Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Bloomfield Covered Bridge with Bloomington Bicycle Club

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

On Saturday, I rode with the Bloomington Bicycle Club again. They were doing the Bloomfield Covered Bridge route, an 80-mile ride west of town. Here is the route.

About 30 people showed up; nearly half of them did the 80-mile route. The other half or so did the shorter 50-mile route. A few riders added an extension down to Williams, IN for a century and then some. I rode the 80-mile route.

After my last ride with some folks from the club, when I had trouble keeping up and ultimately dropped out, I was a little nervous. I thought I’d end up riding with a slower group of riders this time, but I didn’t. I rode with some of the same people, and several others, and the average pace was a little slower this time, but we still maintained a 16.2-mph average over the 80 miles. Even though the pace wasn’t much slower, I fared a lot better this time.

The first major climb was up Victor Pike. I could tell my fitness has been improving. I felt good about my performance on this climb. I wasn’t fast but I still felt good when I reached the top of the hill.

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For a while, I did OK, but was near the back of the pack. We quickly reached some roads that were unfamiliar to me, and some very enjoyable downhills, as well as some climbs.

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One rider had an odd crank. It was really messing with my head. I talked to him later and he told me it’s called a PowerCrank. The crank arms move independently, so sometimes when coasting, he would put both feet down, or rest one foot while turning the other. I think the idea is that it forces you to turn the cranks evenly to get smooth pedaling. In this photo, you can see that the rider in front of me is coasting, with both pedals down.

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For a while, I had trouble keeping up. I fell behind the group a little bit, and it’s very hard to catch back up. Plus, the scenery was just stunning — ridgetop riding with great views, for a while.

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Eventually, I caught up on a downhill and managed to stick with the group this time. For a while, we rode in a double paceline. Unfortunately, riding in a double paceline requires full concentration, so I could not take photos during this time. But, I found that at least I was able to keep up with the group. We saw a few deer along the way, and had some close calls with dogs. One dog almost got hit by a car when he tried to chase us. Another dog ran right out in front of one of the riders, but he managed to swerve and avoid hitting the dog.

Eventually, we reached Bloomfield and made our way over to the covered bridge. Built in 1883, it’s still in good shape today.

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We headed back to Bloomfield IGA for lunch. I think the locals were a little confused with a big group of cyclists showing up at once.

After lunch, I felt surprisingly good. I don’t know if the group backed off the pace a little or if I was just riding stronger, but I wasn’t having so much trouble keeping up anymore. A couple of flat sections did give me a chance to catch my breath. By this time it was getting hot, but the heat was not as oppressive as some other recent rides. Overall, I felt pretty good.

The return trip wasn’t as memorable as the first half, but that may be because I was more intensely focused on the group ride dynamic. There weren’t as many hills on the way back, but the hills we did hit were bigger. The Harrodsburg Road climb was particularly painful.

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I wasn’t really engaged in conversation much of the time; the riding was intense. But I did meet another all-weather commuter. And, another rider had gastric bypass surgery and has lost 180 pounds in the last year. I think this was his longest ride ever. Amazing!

I’m still adjusting to the group dynamic. I’d definitely like to ride this route again sometime, so I can take photos and enjoy the scenery more. The group rides are great for training and generally improving my riding, but photo/exploration opportunities are much more limited.

4 Responses to “Bloomfield Covered Bridge with Bloomington Bicycle Club”

  1. Chris Says:

    As you pointed out, faster group rides, with double pacelines are a whole different thing. There’s the teamwork, drafting benefits, and speed, but it does require concentration. Those dog hazards for an individual are one thing, but an aggressive approach by a large dog from 3 o’clock can be quite hazardous for a paceline.

    Great ride. I guess you’re one of those fast roadies now. Don’t tell me you’ve started doing interval sessions every week…

  2. Apertome Says:

    Fast roadie? I take exception at that! 😉 I’m not becoming a hammerhead, I’m just branching out.

    Fear not, I rode two other days over the weekend, in my more typical pace/mindset. More on those rides later.

  3. Tim S Says:

    Congrats on the pace. I remember oh so many years ago handling a good pace around 15-17. I’m not quite there anymore, but the road still beckons.

  4. Ear to the Breeze » Blog Archive » A scenic summer ramble Says:

    […] had Monday off for the holiday. After Saturday’s 80-mile hammerfest and Sunday’s mountain biking, I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic, so I thought a […]

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