The Herald Bulletin
---- — It was finally here. The day we had been waiting for. Saturday, Oct. 19.
The first day of Hilly Hundred 2013.
In case I haven't mentioned it, the Hilly Hundred is a bicycle tour. It is a winding, hilly ride that covers about 100 miles over two days in southern Indiana.
My husband Seth and I had been planning and preparing for the ride. After all, riding a bike 100 miles uphill, even over two days, isn't an easy thing for two chubby middle-aged weekend warriors. And I use the word 'chubby' loosely. Seth's bike seat actually disappears when he mounts the bike. And I could really use suspenders on my biking shorts.
I had been training and logged a few hundred miles on my bike. Seth had been training too — the Klondike Bar diet was a big part of his program and he had been very dedicated. The other part of his regime included avoiding contact with his bike as much as possible. He had been unswerving in that resolve too.
On the 19th, I knew the consequences of our individual training techniques would be revealed.
When I woke up in our hotel room in Bloomington that morning, I could hear the rain pattering on roof. I stuck my head out the door, and saw my own warm breath become visible in the chilly outside air.
I don't do rain. Not on a bike.
"It's raining and it's cold," I announced to Seth, who was still in the bed with the pillow over his head. "Let's go eat somewhere and then go to Walmart."
Seth was really good about hiding his disappointment. Later I even heard him singing in the shower. He is a great guy for keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of such a letdown.
So our Hilly Hundred would be reduced to the Hilly Forty-something, if it didn't rain on day two of the ride.
The next morning, we rode our bikes under the big "Start" arch at Ellettsville School. It was a cold beginning to the ride, but the sun was bright and promised to warm us all as the day went on.
Seth and I separated shortly into the ride, at the first big hill of the day. "Go on ahead, I am riding slow," he said. At that point he was actually stopped, standing beside his bike.
"You should've wore your walking shoes," I said.
So at the first rest stop about 10 miles into the ride, I decided relax and enjoy the refreshments and give Seth a chance to catch up. I laid my bike down on the grass alongside the thousand other bikes safely resting on their sides. I was standing in the middle of an awesome sea of bicycles. It was a sight. I drank a cup of cider and amused myself watching a man who was a wearing a pink bra on the outside of his clothes in honor of breast cancer awareness month. It was clear that wearing a bra was not nearly as much fun as he had imagined.
Fifteen minutes passed. No Seth.
I ate an apple. Thirty minutes passed. No Seth.
I had another cup of cider. I waited. And waited. I scrutinized the hundreds of riders as they arrived in waves at the rest stop. Still no Seth. There were so many people — all wearing similar riding garb, all with sunglasses, helmets....
I wished he were wearing red and white stripes, like Waldo, to make him easy to spot.
But Seth is careful to avoid horizontal stripes.
It came to me that riding 10 miles in this length of time would mean he was barely moving at a speed that would allow him to stay upright. Was he still upright?
At 40 minutes I experienced what was either the fiber in the apples taking effect, or a pang of worry.
TO BE CONTINUED
Theresa Timmons' column appears every first and third Sunday, but this month it will appear the fourth Sunday also. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.