Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hilly Hundred 2011

October brings out the best things in life: pumpkins, pretty leaves, the smell of crisp autumn air, and sweatshirts.
It also brings out one of my favorite annual events: the Hilly Hundred.

The Hilly first began in June 1968 with only 54 riders touring central Indiana. It has since evolved down to Greene, Monroe and Owen Counties with its main headquarters in Ellettsville, Ind., and houses over 5,000 riders from all over the world. The nonprofit organization Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA) sponsors the Hilly and raises funds for bike safety education, bicycle awareness, and promoting the health, recreational, economic, social and cultural benefits of cycling.

This year was my second year riding in the Hilly. In 2010, my dad assured me I'd be A-OKAY riding even though I hadn't ridden since early July. I went out on that Saturday morning, chilly but excited. By the end of the day, I told my dad, "Dad, my muscles aren't attached to my bones!"
The hills are excruciating and amazing. I felt weak all of Sunday and couldn't walk down my apartment's stairs, let alone ride a bike for 50 more miles.

2011 brought a new outlook on the ride though. After completing plenty of lengthy bike rides, I promoted the Hilly to my RideOn teammates and begged them to join. Helen, Morgan and our new teammate Mary Horton came along on Saturday. My dad and I met up with the girls and road 58 miles.

Morgan and Mary had never ridden it before and were dumbfounded by all of the bikes, food, and events that carried on throughout the day. Helen rode the Hilly in high school with her deCycles group and saw her old companions along the way.

Once the ride ended and we were safely in Ellettsville again, the five of us trudged over to the giant tent in the front parking lot of Edgewood High School to receive our free ice cream and shop for all of the great deals on cycling gear.

As if the cycling atmosphere and spandex shorts weren't enough for us, we were lucky enough to have one of the most beautiful October days of the year. Sunny and blue, we rode against the wind, up hills, and through winding roads.

Although the day was amazing, none of RideOn made it out for the second half of the ride on Sunday. Dad, of course, did because he's awesome like that. I, instead, rested and went shopping with my mom while we waited for Daddy to finish.

The best thing about bicycles, though, isn't the riding or beautiful views. We build a community of riders. A common group who love to ride. And I bet, I bet my left pinky toe, that no rider could ever explain in words the joy he or she receives from getting out on the road.