Friday, July 29, 2011

Catching Up on the Blog, Part 2

In the midst of traveling and seeking out beer and barbecue, I have managed to do a few events this summer. 
Two days after getting back from Europe, I thought it was a good idea to throw in another biathlon.  And on top of that, I got my brother to participate. 
The Hillsboro 4th of July Biathlon consists of a 5-mile run and a 19 mile bike leg.  (We should really adopt the metric system and go with 5k runs on these things.)  The weather was better than expected, overcast and cool, at least for southwestern Illinois in July. 
I slogged along in the run at my usual 9:00 pace, until the fourth mile, when I shifted gears and went to my 10:00 pace.  I finally got on the bike and started catching and passing people.  None of these people were my brother, whom I had generously granted a seven and a half minute head start.  I was able to make up about four minutes, but sometime in the near future, I need to determine a training plan that will get me into the 8:00 to 8:15 range for a five mile run.
Five days later found me at the starting line of the famous Tour de Donut in Staunton, Illinois.  This is a 32 mile race that awards a five MINUTE time bonus for every donut you can eat during the ride.  There are donut stops near mile 10 and 20.
This year had a record number of participants, somewhere over 1500.  I managed to get to the front of the pack at the start. 
The gun went off and everyone took off like a bat out of hell.  There was a lead group of some very fast riders.  I tried to catch these guys but never managed to get closer than about 20 yards off the back of the group.  However, there was another group that formed behind and I stayed with this group for the first 20 miles.
This was my strategy, ride fast, skip the first donut stop, and eat all of the donuts at the second stop.  The last time I did this race in 2009, I had managed nine donuts.  This year I was going for an even dozen.
The problem was that I felt nauseous after four.  So I jumped back on the bike and headed for the finish. 
I ended up finishing 103rd out of ~1400 finishers.  With donut adjustments, I jumped up to 82nd.  Not a bad day for a bike ride and a snack.
Finally, last weekend I headed over to Lebanon and the Great McKendree Bike Chase.  This was a low-key 18 mile race consisting of 6 laps around a 3-mile loop.  The loop was interesting as each lap had a 180 degree hairpin turn in a cul de sac, half a lap around the college running track, and a 20 yard ride up a narrow pedestrian ramp in the stadium. 
Only about 40 riders showed up for the race (90 degrees at the 8:00 am start time).  I decided to go out and stay with the lead group which had dwindled to about 10 by the middle of the first lap and to 7 by the end of the first lap.  Me and six twenty-something Gen Xer’s, all on carbon fiber bikes.  (Note to wife:  An upgrade is definitely in the works.)  I managed to stay with the young guys for about half of the race before dropping off and soloing in.  Somewhere in there someone else passed me, but by then I was hot and tired and didn’t care.  Eighth place was good enough for me.
Leading the Youngsters around the Race Course
On a bright note, our friend Kate finished first in the Women’s group.  This was her first major effort out on clipless pedals and she did not fall over with her feet in the pedals.  Good job, Kate!
Next up for me are the Edwardsville Rotary Criterium and the Wood River Triathlon.  I haven’t raced a crit since 1991 and I have never done a triathlon.  Swimming is not my strong suit, but the swim is in a pool with a maximum depth of 5 feet.  I might ended up walking the entire swim.
A report on these later.


  1. Nice job at the Tour and McKendree. I'll be out of town for the crit or I would be there to spectate. Maybe next year I'll race it.

  2. Thanks! I hear that I owe a great debt to my bike mechanic/coach for my victory. :) I'd agree.

    P.S. I graduated from high school in 1991. I'd like to rub in the age thing, but since you still kick my butt every time we race I guess I won't mention it.