This will be my second year at GITAP, the Grand Illinois Trails and Parks ride, which is sponsored by the League of Illinois Bicyclists. Last year I had to cope with long rides and camping, but this year I don't have to cope with the camping. Yes, I wimped out and I am doing the motel package. Especially since this is the challenging year where there are real hills and, believe it or not, you can get hills in Illinois, as you ride along the Mississippi River as we will do when we get to Galena.
Last year I felt unprepared and this year I feel even less prepared with around 350 miles of biking so far. Having been away for all of April and with bad weather and migraines keeping me off my bike for a lot of May and some of early June, I didn't get in as much riding as I would have liked. I do have more miles than the the mileage for GITAP, but I would have liked double the mileage and more than one long day of riding. I know I will find it hard going this year, but I am determined to make it through. At least I know I will have friends to cheer me on when I feel tired and a bit discouraged. The riders on GITAP are great.
This afternoon I leave for Rockford with Danda and Dennis, and tomorrow we will start out from Freeport with the rest of the 160 riders. Next Friday we will all finish the week-long ride, tired but happy to have accomplished our goal of riding the Grand Illinois Trail and Parks route this year.