2015 RAIN…Ride Across Indiana
Dang! That’s the first thing I can say to describe this awesome event. 1500+ riders gathering in Terre Haute, IN and embarking on a cross state ride to (hopefully) reach Richmond, in 160-ish miles away. You can see here the start of the race where we all jammed up onto a narrow road leading out of the Saint Mary of the Woods College onto HWY 150 on our way to what turned out to be a perfect day for riding. The start was congested but surprisingly I don’t know of any incidents that delayed anyone from heading out safely. I did see one person pretty quickly fixing a flat but other than that it was smooth riding out of the gate.
Our first “obstacle” if you can call it that was the tunnel. This is where I saw the rider fixing his flat. This was about 10 minutes into the ride. The only danger here was a bit of wet pavement. But solid cycling etiquette and great communication from riders ahead we navigated this fairly easily with no issues. A few riders started to jockey for position but it was way too early to worry about where you fell in the pecking order. My only concern was staying upright and keeping up with my group.The first leg of the ride was about 40 miles. Mostly flat (always a relative term in cycling) we made good time and had a few miles that allowed us to really pick up the pace. There were a couple of really fast groups and we were lucky to grab onto the tail end of a few of their pace lines to help drag us along. (I am positive they didn’t mind!) I was truly amazed at how well I felt coming into the first rest area. My hydration and fueling was going well thus far. A little sleep deprived and probably could have used a bigger breakfast prior to the ride to sustain me a bit more but quite honestly I was concerned with changing up my nutrition routine and causing new GI issues.
40-64 miles was another beautiful ride. It had a few rolling ups and downs but nothing like we would face later after we were exhausted!! Traffic was for the most part, very respectful. Ufortunately, there were two incidents that I know of during this leg. One rider was run off the road by a dump truck driver. I believe he broke his collar bone and another rider crashed and ended up with cuts and scrapes that did end his ride, but as far as I know, both will make full recoveries.
I believe this photo was around 114 miles. Still feeling good and very happy to have traversed the Ironman bike distance of 112 miles will little issues. I was still feeling energetic and not feeling any new or strange body aches that would indicate impending doom. My fueling and hydration was still working well. I was utilizing my Salt Stik tabs and my Accelerade to my advantage. Crazy to think I had never ridden more than 60 miles prior to this day. I really expected to be completely wiped out at this point. I have to give credit to my triathlon coach Jennifer Harrison and my strength training at The Lab Gym to helping me get through this day.
The next 20 miles were a bit slower. We kept the pace reasonable because our goal was to finish and we wanted to finish strong. Pacing ourselves correctly for our ability was important. We were not elite athletes and going into this ride I knew I may end up riding alone at times based on my prep and ability to keep up. That happened more than once. Sometimes I moved ahead, sometimes I dropped back. I was happy to be moving forward!
134-Finish…Slow and steady wins the race. Or in my case, finishes without dying. This was a hard, hard, leg of the ride for me. With 30 miles left I had no GPS (watch battery died…forgot my bike computer) so not knowing how far was left really played with my mind. There were times I thought I had gone miles and miles to find out it merely a mile. Then there were times I thought I had barely made progress to find out I had just ridden 4-5 miles! The hills that showed up were not fun. Long, long, slow inclines that went on into infinity presented themselves. The first one I handled and it was actually a bit prior to this rest stop…the final two (I think there were two) were brutally offensive! I was alone and trying to just get to the top. I set little goals for myself and made up songs about the cows I was passing to keep me motivated and moving. (I apologize to all those that heard me singing to the cows…I didn’t realize until it was too late that I was singing out loud and not in my head). #hydratemuch #caloriedeficientatthispoint.
I had mild cramping that made me nervous but changing gears and cadence allowed me to quickly work through those issues. Fueling had gone out the preverbal window, my stomach was not handling anything solid now so I was literally trying to “gut” out the rest of the ride. Once I saw the “5 miles left” sign I got some energy and was able to kick it in gear some. It wasn’t until I hit the 2 mile sign that I knew I was going to make it for sure. I shifted back into my big ring gears (yes the granny gears were worn out by now with the hills) and pedaled as hard as I could so I could coast as far as I could toward the finish.
Crossing the finish…I grabbed my keychain medal with as much energy as I had left (Yes all of that for a key chain.) The rest of the riders understand…but I grabbed it and proceeded to get the heck off my bike. I love that bike. But I was done loving it for that day. I found a chair and collapsed into it promptly. It was really awesome to have my team cheering at the finish and checking on me in my chair to see how I was. My body was slowly shutting down and I sat for over 30 minutes before trying to walk. A really nice guy named Jeff (coincidentally) offered to carry my cooler and transition bag to the bus so I could roll my bike to the transport truck back to Terre Haute. Huge, huge, thanks to Southern Indiana Tri Team for not letting me die or quit. Thanks to Dwight and Sarah for riding with me most of the way and huge thanks to Sarah’s husband Dave for driving our support vehicle all day and making sure we had our stuff, and chairs to rest in at the stops and just being there in case we needed anything. Anna Demerly was the route mom and more than once drove by to make sure we were ok, and not in need of anything. And thank you random dude on the bus for the pizza…even though I puked it up 3 hours later…your kindness is still appreciated!!
Also, I have to thank my wife Karin for allowing me the freedom to train and attempt these crazy things. She is the most awesome woman I know and would not even be close to accomplishing something like this without her. I love you babe!
Bottom line is…we all completed a grueling 163+ mile ride in great weather and made it safe and sound. My friends have called me crazy for embarking on this. But they also know how hard it was to get to this point and how important is was for me to accomplish this ride. I said in my little chair under the tree at the finish line gripping my keychain that I was “one and done” as far as this ride was concerned…does anyone know when registration opens for next year’s ride!!!???
Tired, hungry, and a bit sore but ready to roll! 2016 RAIN…let’s do this thing chump!!!!