Information about the world of cycling, including bicycle touring

Roger falls in the leaves after a particularly long climb.
Roger Kramer "falls" after a particularly
difficult hill. (Photo by Doug Kaufman)

Doug Kaufman and Roger Kramer at the Hilly Hundred.
Doug Kaufman, left, and Roger at the
Hilly Hundred. (Photo by Bubba Barron)

Carrie Lohman, left, and Pam Turner enjoy Hilly Hundred.
Carrie Lohman, left, and Pam Turner enjoy
a Hilly Hundred rest stop.

SUMMARY: Even though the Hilly Hundred has 5,000 riders annually, the folks at the Central Indiana Bicycle Association do an excellent job of keeping things moving on and off the road. The food and the entertainment at the rest and lunch spots are first-rate, and the fall colors in that part of Indiana can be spectacular. In 2003, Hilly Hundred moved to a new home in Ellettsville, Ind., just outside Bloomington.

RIDE WEB SITE:http://www.hillyhundred.org/

Hilly Hundred

The Hilly Hundred, long considered one of the Midwest's premier cycling events, got a new look in 2003. The great news is that it retained all of its Hoosier charm and scenery!

The Hilly Hundred outgrew its longtime home, Bloomington North High School, and moved to Ellettsville, Ind., where it had the advantage of having plenty of buildings available for our use, as well as sufficient room for campers and event parking.

The changes also meant that the organizers of the ride, the Central Indiana Bicycle Association, had to develop two new routes for the two-day event. About 5,000 cyclists waited with anticipation to see what the new routes had to offer.

The first day's route, about 54 miles, included many of the high points — in more ways than one — of the original routes. The route headed north of Ellettsville, crossed Indiana Route 37, then met up with a portion of the original second day route in Dolan. We climbed a huge hill that we used to travel down, descended a huge hill on South Shore Road that we used to have to climb and enjoyed scenic Lake Lemon.

The new route includes North Shore Road, which provided cyclists with an exceptionally steep challenge. To give you an idea how steep the North Shore Road was, I saw two cyclists run out of momentum on the climb and fall down because they weren't able to get out of their cleats quickly enough!

The new route also included an old favorite hill on Bean Blossom Road, which took us into Monroe-Morgan State Forest, a longtime favorite for fall colors. After winding through some more rustic scenery, we got to tackle Mount Tabor Road hill, a steep monstrosity that forces many a skilled cyclist off his or her bicycle.

The second day was a completely new route that went south of Ellettsville, but provided its share of challenges. The new route visited such small towns as Whitehall, Hendricksville, Solsberry, Newark and New Hope. The new 47.9-mile route had its share of big hills that will please cyclists for years to come.

A few things were missing this year. One was the annual visit to Nashville on the second day, but Nashville is too far away from Ellettsville to include it in the new route. Also there weren't shorter options on the 2003 route. Perhaps they will be added in the future.

Also, there were a few glitches with traffic early in the weekend, but that's to be expected when a community takes on such as large event as the Hilly Hundred. If past experience is any indication, Hilly Hundred organizers and the community will correct those glitches next year. The completion of a widened Indiana Route 46 will go a long way in correcting those problems.

But as always, CIBA had things well-organized, and there was little waiting for restrooms, food and other items during the course of the weekend. It's that organization, along with great scenery, that make the Hilly Hundred an outstanding ride.

Original Hilly Hundred account

As with many of the great rides I have done, I learned about the Hilly Hundred ride through friends in my bicycle club, the BABES (Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society). Everybody raved about the quality of the ride, and I figured I should be part of it as well. As I was preparing to send off information about the ride, my friend Doug Kaufman, an avid triathlete, wondered whether he could come along. Who was I to say no!

Because 5,000 people ride the Hilly Hundred every year, it's difficult to get a hotel room. On our first Hilly, in 1994, we opted to sleep in the gymnasium. A big mistake, at least for Doug. I can sleep through anything, but Doug is a light sleeper. Ever since then, we have camped out.

Doug and I were both floored by what a great ride the Hilly Hundred is. That first year, we hit the leaves at the perfect time. We enjoyed the challenge of the hills, but the music at the rest and lunch stops blew us away. At every stop, there's a live performer. A ragtime band usual plays at the first stop, and rock and folk performers play at the other stops. Doug and I were entranced by a local folk singer named Janne Henshaw.

Doug also was amazed by how many people I knew on the ride. Of course, many of my BABES friends were there, as was Bubba Barron. At the second rest stop on Saturday, I even ran across two women I met on the CAMP 1993 ride, Carrie Lohman and Pam Turner from Cincinnati. After the first day, we met up with Jeff Herman and explored downtown Bloomington. We got to hear Paula Cole before she became famous. She banged her tambourine so hard that we wondered whether she developed sores on her hips.

Most of the hills aren't very long, but they can be steep. I don't mind a long hill, but I hate steep ones. Two have continued to conquer me to this day, the Mount Tabor and Greasy Creek hills.

Doug and I also did the Hilly in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Hilly 1996 came a week after I finished the Grand Canyon to Mexico ride, and I wore my ride jacket to Hilly. A lot of people came up to me that year and asked me about it.

"Well, you've got one day with 30 miles of climbing," I'd tell them. "Then you do a century where you do three miles with a 9 percent grade and 11 miles with a 7 percent grade."

After a while, Doug got tired of hearing the spiel.

"Now what was that?" he asked. "Was that nine miles of 11 percent grade and seven miles of 3 percent grade?"

I moved to North Carolina in 1998, so we didn't get to do Hilly. But in 1999, I drove nine hours to do the ride again. The long trip took its toll on me, and I opted for the 30-mile option the second day, partly because it had become cold and windy. Doug did the 50 miles, but I caught up with my BABES buddy Bob Guenther and rode with him most of the day.

I moved back to Illinois in 2000, so I couldn't get time off for that year's ride. But I did the ride again in 2001, and it was the same great ride it's always been. In 2001, my sister, Teresa Kramer Parod, also did the ride and thoroughly enjoyed it! I skipped Hilly in 2002, only because I was on Cycle North Carolina, but I will be back on the ride in 2003 at its new home in Ellettsville, Ind.