Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Heat' Category

Whitehall and Hendricksville

Monday, July 21st, 2008

It was hot this weekend, but my finger has been feeling a bit better. I didn’t do as much riding as I would’ve liked, but yesterday, I rode a route that’s new to me on the west side of Bloomington. The route took me through three counties (Monroe, Greene, and Owen) and the small towns of Whitehall and Hendricksville. View the route on Bikely. I even got up earlier than usual (for a weekend, anyway) to be the heat. I was glad that I did — it was brutally hot later in the day.

I started riding around 10:00 am. I felt a little dehydrated at first, so I took my time and drank some extra water. Even at a leisurely pace, it wasn’t long before I was sweating quite a bit. It was hot, and humid. Fortunately, I faced a mild headwind. Normally I don’t like riding into the wind, but in this case the cooling effect was quite welcome, and the wind wasn’t strong enough to force me to increase my effort level much.

Once I got west of where I work, I rode through residential areas for a while and found myself climbing for what seemed like a long time. None of it was too steep, but it seemed like a long way of gradual climbing. Once I crossed State Road 37 on Vernal Pike, I was in a weird part-rural, part-industrial area. In a lot of other parts of Bloomington, once you reach the edge of town it suddenly feels very rural — this was not the case in this area. Instead, there were some fields and some industrial buildings interspersed.

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Vernal Pike

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Windmill

After a while the industrial buildings stopped and the road started feeling more remote. The sun was very bright and burning strong, and many areas had (ozone?) haze. It was a little unsettling, but also scenic.

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Field, with some haze in the distance

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Farm

The corn is getting tall now, and I stopped to get a shot I’ve been meaning to get for a while — my bicycle leaning up against some cornstalks. I’ve done this once before, but that was in the fall, and the corn was dead in that shot.

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My bicycle by some corn

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Silos — I gave this shot the Orton treatment to increase the hazy feeling of the shot

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You can almost feel how strong the sun was from this shot. Plus, more haze.

I generally don’t do well in heat, and I don’t feel I’m acclimated to it yet, either. I have discovered though that by taking a slower pace, I can ride for hours in the heat without getting so exhausted. Sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down (my road bike naturally wants to go fast). I also enjoy the scenery more this way.

I passed a small grocery store and turned on State Road 48. I was a little nervous about this when I saw that the speed limit was 55 mph, but I only saw a few cars the whole time I was on this road, and I wasn’t on it for too long. Also, the speed limit soon decreased to 45 mph, if my memory is correct.  I turned onto State Road 43, which had a lower speed limit and still almost no traffic. It was a fantastic road to ride on, a curvy road with some rolling hills and even some shade.

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State Road 43

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Hills

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Rickety old barn

I reached the very small town of Hendricksville and saw a diner that had a sign saying something like, “You gotta be tough to eat here!” Needless to say, I’ll be going back sometime to eat at that very macho diner. After Hendricksville I got a little confused. There was a road that I suspected was the one I was supposed to turn onto, but the sign said it was a different road from what was on my map. I rode a bit past it to see if there was another road that was labeled as I expected, but I didn’t find one. I went back and turned onto the road my gut said was right. It didn’t take long for me to figure out I was in the right place.

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Another Orton-enhanced photo

I rode through some fun rolling hills and then labored up a brutal climb on County Road 780 or Gardner Road, whichever it was. Looking at the elevation profile, I think it was around 250-300 feet of climbing. It felt like more, mostly because of the heat. But I think my conditioning has slipped a bit in the past few weeks of my reduced mileage. I really need to ramp up the mileage.

Anyway, once I reached the top of the hill, it was flat briefly and then I was treated to a small, fun descent followed by some great rollers. I was able to carry my momentum through the smaller hills and a few dips in the road made the ride a little silly and a lot of fun.

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Scorching pavement and weeds at the top of the hill

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Rolling hills

I had a little bit of climbing to do, but then I enjoyed a very fast descent down Airport Road. A guy on a motorcycle passed me toward the bottom of the hill. I was going about 35 mph and the guy pulled up beside me, looked at me and gave me a big thumbs up.

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More climbing

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That Road … or Leonard Springs. I’m not sure which.

I had a few other moments of navigational confusion, but at this point I mainly had to get back to town and ride across to the east side. This included riding on the awesomely-named That Road. I enjoyed That, but actually riding through town is never much fun to me. Also, I went by several churches and I was worried I’d get caught in traffic of people leaving church. That’s one of my least favorite situations to get caught in on a bicycle. For some reason people leaving church are always impatient and rude to me. I did see a few people leaving early yesterday who were very courteous. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but is there something about sitting in church for an hour that makes people aggressive?

I love riding on remote country roads, and don’t particularly enjoy riding through town on recreational rides. This explains why I spend a lot more time riding on the east side than the west side (I live on the east side, toward the edge of town). It’s surprising how different the land on opposite sides of town can feel, though, and I should spend more time riding on the west side. I always enjoy it when I do ride there.

Yesterday’s ride, while it was only about 36 miles, took me about 2 1/2 hours. That’s a slow pace for me, at least for solo rides, but I am learning that I tend to enjoy my rides more when I don’t rush things — and I’ll have more energy for the rest of the day, too.

Mixed media ride

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

This is a tale of a broken frame, pavement, gravel, heat, humidity, wind, flooding, rest stops in a cool, shady creek and by a beautiful lake, failing brakes, a sidewall blowout, a walk of shame, and finally, a beautiful woman saving the day. All that in only about 22 miles of riding, about 9 of those miles on gravel.

I had picked up my commuting bike from the bike shop on Friday. I had it in for a tune-up, and for them to fix the squeaky/stiff steering. Unfortunately, the guy who worked on it told me one of my rear brake pieces had seized, and in his attempts to remove it, the brake boss broke off the frame. He was able to put a bolt in it with a large washer as a spacer, which he said he thought would work. At first glance it seemed OK, and it worked fine during the riding Sarah and I did on Saturday. I don’t think this was his fault — if it broke off that easily, I figure it would have broken eventually anyway. I may need to see if I can find someone to weld a new boss onto the frame. Anyone know if this is possible? It’s a steel bike, so I figure there might be some chance this might work, if I can find someone who knows how to do it.

On Sunday I decided to go on an exploration ride through Yellowwood State forest, a ride with both pavement and gravel terrain. The commuter was the best bike for the task, and this would give me a chance for a proper shakedown ride to see if that brake was going to work. I’ve really been enjoying this bike lately. My road bike wants to go fast, and that’s nice sometimes, but on this bike, it’s difficult to be in a hurry, which encourages me to take my time and stop to smell the proverbial roses. I also like that this bike has platform pedals, so I can wear any shoes I want. In fact, I opted for sandals for this ride, which I loved.

I got off to a later start than I had hoped, leaving home around noon. It was around 90 degrees, with a heat index in the mid-90s and pretty decent winds. A lot of roads in the area were flooded due to the 8+ inches of rain we received, in one storm. Some whole towns were flooded — thankfully, we did not get any flooding near our apartment. Many roads were closed due to the flooding. I tried to avoid roads I had read were closed, but I really wasn’t sure if I would encounter flooding during this ride. I assumed I would, at some point, but I wasn’t sure where that was likely to be.

It was hot outside, but I noticed the wind felt great on my feet. I’ll have to do more riding in sandals — it was a huge improvement over my cycling shoes, which are ventilated, but no ventilation can really compete with feeling the air flow freely over your toes. It’s much cooler. I really took my time, hoping to keep myself from overheating or wearing myself out too early in the ride. I knew that the gravel sections would be pretty difficult. I also looked around more than usual as I rode, trying to scope out potential campsites for future S24O trips. It’s fun to look around and consider where you might camp stealthily, as opposed to renting a campsite.

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Riding east on 45

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Some small rolling hills in farmland

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This hill always feels much harder than it looks, for some reason

I rode through New Unionville, then Unionville, and kept riding. I stopped to take a couple of photos, and a guy rolled up in his car and asked if I had plenty of water. I said “yes,” pointing to my two water bottles in cages, and one more strapped to the rear rack, but he gave me a stern look and said, “I mean a LOT of water.” “I’m fine,” I said. Oddly enough, the guy turned around and drove the other way. I appreciate his concern, but I always take a lot of water, especially when it’s so hot outside.

One advantage of the route I’d chosen was that once I started to approach the state forest, there was quite a bit of shade. This sure was a welcome respite from the heat of the sun.

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Shady section of 45

I soon reached Lanam Ridge Road, which would take me to the gravel roads I’d ride through the state forest proper.

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Lanam Ridge Road goes up to the right

After a brief stint on Lanam Ridge, I turned onto Yellowwood Lake Road, finally hitting gravel. There was quite a bit of debris on the road, presumably from all the rain we’ve gotten. I think there was water running over the road at some point that left the debris.

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Yellowwood Lake Road, with some debris

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Shadow-speckled gravel climb

After a while, I saw an extremely steep and eroded gravel road or driveway going up on my right. I stopped to explore, hiking up since it was too rutted and steep to ride.

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Steep, eroded driveway

I thought I might find a good potential campsite here, but as I crested the hill, I saw a trailer. I couldn’t tell whether it was inhabited, but I didn’t go too close in case it was. It’s pretty difficult to tell what’s private property and what isn’t, in the state forest areas; it’s a strange and random combination of public and private land.

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Trailer at the top of the hill

I went back down the hill and started riding again. For several miles I mostly got to ride downhill. I kept my speed fairly low, though, as my slick tires have limited stopping power on gravel, and there was a fair amount of debris strewn across the road at times. Still, I had a fun, fast, long descent down from the ridge, losing about 250 feet of elevation over the course of about three miles.

The road followed Jackson Creek for a while, which had a lot of water in it. The sound of the rushing water drew me to stop by a waterfall to take a break. I waded into the water, took off my helmet and splashed water on my face. The cool water ran clear and felt incredibly refreshing, and I spent a few minutes cooling off by the waterfall.

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Jackson Creek follows Yellowwood Lake Rd.

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Waterfall

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Another advantage to riding in sandals

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My bicycle by the creek

After this break, I pressed on. I encountered a few places with moderate flooding, but so far all the water I encountered was quite shallow and I was able to ride through it.

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Water covers the road

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My wheel in the mud

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More mild flooding

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Someone’s driveway

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Entering the state forest (I thought I was already there … again, it can be hard to tell)

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Small cemetery

There were a few climbs short, but mostly I was still going downhill. I knew riding back would be a lot harder, although I was planning to ride back on a different road, so it was hard to know how different it would be. Regardless, I knew I’d pay for all this relatively easy riding — although it really wasn’t that easy. I rode past trailheads for several horse trails (I really wish they allowed bicycles on them) and stopped to explore some kind of old logging road on foot. I didn’t stray too far from the road, but I think you could pitch a tent in a place like this without anyone finding you.

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Stopping by the logging road

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Old logging road

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More logging road, and a few logs

Before long, I reached Yellowwood Lake, one of my favorite lakes in this area. I stopped near the Jackson Creek trailhead to take a couple of photos of the lake.

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Yellowwood Lake

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Me, on a small pier jutting out into the lake

I also saw a campground I always forget is there and rode over to explore it. It’s tent camping only, and you can’t park right at your campsite. However there are sites right on the lake, and it’s quite beautiful. If you got there early enough to get one of the better sites, it would be a fantastic place to camp.

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View from a campsite

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Campsite

I rode on, figuring I’d take a break over by the shelter where Sarah and I will be getting married in September. On my way there I saw two barrels, one on each side of the road, with caution tape on them. The sides of the road had eroded and fallen away.

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Trees

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Road erosion

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World’s largest pothole

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The shelter where our wedding will be

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Resting by a picnic table

I was going to call Sarah so I could talk to her from this spot that is going to have such significance in our lives, but I couldn’t get a signal on my cell phone. I also wanted to let her know my 2-3-hour estimate for this ride was off. I had already been riding/exploring for two hours, and I was only about halfway done. Whoops.

I hit pavement for a mile or two, and the riding got so much easier. I saw a lot of flooded fields.

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Flooded fields, with a really cool split log fence

As I approached Green Valley Road/Dubois Ridge Road (pronounced by the locals as “duh-boys”), I saw that the road was under water. A couple of pickup trucks drove through it, just barely making it through; one was a DNR truck. If I had been driving my car, I almost certainly would not have been able to make it through here.

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Flooding

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DNR truck driving through the

After the trucks passed, I rode through the water, which was fairly deep but stayed below bottom bracket level. My rear derailleur got submerged, though. I imagine that’s not good for it. After getting past this obstacle, I was on dry land but saw more flooding ahead, and it looked deeper. I looked at the bridge on the road off to the right and saw that the water level was almost exactly even with the top of the bridge, and had obviously been covering it earlier. Normally, the water is several feet lower than the bridge.

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Bridge, almost submerged

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The old bridge, which still stands right next to the new one, was a lot higher, but it is falling apart

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Looking across the bridge — normally there is no water there whatsoever

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More flooded fields

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The flooding ahead of me — I was taking the road to the left

I decided to try riding through the water here, even though it looked a bit deeper. It got almost up to my bottom bracket, so I got off the bike and carried it through the water. The water came about up to my knees. Once again, I was really glad to have the sandals, rather than soaking my cycling shoes.

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I waded through this part, then had quite a climb ahead
Once on dry land again, I started climbing up Dubois Ridge Road. There was quite a bit of climbing ahead of me, but I took my time and spun up the hill in a low gear. I stopped a guy headed the other way in a pickup to let him know about the flooding ahead. A couple other vehicles went by, but I wasn’t able to get their attention. I hope they didn’t end up stuck in the water. At some point, my rear brake, the one that the shop had done the hack fix on, started making weird noises, and I noticed it wasn’t hitting the rim at the correct angle. The brake arm felt a bit loose. It also lost a lot of stopping power, but since I was going uphill it really wasn’t a problem. I saw a lot more trailheads, logging roads and some potential campsites along Dubois Ridge Road.

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Long, gradual gravel road climb

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More climbing

I had just figured that I must be almost back to Lanam Ridge Road (and pavement) when I heard a loud BANG!!! sound. Dismayed, I knew it must have been my rear tire. I stopped and looked and sure enough, there was a big tear in the sidewall, obviously caused by the brake pad rubbing the tire. I surmised that there was no way I could patch this hole and after some contemplation, I decided I needed to call Sarah to come pick me up. I carry patch kits and extra tubes, but not extra tires. My cell phone had no signal, so I hiked until I got a signal, which thankfully was probably only about half a mile. I told her how to get to where I was and that I would meet her on Lanam Ridge Road or 45, however far I could make it on foot by the time she arrived. I hiked maybe another half mile, mostly uphill, before I hit Lanam Ridge Road.

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Hiking uphill with my bike 

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Interesting gate on Dubois Ridge Road

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Torn sidewall

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Reaching Lanam Ridge

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Interesting hillside

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Pushing my bike. Note that my GPS, which had not worked the whole trip, now started working.

I walked along Lanam Ridge for a while, which has rolling hills. After a while, Sarah showed up to save the day and she sure was a sight for sore eyes. Smart girl that she is, she brought a bunch of food, water, and Powerade. I considered it fortuitous timing that she had just gotten her driver’s license the day before. I was frustrated and a bit sad that my trusty old mountain bike seemed to be on its last legs, but still in a good mood — I had a great ride, and I got to spend the rest of the day with Sarah. What a day!

Bike update: last night I took the bike back to the shop and they tried another possible fix for the brake, but if this doesn’t work basically there’s nothing that can be done, unless I can find someone to braze on a new brake boss, and am willing to pay for that. I don’t know how much it’d cost, but I bet it wouldn’t be cheap. I did ride the bike to work today, and it was fine, but it may be relegated to around town rides for the time being, and I’ll probably be forced to retire this bike soon. Sad, as I’ve had it for since the mid-90s.

Dr. T’s Funky 50; cracked rim

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I had quite a ride yesterday as I decided to do “Dr T’s Funky 50” from one of the Bloomington Bicycle Club map books. I had ridden in that area a bit before when I did the shorter Ride around Lake Monroe but this ride took me further south and took a different route back into town.

The ride started by going over to Indiana Highway 446, a two-lane highway which for a while has speed limits of 55 mph. I rode on Sunday morning this time instead of a Saturday afternoon so there was less traffic. The parts of the road with fast speed limits also have wide shoulders, so I had no problems with cars. I don’t usually ride on the shoulder but I made an exception in this case for part of the way and I felt pretty comfortable doing so. There was some debris to watch out for, but it wasn’t bad.

There was a stiff headwind that kept my head and my speed down. The first part of 446 has some rolling hills which didn’t give me too much trouble, and the road was mostly straight. There wasn’t much protection from the wind, but I did pretty well anyway. After a while the shoulder disappeared and the road began to wind, the speed limit decreasing at the same time. That was the section of road where I had some trouble with drivers before since they couldn’t pass me. I was concerned based on that experience, but I had no problems this time around.

The scenery improved, with some good hills and some parts of road carved into the limestone.  I passed by the entrance to the Paynetown State Recreation Area and the “Fishin’ Shedd,” a convenience store/gas station. The road wound around some more and went downhill through more limestone and down to the causeway. I love riding across lakes in this way and I had a particularly leisurely trip across the lake as there were no cars behind me.

Riding across Lake Monroe
Riding across Lake Monroe

View from the causeway
View on one side of the causeway

As cyclists know, if you ride down toward a body of water, you’re going to have to climb up the other side unless you follow the water instead. I climbed a formidable hill after I crossed the lake. It was fairly steep for a while but eventually became more gradual. It’s about a 1.25-mile climb and is pretty tiring, especially with my rack trunk bag on my bike with a bunch of stuff in it weighing me down.

After the causeway and the climb, 446 twisted around a bit more.

Streaks of light
Rays of light on 446

But then it got flat and mostly straight for several miles. It was easy riding but not as exciting as the hillier, curvier parts. It did allow me to cover a lot of ground pretty quickly though and it’s beautiful country, with a lot of farms and more road carved through limestone in places.

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Rabbits 4 Sale sign that Sarah and I have driven past countless times but never photographed

Straight, flat, easy riding
Straight, flat, easy

I noticed that a building that Sarah and I had photographed previously is now gone, all that was left was a pile of rubble. We had driven by it a few times and each time a couple more walls would disappear. Now, it’s just gone. I went across a bridge by a creek and a pond and was struck by a field with many hay bales. A man was searching for geodes in the creek.

Hay bales and a creek
Hay bales in a field near a pond and a creek

Eventually it got hillier again, and it was heating up. The forecast said it would be 92 degrees and that we might break high temperature record. I heard a little noise in the lowest gear of my cassette but figured it was just my derailleur needing some adjustment. I ignored it. I rode through more cut-out limestone sections and stopped at one to take a break and take a couple of photos.

Bike and limestone
My bike against a limestone wall

Road carved through limestone
Road carved through limestone
I went a few more miles on 446 and was really glad to turn off of it. It really was dull and there was no shade. I turned onto Gil Gal Road which followed a long line of trees for a few minutes, providing much-appreciated shade. I went into a great flowing descent, flying down a flat stretch of road before going into some curves that were tight enough to be fun, but just wide enough that I didn’t have to touch the brakes. I hit 43 mph on my way down the hill. It was an exhilarating ride and getting moving so fast cooled me considerably.

I flew by a church, the Gilgal Primitive Baptist Church, a very small church with a cemetery. Small churches with cemeteries turned out to be a theme of the ride for me, as I passed many of them.

Gilgal Primitive Baptist Church Gilgal Church Cemetery
Gilgal Primitive Baptist Church / The Gilgal Cemetery

As I rode through this valley I was struck with how hard the drought hit here. It seemed counterintuitive to me that the low-lying areas got hit the worst — you’d think that they’d get some runoff and so end up with more water than the ridges, but obviously my logic missed something. The low-lying areas looked dead.

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The effects of the drought

I made a detour to Heltonville to hopefully find some water and maybe a snack. I had some Balance bars but they didn’t sound appealing at all. According to the map, Bonehead’s Heltonville Store was only about a mile off course. I cruised past a somewhat decrepit-looking park and baseball diamond and into town, passing another church. This one was bigger, being in town, but Heltonville is a very small town. I also passed a tiny post office that I found amusing. I couldn’t find Bonehead’s store and tried a different route. I found what I believe was Bonehead’s, but there was no sign stating the name of the establishment.

Bonehead's Heltonville Store
Bonehead’s Heltonville Store (I think)

I walked in and saw some bananas which looked good, but I would have had to buy a whole bunch. There were some Granny Smith apples in a refrigerator and that looked delicious, so I bought one. I also bought some water and gatorade to replenish my fluid supply.  I put the apple in my bag and filled my water bottles so I could go eat somewhere more scenic. I also felt out of place in my cycling clothing at this small town gas station, and it was fairly crowded as I believe church had just let out.

I headed back to the park and saw that it had a shelter, so I stopped to rest and eat and rehydrate a bit. The apple I had gotten wasn’t the best apple I’ve tasted but it sure beat energy bars and Nutter Butters. It was also great to find some shade. I watched some kids play on the playground and enjoyed my snack.

Pleasant Run Park playground
Pleasant Run Park playground

I started riding again and saw a lot more dead plants. It’s really sad to see so many crops dead and gone to waste.

Cornfields Forever
Cornfield and an incredible sky

I crossed Dunn Bridge, which goes over a creek. I had to dodge some cornstalks that were laying in the road.

Dunn Bridge
Dunn Bridge

I passed a small cemetery that appeared to simply be a family cemetery with no church in sight. There was a strange combination of old, run-down houses and gorgeous new ones. Run-down barn
Decaying barn

Goldenrod, barn, blue sky
Goldenrod, old barn, blue skies

This area had a lot of rolling hills and I kept hearing more noise by my rear derailleur when in my lowest gear. I started wondering what was up but kept riding. I passed the Bartlettsville Christian Church, with another cemetery. Some people were visiting sites at this cemetery, unlike the others.

I continued riding and passed Mama Jean’s Restaurant. It claimed to be open all day or something like that, but I couldn’t tell if it was open at all.

Mama Jean's
Is that a grave by the stop sign?

Mama Jean's
Great benches on the porch … junkyard alongside the building

I have been meaning to take a photo of my bicycle leaning up against a row of corn. I don’t know why, I just got the idea in my head. I guess I wanted something showing my bicycle in the context of something that’s ubiquitous locally, which is also why I took the photo by the limestone above. I meant to do it by green corn, but I guess I missed my chance — maybe next year. Still, I think this shot turned out pretty cool.

Bicycle, corn
My bicycle by some corn

I had a huge hill to climb and heard more sounds from my gears. I also felt a bump each time my wheel went around. I stopped to check it out, thinking it must be a loose reflector or something. What I found was pretty upsetting.

Cracked Rim

Cracked Rim II
Cracked rim

I had cracked my rim somehow. I had no idea how this happened. I didn’t remember hitting any big bumps or potholes. Maybe I just wore it out or something … I’m really not sure. I took a few minutes to rest and decide what to do. It was really getting hot now. I could still ride, it seemed, but I had to avoid the lowest gears of my cassette. I decided to try to ride home but called a couple of people first to let them know what was going on, where I was, where I was headed, and that I might need a ride if it got worse. I was only 25 miles into my ride, which was supposed to be 50 miles but I knew would be a bit more due to my detour into Heltonville.

This problem with my wheel put a real damper on my ride pretty quickly. The heat was also starting to get to me and I started riding very sluggishly. I had some fun downhill sections but then had a huge climb to contend with and stopped partway up to take advantage of some shade. I called Sarah, afraid I might have missed a turn. She looked up some things online for me and as far as we could tell, I was on the right road. Once I started pedaling again, I quickly confirmed that I was going the right way. I passed some more pretty areas but didn’t feel much like taking photos anymore. The problem got worse as my wheel went more and more out of true, eventually rubbing my rear brake pads as I rode, slowing me down considerably.

Judah-Logan Road Panorama
Judah-Logan Road Panorama

Before long, I reached Old Highway 37 and felt a bit relieved. I hadn’t ridden this section of it, but I felt it would be easier riding, and it was. However, there was absolutely no shade to be found. I rode for quite a while on Old 37, and was a bit like 446 in this section — wide and boring. Eventually, I made it back to Bloomington. I winged it on my way home and took kind of a stupid route through town, but I made it home. It felt like the last 15 miles of my ride were completely uphill, and even some small residential hills gave me trouble.

I enjoyed my ride, but the second half or so of it was very tough given the heat and the state of my bicycle and the brutal hills.  I think I liked the Ride Around Lake Monroe a bit better since it went through Coveyville, a small town I really like, and it was a bit more scenic. It also spent less time on 446 and none on Old 37 and skipped some more the more boring parts of the ride. However, I do like the additional distance that this ride gave me.

I went into the shop where I bought my bike on lunch today and the wheel is under warranty. They’re letting me upgrade with a credit for the value of the wheel instead of getting another wheel like the one I already broke.  If I like it, I’ll upgrade the front wheel too. I feel the wheels on my bicycle are among its weakest components.

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