Monday, July 18, 2011

RAIN Video Wrapup

Very nice job by Tim Underhill, telecommunications instructor at Ball State University, with Dave Tanner, the only person to participate in all 25 RAIN rides.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

RAIN coverage and lessons learned

WTHR-TV in Indianapolis did a short reader using Tim's video. Very nice of them to give him credit. They're great to work with.

The Indianapolis Star used the coverage on page B5 of Sunday's newspaper, and online here:

The material was also picked up by The Associated Press, and we appeared on Indy news/talk station WIBC.

It's good to see the work used. We wanted to test our coverage methods on an active story, which will help our students and possibly even the news professionals we work with. More on the lessons from RAIN for newsrooms here:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Keeping the streak: No. 25 for Tanner

Photo by Tim Underhill
Dave Tanner, the only person to have ridden in every year of the bike Ride Across Indiana, accepts his finishing medal and congratulations from volunteers at the RAIN finish line this afternoon in Richmond.

Tanner said this was his slowest finish in the 25 years he's ridden the 160-mile course. Organizers blamed 90-degree temperatures and a slightly longer route for longer times overall.

At Dunreith, Ind., just over 40 miles from the finish line, Tanner said he was in "survival mode," trying to keep his sights on the end of the ride.

Minutes after completing the event, the Bloomington man talked about why he continues to push himself to ride the punishing course each year: As tough as the road may be, he said, it's a break from the cares of the everyday world.

"You know, all those problems you have in the world? When they're not in front of you, you kind of forget them," he said.
- John Strauss

Great Photos: The Klaus Rothe gallery

Click Here to see the gallery:
Klaus Rothe is one of the RAIN organizers and responsible for photos during the ride.

Tanner: Respect the RAIN

Photo by John Strauss
Nobody knows the bike Ride Across Indiana better than Dave Tanner, an Indiana University exercise physiologist who - as of today - has ridden in all 25 of them.

Tanner is a veteran of ultra-endurance events: the 3,000-mile Race Across America bike race, the Western States 100 mile run, several Ironman Triathalons, even the grueling swim completely around Manhattan island.

But the RAIN, a non-competitive bike ride from the Illinois state line in western Indiana to the Ohio line, still commands respect, he says.

"It doesn't matter whether you do it in seven hours or 14, it's still a long day and can be very painful," he said. "You have to have respect for the effort you're going to have to put in. Actually, this is my 25th one, and I'm nervous."

Tanner said the physical challenge is only the beginning.

"It's mostly just in your head, and after a while things don't hurt any more than they did at the beginning."

His advice: "You just keep going, and eventually you'll start to feel better. Just don't stop."

- John Strauss

RAIN riders battle high temps

Photo by John Strauss
Temperatures in the low 90s and a slightly longer course slowed this year's bike Ride Across Indiana, organizers said.

Brad Hayes of Brazil, Ind., finished the 163 mile ride in seven hours, six minutes and 22 seconds, two seconds ahead of Kelly Sparks of Vincennes, said Klaus Rothe, one of the ride organizers.

The time was about half an hour longer than last year's ride, probably because this year's course was about five miles longer and because of the heat, said Rothe.

The length of the course changes each year depending on road construction and other factors. Rothe said the riders were also slowed by the heat, but there appeared to be no serious injuries from the weather or from any of the minor spills that were reported.

Rider down

Medics treat a rider who crashed just west of Stilesville on US 40 at mid morning. Police said the man was not seriously hurt.

Pit stop and an update

John works on the blog during a quick stop at McDonald's for WiFi and coffee.

Dave Tanner talks about the ride

- Tim Underhill

Video of the start

A video snapshot of the start, taken with an iPhone 4 in HD mode. - John Strauss

Riders Ready

- John Strauss
Nearly 1,800 RAIN riders minutes before the start at St. Mary of the Woods College outside Terre Haute.

6 a.m., an hour before the start

Tim getting the gear ready, including a Sony EX3 HD and a GoPro sport camera.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Longtime RAIN director: Mental toughness a must

Barbara and Joe Anderson (Photo: Touring Ride in Rural Indiana)

This year’s bike Ride Across Indiana will start without one of its most stalwart supporters – the man who served as director for 10 years.

Joe Anderson of Bloomington retired after last year’s race and is vacationing in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana this week.

“I’m missing it – I think about it a lot,” Anderson said of Saturday’s annual one-day, 160-mile ride across the state, sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club.

It's hard to get out of the habit of making all the plans for the ride. “Yesterday I was thinking about how I’m going to load up food for 1,600 people,” he said.

This year a committee from the bicycle club is making all the arrangements. Organizers plan the route, including several stops for food and liquids along the way. Lunch is at Franklin Township Middle School West on the Southside of Indianapolis.

The $45 entry fee helps cover the cost of over half a ton of bananas and 11,000 servings of Gatorade, among other supplies.

RAIN attracts about 1,600 participants from across the country. They start near the Illinois state line in Terre Haute and finish at Earlham College, near the Ohio line in Richmond. The leaders finish in about 6.5 hours. Many more will take the full 14 hours allotted for the ride.

“Most of the people doing the RAIN ride will not have ridden that distance before, but they will have ridden 100 miles, probably several times,” Anderson said.

It’s as much a mental as a physical challenge.

“It’s therapy for me. I find it enjoyable and relaxing,” he said. “And I sleep well when I get home.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

RAIN riders ready for this weekend

The Bloomington Bicycle Club's annual bike Ride Across Indiana is Saturday.

Details are here:

This blog is not officially connected with the ride. We are journalism instructors providing text, photos and video coverage as a public service.

Here's a description from the official website:

"RAIN is an annual ride across the State of Indiana sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. Saturday, July 16th is the date for 2011. The 156-mile length runs mostly on the Historic National Route 40, an older divided four-lane road with light traffic. It has gentle rolling hills. You should be able to average at least 12 to 14 mph for over 11 hours. All riders must register to participate in RAIN."

Are you riding in the event or supporting one of the riders? Drop us a note at We're looking for people with interesting stories to tell. And be sure to check back here for coverage during the ride and afterward.

John Strauss