The nurse, Loki and I made the drive out to Staunton, IL to do the ride. The nurse's mom volunteered to watch Loki. On a related note, if you want to attract a lot of attention to yourself and get stopped by 75% of the people you walk by then you should definitely get a weimaraner puppy. If I wasn't taken, Loki would be an excellent furry wingman.
We managed to get there an hour early and people had already laid their bikes down at the starting line...people that had no business being at the front of a bicycle "race." Granted the real "racers" were at the starting line but passing people on a bike is much more difficult than running. I'm all for people trying to be competitive but be realistic and don't make it difficult for everyone else.
Technically this my first bicycle race and first race involving a neutral start. I planned to ride with the tri club but since the nurse couldn't find the people she was going to ride with I stayed with her. I'm glad I did as I was racing the next day and it was fun to ride with her. She has never rode more than 20 miles so she would probably need some motivation towards the end.
We got our race crap and I talked the nurse into going up front and hopping in when the tri club peeps went by. She finally agreed when I convinced her I wouldn't go too fast. Two girls from the club had a good strategy, sprint to the first donut stop at 8.5 miles, eat donuts and then see how they feel.
It was a brisk ride to the first donut stop, some rolling hills, large groups of people blocking the road and people I would never be passed by on a bicycle. I decided I would sprint up the hills to get my heart rate up then ease off and wait for the nurse. We could see the first donut stop from about a half mile away and it was very impressive. It looked like people riding in circles as the entrance and exits went around a circular path around a picnic shelter.
The tri club was still there and we grabbed our donuts and hung out with them. My goal, along with our President Elect, was to eat 10. Five at the first stop and five at the second stop.
Do you like seefood?
I ate my 5 donuts which were heavier than I thought they would be. They're not as airy as Krispy Kreme's glazed donuts but not as heavy as cake donuts. Oh well, the goal is still double digits. The nurse at 3 at this stop, I think. After washing all the sugar off our hands we carried on.
The ride was pretty boring for the next 8 miles, a cornfield on the left and train tracks on the right. We did notice an ambulance up ahead and someone from the tri club standing there. We later found out she had stopped on the side of the road and some woman rear ended her. The woman that did the rear ending left in the ambulance. The only down side of riding through farmland is some of the roads are nonexistent. At mile 17 we had to get walk our bikes across a couple hundred feet of rocks. Someone rode by and said "that's why I built this bike, so I can go over stuff like this." Right buddy, your fixed gear with disc wheels is perfect for heavy gravel and rocks. The next part of the course was short and steep rolling hills. I guess if you're afraid of going fast these can be a challenge. The descent on one hill should have provided enough momentum for the ascent on the next hill but, there were still a lot of people walking bikes.
The next donut stop wasn't until around mile 24. It's too bad they're not evenly spread out but, I guess there isn't anywhere at mile 11 or 12 to have the stop. At this stop we caught up to the tri club again. I jokingly grabbed a whole box of donuts and the woman marking bibs said that someone actually took a whole box. She didn't notice if he finished the whole box. If he did, I'm sure he saw them again in a non donut shaped form on the side of the road somewhere. The 9th and 10th donuts were pretty tough to finish...at least I didn't need any nutrition for the ride. Our president elect was struggling with 8 and no amount of convincing was going to get him to eat 2 more. Probably a good thing he didn't. The nurse brought her total to 5 and then we were off again.
The rest of the ride was fairly flat until the last few miles. There was a decent incline with most people walking up it. Then it was another series of steep short hills, these were a bit more difficult to maintain momentum on. After these hills it was smooth riding to the finish.
Total riding time was 2:18 and race time was 2:48. We started several minutes after the start and the results aren't up. With every donut subtracting 5 minutes from your time, my adjusted time was under 2 hours. Then we found the pup and the g/f's mom. The pup was pooped and just wanted to lay in the grass. We also found out a lot of people were complaining about the hills...I guess those mountain bikes don't see many mountains.
I also picked up this awesome jersey.