The Hilly Hundred comes but once a year, and we decided to ride part of the route as we did last year. This year we lasted longer on the route, riding about 20 miles with the pack.
Jojo and I headed north through Cascades Park, then up Hillview to Old 37 and down Firehouse Hill. We saw a few riders heading back our way, but they did not have numbers, and were not in the tour. When we got to Sample Road, we were warmed up, and stopped to take off layers while watching hundreds of riders going by as they turned on to Old 37.
We joined the group, and it seemed there were a lot of fast moving riders, constantly shouting out “On your left!” Sometimes they would shout it just as they were passing, sort of like those car drivers who wait till they are alongside you, then honk to scare you. I think these riders are either scared I will swerve (even though I ride straight, even uphill), or they just want acknowledgement for their superior riding skills, or perhaps they just like to shout. All three played together, but I think the last was when riders less than 6 feet apart would yell “Car Up”, one after the other, I guess it is just part of the pack culture, and is actually quite useful when not overdone.
We turned on Andersen Road, and hammered on till Bean Blossom Rd, which is about a mile and quarter miles long, rising steeply at first, leveling out and climbing again, with 275 feet of rise in elevation. At the bottom, some people started walking right away, others sprinted up the steepest grade. I just chugged along as usual, saving my energy, and to my surprise, I had enough juice left to “sprint” at the end, actually passing another biker as others had passed me.
We parked at the top, and hung with the happy crowd, then I went to the top of the hill and took this video of other folks cresting the ridge.
I got tired of being around so many people, so we rode north on Forest Road for a while and found a picnic table, and ate some lunch. I had a route lined out through the woods to Low Gap Rd and then on Bear Creek Road, but we had already seen some of the hunters our this season, and decided maybe we could wait till hunting season is over, I’d love to try it after a good snow.
We headed back towards the crowd, but as we came to the intersection, just about everyone was gone. The Forest Road is one of those special place, it takes some real work to get here from town, 15 miles plus a couple of tough climbs, but well worth it. To the north is the White River Valley, and to the south the ridges drain either to the Bean Blossom, or Bryant’s Creek. The air here always feels clean, with the smell of fresh pine, and at 850 to 900 feet, the breezes blow strong.
The Main Forest Road ends on the west at Old 37, which runs the ridge for another mile or two, then heads down to the valley. As we just got going downhill, Sue Aquila came riding up, slowed down a bit to say hi, then took off like a shot, her training and equipment puts her at least 10 mph ahead of our normal pace, even down hill. I assume she enjoyed moving fast through the route without having to contend with the thousands people ahead, though my guess is she caught up. We stopped to listen to the bluegrass band at the lunch stop, but soon headed out to the second half of the day as we had already had lunch.
We crossed 4 lane 37 with the help of the state police, this was something quite unexpected. We had to climb up Turkey Trot hill, then took Paragon Road, which runs along the floodplain at the foot of the Hoosier Hills. We turned south and headed up Salem Road, taking it up to Burma Road. We rode a short distance more with the crowd, but then took Dittamore south to Bottom Road, which is always comfortable to ride, and we cruised through the valley. We stopped at turn in the road, and laid down in the warm sun, we were both pretty tired, our rides have been a bit shorter most days, and often broken with a hike or swim. On this ride, we were definitely influenced by all the folks trying to go fast, and so we hammered more often than usual. We were there about 5 minute when Sue came by, amazingly she had ridden out to Ellettsville, then the 50 miles of the Hilly, then back to Bottom Road to ride another 30 miles to make 100 for the day!
We hung out a bit more, then heard a combine off in the corner of the field harvesting soybeans, and headed our way, so we headed up the hill after checking out the Bean Blossom Creek, which is really down, maybe 2 feet deep at the most.
We climbed our last hill to Kinser Pike, came back through Cascades, and even with a little nap we were tired by the time we peaked the hill on College. We headed home, and I had enough left to do some chores, but we ate early, and I hit the sheets by 10 pm.
Nature Journal: Not much to report, there are few wildflowers left, and the leaves are just starting to turn, the yellows are coming on strong, but still the forest is mostly shades of green. We heard a bunch of woodpeckers, and we saw a hawk fly down the road in front of us.