It warmed my heart to drive into this sight last night en route from the airport to my “home” in Madison . . . Those of you who have raced here understand why! I have so many special memories of running past this building as it is always one of the last things you see before hitting the finish chute in the ironman here. And, as you probably know, many of my most special ironman finishes have happened here in Madison.
Last night we had crazy lightning and rain, and I got really excited dreaming of another crazy storm on race day like we had in 2006, but alas, the forecast for Sunday calls for nice weather. You never know, though . . .
Today I rode a loop of the course just to make sure that I still know it like the back of my hand. I did have a year off last year (and it was miserable), so I wanted to check! I like to play a little game with myself as I ride the loop; I call it, “What comes around the next corner?!” If I didn’t guess right, I would have had to drive the course after riding it. But it turns out that I still have it all dialed in, and I must say that electronic shifting is very useful on this course, so that was a nice addition to the experience today.
There is actually a little change to the bike course this year, as we veer off a long stretch of road (name is escaping me right now—I know this course by look but not by street name!) through some short steep hills then get dumped back onto the same road; it may add a steep hill or two, but I didn’t find the change to be too long or significant.
I also–hopefully–got my bad luck out of the way as I managed to blow up not one, but two, tubular tires during today’s ride, including a brand new Conti in its maiden voyage. What the?!? Lame.
Not lame are the locals here, many of whose assistance I relied on to get me out of this debacle! Literally: two different local dudes in cars were required to hulk out on tires with “too much gluuueee,” then one for a ride to the bike shop, then another in the bike shop to fix my crisis even though I had not a cent on me with which to pay him today. Thank you Uphill Grind Cycles!
I love Madison!