Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Frak Wisconsin's hills

There are many verbal Pavlovian responses in the english language. For example, if I say "knock knock", you say _________. If I say "Conjunction Junction", you say _________. If I say "Wonder Twin powers", you say _________. (And if you youngens' don't know what to say, why don't you just go Goodle it on the Intarwebs and stay off my lawn!)

I've discovered a new reflex response: when I say "I'm doing Ironman Wisconsin", people say "oh... those hills are bad." I don't like this response. When I told people "I'm doing Coeur d'Alene", they'd say "oh, that's a beautiful course" or "wow, you're going to love it." I'm just tired of hearing about the Wisconsin hills.

Yes, Wisconsin has rolling hills with twice as much climbing as Coeur d'Alene (but only 1/2 the altitude gain.) I get it. That's why we train hills. You might as well tell me "you're doing Wisconsin? That's a long bike ride." Yes. We know.

And here's the other thing: as far as Ironman courses go, WISCONSIN ISN'T HILLY! I'm sorry, but it isn't. Lake Placid has hills. Canada has hills. Lanzarote has... I don't even want to THINK about what they have there. I want to be perfectly clear that I am in no way disrespecting the course or underestimating it. I understand that the bike will be more difficult than Coeur d'Alene, and I will train accordingly. I just don't understand this compulsion people have to mention the Wisconsin hills, when they don't do it for other races which are clearly far more difficult.

So if you run into me and I tell you I'm doing Ironman Wisconsin, you don't need to tell me about the hills. I've heard about them. You can warn me about the bad weather (yeah, I know already) or the choppy swim (yeah, I know already) or maybe you can just say "you're gonna have a great time!" and leave it at that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wisconsin is a fantastic race...

1. with 2000+ athletes in the water at the same time, isn't every IM swim choppy?
2. the Wisconsin bike course is hard but also has a lot to offer -- green pastures, lots of trees, tons of spectators
3. the run takes you through campus... which has a fun vibe, and you run along a street similar to 3rd street in Santa Monica -- yes, everyone is eating and drinking, but they're still cheering for you
4. and finally... what other race has T1 and T2 INSIDE a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright?

You're going to have a great time!

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just gonna warn you about the Poutine (never had it but heard about it on NPR & it sounds wonderful & deadly).

Poutine is french fries topped with cheese curds topped with gravy...

That thar's some good carbo loadin'

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's There?
What's your function.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...someone has a case of the IM training grumpies! I hope no one steps on your lawn!!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Paulie said...

I was reading the latest issue of Runner's World and noticed an interview with your nemesis on the last page. He seems to give away all his training secrets so I thought you might want to get on that.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't understand the difference between hitting 50 hills vs 3-5 long ones during the course of a Ironman. Even though elevation is much more in other IM's the pacing is much more easy to figure out. That is your challenge for Wisconsin. It will be difficult to pace correctly because you will constantly have to change.

If you don't know what I am talking about then we have a problem.

Didn't see you Tuesday. Time to step it up on the bike amigo!!!

From Coccyx!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Wedgie said...

You don't understand my post. I ABSOLUTELY understand the difficulty of rolling hills. I ABSOLUTELY understand that Wisconsin will be much more difficult than Coeur d'Alene. That's not my point.

My point is that if you tell someone you're doing Lake Placid, there's a good chance they'll respond "oh, what a beautiful course!" even though the Lake Placid hills are brutal (so I'm told.) But some reason, people are always compelled to immediately mention the Wisconsin hills. That's the first thing they bring up. LATER, they might mention the spectator support, or that it's a great course but it's always the hills first, as if I was hearing about the hills for the first time. Every time.

My issue has nothing to do with the course itself.

6:57 PM  

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