'Beating' the Ironman

Ironman Maine participants speed down a hill near my house in Hallowell.

I found myself racing against a race the other day. I wanted to get a bike ride in, but the Ironman Maine 70.3 triathlon was taking place in the capital area. So there were restrictions as to where one could go. And there was going to be plenty of traffic.

My solution? Get up early and, literally, beat the rush ... and the race.

When I left the house at 5:45 a.m., volunteers were already at their posts — mostly at key intersections — as the biking portion of the triathlon utilized many of the same roads I pedal on day after day. Imagine that, using my regular route without seeking my permission. How dare the race organizers!

As it turns out, the Ironman Maine was quite the big deal, and kudos to Augusta for seizing the opportunity to host such a popular event. It acted as a dual qualifier for participants, offering slots to both the Intermountain Healthcare Ironman 70.3 World Championship and to the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland.

Anyway, I managed to accomplish my 26-mile spin, with a few alterations to my course. Coming back through, on my way to Hallowell, the same volunteers — whom I'd seen earlier — were attentive as I approached them. Kind of wondering if I was one of the competing athletes ... and getting prepared to point the way. It felt like I was leading the race. And they were probably thinking I must have cheated to get so far ahead of the others.

After my ride, I grabbed a cup of tea and headed down the road near my house to watch the "real" amazing competitors. It left me inspired — and also reminded me — to register for Maine Senior Games, which take place on September 18 in Brunswick. I will be participating in the 20-kilometer (12.4 miles) cycling road race, bracketed in the 70-74 age group. But contending against all the age levels.

I actually entered the Games in 2021, but was unable to go because of my big crash in the Northwoods Gravel Grind the week before. So I'm looking forward to it.

My Michigan

I'm still reflecting on bicycling in Michigan, so I'll offer my thoughts in the next blog posting.

That being said, my return from the Upper Peninsula — as I've said before, it's truly God's country — seemed to produce a collective sigh of relief at Mathieu's Cycle. "Thank God you're back" is what I heard over and over again — mainly for two reasons. For one thing, I don't think my colleagues enjoy cleaning bikes like I do, and, secondly, there is true efficiency when one person concentrates on those duties, thus freeing up the mechanics to just deal with getting the two-wheeled machines riding smoothly.

It's nice to be missed. Stay safe!

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