Race report: Runners High-n-Tri – Ride-n-Tie, November 21, Busse Woods Forrest Preserve.
What started out as a cold-wet morning actually turned into a good race day. I call it a race because it was touted as a race, but just as some enter to race, others enter to be around friends and other athletes. I entered the race with John Rung, from the NW MSM group who had done this race the past two years. As our newly formed team (which started at Morraine Hills MSM Ride-n-Tie) worked out our strategy of how to get to the finish, others were there warming up and getting ready to race. The race website said that the start would be at 0900 but you could get there as early as 0800. We got there around 0805 and there were already 80 or more cars in the parking lot. The key themes were twofold, (something I had not anticipated after doing my first ride-n-tie with only 9 teams); first was to mark you bike in a way that made it very prominent and second although not as important, be able to identify your racing partner. As with every race I’ve been in, there were some participants who chose to up the entertainment value of the entry fee and take this to the extreme. Very colorful bikes and colorful athletes: one guy chose to take the day off from being a super-hero and run the race in his gold and yes, very shiny running tights (no offense meant to anyone that may have these). Other bikes were marked with towels, tape and even a balloon, foregoing aerodynamics in favor of visibility.
On to the race: It was a 10 mile split start with about 125 or so teams. The bike riders (all mountain bikes except for one 10 speed, who even the mountain bike riders felt sorry for) started from the parking lot and the runners from their left a minute later. There was such congestion on the tiny bike path that some of the runners started passing some of the bikers. It may well have been the racers passing the, pardon the pun, Sunday drivers. John began the race on the bike and I on my feet. Close to the first ¾ mile I found our team’s bike and my opportunity to take a running break and ride for a while. Little did I know it was to be a test of tolerance, bike handling skills and patience for the first few miles as the crowds tended to slow everything way down. Since there were so many teams out there, the path was beyond congested, think I-90 heading east around 0800 on a weekday or pretty much any other time of day, night or actual day of the week.
It did somehow seems to all work out since our team was not going for a podium shot on this wet, fall morning. There were two turn-arounds that kept us off the streets which were also mandatory drop points where the rider and runner had to exchange roles. John and I were talking before the race saying that two really good runners could make the switch at the mandatory points and have a pretty fast race. Fortunately, neither of us was of the delusion that our team should be using that philosophy. Our plan was to pass the runner on the bike and ask how they were feeling and how much farther they could run. John regularly passed me and said he would ride for one more minute and when passed, asked for the bike by the next quarter-mile. This repeated itself for the entire race which seemed to get better as the race went on. I did not feel the effects of the “brick” until about the 8th mile and by then I was encouraged that this would be a great training day for both bike and run. My only (silent) goal from the beginning of the race was to beat the team that had a guy who started out the run in jeans and boots. Fortunately, we succeeded, by quite a bit, I might add.
Powerbars, bagles, water, coffee and Hot Chocolate (warmed up powerbar chocolate drink) awaited us at the finish, which we managed to do in 1:07. Overall, it was a good time and I would both recommend it and do it again next year.