Ride Across Indiana (RAIN)
RAIN was not something I was planning on this year, but when Chris Hancock of the ISU Foundation ask me if I wanted to ride with the group from ISU I said yes. Have to admit I was later rethinking that decision knowing what a hard effort it is to ride 160 miles straight. Even the last week I was thinking hard about it. However, come the morning of July 18th I showed up at ISU to join in the group of around 60 brave souls. We had a group picture taken about 6:20 am which included Dr Dan Bradley the University President and his wife. How many university presidents would take part in a ride like this, probably just the 1.
We actually added 7 miles by riding from ISU to the state line for the start. I took it really easy and was trying to keep the positive thoughts flowing. I jumped into the line of 1,200 other cyclist near the front and waited the 10 minutes for the ride to start. The weather called for tail wind and near record low temps for July so God was especially good to us. They don't call this a race, but anytime you have a group start and a timed finish, it is a race.
Even thought I started near the front the first group got a good lead on me right from the gun. I had lots of second thoughts if I should stay with that group or catch the next one which I knew would be easier. I ended up riding Tom Newlin's wheel for about the first 10 miles until we eventually bridged up with the lead group. Talked to Troy Charters and Craig Reynolds as I got up there and waited to see how much the effort would be to stay in that group. Turned out to be too much too soon so I thought better of it and drifted back to wait for another one. Ended up hooking on with 5 others including Tom again. We rode together through Brazil and on a ways before the second big group swallowed us up. Must have been 80 or so in that group so I just stayed comfortably in the middle. I saw Joel Harbaugh and Doug Kinkade also from ISU in the group.
Stayed in the group until the second official stop at a school. Nature was calling loud and clear so I made the stop even thought I didn't want to leave the group. Joel and Doug also stopped for a similar reason so I hooked up with them and a few others as we headed out. Mary, Joel's wife was also there and I received a Gatorade refill which was really nice. This core group of guys was to grow to about a dozen or so and we stayed a tight group most of the day.
We all stopped for lunch and agreed to keep it to about 15 minutes before we took back off. At this point we were half way around Indy at the 91 mile mark. From there we worked a good pace line the rest of the way back to highway 40 and on again until the last official rest stop at mile 132. The 3 of us from the ISU group made a 5 minute stop with Mary again providing SAG support.
The last 28 miles was a bit on the painful side just from the long hours in the saddle. Amazing what all starts to hurt. Not only my rear end which goes without saying, but also my left hand, elbow and shoulder. My left knee was getting a bit tight on occasion as well. Despite the aches the 3 of us felt, we hung together at a reasonably good clip to the finish at Earlham College. A most welcome site at the 160 mile mark. As the 3 of us crossed the line we got an official finishing time of 7 hour and 55 minutes which including stops. Average speed not counting the stops was over 21. Saw Craig at the finish and the fast group from Terre Haute made it in 6 hours and 55 minutes, 23+ MPH for the day.
This was my 3rd time finishing the ride and also my fastest. My last full RAIN ride was 11 years previous. I was more fit for cycling then, but the weather that day was so much harder that you can't compare the two. All in all a good day, and really great to have the company of Joel and Doug and the SAG support from Mary. Go Trees!