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.