So, the ride organizers have multiple routes available for cyclists to choose from: a 5-mile family ride, a 12 mile route, a 25-mi with two options at the start - over the Hoan Bridge or through the Third Ward, and both a 50 and 75 mile route which also go over the Hoan. The Hoan is part of I-794 along the lakefront in Milwaukee. Last year was the first year, as getting approval to send cyclists over it was tied up in bureaucratic rules and safety concerns.
This was my third year doing this ride. In 2010, I rode a 65-mi route (that has since been discontinued) and last year, I rode the 50-miler. This year, I registered for the 75 mile route. My goal was to finish the route in under 4 hours 30 minutes of ride time (ave 16.7 mph). I figured a couple stops along the way would add another 30 minutes, max. There is a stop at Concordia in Mequon (where Ryan goes to college) at the 25 and the 50 mi marks. And Ryan was in town to help his girlfriend get moved out of the dorms.
After waking up at 4:00 and being on the road by 5:15, I arrived at the Summerfest grounds, where the ride starts, at about 6:40. This gave me 20 minutes to get ready and get to the start line. Plenty of time. After the National Anthem, beautifully sung by one of the many artists supported by UPAF, we rolled out at 7:00.
|Ready to Roll!|
|Heading back north on the Hoan as riders come from the Summerfest grounds.|
|Looking over at Lake Michigan from on top of the Hoan.|
We arrived at Concordia - the 25 mile mark - at 8:20. I arranged to meet with Ryan and Karli there, so I broke off from the group. Jeff stopped too, but he got back on the road a couple minutes before I did. It was great seeing the kids. Karli had recently graduated and I didn't make it to the ceremony (Olivia had a dance contest), so I got to say "Congrats!"
After 12 minutes, I took off to head north. I rode solo for the next third of the ride. After a pretty flat first third of the ride, it got a little hilly near Port Wash.
|Riding on the Bike path in Port Wash on a beautiful June morning.|
|The Ozaukee Interurban Trail Bridge over I-43 near Grafton.|
|At this point in the ride, it was a little fuzzy. But if I just focused on the goal ahead....|
We passed a lot of riders on that last leg. Most were semi-casual riders doing the 50 mile route (to Concordia and back). A few riders passed me. But not many. I was really happy with how I rode - how fast, how long, and how hard. It was a great ride!
As for my goal: I finished at 3:46:02, with an average speed of 18.6 mph. I finished 44 minutes under my goal and averaged almost 2 mph faster! And, instead of two rests totaling 30 minutes, I only stopped once for 12, when I met up with Ryan and Karli. Oh, it does turn out that the route is only 70.15 miles.
|#BOMBSAUCE ride! Thrilled with that effort.|
At the finish line, we were greeted by a woman on stilts giving "high" fives (well, she was giving low fives, the riders were giving high fives).
|CONGRATULATIONS! YOU DID IT!|
I can't say enough about this ride. Great event, worthy cause, lots of fun. Mark your calendars - first Sunday in June, 2013. Why don't you join me?
UPDATE: Photos from the official UPAF Ride photographer, Red Hammer Photography, are on-line. Go check out their facebook page for the link to all the pics!
With permission, here are three images of me on the Hoan:
|That's me on the left, in the black and yellow Team LIVESTRONG jersey.|
|Of course, I HAD to talk to this guy. He's ridden RAGBRAI 19 times and will be there in July. Maybe I'll see him again.|
|Coming back north on the Hoan. The start of a beautiful ride.|