IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING
WEEK 17 – July 10 > July 16
Jeff is a Gunner. I already knew that, but Saturday’s ride reminded me that any one of my Gunner teammates can turn on the gunning when they are in their element.
Jeff and Jill had planned a graduation party for their daughter Emma, and since it made sense that we would be coming to their downtown condo for the party, that we should get together for the Saturday long bike ride and short run brick. And I immediately tried to think of someway to get out of it.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited about riding along the lakeshore in Chicago. I’ve seen the trail and it’s users, so to me it is like the wild west down there. All sorts of walkers, skate boarders, roller bladers, hand holders, runners, swimmers carrying their wet suits to Oak Street beach, volley ballers at the beach, and of course Lance wannabes. And in addition to that, I just generally hate driving downtown, not knowing where I am going, thinking that I’ll get mugged, or nowadays shot. But my wife drives down there everyday for work, Jeff and Jill live right in the heart of everything good in downtown, and since Dave had already committed to it, I decided what the hell. So I packed up my bike and junk, got up a 5 am and drove into the city.
We met up and Jeff reminded us that since there was a rather large 1/2 marathon on Sunday downtown and a related 5K Saturday morning, that we should get going and try to head north on the path and hopefully miss the runners. So we started our Garmins, clipped into our pedals and hit the mean streets of Chicago to the lake front trail.
When we got there I was amazed at how busy it was. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but man, there were tons of runners and riders out at 7 am. Jeff led us north right into the craziness. There were large groups of runners, presumably running together doing marathon training, that were taking up most of the trail. You had to wait your turn to go around the traffic and hope that others would share the trail. It was very chaotic, but in a way it was very organized chaos. The runners all expected to get passed by cyclists and didn’t freak out about it. Other cyclists knew to give an oncoming rider a little extra room on his side of the trail. And after a few miles of being indoctrinated to this chaos, it started to become easier.
We made a pass north and turned around. An hour back into the return trip, we had expected that the 5K had already passed, but that wasn’t the case. So we turned around and made another loop north. Now, I wasn’t so excited about this, but it was certainly better than trying to fight through the race. The trip back north was actually much less of an adventure. Most of the large groups had finished up, and it was just your usual and standard crazy trail users. This is the moment that Jeff decided to attack.
Since I was riding in the middle with Dave riding right behind me acting as my sweeper, I knew that Jeff wouldn’t get too far ahead, but he certainly was in his element. Dave and I were still riding with our heads on a swivel, and Jeff was like Keanu in the movie Speed.
But it dawned on me that when I hosted a ride a few weeks ago, I led the entire way even though both of those guys are stronger riders. And when we rode out by Dave, he led us out on his route. Dave told me when we rode on my route that he would drop back through the twisty nature preserve that I like to canyon carve the hell out of. He just wasn’t as familiar with all the fast turns as I was. And the same thing was going on with Jeff. He was just good at riding in his element.
We made the turn around and headed back into the downtown area and found the path to be open. We sped ahead to the south, passing such iconic landmarks like the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum. As we continued to ride, not only did it become less crowded, it also became very scenic. The south portion of the trail through Burnham Park and down through the South Shore was quite an enjoyable ride. We made the turn around and headed back to the city, hammering away and really enjoying the miles and letting the time fly by. In reality, the 3.5 hours on the bike seemed like two. And I was somewhat surprised that it was over so quickly.
As we finished, I jokingly praised the gods above for allowing me to survive the ride. But really the thanks should go to Jeff for guiding us on such a memorable ride. This thirty weeks of Ironman training isn’t all about doing work to finish the race, it is also for enjoying good friends and making great memories.
I won’t hesitate to accept an offer to ride there again. Thanks for inviting us, Jeff!
The Other Notable Ride of the Week
I had another notable ride on Thursday night. I was riding the scheduled 75 minute ride when I blew out my rear tire after riding through what I thought was some innocuous gravel debris. I was mulling over my options, as I was about 10 miles from home, and I didn’t have my cellphone with me. So I decided to jog about a 1/4 mile back to a parking lot where I could have some room and be a little safer repairing my tire than along the trail. Upon examining my tire, I could see that it was blown out on the sidewall, which really surprised me. I had a spare tube, but I knew that a hole in the sidewall of my tire was not going to be good.
I had some small tube patches and placed one over the hole and installed and inflated the new tube. After using one CO2 cartridge, I could see the tube had pushed the patch out through the slit in the tire by about 1/4 inch. I decided that I would have to take it very gently riding back.
Since I have a running streak and that I hadn’t ran yet, I decided to finish off the mile and off I ran at about a 9 min/mile pace in my cycling shoes. After the mile was over, I saddled up and rode easily toward home. I was about two miles into that easy ride when I heard the tube let go. Fortunately for me, I was near my office. So I jogged another half mile and I was able to get inside and call my wife to come pick me up. Quite an experience. Glad I had the lesson in repairing a tube, and using a CO2 cartridge, which I had never done before. I should have used something a little more sturdy to cover the hole prior to inflation, like a business card or a dollar bill that I had in my tool kit. It might of made a difference in keeping the tube from inflating through the sidewall.
Quite a memorable week for riding.
2 Swims – 4300 yards this week / 52550 yards total
3 Bikes – 85 miles this week / 9298 miles total
7 Runs – 35 miles this week / 499 miles total