CANCELED - Explorer Trip 1 - Hoosier National Forest

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6.4.19 Update - Unfortunately, the trip to Hoosier National Forest is canceled for now and hopefully will be rescheduled. I (Andrew) have had a voice issue for the past couple of years, and upon further investigation learned that I have a growth on a vocal cord requiring surgery. I was able to get that scheduled quicker than anticipated and have it scheduled for the 11th. While I’ll be physically unaffected, I won’t be able to talk for 5-7 days following. Unless everyone wants to go on a silent retreat with me, it’s kind of hard to lead a bike trip without a voice. Sorry for the last minute cancellation, but I know you all understand. The surgery is routine and I should be sounding much better and less fatigued from talking in no time.

For many of us, we use cycling oriented events as the catalyst to get us to travel to new places, take on personal challenges, and explore new kinds of cycling. Whether that’s taking on a challenge like the Lumberjack 100, Dirty Kanza, or a multi-stage race MTB race. Those events are phenomenal and our athletes take on those challenges every year. It’s harder for some of us to make the training commitments year after year, events are getting more and more expensive, and some of us like to try new things each year.

This has led us to really consider the idea of creating our own traveling experiences. The idea revolves around the fun we have when we get 10-20 people together to all go ride together on new routes. We simple wonder what it would be like if we got more formal and provided a little support along the way. Why not create our own events and do what we want on our own terms outside of an event? It’s also a creative way to do a bit of fundraising and relationship building for TNL and NL throughout the year.

We’re gonna give it a shot in 2019 with a couple of multi-day trips and a few day-long trips in a 5hr radius of NE Indiana. These trips are open to both TNL members and our friends.

Our first trip of 2019 is to Hoosier National Forest between June 13-16.

We’ll arrive early evening on Thursday, get settled, and then have 2.5 solid days of riding the scenic and hilly gravel roads and off-road trails in that area. The majority of riding will be mixed terrain and for those MTBs, bring your bikes and spend a day or two riding the Brown County trails not far from home base. The goal is to provide a home base, give riders the options to ride as long or as far as they want, and do our best to support the riding with a van and then have meals handled back at the cabin.

Accommodations: We have a house (thank you Conaways!) on some acreage and a beautiful pond with all the riding we can imagine right from the front door or real close to even more if we need to commute. The house sleeps 10 comfortably in 5 beds and a futon as long as friends are willing to share a queen or king bed. There is room for another 5 via air mattress. Then, there is ample room for plenty of tent camping on the property if that’s your thing.

Travel: TNL will be taking our Transit van and can accommodate 3-4 athletes who can commit to the entire time. Otherwise, we will help each other carpool as needed or it’s on your own.

Ride Schedule:

  • Friday - 60-100 miles in total. Depending on peoples travel plans, we could break that into a morning ride and a late afternoon ride. Details to come as people commit.

  • Saturday - Full day of riding - Riders choices based on who shows up. Goal would be to have a road/gravel ride with some off-road sectors thrown in for fun and a MTB ride if enough folks wanted that.

  • Sunday - Morning ride of 40-50mi or more depending on peoples schedules to prepare for a mid/late afternoon departure for some to head back to FW.

Ride Expectations: The desire is to ride together as a group for the time as this is more about the collective experience rather than a training effort. We’ll have routes planned and if multiple groups form because of pace or distance, we’ll all be confident that we can get back home. We want to ride together, explore new roads, and for once take the right turn on an interesting road/trail to see where it goes rather than riding past wondering. That’s where the “explorer” title of these trips really comes in. Let’s explore roads without an agenda of just getting the ride done as fast as we can.

Ability: You should feel confident with our equipment and physical fitness that you can ride 50-100 miles and handle a couple thousand feet of climbing over the course of the day as HNF is pretty hilly.

Food: The goal for this would be for TNL to make sure all meals, snacks, and food for lunches would be provided as part of the trip package, including beverages. We’ll have the food purchased, prepped, and we’ll invite whoever is there and interested in hopping in and helping out with preparation. This way, no one has to worry about bringing anything other than themselves and their own specific stuff. We’ll be happy to accommodate dietary needs if we know those in advance. We know that some TNLers are vegan/vegetarian and appreciate having equal access to food. We’ll buy drinks, ride snacks like Clif Bars, have sodas, and have lunch kind of stuff to be able to pack lunches before the ride to have in coolers in the van that will be supporting rides.

Support: We’ll have the TNL van that will be roaming the route with water, snacks, and basic tool needs. It’ll be available to rescue anyone that needs it and be respite if the day is getting too long or if conditions change while we’re out there.

Cost: $250 - Covers everything for the weekend except your own travel expenses. This includes all food, drinks, support, lodging, etc. We have 10 spots available at that price. If you want to bring your own air mattress and/or camp outdoors as a way to save a bit of cash, then we can discuss a different price.

Alternative Planning: We get that some of you might not be able to commit to the whole trip, but want want to participate at least a day or so. Or, you’d rather secure your own accommodations and/or food needs. We can be flexible and we welcome you to join us for what you can. If you can just join us on Saturday, then come and join us and if you stick around for dinner, offer up some cash to help with costs. If you just want to come ride, come ride. The more, the merrier!!!

This is new for us and this is the first trip. So, if you have questions/comments, let us know and we’ll try to adjust. Otherwise click the link below to secure your spot by paying for the trip.

Andrew Hoffman - andrew@nlfw.org

TNL Director & Explorer Trip Leader