Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ironman 2005

Well, I went, I saw, I conquered, as long as “conquering” means simply finishing. It was definitely cold, I noticed the bank said 38 degrees at 8:00 a.m., about an hour after I’d started (here are some pictures, below – note the lack of kickstands on some bikes, Steve, I didn’t even take a picture of the hill where most people lay their bikes down – it has hundreds of bikes without kickstands), and there was some ice on the ground, but it wasn’t so cold I had to wear my wool socks, and it wasn’t so cold I had to wear my lobster mitts – however, the balaclava was almost a must for the first half. There was a teenager watching the ride from the cement, front step of her house around 7:30 a.m. though, and she was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and her dog, so maybe it wasn’t as cold as I thought (or maybe the dog was warmer than it looked). I didn’t really manage to loosen up until about the 8 mile mark, half way to the first rest stop, and it didn’t help that I took a tumble about mile 10, right before 4 miles of pretty much uphill (I forgot how hilly the Ironman is – when it isn’t being hilly, it’s busy being cold and windy). My chain and ring have been wearing for a while and I thought they were fine because I’ve been pulling a burley up and down hills in Eagan, but apparently I was wrong – I hit a hill, stood up to keep up the pace, and almost went over my handlebars as the chain rotated freely around the ring – ended up in the ditch with a small rip in my windbreaker-type pants. No blood, though, so that was good.

At the rest stop, I still felt pretty strong and had a cup of coffee that I can’t describe as anything other than morphine-like. I hadn’t had anything to eat yet, hadn’t had any caffeine yet and was cold, and when the coffee hit my stomach it was like dropping a shot of vodka that radiated from there into my limbs. I topped it off with a banana.

I should have known that my confidence in climbing all those hills was going to be challenged, because when I turned onto Highway 50, just after Farmington, with the wind blowing from my right, I suddenly had to shift way (I love my little ring) down and literally crawl along with the wind pushing me backwards. You sort of expect to see birds being blown backwards by the cornfield next to that road, it’s almost always that bad. But at least it wasn’t raining like last year. Here’s a picture of some flags on that portion of the route – these aren’t on the open field – they’re relatively sheltered by both a hill and a building.

When I got all done and back to my car, absolutely exhausted, I dug for my keys and found….nothing. I had my credit cards, camera in some wool socks, all my change, but no keys – they being presumably the only thing that hopped out of my bag when I crashed. So I stowed some things under the car and some things on the bike and hiked back out again – not to find the keys, mind you, but to call Pooteewheet to come and get me. She graciously agreed and, realizing I was famished, I grabbed a candy bar at the Quick Stop to eat. The sign said 2/85 cents. I took it to the front counter with the 70 cents I had left over after the phone call, and the woman rung it up, 75 cents. I said, “They’re two for 85 cents, isn’t 75 cents a little high for one?” The cashier assured me just one was indeed 75 cents, and if I wanted one for anything close to what I had on me, I needed another 15 cents. Shamed, I handed it back and walked out.

Jen found me at the parking lot, gave me keys, took me to lunch, and then took my brand new Ironman vest, sort of a five years on the Ironman gift to myself, away from me and went to Sin City. I’m still awake, so that’s something. Could be that my new coffee maker is helping out – but it’s full of decaf, so very unlikely (here it is, sitting next to my favorite cup, given to me by DannyJo back when we were at RPI).

1 comment:

Steve Eck said...

Hehe, all I can say is the kickstand is working quite well for keeping the new bike upright in the garage.

I don't know how the teenager was getting away with shorts and a t-shirt at 7:30. It was definitely cold on Saturday morning, 28 degrees according to my thermometer when I got up at 5:30 to go to work.