I meant to get this post up earlier, but I’ve been busy and tired.
Tim planned a nice 60-mile route starting in Hayden Indiana. Although there had been some storms on Saturday, Sunday was looking really good. No one else attended the ride, but the two of us rolled out of Hayden and headed north.
Tim billed this as a gravel ride, but it’s hard to determine where the gravel will be before you get there. After the first 8 miles of mostly smooth pavement, I began to think Tim had planned poorly. I wasn’t complaining. Gravel is adventurous, but smooth pavement is pleasant also.
We had a nice tailwind from the southwest when we started. It wasn’t overly strong, but allowed for a good pace. We knew we’d have to ride into the wind later.
Our route continued generally northeast. We came across gravel here and there. The tailwind made it quite the pleasant ride. There were some rolling hills, but never any long climbs.
We made a quick stop a Selmier State Forest for a photo-op with the bikes.
We eventually made it to some wonderful gravel roads once we were fairly far north-east of North Vernon. We still had a nice tailwind and the sun was warming us up.
Both Tim and I have acquired new GPS devices for our bikes. I believe this is the first ride where we both used them on unfamiliar roads. He sent me the route the night before. Due to technical issues I had to re-draw the route. I think I made a mistake as our devices did not agree during portions of the ride. We are both still learning the their idiosyncrasies.
It still worked well. It was Tim’s ride, so we used his GPS when there was a discrepancy. We have different models of Garmin devices, but with the same maps. It was strange how they nearly always beeped at the same moment. We (mostly) had turn-by-turn directions working.
After passing through the tiny town of Zenas we crossed the Muscatatuck River.
Once crossing the river we turned into the wind. We knew this was coming, but the wind had picked up since the beginning of the ride. So we had a weak tailwind at the beginning of the ride, leading to a strong tailwind at the middle of the ride. Ugh. Our brisk average speed of over 15mph dropped.
On the bright side, the wonderful gravel had returned.
The slower pace and harder work due to the headwind meant I took more breaks for pictures.
The route had us going through Muscatatuck, which is a “town” owned my the Army and used by the Indiana National Guard for urban warfare training. As we approached we noticed a guard shack. I assumed we’d have to detour. The guard waved us through, so we continued.
There wasn’t much going on at Muscatatuck on Sunday. I figured I’d play it safe and leave my camera in my bag. There were run down buildings, collapsed trailers, and overturned vehicles. It looked like, well, a war-zone. I almost expected a blown-up bridge.
This bridge over a tributary of the Muscatatuck made a nice place for a rest.
We had more uphill gravel into a headwind to look forward to.
We rolled into North Vernon needing food and water. Tim was carrying some snacks, but I wasn’t as I had eaten a large breakfast. We looked at the menu of a small cafe, but decided against it, and went to a gas station for snacks and water.
We left North Vernon on some awfully smooth pavement before finding more gravel. We eventually crossed the Muscatatuck River again and stopped for a photo shoot.
With all of the rain recently, the river is rather high. This could be important later.
When we turned on CR700W*, there was a sign that said “Road Closed – High Water”. I didn’t worry about it much. Cars were coming through and there were no barricades. It was a straight, flat, gravel road heading north. We finally had the horrid wind at our backs. I was ready to roll.
Then we rolled up to this.
The water never got more than a couple of inches deep. Not only was it not up to the hubs, it wasn’t even up to the bottom bracket. We carefully rode through. The first stretch wasn’t bad, and I didn’t even get my feet wet.
We pulled over in the dry patches to let the cars come through. We didn’t want them barreling by and getting us wet.
One of the flooded stretches was a bit deeper. I attempted to lift my feet off of the pedals at the lowest part of the pedal stroke, but it was no good. My feet got wet. It wasn’t a problem, it had warmed up quite a bit and the ride was nearly over.
We continued north back to Hayden. We had the wind at our backs, it was quite a nice ride. Once arriving, my odometer was a little shy of 60 miles, so we circled to push it to 60.3. That’s much better than 59.9.
This was one of the more pleasant rides I’ve done it a while. It had some rolling hills, but none were so bad as to make you suffer. It was scenic. The weather was nearly perfect, other than the wind. Like most loop rides, the wind was only a problem during half the ride. It helped the other half. It was long enough to be interesting and take the better part of a day, but not so long as to make me want to give up near the end. All in all, quite a nice ride.
*This road is called CR700W in Google Maps and CR500W in Garmin’s maps. Which is right? I don’t know.