A Breath of Fresh Air…150 Miles to, from and around Wisconsin

The American Lung Association Lake Tour Bike Trek 2011 started out with some obstacles, namely, thunder, lightening, flooding and thick, threatening weather. When Neil and I (i.e. Team Livestrange) arrived at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois Friday morning, bikes in tow, we were prepared for anything. We had our rain gear and chutzpah at the ready. But it turned out, we would have to wait.

The first sign that something was off: No one was gathered at the starting line. In fact, everyone was milling about, sherpa-ing items to and from their cars and not looking like they’re getting ready for a 50-mile ride. Inside, we found out that the day 1 portion of the ride was canceled because of the approaching storms. Frowns filled the room. Nearly 100 people were dressed in their finest Spandex, ready to ride. But it wasn’t happening. At least, not now.

The American Lung Association special events department did a great job at shuttling our bikes and bags up to Lake Geneva, where we would be staying. We invited people into my car and helped shuttle bodies. By the time we settled in, it was around 11 a.m., and Neil and I were ready to get moving.The ride might have been officially canceled, but that wasn’t going to stop us. We hopped on our bikes and hit the hills (and boy are there hills!) surrounding Lake Geneva. It was a cloudy but beautiful ride, and with those inclines, it’s not the type of workout you can get around Chicago.

The next day, we did the same thing, this time heading in the opposite direction around the lake. We actually stopped in the middle of the ride and did an 8-mile hike on the lake path, through the backyards of mansions and modest homes. After our own little biathlon, we returned to our bikes and finished the day’s circuit.

Sunday, we rode back to Crystal Lake. This was the first day that there was actually sun, and it was wonderful to pedal through the rolling hills and countryside on a beautiful 70-degree day. The ride whizzed by. The only mentally challenging moment, aside from those darn hills, was an army of bugs we battled near Nippersink.The tiny critters slammed your face, catapulted your helmet and inspired a symphony of “ew, ew, ew,” as they pelted us for a good five minutes. Aside from that, it as smooth sailing.

Thanks again to everyone who donated to my trek and to the American Lung Association. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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