IRONMAN – Lakeville Minnesota
First bike event of the year and man, I was so ready for it! The Ironman brought in over 4,000 riders! I had never done a 65 before and with the assistance of my cousin and the loan of his wives road bike (while I was still waiting to find one I liked) I was counting down the days….
My friend Cindy and I arrived In Lakeville on Saturday evening along with Tim and Kari Lake, also from Brainerd. Tim was also doing the bike event.
The morning of the event we were on the go by 6:45 a.m. – ready to roll… literally. It was a cool morning of 40 degrees and predicted thunderstorms awaited us as we took off. The first 23 miles was rain free and a pretty sweet ride. The area of Lakeville is quite beautiful to ride through; with rolling hills, properties and homes of all sizes and shapes… I enjoyed just taking it all in and was thankful for such a great opportunity to be part of this event.
At the 23 mile mark in Jordan Minnesota we had our first stop. Riders were treated to fresh fruit such as oranges and bananas, Cliff bars and energy packets, Snickers bars, M & M’s, hot tamales, and trail mix, granola bars, as well as hot coffee and water.
Once back on the road, the rain started. It came down heavy with thunder and lightening. For a time, the rain felt like needles as it hit my face. I started to sense my right shoe filling with water and found it odd that just the one shoe was doing this. No worries – the left shoe soon followed. Riding onward with my head down for this stretch (which turned out to be 22 miles) I started to think about all the things I was grateful for on this ride.
1. The extra pair of winter gloves that I had brought along to cover up my biking gloves.
2. The winter stocking cap that Justin had left in the Durango that at the last minute I grabbed and put on my head under my bike helmet.
3. The loan of Farrah’s bike which really handled all the hills well and made me really anticipate purchasing my own road bike (which with the help of the knowledge of Jarrod and Farrah, we found in St Cloud at Erik’s Bike Shop on Monday!)
At this phase in the ride – I started to hum the tune “these are a few of my favorite things”… that list included: hot chocolate, warm blankets, curling up by a fireplace with a good book, pretty much anything that had to do with warmth.
With my head down out of the wind and rain I had a good eye view of the road and watched as I passed things that riders were losing to the road…. I seen several bike gloves, a hat… and an unopened full size Snickers bar. For a few delirious moments I considered stopping to get the candy bar. This quickly led to me thinking that I did not have the energy in my now frozen hands to open the candy bar let alone pick it up. Perhaps, I could just rip it open with my teeth and eat it off the ground or just lick the chocolate off it…. yeah… I think my brain was freezing too…
We road through New Prague which was kind of a neat little town and it was fun to ride right through the middle of it. For someone like me who has never been in this area of Minnesota before I really enjoyed seeing the different towns.
After a very cold and wet stint at mile 45, we stopped in Lonsdale. All 4 layers that I was wearing were soaked through. I carefully removed my hands that were now frozen in a grip shape from the bike. Once inside, I tried to take my gloves off with me teeth with no luck. I could not use my hands to grip anything and 2 women helped me get my gloves off. This stop offered delicious hot pasta, however I could not hang on to the fork or stop shaking so eating it took a little time and a lot of energy.
At this point, as I looked around at a room full of people covered in blankets and paramedics were on hand to watch for hypothermia… I made the decision that this was the end of the road for me for the 2009 Ironman. As much as I wanted to finish what I had come to do… I knew it was not worth the cold, rain, and wind, that awaited the last 20 miles. Tim joked that we had completed the “Aluminum Man” instead of the Ironman…. and those who dropped off after the first 23 miles had completed the “Plastic Man”. Kari came and picked us up at this point as the sag buses were full of people who also were stopping at this point.
I was able to capture just a few pictures. I would have taken more but by mile 45 my camera must have became damp because it refused to take any more pictures. I would have really liked to have captured how cold everyone was at that 45 mile stop. (Later at home when my camera dried out – it worked fine).
So overall experience – I may be crazy – but I really enjoyed it. The area was great, the roads were good and there was plenty to look at as you rode – even if your eyes were on the ground for part of it! I am already marking it down for next year.
Comments from the Ironman website:
For those of you that joined us – a hearty congratulations and an even heartier THANK YOU for braving the elements and making the 2009 Ironman another successful event. We had over 4000 riders on the road. There were no serious accidents (perhaps a few cases of hypothermia). Despite the weather, riders were upbeat and up for the challenge. To all of you who rode: you earned your bragging rights for the year, whether or not you finished your chosen route. Young and old, 100 milers, 65 milers and 30 milers—we congratulate all of you.
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