Sunday, July 30, 2017

Z Tour

Z Tour
Princeton, Illinois
July 15, 2017
The ride begins at Zearing Park in Princeton. No line up picture?
 That is because at Z Tour, you unload your bike and go.
The first time Christine and I did the ride, we arrived early and got our bikes and gear ready. Then hung around the registration area waiting for the 8 a.m. start.
A little after 8, we got the hint that it was a free start.

Just go.
Historic Hennepin Canal. Upon completion, it shortened the distance between Chicago and Rock Island by 419 miles. They changed the routes and I didn't pass any of the 32 locks but the Hennepin Canal is pretty anyway. It offers scores of miles of gravel lanes for biking or hiking.
 Lots of rollers.
 I was impressed by the well maintained home and large yard.
Picturesque old iron train crossing.
 Z Tour did not have a shortage of volunteers assisting riders.
Once again, doesn't look like much in a picture, but the rollers were pretty good.

First rest stop was in Tiskilwa. Motto is "Gem of the Valley". Nice, but it also means you have to climb out of the valley with 11% inclines.
Beginning of crest to get out of Tiskilwa.
Flat breather time.
Just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

Second rest stop was in Wyanet. Long story follows:
Wyanet had two set of directional arrows (not color coded).
I asked one of the volunteers which set of arrows do I follow.
She must have noticed that I was a little older (79) than the routine rider, so she pointed me the way to go.
Some miles down the way, I saw a sign that said finish line in 6 miles.
No way! I was riding the 100K route, but 6 more miles would put me at a little over 30.
The volunteer must have "assumed" that I "should" be doing the 30. I was not sure how to get back on the 62 mile route so I doubled back, and got on the 50 mile route.
Because I knew Christine was riding the 50 mile ride. When we met, I turned and rode back to the finish with her.
So, by riding with Christine, I did a 55 mile ride.
Why follow Christine?
Making sure I didn't get off the route again!!
Captain Swift covered bridge coming up.
The Captain Swift was rebuilt in 2006.
Built entirely from wood using 1800's concepts but complying with up-to-date road standards,
Captain Swift is the only two lane covered bridge in Illinois. Princeton also boasts of the historic Red Covered Bridge.
As Captain Swift is about 1 mile out of Princeton, we quickly came upon the finish line at the Zearing Park.
Besides a warm welcome,
 Z Tour organizers had a lot of cute displays,
a live band for entertainment,
and a short line for

Food! Great hamburgers, cole slaw, beans, and cookies. Did Christine enjoy the ride, scenery, food, and being back in her native stomping ground? The face tells it all. And me? I have seen the 30. 50, and half of the 100K, so I have to go back and see the other half of the route.
Great job Z Tour!!

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