Part of the reason for going to Jasper this weekend was to ride in the annual Strassenfest Bike Ride. I’ve ridden the 20 mile route about four times in the past few years. Today, I decided to move up to the 35 mile route.
Now, I’ve ridden farther than that many times in the past, and I just did 28 miles the other day, so I figured I would be able to make it alright. What I didn’t bank on was the number and difficulty of the hills in southern Indiana. I should have heeded the warning of yesterday’s ride as an example of the hills to come today. It wasn’t that any of them were horribly tough, it’s just that they just kept coming.
The starting point was just a few blocks from my sister-in-law’s house, so I was able to check in a drop the t-shirt back at the house before heading out. There were all kinds of bikes in the 20 mile group, but the 35, 48, and 62 mile riders all seemed to have road bikes – except for me. (I heard that Hodson’s Bay is having their fall sale soon, so I’m looking at a Trek 700.)
By the time I got to the first SAG stop, my thighs were complaining a little. I had a few cookies and refilled the water bottle with some nasty red Powerade from powder. The 2nd SAG was just 6 miles later, and was feeling pretty good there. I’d been following a group of three guys for a while, and I was able to keep up pretty well. They didn’t take the 2nd stop, so I mentally bid them adieu. There was a killer hill just past the #2 SAG that took a long time to climb. However, on the other side, I went speeding down the hill at speeds up to 38MPH. Pretty fast for me!
Schnellville Road was a roller coaster, and I even had to walk up one hill, as my legs just said no. It ended up being the last one for a while, so I was able to recuperate a little.
When I was about five miles from the end, I saw my three guys up ahead. It only took about a mile to catch them, as they were taking their time. I was able to talk to one guy in his late 50s, who said he was a high school phys ed teacher during the school year and was working at a bike shop in Vincennes for the summer. One of his younger co-workers talked him into taking the ride. He was doing pretty well, but his buddies had to wait at the tops of the hills. The reason I was able to catch up was because he had fallen over trying to stop to get a dropped water bottle. He isn’t quite used to the clipless pedals yet.
As we were climbing the last hill on St. Charles side by side and chatting, an SUV passed us in the center turn lane (no problem there). Then, I heard an anemic horn coming up as a guy on a Harley squeezed by me in the same lane. Apparently, he wasn’t willing to use the center lane. At the next stop light, he turned a gave me the exasperated hands in the air signal and asked “What’s the matter with you?” I replied, “Nothing, I’m fine,” and rode on. He called me a “dummy” as he turned left and roared off.
I skipped the last two blocks of the ride when we passed my sister-in-law’s street, and faced yet one more decent hill on 13th street.
Miles Ridden: 35.7