Riding in the RAIN
For nearly 30 years, cyclists from around the country have made their way to Indiana for a 160-mile, open-road bicycle ride. This year, more than 1,500 signed up for the annual, one-day/one-way event called Ride Across Indiana (RAIN). Fifteen of those cyclists were Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) employees at the refinery in Robinson, Ill., and their family members.
Six support and gear vehicles, carrying some of their co-workers and other family members, also drove the route. “We tried to make sure all our riders were well cared for, bringing along extra clothes, food, drinks and other necessities, including extra bicycle tubes,” says MPC Administrative Assistant Cindy Grimm, who coordinated the refinery’s involvement in the ride.
For one rider, having an extra tube, along with a dollar bill, was a stroke of luck. Mark Grimm was 15 miles from the finish line when his bike blew a sidewall, causing the tube to burst. A new tube resolved the latter problem, but there was still a slit in the sidewall. “Somebody came up with the idea of using a dollar bill for a patch and it worked,” says Grimm. “Another rider was overheard saying, ‘A dollar bill can be worth a lot!’”
This year’s route began at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, in Terre Haute, Ind., and ended at Earlham College, in Richmond, Ind. Although timed, the RAIN ride is not a race but more of an endurance test. First-time participants often just want to see if they can meet the challenge. Others hope to see if they’re still up to the challenge and can beat their previous times. Even non-riders participate, driving alongside to help someone else meet a personal goal.
Taking part in the ride as an MPC team was the idea of the refinery’s General Manager Kevin Bogard, who had previously participated in the event. Bogard enjoyed the ride and thought other refinery employees would like it too. “I thought about the people around me who I knew enjoyed biking,” he recalls. “From there, we sent out invitations asking them and their families to join us.”
What to wear? The group got in touch with MPC’s Graphic Services department in Findlay, Ohio. They designed custom jerseys for the team. The front incorporated a chemistry design element, along with MPC and Responsible Care® logos, and the back featured refinery process units.
“It was great to train and ride with members of our Illinois Refining Division family and to see them accomplish their goals,” adds Bogard.