Solo Spring Training Challenge

April 26 – June 14, 2020

Ride Your Bike!

challenge graphicSpring is here and cycling season is upon us. This is usually the time we begin the spring training rides, but group rides remain on hold for everyone’s health and safety. Riding and sharing our experiences is still an option, however, even while we are apart!

We want to challenge everyone to ride a bike, share the ride, and connect with each other virtually. There are two challenges that are similar to our previous spring training ride schedule – and you can sign up for one or both – and there will be prizes!

  • 4/40/40 Challenge: Start with a 4-mile ride and work your way up to a 40-mile ride in 40 days. Schedule below. 
  • 3X7X7 Challenge: Ride three times every 7 days (three times a week) for 7 weeks. No mileage requirements – just get used to riding your bike! 

Tap here for a suggested ride schedule and route recommendations. 

How to Participate

  1. Sign Up! If you’d like to join the fun, send your name and which challenge you’re going for (or both) to You can join at any time, and you can participate without formally signing up. However, sign-ups will be used to track progress for the end-of-challenge prize drawings. 
  2. Share Your Rides: Share a photo of your route or take a photo of you/your bike at the halfway mark of your ride. Then share in one (or more – whatever your preference is) of the following ways
    1. Facebook: Post the photo to your Facebook page with a short description of your ride and the tag @mcleancountywheelers. 
    2. Instagram: Post the photo and a brief ride description to Instagram with the tag #mcleancountywheelers.
    3. Strava Club: If you use Strava (and if you don’t, it is free to download and easy to use), join the McLean County Wheelers Club on the Strava app. You can then record your rides and the details will automatically post to MCW Stava Club. In the app you can see who is riding, cheer them on, and post comments to the club or other riders. Strava also connects to bluetooth enabled Garmin devices if you are interested in that approach.
    4. Email: If you’re not a social media user or fan, send your photo and route description and date of your rides to
  3. Prizes: Everyone who completes a challenge will be recognized in the newsletter. All current members that complete the challenge will be entered into a drawing the week of June 15 for some cool prizes. There will be two names drawn for each challenge, and two names drawn from those that met both challenges. Not a member? Join here.
  4. Have Fun!

Biking Buddies

If you are a member and would like a cycling mentor to provide guidance, encouragement, advice and answer your questions, send your mentor request to Mentors are available to any club member. Not a member? Join here.  

Suggested Challenge Schedule and Distance

The suggested ride schedule and distance is the same as in previous years starting with a 4-mile ride and working your way up to a 40-mile ride in 40 days. The Week #7 40 mile ride could occur at the Spring Metric, Saturday, June 13, 2020. The short rides each week are intended for weekday evenings and the longer Ride 3 on the weekend. This might not be so important this year.

Week Ride 1 Ride 2 Ride 3
April 264410
May 36615
May 10101020
May 17121225
May 24151530
May 31202035
June 7202040

Suggested Routes by Week & Distance

This list will be populated by week. You can also find ride suggestions on Strava (McLean County Wheelers Club) or Route Maps on this website. All these rides have route maps. Many route options —  ride wherever you feel safe.

Week #1 – April 26: As you can start anywhere, you could easily do a 4 mile ride in town either on the trails or our lightly trafficked streets. For example, it is a little less than 5 miles round trip from the Y on Constitution Trail (Connie Link Amphitheater) to Rosa Parks Commons (Raab Rd). Or going east on the trail from the Y to the corner of Hershey and G.E. Road. Similarly going south on the trail from the Y to the trail terminus at Croxton Ave. (about 4.5 miles roundtrip). You could combine any two of these options into a 10 (+/-) mile ride. It is also ~10 miles round trip from the Y to the north end of the Illinois Central Branch of the trail at Ziebarth Rd. The following ride suggestions are posted on Strava by Richard Boser:

  • MCW Training ride 4.2 (miles)
  • MCW Training ride 4.7 (miles)
  • First Jersey Ride (10.91 miles)

Week #2 – May 3: Depending which way the wind is blowing, you may reprise your Week #1 rides but just add a half a mile or so to get 6 mile rides. From the Y to Tipton Trails Park is a 6 mile round trip. From the Y to Northtown is closer to 7 miles round trip. Here are a couple of 15 mile options posted on Strava by Richard Boser.:

  • West side trail avoidance (15.26 miles avoiding the congested sections of the CT and most of the wind)
  • Northbridge Loop (16.7 miles)

Week #3 – May 10: Week day rides are now 10 miles each and the long ride is 20 miles.

  • You can find route options from Weeks 1 & 2 above for or from the Route Maps. More suggestions below.
  • From the CT @ Connie Link (or Underwood Park) it is a 10 mile round trip to the north end of the trail (Ziebarth Rd. ) You can avoid the congested parts of the trail by riding on Linden or Fell to parallel the trail north. Usually not too crowded after Shelbourne or Lincoln.
  • Similarly from CT @ Connie Link to the west end of the Trail at Route 9 just past Rivian Parkway is about a 12 mile round trip if you use Grove Street.
  • From the CT @ Connie Link or Rosa Parks Commons (CT @ Rabb Rd), it is ~ 12 mile round trip to Towanda on the Route 66 Branch. Connect at the east end of Shelbourne Rd.
  • From Tipton Trails shelter at GE Road to the west end of the trail (Rt. 9) is about 10 miles each way, which creates a 20 mile round trip without going out of town. With a little planning or explorations, you can do this route and avoid the busy sections of the CT.
  • Another popular 20 mile ride is from the CT at Rosa Parks Commons to Green Gables at Lake Bloomington. From the north end of the CT turn right on Ziebarth (1900 N), go east a bit more than a mile to 1600 E and follow north. When it ends at 2500 N, turn right and it will be a bit more than a mile to Green Gables. Check Strava or Google Maps for additional directions.

Week #4 – May 17: Week day rides are now 12 miles each and the long ride is 25 miles.

  1. See suggestions in Week #3 above for a couple of 12 mile routes.
  2. For “more comfortable” street rides and in-town rides as an alternative to CT, see the Friends of the Constitution Trail map. You can find an easy to read pdf version of the map online, and posted in large sign format at the Y and several other CT locations. Paper copies may be found at the bike shops.
  3. For 25 mile ride options, you can (a) expand on the 20 mile options in Week #3 above, or (b) see ride maps posted on Strava. Rides to Lake Bloomington, Merna, or west toward Danvers can be easily and safely planned for 25 miles. Google Maps, Ride with GPS, and other apps can help in the route planning.

Week #5 – May 24: Wow – do you remember when we started at only 4 miles per ride. So yesterday! Week #5 is now two (2) 15 mile rides and a long ride stretch of 30 miles.

  1. As always see previously identified rides or ones you have already done and modify to add a few extra miles. Good way to explore the trails, neighborhoods, and county roads.
  2. A great 15 -17 mile ride from Uptown Normal going north is the Northbridge loop. Route maps on Strava with several options. Basically go north to the end of the trail or your friendly street equivalent, turn right onto Ziebarth (E1900N), follow to the north end of Northbridge, turn left into the subdivision and follow the streets until it meets a branch of the CT along Pipeline Road. You can follow the trail along the lake and tree lined creek back Northtown Rd and continue back to the north-south branch of the trail or the alternate street route of your choice.
  3. For +/-30 miles options, time to venture out of town toward Danvers, Evergreen Lake (Comlara), Cooksville, or Lake Bloomington and on to Kappa along the north side of the Mackinaw. Here are two other suggestions with Garmin maps:
    • East Edge Loop ~30 miles. Long stretch on 1500 & back through Towanda. Very little elevation change (i.e. mostly flat).
    • Danvers via Twin Groves.  ~35 miles west from the Y. Returns  by the old Apple Barn. Maybe save for Week #6!

Week #6 – May 31: To keep with the 4/40/40 challenge, the two (2) short rides of 20 miles and a long ride of 35 miles.

  1. So when did 20 miles become a short ride? There are numerous suggestions above for 20 mile rides. See Week #3 where 20 miles was the long ride….
  2. A 35 mile ride is definitely a challenge. You could ride a couple of the 20 mile rides and adjust to reduce the mileage some. To venture further afield, the BloNo-Lake Bloomington-Kappa loop is ~35 miles, as is Dawson Lake (Moraine View State Park) from Tipton Trails, and BloNo to Lexington via Lake Bloomington. A couple of popular routes below from our Route Maps. Also see Strava for additional inspiration and maps.

Week #7 – June 8: Just about the end — or maybe only the beginning of longer rides. You will be happy to know that the short ride distance is the same as last week, two (2) short rides of 20 miles, and the long ride increases to the GOAL distance of 40 miles!

  1. 20 mile is the same distance as last week. See previous recommendations.
  2. For 40 miles, consider riding:
    • any two of the Solo Metric routes from Comlara Park. Each route is 21-22 miles.
    • If you feel comfortable riding north on the county roads, it is approximately a 40 mile round trip to ride from Normal to Route 1 or Route 3, ride the route loop, and then head on back to town. <See example map here>
    • Lots of other 40 mile inspirational rides options posted on the website (Route Map) or the McLean County Wheeler Club on Strava.

Happy riding. RB  [Last updated 6/8/20]

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