The LBC organized the 100K (62 mile) populaire. I figured that it would be a good ride to break myself back into riding something more than short rides.
The ride started at 9:00 am. I left home early to get coffee at Quill’s which was just a few blocks from the ride start location. I intended to meet Tim and Michael there. Michael had to drive from Bloomington and was running late, so I didn’t see the two of them until the ride.
While drinking my coffee, Ward Wilson arrived. I had met him on a RCCS ride back in February. We drank coffee and talked bikes for a while before heading over to the ride start location.
I don’t know how many people were riding. If I had to guess, I would say 40. There were two tandem bikes. I was riding the only recumbent. I was riding one of two bikes with fenders. Michael, Tim, Asher, and many others were there.
Our route had us going out River Rd. Within about five miles, Asher’s left crank arm came off. Luckily he hadn’t lost the bolt, so we were able to re-attach it.
We continued out to US 42 then Covered Bridge (I never saw a covered bridge on the route), then Old Zaring Rd. I really liked Old Zaring Rd. We continued through Buckner and finally to our first control and lunch stop at Red Pepper Deli in LaGrange.
Tim, Michael, Asher, and I were near the end of the pack during this time. Anne (who I had just met) rode with us part of this time. Anne sat at the table with us at the lunch stop. That is the point of a populaire – to be socialable.
We turned around and went back through areas I’m not terribly familiar with. We came to Norton Commons and the next control stop, Gilberto Gelato. The heat and hilly ride made my stomach less than receptive to ice cream, so I ate only a small amount.
I started to get some leg cramping at this point. I had been having trouble drinking enough water. My stomach was not happy with me, and my current water bottles don’t make it easy to drink without pulling over. The pace we were riding did not allow me time to stop much for water or for taking pictures. Also along this stretch, Tim, Michael, and Anne pulled away out of site. Asher hung back with me. We also had a couple of tandems that we kept leap-frogging.
After a confusing route just trying to stay on Wolf Pen Branch Rd (I hate cue sheets), we were back on River Road and on the home stretch. Turning onto Frankfort Ave, Michael, Tim, and Anne were pulled over while Michael changed a flat tire. From there it was a quick ride to the final stop – Flanagans.
We arrived with a mere six minutes remaining before the cutoff. I knew I was a slow rider, but I’ve always heard that the time limits for a brevet, randonneur, or populaire were quite forgiving. If I can barely make the time constraints of a 100K then I have serious doubts about a 200K.
I didn’t have my GPS during the ride, but I did manually re-create the route based on the cue sheet.
Download file: 2011-07-10.gpx
How was my neck? It was fine 99% of the time during the ride. If I had been on an upright bike I wouldn’t have been able to finish the ride. I did have one moment when I dodged right to avoid a large flying insect and I hurt myself. I not only steered to the right, but I twisted and leaned that direction. I successfully moved enough for the insect to bounce off the side of my helmet rather than hit me in the face, but it did cause neck pain for a while.
On many LBC rides, I end up riding alone. There were enough people that I know personally on this ride, that I didn’t have to ride alone. Although the “club ride” is not my favorite type of ride, I’m going to try to squeeze more of them in. Although I had trouble with the pace on this one, it’ll get better if I keep pushing myself.
I had a lot of fun, and being back on the bike will keep my sane. What more could I ask for?