Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunday at the Hilly Hundred


A new day

with new challenges.

Warm up those legs...

we have hills ahead of us today.

We turn east -

uphill, of course,

casting long shadows

as we bike into

the rising sun.

We're a diverse lot...

we Hilly bikers.

We don't all look
like Lance Armstrong.

Some of us are walking
up the later hills of our lives...

While others are coasting down
the fresh hills of youth.

What we all have in common
is the love of a challenge...

...bringing us together
in the colors of Bloomington
on this glorious fall day!

I love the rippling shadows
as we spin past
the morning trees.

No need to get bored.

Matt keeps us entertained
trailing his boom box
behind bike.

An early hill
 - not even named -
gives us a chance to stretch our legs....

....and test our brakes!

Sweeping down
under a rain of red leaves
we laugh together
at the joy of a perfect Hilly day.

First rest stop!

Time for my Jack's donut!

Looks like Jonny boy
ate a donut, too.

But my favorite sugars today
are these sugar maples
lighting up
our hilly route.

Some people pass me.

That's okay.
I'm saving my strength
for the mountains

are guarded
by these great sheriffs
making sure our way is safe today.

Thank you, guys!

We bunch up
into a biker line
as we enter
the Yellowwood forest.

We know what's coming...

Bean Blossom Hill!

Two solid miles of uphill!

We have encouragement
sprayed on our road.

a butterfly...

Thanks, Frank.

We fill the road
with effortful bikers.

We hope no car
even tries to drive down
Beanblossom today.

Walkers to the right.

One thing I've learned
is never to be behind someone
when they suddenly stop
to walk the rest of a hill.

If I have to hit my brakes,
I'm dead.

We're grinding up the hill...

all concentration on
our clenching thighs...

our gripping hands...

We hardly notice
the glory of the trees
around us.

Stand on the bike!

Use all of your weight,

your strength!

Up and up...
the hill goes on forever.

At every turn
we think we've made it
to the top.

Finally, yes!

The summit of Bean Blossom!

Time to recuperate.

Take a breath...

before cascading down

the gold-lit hill.

light and shadow
blind our eyes
as we careen down
the backside of Beanblossom.

I've decided God must be a biker.

Why else would he create gravity

that gives us the glory of the uphill...

....and the thrill of the down?

What more could we ask
after the beauty
of this Bean Blossom ride?

How about lunch?

Line up for ice cream....

Relax with your friends...

Wrestle with the kids....

Our bikes need a rest, too.

We still have Mt Tabor to go.

Taking off after
a much-needed lunch...

What's this?

A hill?

I'd forgotten about
Turkey Track Hill.

This is my 8th Hilly Hundred.

You'd think I'd know
all the hills by now.

Did everyone
finish lunch
at the same time?

Look at the crowd!

And a sweet downhill to follow!

Roller coaster hills!

Spin down the first one

faster, faster

picking up speed... carry you
half way up the next side.

Towards the top
you still need to use those pedals.

A little more spin...

and here we are!

The dreaded Mt Tabor!

The Nemesis of the Hilly Biker!

My first Hilly
I walked up 6 hills.

My second
I walked three.

For three Hillies after that
I conquered every hill..

...but Mt Tabor.



with a cruel little curve
at the top.

Mt Tabor is our bane.

I swing left...

No getting stuck
behind a walker today!

Crunch it down!
Muscle it up!

These legs that carried me
over the Rockies
the Cascades
the Black Hills

...surely they can get me up
Indiana's Mt Tabor!




bike shoe down on steel pedals.

Every ounce of my will
on those metal plates
and the ratchety turn of the wheels.

And yes!

I make it to the top
on my bike!


I collapse on the ground -

legs trembling from exertion.

I turn and watch the upcoming riders.

I see in their faces
all emotions...




And after all the excitement of climbing Mt Tabor...

....look what we have
ahead of us!


Cateye reads 35 - 40 - 45 mph!

Hold on to those grips!

Will we survive the downhill?


We make it to Stineville!

Just in time...

My diet coke
has just gone empty.

We're all smiles now
that the worst is behind us.

A wonderful rest
at the last SAG...

...and we take off for the last leg
of the 2010 Hilly Hundred.

Congratulatory balloons
along the way.

Thumbs up
from fellow bikers.

I'm glad we're almost done.

The heat is starting to get to me.

Ninety degrees in October?

Everyone searches
for a spot of shade...

... a break from the sun
in these last hot miles.

Oh, no!

What is this!?

I had forgotten about Water Tower Hill!

What a shame if,
after all these other grand climbs,
we get taken down
by the Water Tower!

We can do it!

Let's go!

In the saddle

pushing those legs

for one last climb...

The thighs want to quit...

but we press on

till we see the final summit...

Cresting the Water Tower...

Now we know we've made it!

Over the hill
and we can see the high school
in the distance.

Spinning lightly
past The End mark...

We hold up the bikes
in the biker's salute...

And now for our reward...

Nice cold a/c
for a really hot biker.

An ice cold drink
for the really thirsty...

...and home for the hungry
for the best treat of all...

Tom's wonderful steak dinner!


  1. seems like a pretty easy bike ride =D i bet I could do the whole thing in a day hehe. and get tj's steak kitty!!!

  2. Please suggest a picture for me to enter in the Hilly Hundred photo contest.

  3. Wonderful photos, again! It's a beautiful route, and it was a beautiful day. I was riding elsewhere, but the hilly route is excellent. By the way, that's Morgan-Monroe State Forest, not Yellowwood.

  4. I'd say the one with the top of the water towere showing through the trees or the one with the trike on the left side. Great pics and well told story.

  5. Thank you, Apertome. I stand corrected on my forest.

    And Brent - I agree -I especially like the water tower shot. Maybe because it reminds me I'm almost home.

  6. Helen, You do such a wonderful job telling the story with your pictures. I re-lived both Sat and Sun of the Hilly through your blog. Thanks for all the work in putting these together into great memories. It was so good to see you -- I hope we can have another reunion at the 2011 Hilly.

  7. Beautiful photos! I very much enjoyed reading your commentary as well as seeing your great pictures. In addition to the water tower picture, I really liked the picture with the morning shadows. You also captured the fall colors so well. It is a treat for us on the west coast who don't have that. We do have the grape vines changing colors, but it is nowhere near what you all have. Thanks again for sharing.

  8. Wow--you captured all of it in a way that I could share with my non-riding wife.

  9. Great job it must take forever to take the photos. I loved you discription of BB hill. Morgan Monroe forest is just breath taking. We all have our own memories of the events. To me I think Mt. Tabor is shrinking it did not seem as steep this year. Near the top Of MT Tabor I met an old friend. There was a friendly german shepard running beside me as I climbed MT Tabor. As I sat down in the grass waiting for my friends to come up Mt Tabor the the friendly dog followed me and sat beside me. This Shepard look idenical to my shepard. Two years ago I had to put down my German Shepard he had gone blind and could no longer stand. He had been a great friend to me for 13yrs. He ran with me in the rain and in the snow as I prayed for my mother who was suffering from lung cancer.
    We all have different experiences with the Hilly.

  10. Wow! That's an amazing story. I didn't see the shepherd. He must have been there just for you.

  11. I just found your blog through a link on the Jack's Donuts facebook page. I'm one of Bev Matthew's kids (her favorite, if you ask me:). I love how you take your Jack's donut with you. If I remember correctly, it is caramel, right? I'm looking through your current & pasts posts & am loving it. Your pictures are absolutely AMAZING & your stories are very inspirational. What kind of camera do you use?

    Shannon Wright

  12. Shannon - Welcome to the Flight. I use a Canon G11 always hanging around my neck. Yes, I love caramel Jacks' donuts. And I think the world of your Mother. I had these three girls in rapid succession, but nothing like having triplets, wow!

  13. Helen,
    Great photos and a great story, again.

    BTW: I finished my own RAIN Ride on Oct 8th. A friend and I went from German Church Road to the Ohio line for 71 miles in 7 hours with stops. Much better than the July trip from IL. line to Plainfield in 93 degrees!

    Really your photos are fantastic and they are all winners. I hope to do the Hilly next year to see some of it for myself.
    David on Graceland

  14. Thanks David. We really had perfect wether for the Hilly this year!