Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ironman Bike Ride Report

This is my 3rd try at this event.  The first time around was in 2002.  I was just getting into road cycling and was gearing up for a 100-mile ride with Team in Training later that spring.  It had snowed the night before, so we started the ride with temps around 30 degrees.  It was damp and cold, but at least it wasn't windy.  We ended up doing their 30-mile ride 2 times.  So, my college-level math is telling me that I went 60 miles.

My 2nd attempt at this ride was 2 years ago.  This time I was getting in shape for RAGBRAI.  I had been out late the night before and was still a little hung over tired.  Again, it was rainy, chilly and breezy.  This time I pussed out and only did the 30-mile loop.

This year, I had high hopes for warm temps and clear skies.  But I think this ride is going to be perpetually cursed with foul weather.

I got to the Lakeville High School to sign in at just a hair after 8:00am.  I made one more quick stop at the Hoigaard's booth to pick up a pair of sweet new Specialized gloves.  They're thin enough to wear in warm weather, but still keep my fingers warm down to around 40 degrees.  I'll have to write up some kind of review of them soon.


It was raining steadily and most of the other riders had a less-than-thrilled look on their faces.

Here's a shot of all the cars lined up along the streets near the high school.  Notice how everything has a nice damp-wet look.

I pulled the hood on my rain jacket up over my helmet and headed out to the course.  It took a few miles for my legs to warm up, but by the time I got to the split in the course (the upper-right-hand corner of the map), they were ready to go.

The weather was on the miserable side.  The rain was steady and the wind was gusting from the North.  This was going to be a LONG ride.

Then, at around mile 10 I passed a young couple and then heard 'Hey Eric!' come from behind me.  It was Craig from the Twin Cities Spoke and his wife Jen.  They're both fresh out of college at Bethel and Craig is going to be starting Med School soon out in Milwaukee (which means 'The Good Land').

This dude is in SHAPE.  He's one of those guys who's taller than you, but weighs 30 pounds less.  He's basically a 150-pound speed machine.  I WANT to hate him, but he's such a dang nice guy.  He's getting Jen started in road cycling and this is one of her first real long rides and she was a real trooper.

A few miles later we came across a rider who was having some mechanical problems and kind of had that 'help me' look on her face.  We stopped to say 'hi' (her name was Bridget) and see if we could help.  She was riding with her 13 year-old son and ran into problems while her son, Logan, kept riding on ahead.   Fortunately, her rear wheel had just come out of the rear dropout.  We re-seated the wheel and she was on her way.

We chatted for a little while and then I headed out to get a little speed in before the first rest stop at about mile 23.  I saw a young kid just kind of waiting around and asked him, 'Hey, are you Logan?'  Well, he was, so I let him know that his Mom was on her way.   Okay, there's one good deed done for the day.  Yay me!

We grabbed some snacks and made the necessary pit stops in Jordan.  I had a feeling that Craig and Jen were going to be going their own pace today, so when we got separated at the rest stop, I took it as a sign to head out on my own.

The 2nd 1/3 of the ride was the closest that the weather ever came to being 'pleasant'.  Since the wind was coming mostly from the North, it did a good job of pushing me along the course.  The rain held up for a little while and I even started to feel a little warm.

I cruised through New Prague and into Lonsdale for the 2nd break.  Again, this was another well-stocked rest stop.  Shoot.  They even had full-size Snicker's bars!  Score!

My joy was short-lived because the last 1/3 of the ride was absolutely brutal.  Someone turned the rain back on, and as we turned north back towards Lakeville, we started heading directly into the wind.  It wasn't a nice breezy 'isn't that refreshing' kind of wind.  This was a slap you in the face, knock you down, make you cry and make fun of your mama kind of wind.  Blech.  After already going 45 miles in this baloney, cruising along at 12-14 mph for the last leg was no fun.  NO.  FUN.

Eventually, I made it back to my car where I took a quick shot of my war-ravaged mug.

Let's see, we've got salt residue, chapped cheeks, and a general look of "what the hell was that!?!"

Then, I emptied my pockets and tallied up my loot from the rest stops.  Two M&M cookies, a Salted Nut Roll and one of those full-size Snickers bars from Rest Stop #2.
You look beautiful.  I want you inside me.

The only thing left to do was go home, take off about 9 layers of clothes and utterly de-STROY the bathroom.
Don't tell The Wife, she'd be PISSED.

All in all, it was a good day.  A tough ride, sure, but still a good day.  I'll probably keep coming back to this ride again year after year.  Sure, the weather's dreadful, but I'm too dumb to learn my lesson.

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