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37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride Report(18 posts)

37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride ReportScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:04 PM
For the last 37 years the American Youth Hostel's Ironman bike ride has signaled the unofficial start of the Minnesota biking season. Despite being called the Ironman, it's not a triathlon. It's been around longer than the sport of triathlon (I think). The organizers of both events worked out some kind of agreement for use of the name by both parties. This event is called an Ironman because it always occurs in the last weekend in April and was originally only a 100 mile ride. Up here in Minnesota any kind weather can happen this season (last year, it snowed 3 or 4 inches) and few have the legs for a 100 mile ride in April, hence it takes a soul of Iron to attempt. That's schpell anyway, mostly it's an excuse to get out and have a little fun.

These days, a 100, 68, and 30 mile ride are offered. I rode the 68 mile route today. Minnesota didn't let us down. It was a beautiful 75 degree, mostly sunny day. So what's so Ironmanish about that ? 16 MPH steady winds with gusts from 18-25 MPH.

The wind howled out of the south from the start of the ride. Even at 6:30 in the morning the wind was blowing at full bore. The route headed due south at the start through some gently rolling farm country. You know that feeling of elation you get when you're climbing a hill and you're just about to crest. Well, on this ride, I'd be climbing up a north facing hill, which would shelter me from a lot of wind. Just as I'm cresting the wind would hit me full on and I'd actually find myself moving to a lower gear than the hill required. So much for elation.

Here's a shot from the early going.
First Rest Stop – Lonsdale, MNScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:05 PM
Rest stops were fully stocked and the entire event was well run and supported, all for $25.00 bucks. Here's the spread.
If only ours were stocked that well...JL
Apr 28, 2003 4:59 AM
The few organized centuries I've been on around here have never been stocked that well. Of course, maybe that's what 25 vs. 15 buys you. I think I'd pay $25 to get stock like that.

Great ride report and nice pictures. Good luck on your Brevet.

Happy riding.

Lonsdale AgainScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:07 PM
Here's a shot of the rest stop as I was pulling away. It was at a VFW. Check out the flag, see the way it's pointing, I'm going the other way : (
Not far from the Valley of the Jolly Green GiantScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:10 PM
Here's and example of the countryside. The Valley of the Jolly Green Giant is a real place. It's about 40 miles to left of this shot. Still on our way to green, but soon, very soon.
For NovereadScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:15 PM
Just like rural Wisconsin, lots of cows here in rural Minnesota.
Heh-heh, WE'RE the dairy state though! :)noveread
Apr 27, 2003 6:46 PM
Oh boy was that wind howling today! did a road race today and it was just brutal out there!

Nice picks BTW!

The Worm Turns.Scot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:17 PM
After about 30 miles, the route turned back north. By chance, it also put us on a road with brand new pavement. Wind at our back for the first time and smooth surface..WOOOHOOOO. A good time was had by all as we hammered out way to Northfield Minnesota.
And Turns AgainScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:21 PM
After Northfield, the route heads due West, across the wind. I'm thinking, no big deal can't possibly be as bad as riding straight into it, NO.....IT WAS WORSE !!!. Maybe it was that I was tired, or maybe the wind was coming more from the west than I could perceive (the wind is now straight out of the west as I write this), but this was spirit breaking, difficult stuff. I think I was around 10 MPH (no computer) and just turning em over because I knew it turned back north somewhere up ahead.

Here's a shot of what stood between me and the unrelenting wind along this stretch.
And Turns Back Yet AgainScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:23 PM
The road did indeed turn back north. Here's my reward. This road and 20 MPH wind at my back. I'd like to say I hammered it up to 30, but mostly I sat up and breathed in then out...REPEAT.
My entry for Kristin’s Shadow Series.Scot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:25 PM
"Rubenesque Biker"
Last ShotScot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 5:27 PM
Here's my last shot. One of St. Olaf's College's buildings sitting majestically on the hill in Northfield MN. I took this on the fly, sorry about the cables.

I Had a great time on the ride, anybody else that did the event chime in with your thoughts.

Next first Brevet.............YIKES

THE WIND!filtersweep
Apr 27, 2003 6:28 PM
I swear it could stop you on a descent. I thought it was gusts of more like 30+ mph... wind at the back was happy times... albeit unreasonably brief.

I rode the century- it was against the wind all the way to Faribault. I ended up grabbing the wheel of a team/club of five when I was in the middle of nowhere right after pulling out of Lakeville and rode with them to share shelter the rest of the ride. We kept quite a pace and they eventually dropped one of their own. Toward the end we were two groups of two. They were very cool guys, and they invited me to check out their training rides next week. None of us had any equipment problems.

According to my altimeter, there was a total of half mile of climbing involved- which is nothing to the mtn state people, but those climbs into the wind... I mention that more for humor- this is Minnesota after all.

Dressing was the big dilemma- but the weather only improved as the day progressed. I should have stayed better hydrated- it was cool enough that I really didn't feel like I was sweating all that much, plus the wind, and I started cramping up briefly about 75 miles in.

Overall, I have no regrets. It was very well organized and safe, and it was interesting enough to appeal to riders of all levels with their three routes.

I still can't figure out why it is called an Ironman... it sounds so dramatic!

Thanks for the pics, Scot! Best of luck on your brevet! Are you riding completely solo? (Hey, I'm NOT offering, if that is what you are thinking.... ;)
Just me and my shadow on the Brevet.Scot_Gore
Apr 27, 2003 6:53 PM
But the little I understand of these things, that's somewhat the point. Long distances, unsupported, under your own power, by the time limit.

I'm sure I'll meet others on route.

It'll be fun.

re: 37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride ReportMootsMN
Apr 28, 2003 7:52 AM
We did the 68-mile ride as well. The wind was indeed a challenge, especially for the first 24-mile stage, and my 16lb VaMoots often felt like pulling tractor. At times the gusts were so stong that I had to lean in the opposite direction to keep from blowing into the rider next to me. I also overdressed and stripped down to my bibs and base layer by the third stage. The weather was certainly better than years past and the Ironman remains a great way to start off the touring season in Minnesota.
re: 37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride ReportPMC
Apr 28, 2003 9:47 AM
Great ride post as usual Scot.

I had planned to ride the 68 mile route with my wife but she had a momentary lapse around mile 14 and crashed out. The medical personal and support crews were really on top of things and from what she said everyone who helped out was very friendly. Other than a bruised hip and ego, she'll live to ride another Ironman. I continued on solo after I was sure she'd be ok and really enjoyed the ride. I haven't ridden much in that part of MN so it was a nice change of scenery. I was a bit worried about dressing for the weather but the temperature was perfect for a wool jersey and arm warmers.

It sounds as if most participants really enjoyed the ride despite the high winds.
re: 37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride Reportsixbillionethans
Apr 30, 2003 5:02 PM
This Ironman was my first Century. Although the wind was brutal (and it was), it was also a great motivator since there was that moment when I was 65 miles into my ride and me and the two guys I hooked up with were cruising at 34 mph, actually passing a trail along side us, with no slow down in sight. It was great.

That last 15 miles was horrible, though. It kinda sucked to be 90 miles into a ride and have two choppers doing the 30 mile ride on a tandem drafting me.
re: 37th AYH Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride – A Ride Reportaliensporebomb
May 1, 2003 2:54 AM
Definetely a great report - I wasn't aware the ride was going
on until after it was over and done. Geez. I'm at about 367
miles for the season so I could have done it now that I think
about it. I was actually mountain biking that afternoon with
two guys who were on a testosterone fueled "who can get them-
selves hurt first" contest it seemed - I was sore for two days
afterwards. Then on day one I gave blood so I'll have to look
at this weekend for starting to ride again. Family stuff
tonight. Looks like it was a great ride that's for sure.