John talked about that area for a while since John lives there now.
It was a great ride in great company, with the coolest weather we have had all summer, plus we even got a few rain drops, not enough in this drought year, but it was nice to have gotten a few drops. As for the pie it was great as always. You know I only live 9 miles from the apple farm and I ride my bike past in at least once a week, but it takes going to the Peach Pedal for me to stop for a pie. Maybe that’s a good thing, if I stopped every time I rode past, I would be 400 pounds right now.