It’s ambitious – a one day ride across the state of Indiana – 165 miles from Terre Haute to Richmond. Not impossible, but definitely a challenging ride. The forecasts had temperatures in the mid-90s, with a light wind out of the southwest. Those forecasts were pretty close, but on to the story.
I got to Richmond about 3 in the afternoon, just minutes after my riding buddy Rob. We got our bikes ready to go on the bike truck for their trip from Richmond to Terre Haute. WE were supposed to leave at 4pm, but we wound up leaving at 4:45, and after some rerouting around a crash and road construction, finally got to Saint Mary of the Woods College, the start point and our accomodations for the night. We picked up our bikes, rider packets, and dorm room keys. I took my bike, overnight bag, and the bag with my cycling gear up to the room. I put lights, the GPS, and top tube bag with energy bars and gu on the bike. It’s ready to go, just need to air up the tires before we head out tomorrow morning.
Went out to get a bite to eat with Rob, Allan, and Allan’s wife Donna. Good conversation and dinner, but we all needed to get some sleep as tomorrow’s start is coming early. Rob and Allan were going to ride from the Illinois state line to the start, and I was going to meet them there at 6am. While we got ready to go, it was dark but sunrise was imminent. Filled the water bottles with Gatorage, and the Camelbak with ice water. Since we weren’t coming back to Terre Haute, my bag went in the back of Allan’s truck for the trip to Richmond.
Turned in the room key, and I was off and riding. not knowing what the day would bring.
The first bit of riding is in Terre Haute, basically south on IN-150 towards US-40 which is our main road to Richmond. There were some climbs in the initial miles, but nothing I would call a major climb. Made it to the first rest stop at 40 miles without too much trouble. I fell in with a group of riders from Columbus, Indiana. They were riding at 16-18mph, which is a good pace and the paceline made it very manageable. About 30 miles or so into the ride, the group really ramped up the pace on a climb and I let them go. I probably could have stayed with them, but I would have paid a price for that effort later in the day.
From the first rest stop to the second at 66 miles in, the route was basically east on US-40. A few climbs, again nothing huge, and made it to the second rest stop. Close to the rest stop, we left US-40. The temperature was climbing and the sweating was in top gear. I was drinking a lot, and eating as I rode. I filled my bottles and the Camelbak, and set out for the lunch stop.
The third stop, the lunch stop, was 95 miles in. I stopped several times in the shade of trees on this stretch, to drink and eat, and to rest a bit. This was the hard stretch for me, as the temperature continued to climb and the heat was catching up with me. This section was on narrower roads, 2-lanes, and being later in the day there was more traffic. There was a detour around construction just before the lunch stop, by the time I got there I was pretty much done. Sat around a bit, drinking and eating a little, and made the decision to call it at 95 miles into the ride. Not an easy decision, but it was the right one to make.
However that left a minor problem in that my truck was waiting for me in Richmond, 65 miles away. I needed to find a ride from Franklin Community School that could take not only me, but my bike as well. Luck was with me, because the first people I asked about a ride to Richmond were happy to haul me and my bike. Really nice folks, and a sincere thank-you to them for their Hoosier hospitality and the ride back to Richmond.
Back in Richmond, I was there to see my riding buddy Allan finish the ride. That left Rob still out on the route. Went to take a shower, which was good but would have been better had the water been a little cooler. Oh, well. I was back in Richmond, Allan had finished, Donna was there as well, and Rob was inbound. When I got back from the shower, Rob had texted Allan that he was a couple of hours out. I made the difficult decision to head south for home instead of waiting 2 hours for Rob to finish. I know he will be OK with it, but I will probably regret that decision for a while. I told Allan and Donna goodbye, and headed back home. With construction delays and closed roads around Indianapolis, I finally got home at 11;15pm. A long day, but I will be back to start and finish next year.