The Starting Line
Merlin Anderson is doing a kind of bike tour of the country this year with his tandem bicycle. Although he's done all his cycling in central Illinois, the cyclists who have ridden with him on the tandem have ties to nearly every state in the U.S.
Brandon Smith of Mahomet doesn't mind running in the heat and the sun. He usually runs the Freedom 5K on the Fourth of July and is one of the top finishers. He's run the Mahomet Half Marathon on country roads through cornfields in mid-August. And he ran the Lake Mingo Trail Run in Kennekuk County Park earlier this month in 90-degree heat.
The evening of the full moon in May offered something of a family adventure for Stephen Wald of Urbana, his wife Rachel Whitaker and their sons, 9-year-old Jesse and 7-year-old Peter. They biked along country roads under the moonlight with a large group of cyclists, with the boys fueled by the anticipation of ice cream and staying up late.
Martin Gruebele has ridden thousands of miles to prepare for the Race Across America, the 3,000-mile bike race he'll begin in two weeks.
But the key to finishing the race is not just the training he's done or how strong his legs are. It is the careful planning of every detail surrounding the nearly 10 days it will take him to ride from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.