2022, June 18, Ironman 100 mile bike ride

MN Ironman and changing times for PJW Racing.
A charity Bike ride for FB4K’s, 6.18.22

No longer as much a bike race focused group, PJW Racing as a bike team is morphing into something that is open to more than just velodrome track bike racers. Not that track bike racers aren’t great people and the activity isn’t and has not been a great sport and activity. I wish MN still had a local velodrome and/or there would be an easy way to create a new velodrome park of some kind but that just isn’t today’s reality.
My answer is to find more venues that are less competitive and more challenging but fun events the team can support and promote. Events that can be open to a more social aspect, more inclusive to other bike friendly people that does not require the “pain and suffering” of competitive training and events. I’ll admit this route is related to me, personally, aging out of being a competitive bike racer. I’ll also admit I feel sad about that. Racing at velodromes all over the USA and the world the last 15 or so years was hugely satisfying even when I was barely in the running.
Participating in and promoting events that are more endurance oriented and possibly more “epic” in other ways seems like a viable option. In a way I am going back to my early days of cycling more than 40 years ago when, as an adult I found cycling.
2022, summer, almost solstice, the Ironman Bike ride, a morphed version of the original Ironman that probably started about 40 years ago as well. “Back in the Day” the original was held the last Sunday in April every year which opened the door for real Ironman weather conditions and challenging rides. Some years, with luck, the weather was marvelously pleasant. Other years, snow, ice, rain, hypothermic conditions made do the 100 mile ride the Ironman that lived up to the name. 2022 the weather was about as ideal as mother nature could offer. Warm, high 80’s F, sunny clear skies, oh and then some winds, mid-teens mph. Mostly ok as head and cross winds, wonderful as tailwinds. As my coach as told me often, rides, head winds out, tailwinds back and that’s what we got.
Day of event, the plan was to have a small group of PJW Racing team member’s ride. With multiple ride distance options, 30, 60, 100-mile routes, there was something for all who wanted to ride. 3 of us picked the 100-mile version. Allen, Kirsten and me, Pat. Right at the start, Doug joined in to ride with us until the first rest stop instead of waiting for his other two ride mates. We arrived at the first stop adding one “new” member to our group, Kathleen who joined our paceline about a mile before the stop. We fueled and got ready to leave with Kathleen along to replace Doug.
Pleasant times but also some tougher times beating into the wind, More conversation in our group due to Kirsten and Kathleen, Allen, and I generally not as talkative, lady thing, guy thing? Whatever the added friendliness added to the morale of the 4-person team. Rest stops 2 behind us and more headwinds, seemed worse that mid-teens mph but still doable. A self-made rest stop prior to station 3 so fuel and hydrate and get a break from the head winds. Finally, the 3rd rest station, very welcome as we were all low on water. Off again with more head winds but the promise of tailwinds dancing in our heads. Yes, a few route changes and some tailwind action, not a lot but relief. The more we rode, the more we gained tailwinds and of course closing in on the magic 100 goal. By the 4th rest stop, we were all a bit giddy and foolish, end of the ride was not in sight but seeming like it was achievable by all four of us. Everyone did a little lay down and relaxing recovery. Water was in short supply when we arrived but got resupplied, had some fun conversation with the aid station volunteers, hopefully adding some fun to their day. Back on the bikes, more tailwinds, closer and closer to town and then traffic and homes instead of farm scapes. Into the finish party area only to find all venues closed or closing, obviously we had too much fun on the route, arriving about 5 P.M. Mutually agreeing we are off to the downtown area for a full dinner and beverage of choice to celebrate a fun, challenging, fun, rewarding, fun, made new friends, epic ride. Every event like this is a mini life changer, for one I’ll admit to being enlivened and motivated for the better.

Side note: our new team mate of the day renamed us all, Papa Bear, The Machine, Tugboat and we renamed her, Mountain Goat. Cheers mates!