Yellowwood Mixed-Terrain

Apertome hosted, and I mean Michael and Sarah HOSTED, a cycling get-together on Sunday as a regional meeting of the minds. Joiners included:  Jon and Brad, who were passing through Bloomington en route to delivering a truck and a motorbike to lucky family members in PA, Bill from Fort Wayne who purchased a very nice-looking early-80s Trek from Jon, Asher and me from the 'Ville, and finally Dave G, with whom I personally had a great ride back during a particularly frozen afternoon back during the winter. It looked to be a great group, but one I felt a little trepidation given that we had two altitude trainers (from CO), one brevet riders, one newbie racer/messenger, and Michael, who is always strong as an ox. Throw Dave G dive-bombing descents and I had lots of "Wait for me!!" thoughts floating.

After the boys finished an incredible breakfast Sarah had prepared, we left via what I like to call the "roller route", and series of miserable rollers that had me sucking wind within the first 3m of riding.

We had so many mechanicals that I don't even remember the purpose of this stop. Looks like Brad might be fixing something, but it seems like we had stopped so that Jon could adjust. Who knows?

After our roller warm-up, we passed through a classic English wood that apparently is owned and preserved by famous Bloomingtonian John (Cougar) Mellencamp. Singletrack was a great way to augment the mixed-terrain theme for the day.


Brad, very keen with his classic Bridgestone XO-3. We had some excellent Rivendell talk short after this descent.

Bill and Jon following.

Descent from trail E.Kerr Creek Rd.

This house at the bottom was very, very pleasant. Several of us admired the varying textures of the stone, the clapboard of the home and the artist cottage out back.

Our next portion rolled along E.Kerr Creek Rd., which was evidently the location of a variety of ranchettes on the outskirts of Bloomington. After our stiff pace at the start we slowed down and enjoyed the mixture of flow, sun, vistas and conversation.

Dave G admiring his roadie tires once we picked him up in Unionville.
Once we picked up Dave we had a nice run along IN-45, especially when it ran in through the northern-most reaches of Yellowwood Forest. At some point Dave pointed out that we would hit a descent and that we would have to scrub some speed. What that meant was that Dave, Jon and Brad would drop like stones right out of the sky while I feathered the brakes back and forth to keep from killing myself. We enjoyed a long, sumptuous downhill and found excellent gravel conditions in Yellowwood Forest.

Asher, with either a look of despair or elation.

Brad in the distance. Nice.

We stopped at Yellowwood Lake for a bit.

Brad and Dave G

Brad and Michael, who is looking tough in his "pondering the horizon" kinda look.

We exited YF and found a variety of paved rollers which passed the TC Steele Historical site and later included an interesting metal bridge. We took full advantage for a rest and Dave G attacked his wonky rear back tire, which had been battling a leak for much of the YF portion.

Michael, Bill and Jon

Bill's Specialized Tri-cross, which I believe is the machine he used on his recent brevets.

After YF we found a not-too-busy IN-46 and used it to link up with another portion of gravel, in this case the climb of Crooked Creek Rd. I remember descending this section with Michael last year and knew that we had our work cut out for us. Dave again attended to tire issues, and while the group looked on, I sneaked out for a 15sec headstart. I knew I needed all the time I could get. Of course, the CO crew caught up quickly, and a couple of the other guys were detained with DaveG struggling with tire pressure. We took a good break at the top of the challenging climb.

Bottom of the hill tire powwow.

Top of the hill rest break
Crooked Creek Rd. brought us down to Lake Monroe where we spent a few minutes. From there we moved on along paved roads and began to struggle in the heat and humidity.

At some point we hit more gravel (Kent Rd.?) but found it much chunkier and heavier than out previous swath. It reminded me of the stuff I hit on my own mixed-terrain Ferdinand ride. Not too much fun, but we persevered. Along this section we also hit our 2nd metal bridge, but deep into our ride we marshaled on.

We left our last gravel of the day with our climb up to E.Lampkins Ridge Rd. This was a really nice ribbon of shallow rollers, shade and little traffic save a loud, fat lady on a Harley. Virtually all of our route was low traffic save a portion of IN46. Our group strung out a bit here as folks began to feel the effects of the day. Entering Bloomington, Dave G bade us adieu and took a right while we went straight. We met our section of rollers again and suffered for those last couple miles, but upon arrival to the Johnson household our host asked, "Does anybody *not* want a beer?" Could there be a more fitting end to a great day on two wheels. I enjoyed it immensely, the opportunity to meet distant bloggers face-to-face, discuss all things bicycle and as ever soak in the bounty that is Indiana roadways. Also, for the day:

  • Tim- broke a chain on a steep portion of our last big climb. Jon came to the rescue.
  • Bill- broke or lost a fender bolt/nut. He did an excellent job jerryrigging it with a zip-tie.
  • Asher- fought all day long with an uphappy rear hub.
  • Brad- adjusted something at a stop, but he seemed to roll along on his vintage XO-3. Too bad he lost the closing sprint at the Johnson estate; he didn't realize that the finish was at the start of the driveway, not the end..  ;)
  • DaveG- fought like hell with his rear tire. He eventually used my extra 26" tube but gravel is a rough spot to have tire problems.
  • Jon- general wrench that fixed everything. I think he enjoyed the humidity more than most.
  • Michael- the amiable host suffered no mechanicals, as it should be.


Big Oak said…
It was great meeting and riding with you, Tim. I look forward to future rides!

Dave said…
Another great ride, Tim. It seems that every ride we do together borders on "bite off more than I can chew", but I'm never sorry.

Have a great vacation later this month, and we look forward to hosting you at the state park for some great mountain biking later this summer.
DerrickP said…
Looks lik quite a day!
Kokorozashi said…
Awesome writeup, Tim (much better than mine, I fear)! And, as always, some great pictures.

I marvel at your ability to remember which mechanical issue belonged to which rider :D
Jon said…
It was pretty awesome. You, Michael, Asher and Bill have done such a good job describing the ride, I'm not sure what to write, myself!
Pondero said…
Great reports from all bloggers, but your factoids provide extra charm. There might have been enough mechanicals that even I could have keep up with the group.
Apertome said…
Great post -- love the photos. I can't believe how serious I look in the creek crossing one. It doesn't look like I was having any fun at all, which is, of course, ridiculous.

It was a phenomenal ride. I'm so glad you were there, and you were able to bring Asher with you. Next time, maybe, Dave C too!

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