Hilly Hundred 2023 Day 1

It’s been a year since my brother Mike and I did a great trip down the Oregon coast. It gave me motivation to post about our shared ride in the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN last October 7, 8 of 2023.

Earlier in 2023 Mike had suggested we do the Hilly Hundred “one more time.” He said his son, Erik was interested and he might even get his other son, Philip to join as well. I couldn’t resist. Becky would come along on the trip and extend it to a visit with Mike in Chicago Heights before the ride and some time fishing with Becky’s brother David after the ride.

We landed at Midway, spent a couple of days with Mike and his friend Carol Jacques. One morning we stretched our legs with a 4 mile walk around the woods in the forest preserve that surrounds Sauk Lake.

I did not ship Hidalgo with me, but rode a nice Trek road bike equipped with a triple front chain ring. It wasn’t geared as low as I would normally like for this hilly ride, but it was a lot better than my old Raleigh ten speed that I used the first time I rode this tour more than 40 years earlier.

On a Friday afternoon, we left for Bloomington, IN with Mike , Philip and the bikes in his van. Becky and I picked up a rental car from the Indianapolis Airport along the way. In Bloomington, we picked up our ride packets, checked in to the airbnb we had and met up with Erik for dinner. I haven’t had so much fun quoting “Breaking Away”, “My Cousin Vinny”, and a few other classics. Becky was patient and suffered though our clowning. Every once in a while, I needed translation from Philip to help me understand the latest slang used by those under 40. After watching a few episodes of The Good Life, I understood that “Dope” was something good. Phil kept saying that food he liked was “fire”. I asked for clarification – what was the hierarchy? Was “fire” > “dope”?? For clarification: “What was the word you were using to describe good food that went beyond “Dope”? I don’t remember and I want to impress all the younger people I constantly hang out with. ” Answer: This food is fire This shit hittin This food is smackin This food is slappin That meal was banginnn All very acceptable answers

The first morning was sunny, but pretty chilly. I forget what tactics we used to get Phil out of bed at the airbnb Becky, Mike, Phil and I were sharing. Erik had his own hotel and was going to meet us at the start. I had a generous breakfast – probably more than Mike and Philip had combined. At the high school parking lot where we started, Mike and I had our bikes ready quickly. We waited for Erik, who brought an extra wardrobe for Philip. Erik is an experienced rider who has even done road races with a team. Philip is very athletic, works out regularly, but had no idea what awaited him. Erik finally convinced Philip to take a couple of extra layers of clothing he had brought. Those first downhills and headwinds were pretty chilly. Mike and I probably waited 25 minutes for the clothing negotiations and final bike assembly to be completed.

The boys appreciated the snacks and music at the rest stops. Not sure if it rated as dope or fire.

We got a little warmer as the day went on. Mike’s Trek served me well enough and there weren’t any hills I couldn’t handle. Erik made it a point to “not touch the brakes” on any of the steep downhills that came after a climb. Given that you can top out at 35-45 mph on some of the downhills, I was not only touching the brakes, I was using them.

At the end of day one, we all had 52 miles behind us. We weren’t racing, but Erik was the first of our group to finish. If we WERE racing, Erik would have been the first of our group to finish.

Erik was impressed with the amount of climbing we did. Philip was humbled by the both the distance and terrain. He slept well and deeply that night. At least we had ice cream.

The Really Not So Lone Rider (sans Hidalgo and El Blanco, with over 2,000 other cyclists)

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