Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 37: Crawfordsville to Indianapolis -- Race Day

Pictures are here.
Miles: 73
Total Miles: 2848
Time: 5:03
Average: 14.4
Max 30.5
Flats Today: 0; Total flats:8
Climbing: Fast and flat early, banked fast track in the middle and flat trail.
Weather: Bright, sunny, clear, little humidity, hi low 80's, little wind. Could not be better for biking.
Body: Felt great today!

What an enjoyable and varied day!!! Good riding, great sight seeing, a little friendly competition and meeting up with Marcia.

The first 30 miles to SAG #1 were behind us in no time as Chuck and I traded leads at 20+ mph. We wanted to have plenty of time to enjoy what lay ahead. First stop out of the SAG was Roark Custom Titanium Bicycles. Very interesting tour and discussion of the back part of the shop where the bikes are made. The rest of this metal fabricating shop with about 100 employees is mostly dedicated to defense contracts, but Ed Roark, the owner, loves bikes. He decided that if he's already got everything in place to make frames, why not make frames and sell them? So, he set up a small group of guys whose main job it is to run this little side business. They manufacture about 100 road bikes per year (no recumbents or tandems), crafted to your specs and fitted with the components and wheels of you choice. They have a model that dissembles to fit into a airplane sized suitcase. We had a great time there learning about frame building and some of the subtleties that go into it.

Next stop was the Indy Motor Speedway. It was the first time I had seen it. The size of the place really surprised me. It seemed like the stands went on for a mile. I guess with a 2.5 mile track they would go on for a mile. When we finally got to "the front" of the track there was nothing there except 4 gaping tunnel entrances, so I rode right down the one ramp and into the tunnel and then back up the other side. Only then did I realize that I had just pedaled under the race track. I pedaled a bit further toward a little guard house that stood between me and the decorative fountains, the Speedway museum, the rest of the gigantic infield and most importantly, the Pit Stop restaurant and lunch. A little elderly lady guard stood gauard and stood her ground as I got ready to ride past me and pulled me up short.
"Stop" she said. "You cannot ride your bicycle in here. You have to walk it" she said as several cars drove past me toward the parking lot.
Then she asked how many were coming behind me.
"Twenty or so" I replied.
"Oh no." she said. "Our bicycle rack only has room for three."
I tried to assure her. "We'll figure that out, I'm sure."
She raised her voice a bit because I was already walking my bike as instructed toward the rack 50 yeards away. "You won't have have any room for more."

This lady was obviously intent on doing her job thoroughly and I got the distinct impression she did not like bicyclists. Bob, who followed a few minutes behind me, got the same treatment but was more quick witted than I when told to get off his bike and walk. "Do you make the motorists get out of their cars and walk them to the parking spot as well?" he asked her.

As it turned out, the bike rack easily accommodated all the bikes that showed up.

After lunch, viewing the museum and telling the many folks that asked what we were doing, we were off again to our next attraction of the day -- the Major Taylor Velodrome. Gerard was waiting dressed to ride and ride we did. For the next hour we spun and circled and cycled our way around the quarter mile Velodrome track. We gradually got the feel of riding on the steeply banked track. First low, then higher, then all the way up, then in pairs drafting and then riding high and zooming down low. It was great fun!

After some time at this, Gerard mentioned that Sean and Tom had done some rolling start timed laps earlier. That was all we needed to get out the watches and begin doing timed laps. Zero, Bob, Leigh, Hans, Chuck, Gerard and I took turns trying for the best time we could and the best time of the day. On his second try, Gerard got a 25 second lap which was about 1 1/2 seconds faster than Bob and Hans who were about a second faster than Chuck and I. Leigh about tied Sean's time at 29.1 seconds and Zero was close to that. Judy was only wishing she had her bike and shoes. She is more competitive than she will admit -- especially for a chance to beat some guys.
The last 6 or 7 miles in were easy bike path miles along the river towards down town ending with a jaunt along the very scenic canal that connects a variety of museums, the NCAA headquarters, sports complexes, stadiums and other attractions. We found our way to a very nice new Comfort Suites motel right across from the Colts Stadium in the heart of downtown. Great way to spend our off day.

Marcia arrived shortly after I did and we have had a relaxing day sightseeing along the canal, checking out the very extensive Indiana Museum and watching an excellent heart stopping IMax called "The Alps" -- which chronicled an ascent up the most difficult route of the Eiger Face -- the Alps most difficult ascent.

Tomorrow it's off to Richmond IN and if the weatherman is right, it will be in the rain.

1 comment:

  1. LOLZ! I laughed reading this post picturing you guys talking to the security guard.