Hurry up, Race the Lake 2014 nears! Get that training in, get registered, find partners to ride with. Alas, yours truly will not be racing the lake this summer as I am obliged to be out of town that weekend.
Race the Lake — Last Year
Last year I joined the event signing up as a solo ride about this time last year. I had determined I had the training and ability to take the challenge on. I found it to be a great event and a complete and clueless rookie like myself was able to find out what I needed to do and where and when I needed to be.
Race the Lake — The RouteThe RTL route is the longest single ride I have ever taken, but beyond the length of the ride I did not find the route challenging.
The first half of the route from Fond du Lac to High Cliff State Park is flat, and there is nothing resembling a climb on that part of the course. In fact, it may be tempting to push hard through that first half at the expense of your performance on the second half of the course.
As you enter into High Cliff State Park (the half-way point) the event has a major rest stop there. Stop to get good (real food, fruit, sandwiches, water, sports drinks, chews, gels, etc) food and take care of any other needs you may have. Then the challenge begins with the climb up the High Cliff State Park Climb. This climb has a reputation of being a nasty climb and for our area it is a challenging climb, but it certainly is a far cry from the reputation it has. Strava does not assign a climb category to that hill, if you have been earnestly training, you will be set for it.
Your climbing is not done once you exit High Cliff State Park and now the route has regular climbing to do and in fact once you get away from the park it is essentially a long climb to a about five to six miles to the end of the ride. Again, nothing major but if you thought it would be like the first half or you have burned your legs out speeding through that first half you are in for a surprise. The climbs tend to be long but of modest grade and there are some good descents to be had.
Race the Lake — Rider Support
I found the support for this event to be good. The pre-race day instructions and packet pickup were smooth and clear. Race day instructions and communication to the cyclists was also abundant and clear. I had no problem going from no idea to a knowing cyclist, I was able to locate the things I needed to locate (parking, the event, the mark-up station, the start, my wave, etc).
Food and drink once the race got going was good and in sufficient quantity. I was able to keep hydrated throughout the race and I did not have to dip into the supply of Honey Stingers I brought along, with real food being offered along with the sports gels.
Traffic control was brilliant, I never got worried about cars rolling through and taking me out. We did have cars on the roads but the right of way at intersections belonged to us cyclists.
Had I required support I am fairly certain I would have had that as I did see official vehicles on a regular basis.
Race the Lake — The Trains
Some of the cyclists were stopped by trains. However, the event organizers and the railroad companies are going to make sure that does not happen this year. One fellow I know had plans to be push up and overtake Wave 1 riders and was foiled by the trains and another fellow in the wave ahead of me, also had a train stoppage.
Race the Lake — Post Ride
I did not find the post ride very compelling, think it would it behoove event organizers to setup events and attractions for those with us who are not riding the event and make it more of a party atmosphere.
Race the Lake — Final Word
I am sad I will miss Race the Lake this summer but now I have a bike worthy of the event I look forward to next year and train more aggressively. I found the event well run and enjoyable. I enjoyed the feeling of being around the friendly competitiveness.
Race the Lake — What are Your Thoughts?
Have you participated in Race the Lake, if so, how did you find your experience?