Last Thursday was the last day of my summer class. There’s a second summer session, but I’m not taking any more classes this summer. So I guess I’m on summer vacation! (Aside from work, of course.)
As you might imagine, I was anxious to get out for a good solid bike ride. Tim was game, so on Saturday we met at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Reserve near Seymour, IN, for a solid 56-mile ride. It was mostly paved, but some gravel and a bit of trail, as well. The odd thing about this route was that it was flat-to-rolling most of the time, except one big hill (knob) right around halfway through the ride. Here is a map of our route.
I woke up Saturday to a whole lot of thunder, and heavy rain. One good thing about riding with Tim is that I always know he’s up for riding in any conditions. There wasn’t any question about whether we would ride, just how wet we’d get.
We met at Muscatatuck around 9am, right on the tail end of some rain. The rain basically stopped as we were getting ready to ride. Our first few miles were gravel with some great wildlife — deer, herons, geese, bullfrogs.
Then it was pavement for a while through gently-rolling farmland.
Soon we started to get glimpses of the knobs, where we were headed. Specifically, we were going to Jackson-Washington State Forest, which contains several knobs and is part of the Knobstone Escarpment area in Indiana.
The buggy sign below was hand-made. A nice touch.
Before long we were in Brownstown, IN, a small town that Sarah and I have visited on a few different occasions. We stopped for water and restrooms.
Here’s Tim’s Litespeed, with a few upgrades since the last time I saw it. The bike is even better than before!
And of course, here is my Long Haul Trucker.
The sky grew increasingly ominous. Tim ran into someone he knew there (small world!) and an old man chatted us up. He seemed to be quite a character, but his countrified accent was so thick it was hard to understand what he was saying.
During all this time the clouds got darker and darker. It was clear we were going to get quite wet. We rolled out.
Just a few minutes outside of town, Tim felt his rear tire going flat. We stopped, and he immediately started working on it. I took the opportunity to look around a bit.
The rain finally started. It was coming down pretty hard.
Here’s Tim, working on his tire in the rain. He fixed it rather efficiently but carefully. His work paid off; the fix held.
We rolled out again, only to find our road closed.
Of course, roads that are impassable by car are often easily navigated with a bicycle. We pressed on. Soon we saw why the road was closed. This photo stinks, but you can see the landslide debris on the road.
We made our way over the debris and the climb up the knob started in earnest.
Soon we saw where the landslide had started. An upper portion of the road had washed away.
After a while, we made it to the top. We just took our time and spun up in a low gear. Almost immediately after we reached the top, we were treated to an excellent vista.
We rode further down the road for a few more views.
Then it was a long descent. It had more or less stopped raining at this point. The road down was so steep that Tim walked part of it. I rode it, but I did so very slowly.
Once at the bottom, we continued on and it was back to being flat. We had a great tailwind for a while. Tim wasn’t feeling great, but the wind certainly helped us along.
We could see numerous storm clouds, and as we rode along we were able to watch them grow and change. Very cool.
This wheat field scene captured our attention.
As did this very small church.
We passed a couple of gravel roads that looked they’d be fun to explore, such as the one below, but we stuck to our route.
Eventually, we hit gravel. A downhill, some turns, and some flat riding. The sky was different now but still quite stunning.
Soon we were back near Muscatatuck; a short jaunt on a trail and some gravel roads took us back to our cars. My sandals were funny here, I could feel the wet grass on my toes as I pedaled.
All in all it was a wonderful ride. The weather was spectacular, not in a picture-perfect kind of way, but it was impressive to watch the clouds and experience the rain. We somehow missed the big storms. The rain that we did encounter wasn’t bad at all.
Since this ride was mostly flat and mostly paved, it was a relatively easy 56 miles, except the few miles on the knob. Even so, I was getting pretty tired toward the end. It had been a while since I’d been on long bike ride. I feel I rode well, especially considering how little riding I’ve done lately.
I’ve got a lot of riding planned in July. I am looking forward to it!