It’s finally here – my favorite bike ride of the year!!!… every year!!!
The Hilly Hundred down in Brown County of southern Indiana.
Joined by my biking friends Chris & Nancy, we set off for Bloomington
on Friday. We checked in, set out our sleeping bags, did some great shopping
in the Bike Expo Tent and then set out for a great pre-ride dinner!
Saturday morning we woke up to dark skies, cold winds & misty rain.
So we decided to sleep in a little longer and start a little later. Luckily, our delayed
start worked out as planned and the rain had stopped by the time we started pedaling.
As the day went on, and we rolled over more & more hills, the sun came out…
the chill warmed up and it became a beautiful day for biking.
The Hilly Hundred is two days of riding through the beautiful hills of Brown County.
It’s 50 miles of fun on Saturday, and another 50 miles of fun on Sunday. Well-marked
and well-supported, the ride is enjoyable for one and all. This year, the ride was
a week later than usual – which paid off with spectacular fall color.
Throughout the day, we pedaled up over 4,000 feet of vertical incline. Some of them
steep, some of them long and drawn out. It’s the steep ones that kill me. Some of them
are more than 2o% incline! So while we pedal up the hills, there are always a few
people walking the hills. With about 5,000 bicyclists descending upon Bloomington,
there are riders of all ages, sizes and shapes!
Here’s a quick list of some of the best hills for Saturday…
Heartbreak Hill – 0.8 miles long at 11.7% incline
Three Sisters Hills – 1.3 miles long at 16.0% incline
Niece #1 Hill – 0.2 miles long at 11.0% incline
Niece #2 Hill – 0.2 miles long at 18.0% incline
Neill Hill – 0.6 miles long at 14.0% incline
No Name Hill – 0.3 miles long at 17.2% incline
New Hope Hill – 1.2 miles long at 6.6% incline
Cemetery Hil – 0.6 miles long at 14.0% incline
Water Tower Hill – 0.8 miles long at 17.0% incline
That’s a total of 49.4 miles… and 4,372 feet of hill climbing for the day!!!
It was actually the very first hill that tested my ability… and my bike!
As we were headed up the first hill, I went to shift down to make it a little easier.
Only to hear a very loud clacking sound – as my derailleur was hitting the spokes
of my back tire! No way to downshift – just got to muscle it up! At least until we
made it to the first rest stop… for donuts, bagels, bluegrass and a bike mechanic
who fixed my derailleur! It was only then that our discussion turned to my
lack of knowledge & experience in downshifting to the small chain ring. For years,
I’ve been muscling it up hills instead of spinning in the lower gears!
Lunch was a little chilly – so we downed our fried chicken, pasta salad, bean salad,
bananas, cookies and more then continued out journey down the road!
Towards the end of the day, they “treat us” to a ride up Cemetery Hill.
A short, but steep incline leading up to a cemetery at the top… the perfect place to stop,
relax, catch your breath… and this time, remove a few more layers of clothing!
So while Nancy rested… so did my bike!
Getting ready for one final big climb up Water Tower Hill.
More fun tomorrow… more hills… more miles… more food… more apple cider!