I should have taken the dark clouds looming above as a sign of what was to come...
To prep for the ride, I replaced my front brake pads and thought about replacing my handlebar tape, but put that off until after the ride. I pumped up my rear tire, which is routine. Either it’s a super slow leaker or I still need to lose 20 more pounds. Most likely the latter. I usually never need air in the front tire, but I decided to give it an extra pump or two for good measure. Plopped on my new helmet (thanks Lily for my new helmet for Father’s Day!) and headed over to the church.
The six of us (Marc, Paul, Vince, Ryan, Brian, & me) headed out to County Line Road from the Church. The wind was all over the place, mostly a tailwind, but I knew at some point we would be heading straight into it. Everything was groovy until County Line. I felt like I was Ulrich and the other five were Armstrong. Except, I got 5-10 look backs instead of just one. As I faded back, I was saying “What the hell, I’m not this slow, am I?” I decided to stand up and mash it to catch them. With the side to side rocking action I felt my front rim hitting pavement. Damn it! Since, I was fading out of sight and I had some air holding, I sat down and tried to crush it to get back on. Finally, I reached the group to deliver the bad news - I’m stopping for a tire change. I guess that good measure pump pushed that tube to the limit. (thaks guys for waiting..and helping me)
After a painfully slow tire change, that included forcefully pealing my tube from the tire, (must have been out on a real hot day!) we were back moving. I was spent. My left calf was on the verge of cramping and I was having trouble holding the group’s wheel. The wind wasn’t helping at all.
Bad decisions....For some strange reason, as two of the guys pulled off to head back in, I said “let’s keep going a little further.” What?!?! Apparently my judgement/reasoning/entire thought process was severely impaired. What was I thinking? Sure, please serve me up a little extra pain to go with my mechanicals, a head/cross/wind, and my general lack of power! Yeah, you heard me a little more suffering will do. I just love getting the sh*t kicked out of me. It's so much fun.
By the time we were heading back home on Chagrin River before Berkshire, I was hurting. The group was down to the 3 amigos of Ryan, Brian and me. After a quick shout out to Steiner on the bridge we headed up Berkshire. Or, more accurately, Ryan and Brian shot up Berkshire, I crawled up it. Snails pace. 9:15 or so. Yuck.
To top it off....As I’m .25 miles from my house on a cool down, I sit up, take my hands off the bars for a shake out. I probably let out a whimper and a sigh. I was hurting, but home was so close. At that moment, my front tire caught a groove and shot to the right. I stayed upright, but my bike dropped down with my handlebars to my left. In that split second, I managed to think I’m definitely going down - how stupid and careless - and damn I’m so close to home - and at least I’m close to home! Ahh! Then, in either a freakish light speed reflex, or maybe I hit another groove, or maybe some divine intervention shot my bike right back up and I kept cruising like nothing happened. Well, okay, of course I looked around to see if anyone observed my foolishness. Nope, just me and my bike. My left knee had to be only 6 inches off the ground, how did I not crash??? So frickin’ weird.
Anyway to conclude my rambling: As the mantra goes...a bad day riding, is still better than not riding.
18.20 mph avg.
45.60 max mph
And on the third day, he rested....from the bike anyway!
PS: Props to Brian & Ryan for leading all the way in, when I could hold your wheel the draft felt real good.
Race Report: Ironman Wisconsin, 2016 - "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." --T.S. Eliot This is a tale of two races, a decade apart. I always knew...
10 months ago