The Limestone Circuit 400K06-24-2023 05:002 Registered

05-21-2023 19:52
06-22-2023 23:59
ACP 400
Sunrise at 6:16:22 AM Sunset at 9:18:44 PM

William Watts
Lydia Trott

Get me there
Day's Inn
3445 Jonathan Moore Pike
Columbus, IN

Registration is not open

Limestone is deeply woven into both the natural world and into the history, economy and social structure of southern Indiana.  Long-time cyclists and film buffs will remember that the team of locals in Breaking Away (1979) were known as the Cuitters.  That's because the townspeople in Bloomington were collectively known by work some of them pursued, as cutters of limestone (in the real-world Bloomington, they are also sometimes known as "stonies").  And, indeed, the limestone of southern Indiana is found in 27 state Capitol buildings, and in structures all over the United States, including skyscrapers in Chicago and Manhattan.  This circuit takes in many of the towns that are important to the limestone trade, including Bloomington and Bedford, and Salem, which gives its name to the kind of limestone found in this area.  And, indeed, whenever you pass over a creekbed or ride by a hill, you are likely to  see the exposed limestone that is so prominent in this part of the world.

Our ride begins and ends in Columbus, Indiana.  If you have time before or after the ride, it is worth looking around Columbus.  The Irwin and Miller families, who were instrumental in founding and running Cummins, the engine company still located in Columbus, had a very strong interest in modern architecture.  For this reason, they have long paid the architecture fees for public buildings in the city, with the result that Columbus is today a living museum of modern architecture.  Columbus and its architecture are also the subject of a very fine movie, also called Columbus, made by Kogonada and starring John Cho in 2017.

The beginning of this ride is fairly gentle, with a few rolling hills as we leave Columbus, but nothing too taxing.  At around mile 15, we go through Camp Atterbury, which was a very large military installation established during World War II.  Today, parts of it are still used for military purposes, as you will see from the road, but it has also become a very large wildlife preserve.

After our first control, in Morgantown, we go through forested areas in Morgan Monroe State Park, including the very beautiful Lower Gap Road.  We take the the scenic Old 37 Highway into Bloomington itself.  Our ride through Bloomington takes us by Courthouse square, and through some of the bustling streets of this University town, including the very popular multi-use trail, the B-Line.

The serious climbing begins south of Bloomington, as we approach Bedford.  In fact, the most difficult climbing of the route is concentrated between mile 75 and 150.

After Bedford, we go through Shoals, one of the smallest and most remote county seats in the State, and then into the Hoosier National Forest.  The roads here are beautiful, remote and sometimes sharply inclined upward.

After we leave the Hoosier National Forest, we go south of Lake Patoka, along roads that become flatter, straighter, and more agricultural in character.  Eventually, we come to Salem, the county seat of Washington County, and we go right by its courthouse.  It's a straight and mostly flat shot from there to Brownstown, another small and remote county seat (Jackson County), and then we make our way back to where we started in Columbus.

Parts of this route are very remote, but there is seldom more than 25 or 30 miles between services, and we have ten controls pretty evenly spread along the route.  This means that you should be able to resupply yourself with food and water along the route, but it also means that you should take the chance when you get it.