Today’s DIY Freedom Tri was the most fun I’ve had over the last four years we’ve been doing this event! Not lacking in surprises, the morning started with me locking my keys in the car at Lost Grove Lake. Fortunately I was already wearing my wetsuit and thanks to the kindness of buddies–Heidi had an extra swim cap, Michael spare goggles and Erin, vital ear plugs (I’d end up in the E.R. without ’em)–we were able to start what would be a .9 mile swim.

swim

While this went down, Marty brought a spare key and treated the seven of us to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” as we exited the water! Unfortunately Lisa and Cathy had to bail after the swim so the bike was down to Bonnie, Heidi, Erin and I doing the century and Michael doing 50, blowing the doors off our quartet of female badassery. Our century was a loop north out of Scott County, west along the southern portion of Clinton County, south back into Scott County and east along LeClaire Road back to Lost Grove Lake.

The first 30 miles were fairly uneventful, but Marty rode out to meet us east of Charlotte, snapping the first of many group shots.

charvegas

After leaving “CharVegas” and waving at my house, we pit stopped in Delmar where Erin met half a dog!

half dog

caseys

Eventually Marty left us at Elwood where we continued onto Lost Nation.

Despite the “Lost” Grove Lake and “Lost” Nation, we were pretty solid with our map skills (compared to last year, eh hem). Some people wondered why we were starting the swim at 5:30 am and much of the reasoning rested in the fact we were cycling 100 miles. As we moved westward toward Lost Nation, it was clear the west/southwest wind was picking up and getting stronger. And headwinds SUCK!

tri stop

After regrouping in Lost Nation, we headed south and west toward Toronto where I started to feel so damn grateful for my health. To be out in the middle of cornfields, pedaling my ass off, chafing because I forgot my chamois butter, sweat dripping down, I remembered how lucky I am. Not just to have the strength to do it and to have beautiful open roads, but that all four of us are doing Ironman Wisconsin in September. None of us are bent on competing with each other. We’re just in it together, excited for the experience.

road selfie

open road

Somewhere north of Wheatland, however, my gratitude flagged due to the buckshot of gross, hard, large flying beetles swarming in slow flight everywhere! But it was also time for sugary sustenance (ice cold Mountain Dew) so after a brief stop in Wheatland it was on to Dixon where Erin had to document our visit due to one of her two fur babies sharing the same name.

dixon welcome

dixon batter

One of the best things about Dixon, aside from Erin getting to set up in the batter’s box was the direction we were headed: south east! Finally the sweet reward of a tailwind that would carry us past Jeff and Cirt’s giant cob and eventually LeClaire Road via a final Mountain Dew stop in Donahue.

corn cob

Given the straight shot through Eldridge to Well’s Fargo/240th and back to Lost Grove Lake, Bonnie told Erin, Heidi and I to “give it hell” during the last miles to see what our legs could do. And give it hell we did! The three of us worked a short pace line that resulted in a Strava “Queen of the Mountain” along one of the segments of LeClaire Road! And Heidi achieved her first CENTURY!!!!

heidi hill bike

But the day’s challenge wasn’t complete–we had a run to knock out. Initially it was to be a 10k, but admittedly we jacked around enough during the bike that we just wanted to be done so we simply ran to the first water stop and turned around. It was a perfect 5k.

run

 

5k finish

What a day! It was hard, but not impossible. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable. Hot, but not awful. Joyful and totally badass!

Final shot

Last week someone questioned if we’d have medals. No. But Bonnie’s search of heavy metal for an eventual work of art was definitely the best metal of all!!!

Heavy metal

Much like Superman, we were all a little beat up, but still had our capes. HELL YEAH!

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