Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Hoosier National Forest mini-epic

Monday, April 26th, 2010

It rained all weekend. On Sunday, I decided to go for a ride anyway. I felt like riding my mountain bike, and doing something a little different, so I headed out to Hoosier National Forest for an 18-mile ride, almost entirely on gravel roads. Here is the route I rode.

Note that it’s the same route that I rode back in February, only then, it was covered in snow. It was interesting to see how different it looked this time.

An 18-mile, two hour-ish ride is by no means epic, but sometimes epic is more of a state of mind. The rain and the muddy, sandy gravel roads contributed to this feeling. I also fondly remembered how the area looked blanketed in snow, and how much harder the ride was then. Hence the “mini-epic” title. I will have some helmet cam videos to share from this ride, but I have not yet edited them.


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The road was paved at first …

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… but it soon turned to gravel.

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The road climbed gently for a while, and then turned sharply uphill toward the small town of Normal. I remembered this being quite a climb, but I was pleased that it felt easier than I remembered. After riding past Norman, I turned back into HNF …

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… for more gravel riding.

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Along the way, I saw a number of trails for the Hickory Ridge trail system, most of which I’ve never ridden. It was too muddy today, but I am determined to spend more time in HNF this year and further explore the Hickory Ridge trailsystem.

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I rode on a ridgetop for a little while, before a wild, multi-tiered descent. It was raining hard and the lack of fenders on my mountain bike meant I got splattered with water, mud, and small bits of gravel. I was covered in water and mud by the time I reached the bottom, including my glasses, face, legs, feet, basically everything.

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I rode briefly in creek bottoms, including a couple of creek crossings …

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… and snail, wildflower, and geode sightings.

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From this point, I basically had a long climb, a bit of flat ridgetop riding, and then another long decent. I was just flying down the hill, and once again got completely covered in muck.

By the time I finished, I was drenched, covered in mud and small rocks, and quite content.

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I’ll post some video, when I get a chance.

7 Responses to “Hoosier National Forest mini-epic”

  1. Chris Says:

    It looks like a fun ride, but I’ve got to ask the obvious question. Why not the bike with fenders?

  2. Redbike Says:

    I’m glad someone else has got the rain instead of ‘us’ over here in England. We’ve finally got dry trails!
    I took the MTB on an epic ride this weekend and after 20+hrs of riding the bike was still clean enough to be put straight in the car.

  3. furiousball Says:

    that green on the bridge is awesome, i might have a wall color for a room in my house 🙂

  4. Apertome Says:

    Chris, several reasons not to take the LHT:

    • Part of the point of the ride was I wanted to ride the mountain bike
    • The mountain bike has disc brakes and big knobby tires, both advantageous on wet, slippery gravel and allowed me to let loose on the downhills. The ride would’ve been possible on the LHT, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.
    • Somehow in the gravelly rain, the aluminum bike with a plastic saddle seemed safer than a steel bike with a leather saddle.
  5. Chandra Says:

    “By the time I finished, I was drenched, covered in mud and small rocks, and quite content.” — good going!
    Nice photos as usual!!
    Peace 🙂

  6. tim Says:

    Interesting that I was eyeing these roads up for another mixed-terrain HNF venture. Hope you’re not too bored of it to take a ride in that area again.

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