We were on the road a little later than usual after Leonard and Macker turned what for most people would be a 20 min breakfast into a 50 min breakfast with course after course after course! Then after breakfast while in the room getting changed Leonard turns to me and says “ Kerwin, I have no idea why I don’t have a 6 pac!” This was after eating his 10 course breakfast!
We were on the road for around 8.30, it was a bit of a chilly day and very cloudy, Macker had his usual skiing in Vermont gear on! Thankfully it cleared up in the early morning and Macker did his usual strip tease for the passing motorists on the high way!
We had a very scenic route all along lake Erie, we stopped for some lunch along lake Erie and were admiring some of the amazing houses along the lake owned by some of the Cleveland Browns football team! We stopped and signed autographs for some of the players!!
We had arranged to meet Mark Owens and his wife Marie In there lovely house in the suburbs of Cleveland. We arrived at there home at around 6.30 absolutely wrecked tired! They kindly made us feel very welcome in there home, made us dinner and directed us to our hotel, which with Marks help and the Cleveland Sports Commission had arranged accomodation for the first night of our stay in Cleveland and a reduction for the second night in The Marriot Hotel on the outskirts of Cleveland so we didn’t have to cycle into the busy city centre,thankfully!
The wind changed direction every daybut for the most it is blowing across us.Today however we were in luck.It was blowingbehind us so with the tailwinds we were picking up ridiculous speedsof up to 30 miles per hour on the flat road.We stopped by for lunch at Blowling Green which we regret not having stayed.Its a small quant town of 25,000 but is also a university town and there is a great atmosphere about the place.Since practically day 1 of the cycle,a woman by the name of Jane.E.George has been one of our biggest fans.She a keen fan as she has family who have been impacted by cancer and wanted to meet us for lunch to thank us for our efforts to raise funds and awareness for cancer patients.Jane met us with her daughter Sara,in a coffee shop in”BG”.They are great people and offered to put us up in their Family guestouse in Bowling Green and also offered to bring us out for dinner with their familyn later that evening.With the accomodation alkready sorted for Freemont we regretfully had to pass mon the former but took them up on the latter.
After our 20 something mile ride from BG to Freemont we returned to Bowling Green where the George Familuy had organised a newspaper interview for us over dinner.The George family are no stranger to the press as Sara was in the paperjust months prior to this after she saved a family of drowning swimmers at a beach while holidaying with her husband.What a great family!We were left overwhelmed with the response from the family whom treated us as we were family.
Today believe it or not the human alarm clock William Kerwin ,slept in late and an extra 1 hour beauty sleep was had for the team.Although to look at some of the team who could tell.We were on the road by 9.It was to be a long day at the office.The battery on my ipod was gone as soon as i turned it on butn after 3 hours pedaling it was music to my ears that when young McNamara informed me that there was 46 miles to go.The man had sustained a ridiculous pace out of the blocks and there was no way he could sustain such a pace.The wind was blowing across us.Perhaps with all the cycling the man had illusions that youngn Kerwin was a dog and was chasing him down?Who knows what was running through the mans mind?Or perhaps it was E.P.O.running through his veins?The drafting worked miracles for us as we took 15 minute intervals at a pace which never dropped below 17 miles per hour.
Today we had followed the highway 17 for the entire day so there was no danger of young Kerwin getting us lost.The man still carries the Wisconsin Map in his backpack.
This was a pretty boring day,all things considered and we prayed for a twist in the road or a climb to brighten things up a little but it never happened.McNamara didnt even get us lost believe it or not.A puncture for my good self was as dramatic as things got.We did pass through a dirt roadof 5 miles where Amish community lived andwere overtaken by a horse and cart on this road.
A new state to be obliterated by the COA team today and the victim was Indiana. Warm day and a late start as we had to be dropped out from downtown Chicago to Yorkville in the car so we didnt get started until approx 9am despite being up and about since 630am( thanks to the human alarm clock that is William Kerwin with the usual call “get up”)
Passed through the suburbs of Chicago including Joilet and Chicago Heights .Although hungry we didnt stop at either location for luncheon as there was many a dodgy fellow to be seen lurking and although we felt likeallowing the bikes to be robbed would be a decent reason for not completing the cycle .The lads met us with food and water just over the Indiana border at a town called Dyer and then a couple more hours of pedaling and we were there
We hit the cinema to see “The Other One.Dont ask me for a review of the film as I fell asleep 5 minutes into movie
Chicago the destination and this was a metropolis which we had to plan carefully for.We made the plan to cycle to Yorkville which is a suburb of Chicago rather than cycle into downtown Chicago where we were staying. Rode on a difficult road to Yorkville where “the support team” , met us and drove to the city where we would be then dropped back out to restart the cycle from the next day.The main event of the day was William’s crash into the barrier.The mans story was that he was cycling along and the barrier came out of nowhere and hit himbut in reality ,Kerwinator was cycling with no hands looking at the gps when boom he hit the barrier.At first sight it looked pretty serious as looking over muy shoulder I could not even see the handsome head of Kerwin.All that could be seen was Kerwins legs dangling in the air attached to the bike.It would have been a perfect photo op but I wasn’t sure of the seriousness of the crash.I arrived to find a smiling Kerwin,showing his cut to the index of his finger.(see pics below)
We cycled the highway 51 for the majority of the journey with wind at our backs.Only the one puncture to McNamara’s tyre sustained.I keep telling the man ,if he wasn’ts me to slow down ,simply ask.
It’s a landmark achievement to make it to Chicago and with the rest day the following day we could let the hair down and enjoy what turned out to be a fantastic fundraiser at the Irish Oak bar ,raising over $900
Today we were to hit a new state, the state of Illinois and say goodbye to wonderful Wisconsin. Leaving Mad town was like leaving …..like all towns we simply can’t check it all fully out in a few hours after a long cycle ,but the show must go ,so on it was to Rockford
After the run in with the state trooper on what we thought were backroads on the previous day we took the gravelly “old road” We passed though Edgerton and stopped at a garage at Janesville for a sambo(sandwich).Its very difficult to try and eat any decent foods along the way so its usually do-nuts or burgers or fries any food at all that’s on sale at gas stations along the way(well that’s young Kerwins excuse for the massive Peter Kay –esque belly which is slowing his progress up the hills
The gruesome twosome plus myself passed over the state border to the sounds of many a car horn but not friendly car horns we had experienced in the like of Montana
The motorists seem to have it in for COA as we cycled our way through Beloit along a narrow road with pot wholes as big as our bikes where we had no choice ut to pedal faster in the fear of being ran over by the angry drivers of the queue of trucks behind us.
Upon reaching Rockford we celebrated prematurely at the best western in the city centre. Smiles were had all round and the usual handshake was given all round after another difficult day at the office, only to find that we were at the wrong hotel. Our hotel Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois was another 10 mile trek outside city centre .the 10 mile was to take approx an hour
We were met with what has to be our best reception yet.3 tv camera crews and the staff of the hotel and their bar and restaurant the Tilted |Kilt. We were overwhelmed with the response and humbled. Special thanks to Wendi for organising this
Please check out our YouTube video on Rockford fundraiser
On September 3rd, the cyclists were met with a wonderful reception at the Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois. It was followed by a fundraising party in the Tilted Kilt, which featured Irish dancing, Irish music and more!
Plus, stay tuned to witness the lads being interviewed by yet another TV station!