Wet, Windy & COLD - the MN Ironman Bike Ride

Wow, the 43rd annual Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride was challenging. Ken & I dropped off the kids with relatives (thank you!!!) & drove to Lakeville, Minn., for a fun escape. Ken's training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene so he registered for the Century. I signed up for a fun 30.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Burnsville (close to Lakeville, mall nearby, pool/hottub, hot breakfast & comfy bed!) We got up early (oh sweet bed...) & drove ~10 minutes to Lakeville High school, arriving 6:30ish.

With over 4,000 riders, this was my largest event, and people were everywhere. Lakeville HS is huge & beautiful. We registered, walked through the expo and used the bathroom. There was actually a long line for the men's bathroom--too bad Ken! That never happens!!

We bought new long bike gloves, gobbled a hardroll from a race sponsor & headed out. It was already cold & we knew the rain & storms were coming, so we wore layers.

I had on top: - sports bra, - silk turtleneck, - long-sleeve tech shirt, - bike jersey, -arm warmers, - yellow & - a raincoat! On the bottom: - bike shorts, - long spandex, - socks, -bike shoes. + my sunglasses, short gloves & long gloves on top!

Ken had similar stuff on. But he has bad circulation from frostbite & needed more/something else.

It was 38 degrees when we left around 7:30. Ken & I biked together for two minutes & then he took off, which was fine. Our routes would split soon anyways.

The 30-mile route was wonderful. The road quality was excellent, the sinage was perfect & the traffic control/assistance was top-notch. Many families do the 30-mile route, and I saw many kids on tandems, tagalongs and riding solo. There were two rest stops on this route. The rest stops had: candy, fruit, coffee, water, rolls, chocolate, clifshots & more--best selection I've seen.

The 30-mile was a mix of streets, bike paths and neighborhoods. The route had rolling & challenging hills. Ken was on the 100. He did see a pack of 6 guys on unicycles on his route and other interesting riders. I wonder how the unicycles fared in the downpour.

The rain started about an hour into my ride. It was a popcorn-like rain, bouncing off my helmet. My sunglasses fogged repeatedly. My top layers stayed dry, though my socks/shoes were soaked.

Things I learned/noticed:
- people wore shower caps over their helmets
- wet bike cleats are slippery clipping in & pushing off
- it takes longer to stop in the rain
- a SUV sped past showering me with a combo-blast of wind & puddle, nearly knocking me down
I was happy to finish. I'm not a big fan of biking in the rain. I couldn't feel my right foot--it was a block of ice. It was a huge day for me. I have major fear issues on my bike, so this ride took me to the "scary place."

I got back to our van & partly hid behind the van door & started stripping wet layers. When you go commando, it's best not to change in semi-public parking lots. I remembered too late, laughed & then threw myself inside the van for cover.

So, what tips do you have for biking in the rain?

photos: of Ken & I taken with a disposable camera that barely survived the bitter, wet cold of the ride...


Carolina John said...

yea there's nothig like being nude in a parking lot. it makes for an interesting tri story.

i did a 33 mile group ride in the rain a few weeks ago. it was tough. i changed clothes after in the van. there i was nude in the closed van in a high school parking lot, dripping wet with no towel. fortunately, i found one of the kids blankets under a stroller, but when i pulled it out some leftover straw exploded onto my naked body. i felt like a bank robber that opened the money bag and got covered in exploding ink. i also forgot a change of drawers, so we went to lunch at this fancy restaurant downtown where the race was, and i'm in there going commando with little bits of wheat straw falling out of my pants like i'm some hillbilly. haha!

sounds like you guys had a great ride. glad you had fun.

I Run for Fun said...

Did you say "fun" 30???

Glad you had a great time. When you are shivering and freezing in the rain, some public nudity is excusable.

Anonymous said...

What tips do I have for biking in the rain?

How 'bout "ride indoors!"

Hope Ken's frostbite didn't get worse!

1010 Chris

Kari said...

That kind of ride would take me to that "scary" place real fast! My husband wiped out after it rained one day (I haven't be riding that long) so now I have a fear of riding on wet roads. a tip for your feet, when it is wet, you could probably use plastic bags to cover you feet. Newspaper bags work really well because they don't make a lot of noise like the grocery plastice bags plus they are a little smaller and sometime clear so you could slip them on over your socks before your shoes and tuck them into your pants. And there you go - dry feet.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Carolina John!! Ha! Straw, oh my! It was fun reading your story.

I run for fun- yes, the plan was for a fun 30... but it's spring in minnesota.

1010wellness- you're too kind to ask about Ken, thanks. He did have major problems and stopped at the 50-mile point. I was grateful he stopped.

Kari- thanks for the suggestion! I did that as a kid with my moon boots when I went sledding. :-)