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Beanblossom Ride

Monday, July 15th, 2013

As I attempt to get back in some semblance of shape, I’ve been doing some rather short rides (20ish miles), usually only riding one major hill in a ride. I’m a little surprised at how bad my fitness is at the moment, but I’m going to work up to longer rides gradually … especially given that the weather is finally heating up in what has been a relatively cool summer thus far.

My riding buddy Dave is in a similar situation, also having ridden relatively little, although I think he’s better off than I am in the fitness department. At any rate, this weekend we met up for a ride of about 27 miles. It was the hottest day in a while — in the upper 80s, but it felt hotter to me.

While we stood in Dave’s driveway deciding on a route, I felt like I was roasting. When we rolled out, there wasn’ t a cloud in the sky.

Once we got moving, we generated enough breeze that I felt quite a bit better. It also helped that the first portion of our ride seemed to have a fair number of downhills. A fun start!

Oddly there was a relatively large amount of traffic, given our relatively remote riding area and the fact that it was a Sunday. There were a lot of cars, but every single one was courteous, so it wasn’t too bad.

This run down State Road 45 was especially exhilarating.


We passed a lot of beautiful fields. Later in the ride, Dave said the sky had “Simpsons Clouds.”



After a while we arrived in Beanblossom, IN. We stopped under an awning to rest and have a snack, and debated whether to go for more miles, or turn back. I was feeling sluggish and it was only getting hotter, so we turned back. Naturally, after the snack I got a second wind and probably could have ridden further, but I still think it was the right choice at the time.

Our route took across across the causeway on Lake Lemon — always a favorite spot for me.


The breezy air and the number or boats made some waves on the lake.


After you cross the lake, you have to climb a big hill. There are a couple of different roads you can take. Dave and I always disagree about which one is less painful. On this ride we went with his preference and climbed on South Shore Drive.

I think this climb is particularly brutal because even though it starts out at a reasonable grade, and even lets up for a moment, you get 2/3 of the way up the hill, THEN it gets steep. By the time I reach that point, I’m often running out of energy. I was hoping that the climb wouldn’t be as bad as I remembered, but it really was about how I recalled. I made it up without stopping, but I was exhausted when I reached the top.

My preference is to climb Shuffle Creek Road. The maximum grade is higher, but the steep portion is at the bottom, and you get past it quickly and then it’s not so bad.

At any rate, the climb was doable and overall it was an excellent ride. I’m definitely itching for more rides. Unfortunately it’s getting quite hot out, and I sometimes have trouble dealing with heat. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.

Here is our route. I’ve been using Strava lately — feel free to add me on there if you have an account.

A beautiful late summer road ride

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

My school workload is picking up. I haven’t had a chance to write about this excellent ride from last weekend until just now. It’s a shame I haven’t had more time, but at the same time, I find all my classes absolutely fascinating. I love being a student!

Anyway, last weekend, Dave and I went for a road ride. We ended up doing something we’ve done in the past. I rode the 13+ miles out to his house, we rode a loop together (in this case, around 35 miles), and then I rode home. I ended up with over 60 miles and 3600 feet of climbing for the day.

The day was beautiful — nay, perfect. 70 degrees, breezy, sunny, and literally not a cloud in the deep blue sky. But even more amazing was the humidity — a mere 30%! That kind of low humidity is awfully rare around here, and I sure enjoyed it while it lasted.

Amazingly, this ride didn’t include a single new road. We rode some roads in a different configuration from what I’ve ever done in the past, but every road was familiar.

This kind of ride — with the long out-and-back sections at the beginning and end, and 100% familiar roads, makes it easy to put in some long miles without feeling like I’m doing an epic ride. It’s easier, physically and mentally, than a 60-mile ride in the boonies in new terrain. There’s something to be said for both kinds of riding, but this day was just an excellent day to turn the pedals for a few hours, with great conversation, worry-free.

Fall is starting to arrive. Some trees have started turning already, and some fields are a beautiful golden yellow color. It’s a wonderful time of year.

On my way out to Dave’s, I had a headwind most of the time.


Once Dave and I connected, it was wide open road for a while.



There are a couple of climbs lined with limestone walls like this one.


We rode up to Morgan-Monroe State Forest. There are a few good hills along the way, but once you are in the forest, it’s easy, gently-rolling, perfectly smooth asphalt, with deep shade from dense forest. It’s a wonderful respite from the climbing, at roughly the halfway point in the ride.


Our bikes couldn’t be more different, but you’d be surprised at how well Dave keeps up with my road bike on his full-suspension bike. If he ever gets a proper road bike, I’ll be in trouble.


We enjoyed rolling down Bean Blossom Road. This is more or less a 1.8-mile downhill. If you ride the Hilly Hundred, a popular annual ride, you’ll ride UP this hill. I’ve done it, but when left to my own devices, I always, always opt to ride down it instead of up.

Then it’s a flat valley for a few minutes.




Dave suggested we take North Shore Road to extend our ride and loop around Lake Lemon. It’s been a few years since I rode North Shore from west to east, and I think I have changed my opinion of this road. I used to think it was better going east to west, but now I think west to east may in fact be better. Either way you go, it’s quite hilly.


We only got a brief glimpse or two of Lake Lemon. I had to stop when I saw all these huge lillypads.


Below, you can see a tree that’s changing a little bit. Soon these trees will be ablaze with color.


The area surrounding the creek, below, was flooded badly, but they appear to be making good progress on cleaning up and rebuilding.



We usually take South Shore to ride across the causeway, and see more of the lake, but we decided to take State Road 45 back instead. It was a shockingly quiet day, and even the highway was incredibly empty. I think everyone must have been indoors, watching the IU football game, or actually at the game (there was a home game that day).

Dave went home and I stopped for a minute to get a shot of the little post office in Unionville. A couple of big logging trucks went by, full of logs probably taken from Yellowwood State Forest.


I had an excellent tailwind the whole way home and finished the ride on a strong note, feeling great and enjoying the push after having a headwind so much of the day.


It was a great ride! I was hoping to get to ride some evening after class/work, but I just didn’t have time. Tomorrow, though, I get to go mountain biking with Dave and Tim. The forecast looks iffy, but it should be another great day on the bike.

Ride to Stanford, with friends

Monday, July 18th, 2011

I haven’t done a lot of epic riding this year, but my riding has been more social. Sunday continued that trend, with a short (25-mile) but hilly ride west of town, to Stanford, Indiana. This is becoming one of my favorite routes, and this time, I got to share it with friends. Dave G and Doug joined me. Dave and I ride together a lot, but I had only ridden with Doug a couple of times before.

I wasn’t sure what kind of bike Doug would be riding. He showed up on a Schwinn Voyageur SP, in an excellent commuting/touring configuration, complete with fenders, racks, and downtube shifters. Like me, he commutes by bicycle year-round. This is the kind of bicycle my Long Haul Trucker is patterned after, so I enjoyed seeing Doug’s bike. Oh yeah … he also wore clipless sandals. A good choice.



It was a very humid morning, but fortunately, for most of ride, it wasn’t extremely hot. Just really muggy, and a bit hazy, but the humidity was bad enough to keep us sweating buckets.





This next shot typifies the scenery: haze and plentiful rollers. At one point, we commented that Tim would not have been happy with all the rollers.



One road claimed to be “closed,” but we got through the construction zone quite easily on bicycles.



I saw the bluish-purple wildflowers all over the place during the ride. I’m not sure what they are, so if anyone can help me identify them, that would be great.



Here’s one of my favorite views, with quite a bit of haze. By the time we climbed up on this ridge, the sun had come out in full force and we were just boiling in the heat.


This was a fun ride, with good company, and I still had much of the day left for other activities (mostly just beating the heat). Good times!

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