Illinois is flat - very flat - not many hills to climb - no mountains - just flat that goes on forever. Walking for hours on end on flat terrain may help with our endurance - does not challenge us as far as vertical gain. Back home in Illinois - away from the Casa del Camino training center in Arizona - we have taken up biking. Long distance biking - an effort in the works. We figure if we challenge ourselves with greater distances on bike - we will be able to work our thigh muscles and abdominals to a greater degree - than just walking. Our number one barrier - decent places to ride. We live in the country - which means country roads - small roads - no bike lanes - lots of vehicles using the roads along with us - vehicles that do not allow enough space when passing. Bike trails are a possibility - getting there another issue. Living in the country means driving distances to locate safe trails suitable for bikes. The best trail we have found so far - close to us - eight miles away - the Virgil Gilman Trail with the trail head at Waubonsee Community College. It goes from Sugar Grove, Illinois through Aurora, Illinois - an 11½ mile pleasant ride though the countryside with only a few roads that have to be crossed. Thanks to walking/biking bridges built by the Fox Valley Park District we are able to pass over the I-88 extension and Orchard Road in Aurora. I would have never believed that we could bike from Sugar Grove into Aurora in less than 30 minutes. Our goal is to find a safe trail where we can do a thirty mile loop. For a couple quickly approaching their 70's this has become our primary Camino training while in Illinois - back in Arizona we will focus on walking the trails in the mountains.
Virgil Gilman Trail
We have more than a year to prepare for our next Camino - plenty of time without stressing ourselves. Our experience from fall 2013 - very important as we look forward to fall of 2016. We know the terrain - the albergue system - the issues that we faced on our first walk. It will not be any easier the second time around - next time we walk better prepared - better informed.
Dale & Arlene