Judy Mikesell was leading an EBC ride this morning. She was departing from the parking lot about 10 miles from the Botanic Gardens and heading up to spend an hour there and then riding back as far as the Southern Terminus of the North Branch Trail if her attendees wanted to do so. We headed up a bit late (stayed up until well past midnight) and decided to park at the Bunker Hill Woods, F.P. closer to the Southern Terminus of the trail. They have nice washrooms and better parking there and you avoid that last really nasty hill climb into the parking lot in Caldwell Woods. By the time we had reached the Botanic Gardens the skies were darkening and the winds had picked up. Connie checked her WeatherBug App and discovered that there was indeed an emergency concerning the approaching storm. We made a stop at the washrooms near the entrance to the southern end of the gardens and pulled out bikes into the entry room and waited. Almost four years ago we did the very same thing on the very same ride with Judy. Our group got caught in a deluge of biblical proportions. Today the thunder was the main attraction and not the amount of rain. Soon it all ‘let up‘ and we skedaddled out of the garden back down the North Branch Trail as fast as our legs could carry us.
Judy and the main group (we never did catch up with them) were probably long gone. And just as we approached Willow Road(?) my chain ‘broke‘. Actually it would be more accurate to say that the SRAM Masterlink failed! But luckily once we had seen what the problem was Connie was ready with her extra link (tucked away in her handlebar bag).
I held the ends of the chain together while she positioned the link halves into the ends of the chain. And then we engaged the device and voila, I was back up and running again! Great job, my Love! By the time we had reached the van again we were cold and tired and exceedingly wet! But we nevertheless bundled the bikes into the van and made our way to find some food. We tried for the very first time the Taco Burrito King that we had seen as we were crossing Touhy near the trail. Cheaper than Chipotle but I like the Chipotle fare best. Then it was off to REI in Oakbrook to pick up a replacement link (never let it be said that we are not ‘safety conscious‘) and then home to dry out and finish the remaining weekend chores.
Distance: 30.8 miles
Time: 3h 18m 36s
Speed: 9.3 mph