On Saturday, Kevin, Mark and I decided to skip the hour+ drive to Hope, IN and do 100 miles starting closer to home. We met at Coxhall Gardens and set out on the 100-mile route for the organized MS ride that was held last weekend.
The morning started out chilly - around 49 F - as we pedaled north on the well-marked route. We kept a pretty good pace as we headed north and east, being helped along by a light tailwind that we didn't notice until we turned south and west. We took a short break at the Sheridan airport (did you know there was an airport in Sheridan? neither did we...), and shed our arm warmers since the temp was rising, but couldn't use the "facilities" because it was closed.
The MS ride is extremely well-marked and the organizers did a remarkable job of keeping the route off the main roads and away from civilization. This is great when the ride is supported with stocked and staffed rest stops... not so great when you are following the route on your own. So... we took a short detour from the route in Sheridan to stop at the familiar Speedway gas station for a quick water refill and a bathroom break.
We headed toward Kirklin, a route (and dogs!) we know well. We turned around at the Fire Station (the usual spot) with 44 miles complete and about half-full water bottles. As we headed out of Kirklin, we turned on a route unfamiliar to us. We drained our bottles as we rode another 30 miles in the vast corn fields of northwestern Boone county without seeing a place to stop... few houses and no gas stations or stores and roads so remote they didn't even register on my Garmin.
We stopped briefly at the Elizaville Christian Church to get off the bikes and with hope of finding an outdoor spigot or hose... with no luck. We pedaled on another 10 miles until we came upon the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds near Lebanon, which happened to be hosting a dog show. We were pretty hot, tired and thirsty by the time we finally rolled in at 85 miles. Thankfully there was a food wagon where we got a quick bite and drinks and were able to fill our water bottles.
From there we rode Perry Worth road - not our favorite, since it parallels a busy and noisy section of I-65 - into Whitestown (NOT Knightstown, which I kept calling it), where we refilled again, and then back to Zionsville. We split up at the usual spot on the west side of Carmel and I got home showing 106.5 miles on my odometer.
It turned out to be a great, well marked ride with some new places none of us had been before. And we all felt good about completing 100 miles a few weeks in advance of Death Valley... we just need to plan our water stops better next time!