Last weekend Dave and I headed back down to Louisville to ride the bike course again. This time we would be riding the whole course--all 112 miles. Last time we were in Louisville riding, some dude rode with us for a good amount of time and talked to us about organized rides in Louisville specifically for the Ironman. He was kinda weird so I didn't think too much of it. Then our friends Colleen and Tom said they were doing an organized ride with iamtri and I was totally on that bandwagon. :)
So Saturday morning we met a large group near transition. We paid $10 a piece to be able to ride with the group and be provided with aid on the course. We got started a little behind the group because Dave's brake kept sticking and it needed a little attention. But it didn't really matter because we were going to be behind the group anyway. I don't really understand why everyone is SO much faster than me at bike riding.
The first several miles of the course is flat, flat, flat. It's a nice way to pick up some speed but not really since I'll be conserving my energy for what's ahead. Then there is a detour that may or may not be there during the race. If it is, it's not cool because it's a pretty steep climb. After the climb there's a turn onto Route 42 where there's a steep downhill. The next part is pretty flat as you roll on out of town. There's a right turn for the out and back. Now the fun begins. The out and back may be the hardest part of the ride all day but at least you only have to do it once. It's deceiving because it starts flat but then there's a crazy downhill leading right into a long, steep uphill. Then you turn around and do it again in the opposite direction. Finally you're back on 42 for a little bit of rollers until it's time to start the loop you'll do twice. The loop is not so bad, just long--30 miles. The first road, 393, has one big climb in it. Then it's into LaGrange where all the spectators will be. Next is what I've dubbed "School House Rock Road" and for me, this is the road I hate the most on the whole ride. And you've got to do it twice! A few more roads, a few more climbs, and then it's into Sligo and back to 42 for a long 12 miles back to the start of the loop. Once you've made it to Sligo again the last 30+ miles don't seem so bad. I picked up A LOT of speed heading back to Louisville--a whole 1/2 mph! That's a lot when we were out there for 80 miles prior.
The best part is, I did it. And I did it a lot better than I thought I was going to. Sure, it took me a whole hour longer than most people are going to ride it, but I also know I won't be the last one on the course either. My goal is simply to finish the race and enjoy the experience. I'm going into the last few weeks with a little more confidence and ready for the taper.