The bike shop that is sponsoring the event hosts three preview rides of both the Sprint and 1/2 Iron courses. This is a wonderful perk and we were glad to be able to see/ride/feel the course before the event on July 26th.
There were about 40 riders in total, but the majority of people were going out on the Sprint course. Our day was going to be a little "longer" -- like twice the mileage.
We drove up to the course venue (about 1 hour away from Minneapolis) at 6:30 am. It was nice to see the park and the lake. Before the ride, we went down to the beach to check out the water temp.
Also checked out the water level.
Also checked out the water clarity.
Should make for a fun swim in six weeks!
We started biking at about 8:15 am. The speedy bikers (with "real tri bikes") dusted us at about mile 3 and then we just did our own thing.
Mary and I had to cut the ride a bit short (pulling off about mile 45). We had to get back to the city for a couple appointments. We picked up Nat at mile 53 (SOOO close to the end) and drove back. Gary finished the whole course -- mucho kudos to him.
So what we learned includes:
The course is really pretty flat: Much flatter than Pigman's 1/2 iron course. There are some rolling hills, but nothing like you find in Iowa. Truth be told there is one really steep hill on the way back, but it is steep and short, so gearing down got us through it. Nat reports that there is a second steep hill on somewhere after mile 45 but before mile 53...Note taken.
Oh yeah: Nutrition: Despite each of us being experienced marathoners and/or triathletes, none of us remembered to bring any thing to eat while we were on the course. Fortunately, our new best friend, Joe (who works at the bike shop and provided sag support), carried a bunch of mini Clif bars with him and handed them out like candy.
Pedaling in to the wind is H A R D: Oh yeah (part two). I felt like I was flying like the wind for the first half of the course. Then we turned around. WIND. That sure took the smug out of my mug pretty fast.
We are going to make it: If nothing else, previewing the ride helped our confidence for the race in July. We may be slow, we may not be pretty out there, but we will finish the race.
Today's training plan called for yet another hour on the bike followed by a 30-minute run. Gary, Nat and I slogged it out this morning -- and now, I'm pooped!