The Rider

May 30, 2010

The Balltown Classic

Filed under: Steve's Stuff — The Blog @ 6:43 AM

I used to think riding all day, from sunrise to sunset – through scenic fields and farms and great views – would be the greatest day ever.

I was wrong!

Here we are at the start - unaware of the brutal day that was ahead of us

Here’s the deal: I drove 500 miles on Friday to DeWitt, Iowa. On Saturday morning at 5:30 the 200-mile Balltown Classic ulta cycling race began and about 20 of us brave, heroic peddlers took off for Balltown (hence the name of the race) and then back to DeWitt.

The first 100 miles were easy. OK, not exactly easy, but I did them in just a tick over 6 hours and was starting to think I could finish in a very respectable 13 hours.

I was wrong!

The heat began to get to me. Not to mention the relentless hills and a non-stop headwind the entire second half of the race. I was also chased by a dog and attacked by this little black bird with red spots (gang colors?) on its shoulders. I was dehydrated, sun burnt (despite putting lotion on) and after 125 miles my stomach was doing flip flops and it was hard to gag down any food – and eating is a key to making it to the end of these long rides.

At least the scenary was nice. Who knew Eastern Iowa was so pretty.

I thought about quitting a few times, but I kept going – slower and slower and slower, stopping at every convenience store along the way for water and a rest – and finally finished a little after 8 PM.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one to suffer. Everyone else I talked to said the same thing: this was the most brutal day ever. That made me feel a little better, sort of. Even the winner, Kurt, was exhausted. He said he planned to finish in about 10 hours, but struggled (for him) and finished in just over 11. Does misery love company? I guess we ultra cyclers do – and several of us hung out at the finish line telling war stories.

Now that it’s over, I’m glad I did my first 200-mile race. I just wish it hadn’t been so hot. And hilly. And headwindy.

Hay, be nicer to our friends in Central Ohio

OK, one more thing to do: the drive back to Columbus. Yeah, it’s 500 miles, but I have air conditioning!


1 Comment »

  1. Congrats Steve – seems you’re hooked on some ultra stuff. Hope you said hello to my Big Dog friends. I just registered for Pelotonia….I’m official again!

    Comment by Bubba Jeff — June 1, 2010 @ 6:58 PM

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