Monday, July 4, 2011

Bloomington Blog Ride

Every now and then I get the good fortune to have a great ride with great folks, and this weekend I had that experience.

Jon and Brad from Denver stopped in Bloomington, Indiana, at Micheal and Sarah's house Saturday night. I drove down early Sunday morning to meet them for a ride. Micheal's friends, Tim, and Asher, came up from Louisville, and we met his other biking friend, Dave, on the road.

We headed out through the south end of Bloomington. Below you can see Asher's left arm, Jon, and up the road a bit, Tim, then Micheal.

Micheal planned this route, a 50 miler that promised some dandy hills and plenty of gravel. Shortly after we left Bloomington, we rode through a woods Micheal played in as a kid. He said that John Mellencamp bought the woods so that it could never be developed. I took several photos in the woods, this one below is the only one that had people in it. It was dark enough in the woods that when I clicked the camera, it took a few seconds to flash and take the picture. When we were riding on the trail, it was bumpy, so I couldn't ride one-handed for very long. Oh, Steve, the Tricross was completely at home in the woods, and is presently whining in the garage for another trip back to the woods.

After we came out of the woods, we came onto blacktop, and climbed the first of several very big and steep hills. Man, this country down here is beautiful!

I believe Micheal said this was Lake Lemon.

After riding through Yellowwood State Forest, we came out into this bottomland field, tucked between limestone ridges. Here's Jon and Brad in the foreground.

I forget which State Road this was, but it was very busy. We were only on it for a mile or so. Then we headed onto many miles of gravel.

Here's Dave fixing one of many flats on his rear tire. He was running Panaracer Paselas, which are great tires on asphalt, but not so good on gravel. The sidewalls on those tires aren't very thick, and sharp gravel will pinch the rubber against the rim, if the tires aren't fully inflated. Unfortunately, without a floor pump, it was almost impossible to get the tire pumped back up to the proper pressure to prevent future flats.

Ahhh, gravel. After a screamer downhill on this loose gravel, we rode for a while on flat ground, then had a big, steep uphill. Shortly after I took this photo, I noticed my front fender floating around, as if a nut had come loose. After I stopped, sure enough, the nut that holds the fender onto the bracket which attached to the top of the fork was gone. But the leather washer was holding the fender onto the bolt. I zip-tied the fender back onto the fork, and all was good. I'm thinking I may take the fenders off the Tricross, and slapping on some knobbier tires to handle gravel and trails better.

Regrouping and recovering at the top of the hill. As I said, it was a mighty beast.

We climbed many other hills, and I didn't take too many photos. But as we were heading back into Bloomington, I noticed the Tibetan Cultural Center entrance, and was able to get the camera out just as I passed the entrance. Micheal did a very nice blog entry about this, last year, I believe.

Back at Micheal's ranch, rehydrating. And eating. Sarah made a great spread of pasta salad, deviled eggs, fresh fruit, and sandwiches. It was great!

I was honored when Micheal and Jon invited me down for a ride. I enjoyed talking bikes with these guys all ride long, and for a good while afterward. It's funny how you meet people in person for the first time, but feel like you've been friends for a really long time. I guess the power of bikes is quite strong, and that interest provides a common bond. But more than that, though, is that these are really good people who love everything about bikes, but have many other interests too. It's too bad we all live far apart. We did think it would be a fun time to ride with the Texas blog contingent. So, maybe someday, there will be an opportunity to meet again, with more folks.

Jon did bring a Trek 710 with him, which I purchased. He took some pictures, so maybe he'll post one. I bought the bike thinking it would make a great rando bike. And tonight, I rando-fied it even more, adding some wider tires, a rear rack, and putting my Brooks saddle on it. I'm going to ride it to work tomorrow - I'll take a photo and post it. It is a sweet ride.


Steve A said...

Rando-fied. Cool term.

Jon said...

Bill (and everyone else on the ride): I think I speak for both brad and myself when I say that we were honored to have you guys show up and ride with us. It was a hell of a nice day, in great company. The ride definitely ranks right at the top of all-time favorites!

And, Sarah, our Lovely Librarian, was an awesome hostess. She and Michael really went way above and beyond in welcoming us to their home.

I'll post up pictures, etc, once we reach Pennsylvania...

Chandra said...

Hi Bill,
I am so glad y'all got to meet face-to-face and have a great ride together. I hope more of us get to meet as well.

I did not know about the vulnerability of the Pasela tire, on gravel. That's a great piece of information to know. So, thanks.

Have a great week!

Peace :)

Tex69 said...

Great write-up Bill. And great to ride with you.

Apertome said...

Great writeup, and you got a lot of great photos!

Let me fill in a couple of blanks:
- The lake you have pictured here is Yellowwod Lake. We did go near Lake Lemon, but didn't get much of a view of it, if any.
- The busy highway was State Road 46. It's a fun, beautiful drive, but as you saw, not very bicycle-friendly.
- My name is spelled "Michael." (No big deal, happens all the time).

I wouldn't be so quick to blame the Paselas for Dave's problems. I run Paselas on my Trucker (granted, I do have the Tourguard version) and I've ridden thousands of miles of gravel on them with no such problems. Of course, after saying that, I'm bound to have some issues.

I think that tire got ridden on after it went flat, twice, on downhills, and that my have done it in. Granted, a beefier tire might have survived that, but that could have been avoided by stopping immediately as soon a the problem showed up.

Your Tricross did seem right at home on everything we hit. You did great on the gravel, and the trails.

I'm really glad you were able to make it down. It was a great ride and I felt everyone who was there contributed something different. What fun!

rlove2bike said...

This looks like a wonderful route...mixture of everything. Thanks for the write-up.

Pondero said...

What an encouraging event! Thanks, Bill, for the story. Knowing a few of the Texas contingent from first hand experience, I think I can say this is the kind of ride we'd enjoy. Come on down.

SEO Services said...

This is the good blog with good images and good details. Please keep on posting the more stuff. I will like to hear more from you.
SEO Services Bloomington