This past weekend I joined a good friend to participate in the 46th annual Hilly Hundred, a two-day bicycle century. As this ride’s date approached, I was looking forward to the mixture of riding in southern Indiana and distances that are challenging, yet not overwhelming. The century was roughly split into a 58 mile first day and a 46 mile second day.
Upon arriving, we checked in to the event, giving me my first understanding of how many volunteers it takes to put on an event like this. If I had to estimate the number of volunteers, it would be well over 100, including police officers to marshal road intersections. I can’t say enough about how well-organized the event was or how friendly the volunteers were! Our campsite:
I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of rain drops on the roof of my Element (Sports Utility Camper). I pulled up the weather on my phone and then sent a text to my friend in the next tent over with the message, “Character Building Ride?”.
40’s and rainy…
We decided to hold off on starting the ride for a few hours to wait for the rain to die down, using our new-found time to grab some hot breakfast from a local diner.
We set off on the first mile of the two-day century around noon on Saturday. The weather was chilly, but the rain had stopped for the most part. Getting clothing correct seemed difficult at first as I overheated quickly, removing layers as the first miles started to tick away. About a half hour in, I was settling into the ride. I had my clothing figured out, and life was good. The check stops provided a chance to stretch legs off the bicycle, take in some nutrition and hydration.
The lunch stop of the first day left me pretty cold, as the sun was unable to shine through thick clouds and the wind was evil. The time spent eating lunch let the cold seep into my bones. After lunch we set off to finish the ride and I made extra efforts to regain warmth by climbing fairly hard which resulted in me bonking with about 10 miles to go on the first day and I suffered through the last climbs. Finishing day one with a smile!
My trusty Specialized Roubaix performed great, providing a comfortable and efficient ride.
Garmin data for day one
We set out day two with much better weather. While riding Sunday we saw many more people enjoying the blue sky, sunshine, and warmer weather. I’m guessing the colder and wetter weather was responsible for the lower perceived participation on day one. The rest stops were a great opportunity for me to take in how great the experience was. There is something special about being surrounded by hundreds of cyclist, all partaking in a great ride, each of us knowing the secret of how amazing moments on a bicycle can be.
Garmin data for day two
Overall, I had a great time! I enjoyed the route. We managed to ride 103.54 miles in six hours and twelve minutes. As for the numbers related to the “hilly” aspect, we climbed a total of 7,952 feet with some pitches exceeding 20%. I set a new maximum speed personal record of 45.2 miles per hour on one of the downs on day two. Something tells me this won’t be my last Hilly Hundred.
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