44.64 Miles 05/29/11 - Bike the Drive
So after Saturday's 46 miles, half of it a hammerfest, and an afternoon/evening of eating poorly and drinking beer at a party, I decided that if the rain for Sunday looked like it was going to hold off and if I heard the alarm clock go off at 3:45 am, I'd drive downtown and participate in the annual Bike the Drive, something I'd wanted to do since beginning riding again in 2008. It's for a good cause (raising funds for the Active Transportation Alliance) and besides just being plain cool - riding my bike on Lake Shore Drive - it would give me some practice riding in crowds of cyclists which is good prep for RAGBRAI.
I woke up at 3:30 (before the alarm clock) and checked the radar, which looked like rain would hold off at least through the morning hours. It did mention a dense fog advisory, so I checked several Chicago-based webcams and saw none. I decided I'd get up and go do this, even on less than five hours of sleep. The ride kicked off at 5:30 and I still had to register. I checked and double-checked that I had everything and set off for downtown at 4:10. I backed out of the garage... "Hey! No fog! Great!"
I spoke too soon. About halfway into the city it began and never stopped. To make matters worse, I remembered as I pulled into the parking garage that the screw for the GoPro mount was sitting in the garage. How on earth was I going to make it not fly off my stem when I hit the first bump? This sucks. I found a paperclip on the floor of my truck and determined that it would at least make sure it stayed on my bike but would not keep it fixed in position. I decided I'd just try and keep an eye on it and see what happened. After all, with this fog, I wasn't going to get great shots anyway.
After paying my registration fee I got into the Southbound starting lane. A few minutes later the announcer gave us the go-ahead. It was at this point the only crash I'd see all morning happened. That's right- someone in the Northbound lane crashed before even crossing the starting line. Poor guy.
The first 1/2 mile was frightening just due to the sheer number of people all starting at once. Thankfully LSD has many lanes and I decided to haul ass in the left to get ahead of the crowd a bit. The weather was abysmal. Not only was it very foggy but it was 48 degrees. I was in shorts but (unlike yesterday) was wise enough to have a jacket. This was soaked pretty quickly but still helped. About 5 miles in I decided there was no way to keep my sunglasses on - they just kept getting covered in water droplets. Taking off my glasses also meant losing my rear-view mirror which had me a bit concerned, but not as much as riding at 20mph directly into a pothole because I didn't see it.
Bike the Drive starts at Grant Park and heads North and South. It is 7.5 miles to each end point. This gives participants the option of a 15 or 30 mile ride. It also gives faster riders the option for 45 or 60. As I stated earlier, I opted for South first. The turn-around was at the Museum of Science and Industry. While I was cold, I had plenty of fluids left and wasn't hungry, so I skipped the rest stop and headed to the Northbound turnaround, 15 miles away. Once there I decided I needed some food and a restroom break. Two bananas and a couple mini muffins later I set off for the start point.
As miserable as I was, I decided I'd take the south route again. This would give me another 40+ mile day and I'd ride through discomfort - something I may be forced to do during RAGBRAI if the weather is bad.
I was riding at a very fast pace for me, with very little of it drafting behind others. It was as if I finally found my legs this weekend! The last 7.5 miles from the south turnaround to the start/end point was quite fun as I finally had a partner to take turns drafting. He was completely his second full loop - 60 miles. He was flying.
Could I have done the north route again? Maybe, but I had had enough for the day. I decided to check out some vendor tents for a few minutes, but quickly started to shiver. It was 48 and I was no longer riding to keep warm. I called it a day and headed back to the truck (after another banana and a bottle of Muscle Milk - which is not good, BTW).
Today's ride was my fastest average of the year - 17.1. Again, much of this was not due to a paceline. I was quite pleased with this.
OK now for the multimedia goodies...
The photos (click on one to launch viewer):
The time lapse video (the song was actually added on youtube - I had never heard it before but think it fits well):
And the map/stats/other stuff: