IRONMAN Wisconsin Bike Loop Training

This last Saturday we drove up to Madison so we could ride the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike loop on Monday and get a little bit of training in on the course.  While in the car, I made the following tweet:

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 11.47.59 AM

This would turn out to be one of the best decisions!!  Why?!?!?!  One of my social media friends responded with, “Nice!!! When are you riding the course? I’d love to join you!? Have a great visit!”

How PERFECT!!  Monday morning, the Iron Hippie and I rode our bikes the short 5 miles to “Fireman’s Park” in Verona and met up with Kathy where we would ride the first loop with her and the second loop on our own.

What did the ride look like???  BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

On top of the world as we left Mt. Horab.
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horeb…looking right
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horab.
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horeb…looking left
Ribbon Road...one of my FAVORITES on this course!!
Ribbon Road…one of my FAVORITE roads on this course!!
Getting ready to descend down into the valley :)
Getting ready to descend down into the valley 🙂
Looking down Old Sauk...I love climbing hills when you can't see the top :)
At the top of Bitch #1…Looking down Old Sauk Pass…I love climbing hills when you can’t see the top 🙂
Cell Tower Hill looks soooooo desolate without all of the spectators lining both sides of the climb!!
Climbing Bitch #2…Timber Lane…Cell Tower Hill looks soooooo desolate without all of the spectators lining both sides of the climb!!
Anyone up for a drink?!?!?!  Too bad the water isn't hooked up to this drinking fountain randomly placed out in the country on the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course.
Anyone up for a drink?!?!?! Too bad the water isn’t hooked up to this drinking fountain randomly placed out in the country on the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course.
Looking down Bitch #3...Midtown Hill...this picture does not do this climb any justice!!  It is definitely harder than it looks ;)
At the top of Bitch #3…Looking down Midtown Hill…this picture does not do this climb any justice!! It is definitely harder than it looks 😉
Looking back at Mt. Horab from the top of Midtown climb...You can barely see the water tower out on the horizon.
Looking back at Mt. Horeb from the top of Midtown climb…You can barely see the water tower out on the horizon.  We’ve ridden quite a few miles since we left Mt. Horeb 🙂
Kathy and I after the first loop...It is GREAT to meet new friends ;)
Kathy and me after the first loop…It is GREAT to meet new friends 😉
Kathy and me after the first loop.
Kathy and me after the first loop.
IMG_3754
Kathy, the Iron Hippie and me after the first loop 🙂
Just a few bike stats for our double loop
Just a few bike stats for our double loop

While this wasn’t a fast ride (I did forget to pause my Garmin a couple of times when we stopped), we were out to climb the hills and soak in the rural Wisconsin scenery.  I think we accomplished the hill climbing component quite well…4898 feet of climbing 😉

Do you enjoy climbing hills while riding your bike?  Would ~5000 feet of climbing make you nervous or excited?  Why?

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33 thoughts on “IRONMAN Wisconsin Bike Loop Training

  1. Love the pictures, makes me want to ride it again! Bummer the water fountain didn’t work. It would be extra awesome if it did! My garmin was way off? It only said 1700′ of climbing… ummm no.. Last time it read about 2700′.. so I am glad you got something else more realistic! Great meeting you!

    1. Thanks Kathy…me too 🙂 I can’t wait until July…we will be coming up Thursday, July 24 and most likely riding the whole 112 miles on Friday starting from the Terrace (weather permitting). I would love to have that fountain turned on!! Ironman advertises the full 112 miles as 2890 feet of climbing, but we have emailed them to see if their elevation gain is off. It was great to meet you also and hopefully you’ll be available to ride some or all of the course with us in July 😉

  2. So much fun!!!!! The views look great!! I do like climbing on my bike. I really like rollers really. Those are fun! 5000 isn’t too bad. That is about perfect for 112 miles! Ironman advertises all of there courses falsely! They advertised IMC Last year as 4000 ft. It was a different story after the race was done. It still advertises at about 6000 and its more like 66-6800!! What do you really think IMW is?

    1. I don’t know why Ironman falsely advertises their races…I think the full 112 is probably closer to 6000 feet. I’ll be going back up in late July to ride the full 112 and have a better idea then, but 6000 is a rough estimate since I know there are a few climbs on the stem.

  3. I LOVE climbing… Only one climb I’ve ever run into has stumped me… More than 700 feet in one mile. It’s a brute but we’re heading down to Georgia to try it again in a month and a half. Last year I made it one mile of the 1-1/4 (1/4 is flat-ish)… The thing is a brute! That said, I dig the climbing.

    1. I remember your post from last year about that hill. I can’t wait to read all about it this year. The last 1/4 mile is all mental…start the mental training now 😉

      1. Nope, not mental. That one’s physical. Tried the mental thing. I’m in much better shape this year so it’s going to be interesting.

      2. I believe the physical aspect of that one. The photos definitely show a nice grade 😉 You should watch this video…it will give you a similar perspective on climbing (38% grade). I’m not sure where his helmet is though 🙂

      3. That’s what makes that one so brutal, the distance. It doesn’t get over 25% but at that grade even the pros only hit that for 300-400 meters at a time. Still, 38% is straight up mad! I can’t even imagine that!

  4. Awesome you guys already rode some of the course, and even better to do it with a new friend! I still have nightmares about a couple of hills on the old IM Canada/now Challenge Penticton course!

    1. Thanks Abby!! It was fun and a good reminder of the amount of work I have yet to do before September 😉 Sorry to hear of your nightmare climbs…I may have to look into that race just to experience your torture!

  5. That’s so great that you were able to ride the course – it looks like a great ride!
    I actually like climbing since it’s the only time I might pass people on the bike, but I have gone on a few rides where I just wanted a climb to stop or I wanted to get off the bike, which would have taken way more coordination than I have!

    1. It is a great ride Kristina!! I too have been on a climb or two where I have wondered when it was going to end and wanted it to stop, but those are the hills that have made me a stronger cyclist 😉

  6. Holy cow that’s a lot of climbing! So jealous you can ride the course before your IM… I wish I could! Honestly, hills frustrate me. I am really strong, but hills always get the best of me… No matter how much I work at them! It’s funny because with running, I am stellar at running uphill and enjoy it… Not so much with biking, prefer a flat road:)

    1. It is a lot of climbing Kristin and that wasn’t even the full course 😉 Thankfully I am not opposed to climbing hills…yes they require some serious work to get to the top of each one, but the descent is SO much fun!! LOVE me a good, fast descent!! The flat open road means you’re on your pedals the whole time…I like to have the hills to break that up and coast a bit now and then 😉

  7. The course looks very green and challenging. How were the road conditions – pretty smooth or a little rough. I couldn’t decide by looking at your pictures. That is so cool that you met up with a blogger friend. At some point I would love to meet a lot of the people I have met through blogging.

    We have a lot of hills around Central Oregon, so I’m not too intimidated by them. I am more frustrated by the wind than I am hills. If there was a course with 5000+ elevation gain I would be sure to train for it and do A LOT of hill climbing in training. Looks like you are ready!

    1. There is only one stretch of road (~2 miles done twice) that really needs to be resurfaced, but I remember the same stretch needing repair in 2011, so they haven’t fixed it 😦

      It was a lot of fun to meet Kathy and I would love to meet more of my blogger friends in the future!!

      While I don’t have a lot of hill training here in central Iowa, we do get a LOT of winds, so we get plenty of training going into the headwinds…sometimes more than we all would like 😉

      I still have a few months, so I’ll be ready for the bike for sure come race day…now if I can just get back to higher mileage on the run (patience is not one of my strong suits when it comes to endurance sport).

  8. How fun that you and Kathy met and biked together! Hope to meet you both at IMWI! Can’t wait to get to Madison to ride these hills – and, even more excited for race day! 🙂

    1. It was a lot of fun to meet Kathy!! If you can change your 70.3 race, the Iron Hippie and I will be in Madison training July 24-27…it would be awesome to have you join us 🙂

  9. Holy moly that’s A LOT of climbing!! What a beautiful course.. those hills and the country side, I love it! I like hills, but I am intimidated by them. I get easily discouraged during a race with lots of hills… but I’m getting better at it! So great that you can practice the course, I am jealous!

    1. It is nice to be only 4 hours away, so we can go up and ride the course a few times. I remember being completely intimidated by everything when I first started riding my bike…headwind, hills, faster riders, fixing a flat, putting my dropped chain back on…you name it, I was intimidated. Little by little I have overcome all of those named and am looking forward to racing IMWI again this year 🙂

  10. I will be able to stay in Verona for 4-5 days after I complete IM Muncie 70.3. Plan on riding the loop a lot, hill repeats on the 3 bitches and Mt Horab, do part of the stick a few times (at least the hilly part), and run the run loop once. Hope to jump in the lake too. I am from the Twin Cities, Madison is in driving distance, but I can’t drive out, bike and drive back on the same day (well, I could, but it would be a short bike and a long day), so this will be my only chance to experience the bike course pre-race and I intend to make the most of it. I am hoping that I can handle the hills. I finished IM Muskoka 70.3 a year ago and my Garmin registered over 4000 foot elevation gain, so I think that Madison is doable. I will find out in a few short weeks! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. That sounds like a great training chunk Raymond!! You’ll definitely be able to rock the IMWI course!! If I was able to finish IMWI in 2011, you’ll have no problem with the course 🙂 Have fun and soak it all in!! We will go up again at the end of July for a few days (it is a 4 hour drive for us, so I understand not being able to go train for the day)!!

      1. I will get 4 1/2 days so I should be very familiar with the course for race day. Congrats on finishing in 2011. You must be a glutton for punishment doing it again. I am pretty certain this will be my first one only full IM experience. I have already decided to stick with sprints (maybe an Olympic) next year and I may return to 70.3 the following year. But I am certain that I will never ever do another century ride after Sept 7th!

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