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Cross Country - Sun, Jun. 7, 2009
News Photo
Distance By the Bike: 382 miles
Day 1: 60 miles
Day 2: 50 miles
Day 3: 57 miles
Day 4: 90 miles
Day 5: 44 miles
Day 6: 52 miles
Day 7: 29 miles
ELGIN, Ill. - Judson University cross country coach Rich Weinhandl started a journey on June 1st that he has been dreaming about for years - a long bicycle ride to St. Louis.  Weinhandl started his bicycle journey at 10:10 a.m. on Monday from the Lindner Fitness Center and will finish on June 7th just north of St. Louis.
Donate - if you would like to donate to Coach Weinhandl's bicycle trip in helping raise money for the Judson cross country program, you can email him at [email protected].
Encouragement - send Coach Weinhandl an encouragement message as he finishes his journey to St. Louis.  Email him at [email protected]
Day 7 Recap
Destination Recached!!! Coach Weinhandl rode for 1 hour and 57 minutes to finish the final 29 miles to reach Pierre Marquette.  He was so ecstatic on the phone when he called saying "I made it, I did it!" 
He says, "My destination has been reached.  As I rode into my final destination today a lot of thoughts came to my mind from this trip and everybody that has helped me and encouraged me through it.  There is one I left out until now and that is my wife Becky.  You never let me go.  You encouraged me and even brought me a new saddle bag when I lost my original.  You always had a good word to say and kept me going.  Thank and I love you for that."
"As I pulled into my final destination, my favorite Christian song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean came on my ipod in 'Can't Say Enough About You.'  I want to end with this as with what the song says; I can't say enough about Him as I finish my journey.  Thank you all for your support."
Day 6 Recap
Coach Weinhandl went 52 miles on day six to just outside of Jerseyville, Illinois.  He will be staying with longtime family friends from Greenville College in Darrell and Judy Fritz. 
Coach Weinhandl says, "Pierre Marquette is now just a mere 22 miles away and I can only imagine my emotions when I see it as I meet my final destination.  I want to say thanks to those who emailed me.  My wife read them to me last night and it was such an emotional lift.  Thanks to all.
Today, coach rode in a stiff wind.  It had not been to bad until he missed his turn and had to ride back against it.  From that point on, he decided to look up a little more often.  Tomorrow will be the final day in his ride to St. Louis as he finishes at Pierre Marquette. 
Day 5 Recap
With four days behind him and flat roads for traveling, Coach Weinhandl set out for a longer trip but did not get as far only going 44 miles due to the hills he had to bike up and down.  After about the fourth hill he knew that he would not be able to go as far on day 5. 
He stopped at Illinois College for the night to stay over night there and is very thankful for their hospitality!!!!  He also took an afternoon nap on the grass to replenish himself.
Today, he met Jerry the road construction man.  Jerry was being bothered by knats and Coach sprayed him down with his 'buggin' spray.  Jerry was very pleased and said he was going to go buy some.
Tomorrow, Coach will ride to Jerseyville and then finish the trip on Monday to Pierre Marquette.  The journey was pushed back a day as Saturday was going to be the final day but do to the hills and being a little more tired he had to take an extra day.
Day 4 Recap
The hardest and most productive day of the trip came on day 4 as Coach Weinhandl rode 90 miles to keep on pace for his goal of St. Louis.  This day was the toughest for him as he pushed himself to the limit.
Tonight, he is staying in a hotel in Havanna, Illinois, due to the flooding of the Illinois and Spoon River.  The camp ground he was going to stay at is flooded and the knats are really thick to stop just anywhere to camp. 
Today, Coach saw a sign that encouraged him to make it through the rest of the trip: With God, all things are possible. 
Coach says, "This was an encouragement to me.  The sign that said 'With God, all things are possible' is so true.  How true it is for all of us.  I encourage all of you to write that saying on the walls of your heart and remember it."
WIth the journey coming to an end shortly, Coach has a few words on his heart to share from the road.  He says:
"I have been encouraged by everyone that has helped support me on this trip and helping the cross country program.  It is my deepest desire to help mentor and guide my athletes in life while they are at Judson.  I want to thank all of you that have helped me to do this and encouraged me on this journey at Judson and on the road.  Psalm 121:7-8 says, 'The Lord will keep you from all harm -- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.'  This trip has been true to those words.  I ask now that as I finish my trip that you help me get to the finish line.  Write me an encouragement note at [email protected] or if the Lord lays it on your heart, donate to the goal that I comitted to raising for this trip ($5000) to help the Judson cross country program.  Everyone one of you has meant so much to me through this trip and my work at Judson.  I thank you for that."
Day 3 Recap
A total of eight hours for the day and 3 hours and 36 minutes on the bicycle led Coach Weinhandl closer to his destination.  It was this day that he had to face a mental challenge of continuing on his journey, too.  Half way through the trip, he noticed he was missing his saddle bag.  He remembered where it might be at and biked back seven miles to the rail road crossing.  Looking around in the tall grass and on the rough rail road, he did not find it.
At this point, he pondered whether or not he should continue on.  After talking to his wife and daughter, the strength to continue was there.  His wife would bring him the needed things he lost so he could continue.
The also brought meeting two more gentlemen in Dan and Dewayne.  Coach Weinhandl met these two guys in the middle of nowhere at at country road crossing.  Dan and Dewayne are both battling the losses of their sons in car wrecks and Coach asks for prayer for them to help them through this process.
"Today was an interesting day with some mental challenges," says Weinhandl.  "I lost my saddle bag and thought about giving up the journey but encouragement from my wife and daughter made me continue.  I have met two more guys on the journey that I had great talks with and will ask prayer for."
Coach Weinhandl wanted to thank Adam Ledyard (Judson Sports Information Director) for helping with the posts of the trips and dictating the messages that Coach left.
Coach will continue his trip to St. Louis on Day 4 leaving on the Johnson Sauk Trail.
Day 2 Recap
It was a rougher day for Coach Weinhandl as he went 50.79 miles and rode for 3 hours and 35 minutes.  He had a lot of serious leg cramps and muscle cramps and that dampered the day some.  He said he will drink more water on day 3.  
He also met a drifter named Joe today and had an hour and a half talk with him.  Joe is not a Christian and thinks all Christians are hypocrites.  Coach Weinhandl asks for prayer for Joe as Joe said that Coach was different as a Christian and not a hypocrite. 
Coach Weinhandl will follow the Johnson Faulk Trail tomorrow as he goes onto Day 3 of the trip to St. Louis.
Here are a couple of quotes from Coach Weinhandl and Day 2:
"Today I ate at a family restaurant that brought back lots of memories as a high school coach," quotes Weinhandl.  "I would always bring my high school cross country teams to this restaurant when we had meets down here."
"I also want to thank all of those that have given financially to this trip and to the athletes family and friends, the Judson family, and anybody else that has sponsored this trip.  My goal was $5,000 and I currently have raised $1,579.  I would love to be at $2,000 tomorrow some time."
Day 1 Recap 
"I want to thank everyone that was at the send off today and for your prayers," says Weinhandl.  "I felt the Lord's presence the entire trip and ask that you keep your prayers coming."
Along for the trip on day one were friends of Coach Weinhandl; Dennis Hood, Jim Stahr, and Mike Sisarica.  They rode with him on the first day but both Jim and Mike will not be with Weinhandl on day two.
Coach Weinhandl went 60.962 miles on day one with 5 hours and 55 minutes of riding.  The entire trip took 8 hours and 35 minutes.  In the trip, there was one blown tire and one slight crash with nothing serious taking place. 
Day two will feature another long ride to the Green River Forest Preserve.  The ultimate goal is the Pierre Marquette State Park just north of St. Louis.
Coach Wienhandl is riding to raise money for the cross country program and to fulfill a lifetime goal of a long bicyle trip.
Each day, there will be an update of his progress on www.judsoneagles.com