I picked up
Ralph, I mean Ansley, from her house at 4:30 in the morning. Ansley acquired the nickname “Ralph” for the day because she’s been sick… and well, Ralph was fitting.
Ralph Ansley and I took off towards Stone Mountain to meet up with Dave with Decatur Bikes, Yoda, Charlie (who just signed up for IM Coeur d’Alene too), SBM friends Heather, Kimberly and Elizabeth… and others to ride the Ironman Augusta 70.3 course… the race is less than 5 weeks away.
Dave was our fearless leader.
We met up at the Turner Hill Road gas station and headed to Augusta. We were riding four deep in the SBM Honda Pilot, three bikes on the rack (Andy, Louis and Charlie’s bike), and Annie (Yoda’s bike) was in the backseat.
Ralph Ansley was feeling a little icky the whole ride to Augusta. But that didn’t stop me from talking and talking and talking… We all mostly ingested Yoda’s wisdom about Augusta. [Charlie was quiet… but I did not learn until the way home that Charlie is Christopher Columbus and apparently, way too smart to ride in my car.]
We arrived at the Augusta Riverfront area around 8:00 and Dave showed us where transition would be set up, run in/out, swim out, and more.
I cannot wait to see how they transition that area into transition.
We all got ready to roll.
And we pushed off at 8:30.
To quote Coach Monster, “it was a beautiful day to be on the bike!” The weather was just a little warm, though I knew we’d be feeling the heat in a few hours.
We took off, away from the Riverfront, with Dave leading the way. The first sixteen miles of the course was pretty much flat, give or take some minor rollers.
Ralph Ansley was still not feeling well – she, Yoda and I had slowed to about a 10 MPH pace around Mile 15. Finally, the three of us stopped on the side of the road. Ralph Ansley assured us that she was okay riding 15 miles back to the car to rest….
So, Yoda and I headed back out.
Dave had circled back to find us. The hills met Dave, Yoda and me around Mile Seventeen.
Right around Mile 17, there was a slow, steady climber for about two miles. Nothing too extreme (my heartrate never went over 163 on this entire ride… miracle!), but it was still a good challenging climb for tired legs. We experienced two more 50-100 feet climbs before we met up with the others around Mile 26 at a gas station.
I ran in and grabbed some peanut butter M&Ms. Most of the group left at this point, except Charlie, Yoda, Kimberly and Elizabeth. The five of us pushed off.
I remember three distinct climbs on the second half. One was a very long and steady climb of about 150 feet and then a second, which was similar in difficulty, but longer in length… it was about 220 feet. I looked over at Yoda and said… “Have we been climbing for like 10 miles??” Maybe not ten, but I do think it was about 3-4 miles long.
Finally, there was a hill towards the end that required dropping down into the small front ring. But the ride finished nice and flat and fast, with 1309 feet of total elevation gain and loss.
By the way… much of the ride is on very rough, bumpy and “holely” pavement.
Total time for 56 miles: 3:33:00 –which included a very slow first 15 miles and a stop. I was thrilled. My bike time for Miami was 3:23:23…. so theoretically, I think I can expect at least as good as that time on race day, and possibly faster. Fingers crossed.
I am thrilled that I have spent some time training in the hills – with most of our weekend rides sporting 2500-3000 feet of elevation gain – it made the Augusta dragon not seem so big.
Looking forward to seeing many of you on the course!
After the ride,
Ralph Ansley, Charlie and Yoda and I hit Five Guys for burgers and fries. Christopher Columbus (Charlie) navigated us to a Five Guys that was in south Florida… but by the time we got there, it was delicious and much fun.
Then we drove a very laughable couple of hours home. Not much happened on the way home, except the three of them making complete fun of me… and my inability to know which way North, South, East and West is…
I drove them around for 5 hours and all I got was complete mockery. 🙂