can be found in many other parts of the world right now. However, at this time of year, Indiana typically has two types of weather, heat and thunderstorms, so I figured I'd ride in the heat. (My evenings are much busier than last year, so I have to take what I can get.) The high today was in the mid-90s (mid-30s for my friends in Metricville), so it wasn't great weather, but I had my Camelbak, my helmet, shade along the way, and experience in heat, so that was good enough.
Goal today: hills. Actually, I mean "hills". In northern and central Indiana, hills are little bumps on the map. It isn't until you get to southern Indiana (Bloomington, Columbus, etc.) that you get hills that are numerous and challenging. (We do have hills here, kind of, depending on how close you are to a river.) So there are nice little inclines along 146th and up the Monon that I thought I'd do.
I started off at the Rohrer Road trailhead, conveniently forgetting that the 0.5-mile stretch to 146th was slightly uphill. Headed east across Meridian (btw, the pedestrian light at the entrance to Clay Terrace changes immediately when you press the button, unlike other lights that make you wait a cycle), around the corner to the Lowe's lot, and then back up the hill. Up to the intersection, around the corner, back up the hill again ... and at this point, I decided that perhaps smaller inclines would be a good idea. You know, a heat index nearing 100° and all that.
So I headed back to 146th, crossed at the light, and headed north. The Monon is slightly uphill for the rest of the way, so I got some more slow-climbing practice ... until I crossed 161st, and I realized that they'd a) fixed the part of the trail that was under construction last year and b) extended the trail into Westfield.
Now, that sounds like really exciting news, but let me tell you this. If you ride a road bike, you do not want to ride this part of the trail. 2.9 miles on a gravel road – at least it was the gravel that you pave over and not a gravel driveway, or else I'd never have made it, not even on a hybrid. As it was, there were a couple of parts where the trail was a little soft and I slid a little, but I made it. However, there was a lot of bouncing (no shocks on this bike), and there were several parts of the trail where there was no attempt to make a smooth transition from one surface to another.
So, after my little 5.8-mile stretch of semi-off-road cycling, I got a somewhat-downhill leg back to the trailhead. Got in a nice little 18-mph sprint to 146th, about 17 for the half mile after that, and then it was time to get off the bike and get into a cool car. (Um, after I remembered to switch it from new air to recirculate, and from defroster/feet to face/feet. lol.)
Stats from this ride, nicely uploaded to Google Docs (thanks to My Tracks for making that happen) and to Google Maps (hopefully you'll see that below):
Just under an hour (0:59 riding time), 11.66 miles, 11.79 mph, 511 ft gain in elevation (cumulative, I suppose), top speed of 19.01 mph. That's actually pretty close to what my cyclometer read (11.87 miles, 12 mph even, 19.5 top speed).
Also, Chocolate Chip Creme Pies are tasty. I prefer them to Oatmeal Creme Pies, even if they don't taste that chocolatey. (Yes, that wasn't the best post-ride snack, although honestly it's not that bad for you, and anyway, you weren't in Kroger offering to buy me an expensive smoothie, now were you? No? Then hush.)
View Hill practice, Carmel/Westfield in a larger map