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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Odds and ends

This post may be a bit longer than normal, but that's OK. Over the next three or four weeks, the posts will be few and far between because of the work I'm doing on Tour de Stooges and Tour de Grape.

So far, about 250 people have signed up for Tour de Stooges, and we're expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 people. I just hope we have enough parking for everyone because McKendree College will be having several events that day as well, so I'm busy finding some alternative parking spots for the ride. Both McKendree and the Tour de Stooges have experienced tremendous growth in the 10 years since the ride began, so we hope to keep everyone as happy as possible.

There's plenty of spots left for one-day and two-day options for Tour de Grape, so if you're looking for an interesting ride May 12-13 around Ste. Genevieve and Farmington, Mo., and want to help a good cause, this is a ride for you.

Here's some more odds and ends for you:

BYE, BYE COLD WEATHER (I HOPE!): The abnormally cold weather we've had in the Midwest, plus work responsibilities that forced me to work a couple of day shifts, kept me from getting any decent miles on the bike last week.

Today, the sun decided to make an appearance, and the temperatures jumped back into the 50s, so I got in a 20-mile ride today. Because it's spring in the Midwest, it meant it was a windy ride. Rides tend to be breezy around here until the corn grows high enough to serve as a wind block.

Corn also serves another purpose for Midwest cyclists. It provides cover and -- in a pinch -- toilet paper for those times you have to go when you're miles from the nearest restroom. I found out the hard way today that I should be packing a few squares of toilet paper along with my duct tape. I was able to make do with some other paper I had in my bag, but toilet paper does the job much better

Trust me on that one!

BABES WEDNESDAY EVENING RIDES: The Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society starts its 2007 season of Wednesday Evening Rides this week on the trails of Madison County.

The April 18 and April 25 rides will start at the Metro East Park and Recreation Building in Collinsville. If you're looking for a good ride with a good group of people, show up at 6 p.m. and we'll take off at 6:15 p.m. Ride 10-25 miles on smooth trails. Newcomers are very welcome. After the ride, we'll have dinner, probably at the nearby Culver's Restaurant.

SPIRITUALITY ON A SIMPLE LEVEL: Being a Catholic means lots of ritual. I think that's a good thing because it ties us in with the people who have worshiped Christ over the centuries.

My parish here in Belleville is St. Peter's Cathedral, but I rarely go there. It's not that I have a problem with the current bishop here in the Belleville Diocese, the priests at Cathedral or the more formal ritual you get at the Cathedral, but it's more an issue of the Mass times being too early for me. As design editor of the Belleville News-Democrat, I have to work Saturday evenings for our big Sunday paper. That means I don't get to bed until 2 or 3 a.m., so getting up in the morning is difficult. (It's also a big reason why I don't make it to very many of Trailnet's Bicycle Fun Club rides.)

Fortunately, Corpus Christi Church in Shiloh has a 6 p.m. Mass, and I truly get a lot out of it. Corpus Christi is probably the best-kept secret in the area. The church building itself is very small, dating from 1913 the days when Shiloh was a tiny village of about 390 people. The building isn't even half the size of the parish I attended in my hometown of Brighton, Ill. Between 1990 and today, Shiloh has grown from abut 3,400 people to about 11,000.

Monsignor Jim Marguson does a great job of saying a lot with a minimum of words, a quality I appreciate as an editor! In addition, music director Drew Cowell does a great job of keeping the music fresh. He isn't afraid to spring unfamiliar songs on the congregation, but he's such a strong leader that people catch on quickly.

The message was clear: The world would be a much better place if we would learn to accept and forgive one another.

JUST MARRIED: My heartiest congratulations go out to longtime friend Steve Whitworth and Jill Moon, who got married Saturday. Steve, an assistant city editor at The (Alton, Ill.) Telegraph, has been a good friend of mine since our college days at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Steve's not a cyclist, but he is an avid birder. Here's hoping Steve and Jill have many happy years together.

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