MOUNT VERNON — “I can’t slow down. I’ll get old.”
With that attitude, and the pace he keeps up, there’s no danger of John Hatfield getting old. Not even at the age of 74. Hatfield conquered the 163-mile long Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) on Saturday, surviving the blazing temperatures and mild headwinds to complete the crossing for the third year.
“It was hotter than hot,” said Hatfield. “It was 105 degrees on the computer on the bike. In the shade, it was 95. You drink a lot of water, pour it on your helmet, keep a towel wrapped around your neck and stuffed inside your jersey and pour water on that.”
Hatfield, who still puts in a full day at his automobile shop that bears his name, had one more piece of advice for surviving in the heat.
“Shut up and keep pedaling,” he said.
Hatfield wasn’t alone in this year’s quest, though he was the oldest rider in the rally. He inspired Mount Vernon’s Bill and Carolyn Higgs to ride in RAIN for the first time. That fact that they were often seen riding together during RAIN was more than a coincidence.