As pleasant as it was riding from Mundelein to Chicago, it was rough riding from Chicago to Elwood. The ride started out nicely. I enjoyed much of the urban/industrial scenery of South Chicago. The sky was just as blue as it was the day before, so my spirits were high.
Then the wind picked up. It was as if the wind intentionally mirrored every movement I made. There was nothing I could do to oppose the strong headwinds that met me at every pass. The best way I can relay the experience of riding with headwinds is to compare it to swimming against the current. When you are in harmony with the current you feel light, effortlessly drifting down the river. When you are swimming upstream, everything is a struggle. You put forth maximum effort only to find out that you haven't moved half as far as you thought you should have. Your body tires. Your progress stagnates. You grow frustrated, feeling like you're being treated unfairly. When you open your mouth to complain, the only thing there is the river, and it sure as hell doesn't care. That's what it felt like riding into the wind all day. Over the course of my six hour ride I grunted, groaned and blurted out obscenities to no avail. They didn't calm the wind down one bit.
I came upon the Chicago Speedland raceway. It was odd to encounter this huge raceway in the middle of nowhere Illinois. I had to circumvent the race track to arrive at my host's home, so I headed West towards route 53. This brought me to Larraway Crossing, the major intersection of two highways and a few trucker rest stops. I was the first person in the left turn lane to go South on 53. At that intersection I had a moment of high-school-esque insecurity. There were about 12 semi trucks, 3 or 4 motorcyclisst and a few random automobiles gathered at the intersection, all waiting for the light to change. And there I was, right in the middle of it, wearing tights. I couldn't help but to feel a bit out of place. You know, part of me felt like I didn't fit in with the bad ass truckers and motorcyclists because I didn't have some huge motor pushing me around. But, then again, part of me recognized that I was the motor that was getting me around, and that's pretty bad ass.
The light turned green. I inched through the intersection to make my left turn. No one honked at me. Thank God. I don't know if my self-esteem could have withstood a honk. If someone honked I probably would've broke down in tears, then called my mom to come pick me up.
So, after my long, tedious day, I arrived at the home of Neil. This guy was great. He prepared a yummy dinner of chicken tortilla soup for the two of us. Then we just chilled on his couch and watched South Park for two hours. If you know me then you know how happy I was to be binging on South Park.
That night I slept well, pleased to be relieved of the frustration and insecurity of life on the road.