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.”

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