Saturday, June 05, 2010
Great Midwest Inline Marathon
I have to say I almost always have something fun or funny to relate after a race, but this one was something else again. After driving a touch of the course prior to race time I was wondering if I was the only one who thought they heard something about this being a flat course. I now think what was said was this was a “relatively” flat course. Relative to the Rocky Mountains, this is a real flat course. Well thank the heavens that at least the pavement was in good condition. What’s that you say? You fell in a tar snake? Well the road was in “relatively” good condition. Never mind all that, at least it’s May in Wisconsin and the temperature was cool and refreshing. Wait, what? The temperature was in the mid 80’s with equally high humidity? Yep! It was the perfect storm of conditions to make for a challenging beginning to the Midwest outdoor season.
The silver lining for me was, with almost no training this spring, I fell into a group of thinking skaters that worked together for 26 of the 26.2 miles of the race. We were; two Bob’s, one Guy, one Ken, one Denise and together we were awesome. The course was “relatively” shaped like a “P.” We skated out of town and around the loop of the “P” five times then back into town. The wind, of course, was with us while in the wooded part of the loop, so it did very little good and in our faces on the "relatively" downhill back portion of the loop. So rest as in short supply. I take it this matters little to the pro’s but to us back-packers the wind and the hills are a big deal.
Anyway, the loop was hilly but we all “knew” that the big hills were behind us once we headed back into town. WHAT? The hills were harder heading back.? That’s where a snake up and bit the other Bob in our group. Luckily the next downhill was a biggin’ and Bob picked himself up, and caught up.
I think I only realized how hot it was when, upon leaving the loop, I grabbed a cup of water and instinctively threw it on myself instead of drinking it. Boy did that feel good. Sorry Denise, I think you were behind me at the time.
Anyway at the last turn there was an acceleration that I should have known was coming; I was gapped by about 5-10 feet which, according to the results, grew to whatever 2 seconds is at 16 mph. But no problem, I simply told my legs to pick it up and... and... and nothing. No back talk, no complaints, nothing. I knew what had to be done and with the wind at our backs for once, when it would do some good, my legs decided we were no longer on speaking terms. Still, I was more than happy to have finished with the folks I’m normally competitive with, and my light-headedness was nothing that two bratwursts and a couple of beers couldn’t cure.
All joking aside, this is an awe-inspiring event, three days of racing, of which I participated in only one, with a star-studded field of skaters and it is already on my calendar for next year.