Can’t take the mountains out of the girl

Liz here, reporting from Central Illinois. This might be the opposite of the slackcountry.Illinois sky

Out here, the geography is flattened, pounded low by a heavenly mallet. Corn fields alternate with soybean fields while the extent of biodiversity appears to be the sporadic inclusion of wheat, rye, and hay. The rainy spring meant for late planting. The corn is only up to my knees, its long leaves trembling in the near-constant breeze.

I’m not fond of this topography. I long for the rambling hills back home (rather, the rambling hills of anywhere else), but I’m here now. So I’m making the most of it by mounting up and going for long rides down straight roads.

My dad is big into bicycling these days, and I must have caught the bug from him. In Burlington, cycling makes sense as a means to an end – a fast way to get around town. Out here, cycling is the chance to experience the subtle shifts in geography from a different perspective. What from a car looks straight and flat is really lightly curved and undulating under the hot, edgeless sky.

Father's Day ride in central IllinoisI’ve done well over a hundred miles since I flew in last Friday, logging time with my father after work and with some of his cycling buddies while he’s away. Father-daughter bonding time well spent (although I’m getting real sick and tired off all this heat. I don’t mind pain, but I can’t stand being warm!).

I timed my yearly trip perfectly. Monday, the local bike shop hosted a Liv/Giant event bringing cycling women together for test rides and a little bicycle maintenance 101. I took a spin on one of these beauties: the Avail Advanced. Between that and joy rides on Dad’s Roubaix, I’m afraid I’ll have a hard time transitioning back to my darling cyclocross.

Oh well. At least I’m not stuck inside.


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