Saturday, July 21, 2012

Terre Haute to Richmond

Weather: Patches of fog AM, Sunny PM, starting temp 68, finishing temp 86

Ride stats: 164 miles, 3442 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 9h 24m  Total ride time: calc error

Yesterday my wife, Jeanne, picked up our son, Nick, in Coumbus, Indiana, and they drove to Terre Haute where Nick will join our group for today’s ride.  Today the RAINSTORM riders join 1500 riders on the cross state RAIN ride.  The RAIN ride starts at a college on the north side of Terre Haute.  Traditionally, the RAINSTORM riders just join the RAIN ride from the hotel rather than trying to transport the bikes to the college.  This just cuts about 2 miles off the total 160 miles by the time you subtract the distance from the hotel to the route from the route start to the joining point.  When I mentioned to Nick that we’d just start from the hotel with the RAINSTORM riders, I loved his reply…he said “that’s bogus” as he wanted to ride the full official RAIN route.  I don’t blame him as it does mean you’ll ride the official route.  My group of RAINSTORM riders wanted to get an early start, eating breakfast at 05:00 and start riding at 05:30.  So…Nick, Jeanne, and I loaded Nick and my bikes in the van, left the hotel at 03:50 drove up to the college, unloaded the bikes, then he and I rode our bikes back to the hotel and joined the others for the 05:00 breakfast.  As it was dark at that hour, Jeanne followed us in the van the whole way with her lights and flashers on.  Our whole group was on the road riding somewhere around 05:40 and Jeanne trailed us in the van until after sunrise with lights/flashers on (sunrise here is around 06:30).

The cooler morning air felt good and we hit some patches of fog as the sun rose.  Today’s route gains overall elevation but is mostly flat with a few long hills thrown in.  We start near the Illinois border at Terre Haute and stay on Route 40 (which goes directly east) for most of the day.  We are taken off Route 40 to loop around the south side of Indianapolis then rejoin route 40 east of Indy.  There are 5 rest stops set up by the RAIN ride organizers for water and food, but we had Jeanne SAGGING for us so we could get water, etc from the van.  She also took some great photos of the group which are posted below.  The lunch stop is outdoors at a school just south of Indianapolis.

Just two minor mechanical issues today.  Jeff, another RAINSTORM rider who joined our group today had two flat tires, and I had something go wrong with my seat post cap.  I was riding with about 35 miles left to go, hit a bump and heard a sharp “snap” directly under my saddle.  I stopped, didn’t see anything broken, and just assumed that the saddle clamp had slipped.  I loosened the clamp, readjusted the angle, and re-tightened it but for some reason it would not hold the proper saddle angle.  Anyway, it wasn’t bad and was just a minor irritation when sitting on the saddle.  I’ll have to take it apart later.

Typically, there will be at least some westerly component to the wind on the day of the RAIN ride.  Not today.  The wind was calm for the first few hours, then began a mild/moderate 6-8 mph NE wind which we rode against for the rest of the day.

We rode faster/harder than I thought we would this entire week.  In the evenings and mornings I felt the effects, but once on the bike and pedaling, that all worked itself out.  I could not have asked for a better roommate than Jim.  He and his other two TEAM ROLL teammates (Heidi and Vicky) were great.  The other three riders who road with us daily, Jack, Roger, and Steve were good companions as well and I am glad I had the chance to get to know this group.  I’m back in Richmond now, visiting with Mom and Dad before driving home to Illinois.  683 miles in 6 days with some outstanding people, beautiful roads, and fantastic state park lodges.  I even got to be an honorary TEAM ROLL member for a day!  It was a great week.

Posted below are photos from today’s ride.  Click on any photo to open the gallery.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bloomington to Terre Haute

Weather: Cloudy all day, starting temp 70, high temp 85

Ride stats: 103 miles, 3560 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 6h 17m   Total ride time: 7h 34m

Finally cooler today.  Cloudy and misty when we started out and stayed cloudy all day.  High was only (?) 85.  Started out with some fairly big climbs the first 20 miles out of Bloomington, then things were generally flatter with scattered climbs.  Steve broke a spoke fairly early today.  He could ride it slowly, so we took it easy for about 5 miles until we reached a SAG vehicle.  He had to be transported to Terre Haute, but has been able to get it repaired and will be riding again tomorrow.

My wife, Jeanne, and son, Nick drove in to Terre Haute today.  Nick will be riding tomorrow’s portion of the ride with us.  This is the 160 mile RAIN ride.  The 41 riders who have been riding RAINSTORM all week will join 1500 riders doing the cross state RAIN ride tomorrow.  Big enrollment for RAIN this year.

Trying to get everything ready for tomorrow, so I’m just going to post some photos and wrap it up.  Group wants to meet for breakfast at 5 AM and start riding at 5:30.  Goodnight!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spring Mill State Park Bloomington

Weather: Sunny AM, partly cloudy PM, starting temp 72, finishing temp 96

Ride stats: 95 miles, 6736 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 6h 30m, Total ride time:  8h 05m

Very hot and very hilly!  That pretty much sums up the day.  Full day and it is getting late, so will not write much today.  Today’s story can be seen in the photo gallery below!  Click on any photo and a scroll-able enlargement comes up.  Tomorrow we ride to Terre Haute.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Clifty Falls State Park to Spring Mill State Park

Weather: Sunny most of day, light rain at end of ride.

                Starting temp 72, finishing temp 95

Ride stats: 104 miles, 4594 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 6h 10m, Total ride time: 8h 6m

NOTE:  Rearranged things – all photos from today added at the end of today’s entry.

Starting to get into a pattern.  Here is the routine:

Breakfast at 6:30, daily ride brief from Kathy
Load gear in truck after breakfast, riding by 07:15
Ride, drink water, ride, drink water, ride, drink water…
Throw in occasional drinks of Perpetuem, Cliff Bars, carb gels, and electrolytes
Lunch around 55-60 miles, usually Subway
Ride, drink water, ride, drink water, ride, drink water…
Throw in occasional drinks of Perpetuem, Cliff Bars, carb gels, and electrolytes
Arrive at destination, get key, get gear from truck, take bike and gear to room
Drink water, shower, wash out clothes and hang them to dry, drink water
Drink water and stretch
Eat dinner with other riders, drink water
Work on this blog, drink water
Go to bed, wake up multiple times to go to bathroom from drinking water
Wake up 05:30, get packed and start again.

Here is the route map from today and the profile.  Lots of rolling hills mixed in with flat areas.  One big, long climb around mile 65.  Felt fairly good in the flats, but my legs were feeling weak on the later hills.  I get tired during the ride, but I always get tired when doing a single day ride this length.  It seems the other riders’ thoughts seem to be holding fairly true.  I don’t think I am much more tired during the ride because it is a multiple day ride versus what I would feel on a similar single day ride.

Jim, my roommate, as well as Vicky and Heidi came over together from Columbus, Ohio.  They ride in a club called TEAM ROLL.  Every day they wear their club jerseys and shorts, so they all match and they look quite professional.  I feel left out.  So…I figured I can at least be a TEAM ROLL apprentice.  I made the little sign shown in the photo and clothes-pinned it to the back of my jersey.  It was good for a laugh!  It even stayed on for the first 35 miles!  At that point, half of it ripped off and while riding I tried to reach back to reattach it.  Dropped the clothes pin on the road and sure wasn’t going to stop out of our paceline to pick it up.  At the next water stop some riders said they saw a clothes pin out in the middle of the road.  I know nothing about it.

No problem with dogs yet, but had a one today that wanted to put on a chase.  We were riding through a lot of rolling hills and were moving fairly slowly up a hill when Fido decided it would be a good time to come say hello.  Lots of barking and coming right up to the bikes but never seemed to be a real threat to bite.  Only problem was we were going slow and he could keep up with us.  Kept running around the bikes, including in front of them.  A little concern that he could knock someone over, but he eventually decided to go back home without incident.

HOT today.  However, in the last 10 miles we had a five mile stretch with light rain.  The rain felt great and it seemed to bring some short-lived cool air with it.  First accident in our group.  We were riding up a hill at a moderately slow pace and Roger was in front of me.  All of a sudden I heard “BAM” and Roger was lying on the pavement.  He is not sure how it happened, he only knows his front wheel all of a sudden went out from under him.  Some scrapes and cuts that will be sore, but nothing broken.  Bike survived okay.

Here are some more photos from today.  Still learning about blogging on WordPress.  Am going to try a photo gallery this time.  If you click on any thumbnail photo below, it should bring the photos up to scroll through.  This is our last night in a State Park lodge.  Tomorrow we stay in a Bloomington hotel.  I will miss the lodges.  They are great!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Brown County State Park to Clifty Falls State Park

Weather: Sunny, starting temp 72, high temp 93

Ride stats: 101 miles, 3123 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 6h 1m, Total ride time: 7h 34m


Interesting…the last couple days I have asked other riders who have ridden RAINSTORM in the past how they felt (physically) on days 2-6.  Virtually all said that they did not feel significantly more fatigued on days 2-6 compared to how they felt on day one.  I was a bit skeptical.  However, I was surprised to find out that today (day 2) I felt fairly strong.  Not really much different from yesterday.  A minor bit of chafing (Chamois Butt’r and Udder Cream work very well!) and last night I felt an overall sense of moderate fatigue, but once on the bike this morning that all worked itself out.  So far so good.  We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

Day 2 route

Today’s route started at Brown County State Park and went south and east to Clifty Falls State Park which is on the Ohio River in Madison, Indiana.  We started out with some rolling hills in Brown County, Then things were flatter for a while until we approached Madison.  There is a screaming 1.6 mile descent down to the river at Madison.  That was FUN!  However, as you are having a blast on the descent you can’t help but think that whatever goes down must come back up.  After a beautiful ride along the river in Madison, we headed to Clifty Falls State Park.  The south park entrance (which is where we entered) is down by the river, but immediately after entering the park you climb back up to the ridge at the same elevation you began your screaming descent.  However, there is one catch.  The descent was 1.6 miles.  The ascent is half that…0.8 miles to return to the same elevation you just took 1.6 miles to come down.  0.8 miles of 8-15 degree climb.  With 92 miles on our legs.  Ouch!

Day 2 profile. Rolling hills at the start of the day, finishing with a big drop to the river, then back up again.

Bikes parked inside the Walmart entrance (Subway was in Walmart)

We stopped at Subway in Scottsburg for lunch.  We ate lunch at a Subway yesterday as well.  A bit of repitition but I was glad we stopped there.  Somehow when riding a Subway sandwich really hits the spot!  The air conditioning didn’t feel too bad either.

All-in-all a pretty uneventful ride other than one miss of what could have been a real problem.  When Vicky was climbing up a hill in Brown County she noticed an odd sound and feel coming from her rear wheel.  She stopped to check it out and the skewer lever had come open allowing the axle to move in the frame.  Haven’t seen that happen before, but its not good.  The skewer is what holds the wheel on the frame and it is what you release to take the wheel off when you change a flat tire.  Anyway, it was tightened, latched, and was not a further problem.

Clifty Inn entrance

Clifty Falls is another great state park.  Our room overlooks the Ohio River, is large, and very nice.  Luckily, each state park lodge allows us to keep our bikes in our rooms.  They are clean, so we aren’t getting anything dirty, and it is good to know they are secure.  Dinner in the lodge is included in the cost of the ride.  Buffet style, but very good buffet.  Great salad, then excellent tasting main course selections.  Not a stale buffet at all.  I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it.  Wonder if the dining room is still open?

Additional photos from today:

Riding in Brown County

Our group

Freetown grocery

Freetown grocery water stop

Over the shoulder photo

Steve from Pensacola, Florida, rode with our group today

Rest break

That’s how to cool off!

Ohio River overlook, Hanover College

Ohio River in Madison

Riding through Clifty Falls State Park

Salt from sweat on my shorts after today’s ride

Clifty Inn dining room

Clifty Inn overlooking Ohio River

Clifty Inn

Clifty Inn

Monday, July 16, 2012

Richmond to Brown County State Park

Weather:  Mostly sunny, starting temp 70, high temp 95

Ride stats: 116 miles, 3150 feet of climbing
Time on bike: 7h 0m, Total ride time 8h 30m 

Day one down.  Where to start?  Still on a learning curve with this blog – should get easier each day as I get things ironed out!

Galo’s restaurant

Last night most of the riders met in Richmond at Galo’s Italian restaurant for a meal, then we went to the host hotel to pick up registration packets.  As I am staying with my parents in Richmond, I dropped off my gear last night, then rode to the starting point at Earlham College this morning.

Today’s route took us from Richmond to Brown County State Park.  We had about 3 hours of decent temperatures, then it started getting hot.  Mild headwind in open areas.  Most of the ride was fairly flat today…until the final 15 miles.  Some big, steep hills going into Brown County!

My roommate, Jim

My roommate for the week is Jim, a gentleman from near Columbus, Ohio.  Neither of us had roommates when we signed up, so we were paired.  I met Jim Sunday night, then we met at Earlham College at 07:00 this morning to begin the ride.  Six of us spent the day riding together.


Jim came over with two other members of his riding club, Heidi and Vicky.  Two other riders, Jack from Rockford, IL and Roger, from Louisville, rounded out our group of six.  For whatever reason, the photo that someone took of our group before the ride did not come out, so I don’t have a “group photo”.  Here are some individual photos of the group I took as we rode.




Heidi receives honors for the first flat tire.  Happened at mile 37.  Here is the flat change and repair with on-bike tools, then further air added when we came up on a support vehicle  with a floor pump.

All-in-all the route worked well today with one minor glitch – we missed one turn.  Directions are provided in two forms.  You are given a map and “cue sheet” with a turn by turn description and the route is also marked on the road itself with little arrows and the letter R.  There will be one road marking a few hundred feet before the turn, one at the turn, and one after the turn to let you know you went the right way.  Theoretically you should have your cue sheet out and follow the turn by turn description, but most people just get a quick overview of the route on the map, then rely on the road markings.  You figure that with 6 riders that at least one of you will catch any road marking missed by others.  Well, we were going through the town of Shelbyville on a fairly busy road, we must have missed the first marking and there just happened to be a semi (truck) blocking our view of the next marking in the left turn lane.  About a mile and a half down the road we knew something wasn’t right, so we got to see that area twice!

Here are a few more photos from today, then I have to hit the sack!

Typical SAG vehicle stop for water


Bikes at Mini-mart stop

Crossing covered bridge

Luggage pick-up from truck at Abe Martin Lodge

Waiting to get room key

Abe Martin Lodge courtyard

Dining area at lodge