Day 6

Day 6, the home stretch, from McHenry to the north
shore and sweet home Chicago along the lake.
  Along the ride, people kept adding adornments to my bike helmet (partially visible in the picture above).  Secure in my "manliness", by day six I was sporting a smart looking helmet full of smiley stickers, two antennae made out of those fuzzy pipe cleaners, and a several stick-on creatures.
Day six brought an end to a very memorable life experience.  Along the way I met a lot of genuinely wonderful people that I felt privileged to ride with, and a lot of very nice people in small towns you've never heard of.  The ride culminated with a moving reception in Grant Park.  During the reception, a group of HIV positive riders walked a "riderless" bicycle through the streets for a rider who participated in the previous year's ride.  He had finally lost his life to the AIDS disease.  

Day 6, through the streets of Chicago to Grant Park,
500 miles, we did it!

My own welcoming committee: Anthony, Mike and Joey.

At this point my body was ready for it all to end.  I also must admit, the thought of sleeping in my own bed and not waiting in line for the port-a-potties was extremely appealing by day six.

Bill celebrating at the finish in Grant Park on Day 6.

Although I was glad to finally be finished, I knew I'd miss the experience of riding with such a great group of people.  Bob, the oldest rider, had met his goal of riding every single mile.  He rode all 500 hundred, including all of the killer hills on day 4.

Thanks to those who supported me in 2000.
Pat Montelo
Rider #2079
The End