Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marion 400K

I did my second 400K of the season earlier this month. This was part of Miles's Bare Bones Brevet Week. I was only doing the 400K.

I drove to Marion on Tuesday night and stayed in a hotel. The ride started at 6 am on Wednesday. Originally there were supposed to be 6 riders doing the 400. 2 riders who were coming from out of town canceled their trip. Two other riders who were planning on doing the whole series decided to skip the 400K. That meant it was Jim and me doing the ride. Ned also started at the same time but was doing a 200K.

It was warm at the start. This was the 9th month towards my R-12 and this was the first ride where I wasn't wearing wool socks at the start of the ride. I brought tights and a rain jacket with me but never ended up needing either one.

We ran into a little trouble around the 60 mile mark. We stopped to decide which way to turn. Jim thought that were should bear right. I said "Good, because if we go left we'll end up underwater." So we went right. About a half mile later, the road went underwater. There were a lot of cars park on the road there. According to a couple we met, people had been parking the cars and taking boats to get to their houses because of the flooding. The also told us the we could ride our bikes on top of the levee to get back to Old Route 3.

We rode back to get to the levee. It had a gravel road on top so we started riding. I only made it about 100 yards before I got a flat. I was worried that this was going to be a recurring problem on the gravel but it did not happen again. After about 3 miles we made it back onto the route.

The next challenge was the Tunnel Hill bike trail. The crushed limestone just seems to slow you down. It is certainly better than gravel but the trail seems to go on forever. The route followed the trail for about 50 miles.

By the time we left the trail at mile 150 it was starting to get dark. We knew that we would not get to Wayne City (mile 192) before the convenience store closed at 10:00 so we decided to stock up in McCleansboro (mile 173). On our way to McLeansboro it started to rain a little. We were skirting around the edges of a storm that was passing through. Luckily for us it never rained hard enough that that we need to put on any rain gear. It also stayed fairly warm.

We stopped briefly in Wayne City even though everything was closed. We had to sign each other's brevet cards. I needed a break so we stopped again in front of a post office in Belle Rive (mile 208). Nothing was open but I ate some of the food I bought in McLeansboro.

The final stop was in Benton (mile 232). We both tried to rest for the final leg. I may have dozed off briefly but Jim got a good nap. The last leg was only 20 miles and it was starting to get light. We are feeling okay but we certainly weren't setting any speed records. We finished at 6:25 am.