TERRE HAUTE--For the 26th year, bicyclists from around the country will ride from Terre Haute to Richmond in the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN), which takes place Saturday, July 21.
In last year's 25th anniversary RAIN ride, over 1,600 riders registered for the event, which is organized by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. Proceeds from the ride help fund bicycle-related projects in the Bloomington area and, as a Bicycle Indiana funding ride, across the state. The RAIN starting line is at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College outside Terre Haute, and the route largely follows Historic National Route 40 across the state to Richmond, with detours onto less-congested roads in the Indianapolis area. At 91 miles into the journey, lunch is served to riders on the ground of the Franklin Township School Corporation offices.
"RAIN attracts all sorts of bicyclists," says Keith Vogelsang, BBS president. "Most riders are road bikers -- some decked out like they should be at the Tour de France -- but we've had mountain bikers, tandem crews, people riding recumbent. One man from New York, a paraplegic, completed the route using a bike powered by arm cranks."
Jen Miers, chair of RAIN registration, adds, "We see registrants of all ages and levels of ability. Some are relatively new to cycling, while many impress us with the number of years they've been returning to this event. It's a first-time goal for a lot of people and for even more, an annual tradition."
One team of 42 riders will be doing the 160-miles ride in support of Wishard Hospital's Palliative Care Program; in preparation they have been sharing information about their favorite training rides and miles logged.
Among that group is Joe Anderson, who was RAIN ride director for 10 years. "This is the first time since I retired that I've actually gotten to do the ride," Anderson says. "I've ridden over 5,000 miles already this year!"
Like that group, RAIN participant have hundreds -- if not thousands -- of miles under their tires before they attempt the ride. They do it for the challenge, for the bragging rights, and for the plain fun of riding across beautiful Indiana, waving as they go to people watching the ride from their porches, and smelling the distinct Indiana scent of lush, ripening cornfields. That corn is featured on the 2012 RAIN commemorative jersey, designed by club member Klaus Rothe.
"People make jokes about all the corn in Indiana," Rothe says. "But passing mile after mile of fields on your bike is part of the RAIN experience."
The first cyclists in this endurance event arrive at the finish line at Earlham College in Richmond typically around 2 p.m., and the last arrive around 9 p.m., finishing their long day as the sun sets. It takes guts and heart -- One Day, One Way, 160 Miles.