Today we biked 1 loop if the Ironman Wisconsin course with Alison, Brian, and Jen, who are all on the cusp of an Ironman event (Brian and Alison are doing Wisconsin, Jen is doing Arizona). They have spent lots and lots of saddle time in the past few months, and while I started on a level playing field with Alison at the beginning of the summer, they are all far and above my abilities at the moment.
So of course when Alison suggested we do the IMWI course, I said sure, of course, love to. I have never done this course before but assumed it is much like everywhere else in Wisconsin I have ridden, so how different could it really be? Should we do one loop or two? Mike's response was he would rather do 1 loop (63 miles), but if we did 2 (85 miles) he and I would do an extra 15 somewhere to make it an even 100.
Fast forward to this morning. It was cold....I had on a tank top and bike shorts. It was chilly at 7am, but we hoped to warm up a bit as we went forward. Right from the start I felt like I was struggling. I was at the end of the pack, hanging on for dear life and more often than not I was falling off. We went up and down a ton of hills right from the start. Flying down hill on Whalen Road, I was smacked square in the mouth by some sort of mammoth bug that left me with a welt on my lip and bug guts on my teeth. They tasted awful. By the time I got to about 7.5 miles, I had nearly convinced myself that I couldn't do this today and I was going to turn around and nap in the car until everyone up ahead of me got back.
Problem: I realized Mike had the car keys. Rats, guess I keep going.
Thankfully for me, Jen doubled back a couple times to ride with m and offered up some encouragement. (She is a wicked fast biker by the way.) I was glad she scooped me up, it made a big difference to have someone turn around and realize I was still back there when everyone else was quickly biking out of sight.
Problem: I had no map and was constantly worried that I was going to be lost somewhere on the side of the road in BFE and no one would notice I was gone.
I kept running through what was going on ....... why was I going so slow? Why was I working so hard and not able to keep up? I had no explanation and was feeling just plain outbiked.
About mile 28-point-something, we pulled into a Kwik Trip in Mount Horeb felling just grouchy, bitchy, and hungry. I hadn't had anything to eat along the way yet, I was working too hard to keep up to even think about eating a bar or popping some beans. When I came outside after using the potty, Mike is messing with my bike. Uh, honey, you have been biking with your front brake on. So, I guess that explains some of the question of why am I putting forth so much effort and going nowhere. Here I thought I just sucked. Come to find out I only kinda sucked and had my brakes on.
Well, the front wheel was free-er after that, but my legs were feeling cooked. There were some nice screaming downhills coming up, some of them kind of technical with twists and turns. There were also plenty of hills. I got up the first of the Bitch Hills, but ended up walking at least a part of each of the last 2 hills of the Bitch Hill trio.
I was never so glad to get off my bike and be done as I was today. I was outbiked, overconfident, and underprepared. But I did it, and it's ta-done. Now the question is, would I be able to add another 50 miles to that loop and follow it up with a marathon?
Lessons Learned the Hard Way Today:
* IMWI bike course is way hillier that I gave it credit for and it totally kicked my ass. I need to get my butt on my bike more and spend plenty of time on hills, especially those ones I hate on Johnson Road.
* Um, check to make sure your bike is in proper order before you climb on and take off. Biking with your brakes on is flipping hard!
* Take your allergy medicine before taking a 4 hour ride in the country, past hay fields and farms. Makes for a much less snotty day.
* Chamois butter just makes your hiney feel greasy. And when you stop to pee you end up wiping it off the important parts anyway.
* I need to spend less time in the pool and more time on the bike and the run if I want to have a prayer of finishing in 17 hours.
* Bring a map so you can get back to the car if you get dropped!
* I bit off more than I can chew, but I made it through to the other side. Next time I will be ready.