When I was deciding which Ironman to do, it really came down to two things: (1) swim start and (2) friends and family being able to watch (and (3) I didn't have to fly my bike). Since Louisville is the only one with a time trial start and is only 3-1/2 hours from home, this really was an easy choice. And because it's so close to home and because my aunt lives in Louisville, I would have the opportunity to train on the course leading up to the race. That's what I did yesterday.
Dave and I drove down to Louisville on Friday late afternoon, found part of the bike course and drove it until it get too dark to see anything. Being totally honest here, I don't get intimidated too easily. I enjoy the challenge. There were certainly parts of this course that were scaring me. It seemed there were no flat parts to the course (true) and there was always a hill (true). Saturday we got up and headed to La Grange which is miles 30ish and 60ish on the bike. We were planning on doing the loop twice and the out and back (probably the hilliest and hardest part of the course) once.
The first time we did the loop wasn't so bad. There's a spot on Ballard School Road (which I've taken to calling School House Rock Road) which has an uphill that somehow you can't carry any moment into. We did the out and back before heading back into La Grange. It's not as bad in the daylight as it looked in the dark. The worst part is the bridge where there are HUGE potholes. Both directions you come to the bridge you are flying downhill and you have to really slow down to avoid the hills, which means you have no momentum to carry you up the uphills. Hopefully that is something they fix before the race. Then it was back to La Grange via Route 393. This road is pretty hilly, but it really only has one big uphill and one small uphill to contend with.
We stopped at our car in La Grange, reloaded our bikes with fuel, and headed out to do the loop again. This time it wasn't so much fun. It was now midday, 93 degrees with the heat index over 100 degrees. You could feel the heat radiating off of the pavement. The wind gusts weren't refreshing. The sun made it feel like my jersey was melting into my back. I was starting to talk to myself and it wasn't happy things (mostly four letter word that aren't really appropriate for this blog). The flats and downhills I found myself not doing any work. I was cruising any time I could. The uphills I was still attacking but that was because it was that or stop and fall over. Route 42 felt like it would go on forever. Something tells me this will be the worst part of the ride--33 miles of one road all the way back into town. Finally we reached Route 393 again and took a picture of Cedar Point on the IMLou course. At least we knew Dave was getting training for his race too. :)
Finally we made it back to our car. 77.65 miles in 5:14. Not very fast but that's okay. Race day will be when I go faster. We were supposed to have a run off the bike, but Dave talked us both out of it. I'm really pissed at myself for not doing it. Sure it was hot, but it's going to be hot the day of the race too! We loaded up our stuff and headed to Dairy Queen and got ourselves something to cool us down. We returned to my aunt's house, showered, and drove back home.
It scares me there's still 35 miles left to that course, but I also have gained some confidence knowing that I've ridden the hardest part of the course. I have another trip planned to Louisville in August and I hope to ride the entire course during that trip. This week was one that certainly tested my character and my brain power, along with my physical abilities. Hopefully that type of training will payoff in eight short weeks.