WIBA Report

>> Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, Pharmie and I made it back from our weekend in WI where were a part of the Wisconsin Ironman Brick Adventure (or WIBA). We had a blast, met some GREAT people, got in a good workout, and got to swim, bike, and run on the IM WI course. We learned A LOT! This post will get a little long, but it’s filled with some good stuff. I promise.

Our WIBA weekend started on Friday night, where we all had a meal at a great little Italian place in Downtown Madison. Wil, who planned this massive event, thought we could have 30 people out there. There were over 60 that showed up!!

We had a good meal and got to catch up with some friends we met at WIBA last year (last year we could all sit at 1 table!). We talked with Wil, Robby B, Stu, Thomps, a handful of new triathletes, and then Phamie and I were off to our hotel room. Just to make this known, last year we were both at WIBA, but I did not ride. I was not training for an IM then, so during their ride, I walked to Arbys from our hotel and had fries. This year was much more “educational.”

Saturday morning, we were up at the butt crack of dawn to head to Lake Monona for a swim. We got there, and Wil was talking to a member of some ski team, trying to tell him that we had gotten permission to swim up and down the shore, and that we didn’t want to die via boat-to-the-skull.

Wil’s in the red cap in the middle

The boat stayed out, but they were considerate of where we were all swimming.

I slipped into my wetsuit for only the second time, and it was the first time that it was going to hit water. It feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!

(In case you didn’t pick up on it, my pose in that photo and that last line about wearing “nothing at all” was a Simpson’s rip-off. Here’s the original clip. It’s great.)

I can’t figure out what that arrow on my wetsuit
is supposed to be pointing at...

Pharmie, Wil, and I hopped in the water after most everyone else had started. The swim started VERY POORLY for me. It was my first open water swim in about 11 months, and I did the “hit the water and freak out” thing. It was horrible for the first 5 minutes. I would throw out 4 strokes, and then suck in some water. I was not comfortable at all, and I was just trying not to die.

But then, I let out a HUGE belch, calmed myself down, and from there I was GREAT. Apparently I wasn’t freaked out, I was just gassy! The last 20 minutes of our 30 minute swim was super. I fell into my pool-swimming routine, and felt very comfortable out there. I need to hit the open water MUCH more, but that swim was still a nice confidence booster. I was able to exit the water right where we will for IM - it was great to run through the paces 2 months ahead of time.

After the swim. You can see the boat that was
trying to kill us in the background.

After that, we got changed and hit the bike. There were nearly 70 people ready to ride with WIBA, and there were COUNTLESS others out there riding the course. I wanted to be doing one of 2 things at any given moment on the ride: I either wanted to be riding with fun tri-people and chatting OR I wanted to be riding by myself and taking in the course. There were 3 groups going out: One that was going to just ride the loop twice; one that was going to start at the Terrace, ride out to the loop, ride the loop ONCE, and ride back; and one that was going to ride the full 112 mile course (start at the Terrace, ride out to the loop, ride the loop TWICE, and ride back). Pharmie and I were going to do the out and back with one loop so we could see the entire course - that ride would be about 72 miles. The ride started well. We rode with Thomps and Matt.

Blogger friends: (from the left)
Me, Pharmie, Bubba, Al, Marty, Triteacher

That’s Pharmie in the foreground, working up
a hill after some great rollers

Pharmie was lagging a little from the start. She wasn’t having a great day. She kept telling me to go on without her. We stopped for her a few times so she could catch up. I wished I was going a little faster, so finally around mile 30, I took off in front of her. There was a group in front of us and a group behind us. I tried to catch up to the group that was ahead. But I was too far back, and I couldn’t see them. That’s when I missed my turn. But I didn’t know it then.

I went down a fast hill, kept going for a while, and came to a T. I had to go left or right, but I couldn’t see anyone in either direction. So I waited. And waited. It felt like forever, and no one was coming behind me. Pharmie had the map. I had nothing. Shit. I was lost in the middle of WI.

After 7 minutes, I turned around and tried to figure out where I went wrong. After backtracking a bit, I saw 2 bikers in the distance that were heading towards me. They were turning around as well, so I sprinted to catch up to them. It was Wil and Al. I was SO HAPPY to see them! It turns out that Wil missed the turn as well and Al was just behind her. Al followed her down the hill to tell her that she missed the turn. And then they found me and I had someone to show me the way. Fabulous! As we were all headed back up that bitch of a hill, Wil said it was our “Ironman extra credit,” and she was right. That hill was steeper than any of “The 3 Ironman Hills,” and it made those upcoming hills feel like nothing.

The 3 of us met up with Jennifer and Sherry, and the 5 of us rode the majority of the rest of the course together. Sherry’s husband, Howard, was with us the whole time on his motorcycle, and he was a great help! We went slower than I really wanted, but it was just great to be with other WIBA folks! I was just so nervous that Pharmie would be freaking out at the end of the ride because I wasn’t there. As far as she knew, I was ahead of her waiting for her at the end. But because of that “extra credit,” I was behind her, and she didn’t know it. I was nervous for her the rest of my ride.

I had a minor victory out there: I was able to tackle The 3 Ironman Hills in my saddle the whole time. I only needed to stand on that “extra credit” hill where I missed my turn. That made me feel pretty good about the course.

The 4 others contemplating the ride up middle of “The 3 Hills”

Wil and I had a nice chat out on the 3 IM hills that were out there. She commented that she’d be out on the course for one more lap and she’d be seeing these hills again. I snickered a little and told her “Just remember: when you hit the base of this 3rd and final hill next time, know that Pharmie and I will be in our 65 degree hotel room, in our bed, having sex. Think of THAT when you’re climbing this bad boy next time.” She laughed and said “I’m SO glad you guys came out this year!” She told me that about 5 times that day, and it was always after I said something dirty that made her laugh.

When we had about 25 miles left, I was getting ready to stop and place my right foot on the ground. Somehow, I nailed the inside of my right ankle on my pedal. I knew it was a good deep wound right away. Here it is about 5 miles later:

Last year at WIBA, Stu would sing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood...” Wil asked if we could sing. Al and I started to have an annoying song contest. We sang songs that get stuck in our heads during workouts:

Al: “Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches.
Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches.”

Me: “When the sun shines we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Something something something something stick it out 'till the end...”

Al: “Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches.
Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches.”

Me: “You can stand under my Umbrella
Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)”

Al: Ooh, that gets this in my head: “S.O.S. please someone help me.
It's not healthy, for me to feel this way...”

Al again: Have you heard of “Six Pence None The Richer?” Let’s sing “Kiss Me!”

We didn’t. But we had a good time anyway. When the 5 of us were about 15 miles from the end of our ride, we stopped at a gas station for our final stop. Al and I decided to eat something inappropriate during a IM bike ride. So I had a Slushie and a glazed donut, and Al had a Slushie and a brat:

Perfect tri-fuel!

To make a long story a little shorter, I finished my ride (which was about 74 miles due to me getting lost), Pharmie and I met up, and we did a quick 2 mile run-off just to see how it would feel. Our legs were heavy, but it was no problem. Here’s how my ankle looked at the end of the day:

After the ride and a quick run-off, Phamie and I showered up. I cleaned out my ankle wound (OUCH!) and had Pharmie take a look at it again. She said I probably should’ve had stitches, but it was too late for that. The skin flap that was hanging there was already curling and drying up at the edges. It was so gross and nasty that I had to just cut it off. But it was so big that there were a lot of nerves in there when I was cutting it off. So that was NOT easy (OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!). I hacked off the flap with a little scissors and flushed it unceremoniously down the toilet.

I also noticed that I had a nasty sunburn on the outside of the same ankle that got all cut up. I can’t complain if this is the only burn of the day:

Pharmie took a little rest, and then we took off for The Great Dane in downtown Madison. I was looking forward to my “Man Burger” all day. They have a burger there (I forget the actual name of the burger on the menu because it’s really long) that is a 1/3 lb beef patty with a 1/4 lb brat patty on top with bacon, onions, and cheese, and it’s served on a soft pretzel that’s cut in half and used as a bun:

That wasn’t enough. I helped Pharmie with her meal, and then I ordered a pizza:

Pharmie and I were sitting next to Rural Girl, and she was AMAZED at my caloric intake. I think she feared me. I eat like a crazy man, and I’m STILL losing weight. Later, Wil told Pharmie “There’s a special place in ‘Fat People Hell’ for Steve.” I’ll take that as a complement.

On Sunday morning, we got up and headed to the Terrace for a run. I talked with fellow Minnesotan Taconite Boy for a few minutes before the run. I went out with Al and 3 other guys that were all in the fastest group - Andy, “coach,” and Andy’s brother. I did one loop of the course without going back out on State Street. I think it was just under an 8 mile run in just under an hour. Once Pharmie and I got back to St. Paul, I did a 6.25 mile run, so I had 14 miles on the day. The GREAT news of the weekend was that my knee held up to all of this!

Advice for other IM WI participants:
I don’t have a ton to say, and a lot of it is pretty basic, but here are some meager thoughts for other IM WI participants:
• The swim is a normal swim. It’s wet. Goggles are involved. Basic. There are some stones at the end when you run out of the water, but I think those might be covered by something on race day.
• On the bike, there’s a “bottle launcher” within the first mile to watch out for. Right on John Nolen Drive, there is a bridge that has a SUPER bump on the near side where it’s easy to lose a water bottle. And we don’t want that happening in the first mile of the bike, now do we. No, I didn’t think so.
• The cows in WI stink, but not too badly. There was no choking for me. Not even close.
• The roads are a mix between new and bumpy. But there are never any fast downhills that get too rough or scary. So don’t worry.
• There aren’t many flat sections of the course. Usually, you’re going up or down something. There wasn’t much time to be down in aero for a good chunk of time. Although, the course doesn’t NEED you to be in aero for most of it, but just know that there are just really few areas of actual flat riding.
• Get used to your gears. I was looking down a lot to see if I had jumped from my smallest to my largest chain ring. There’s A LOT of shifting being done!
• Overall, the bike was NOT as bad as I thought it was going to be. Yes, it’s hilly - those rumors are true. But if you keep training on some good hills, you’ll be fine. I was expecting gut-busting hills, but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to stay seated for the climbs. I know that the 2nd loop during the race will be much different...
• The run is mostly flat. There’s not much going on there. There’s a decent hill that you’ll hit twice (maybe around mile 5 and mile 18) that’s on the college campus near the observatory. That’s a bit of a tough one, but any other hills on the run a just small ones - nothing like the bike.

Link Love:
If you’re curious about any of the folks that I’ve written about above, here are the links to their sites:
Pharmie, my wife
Wil, who planned this massive event!
Stu, great guy!
Robby B, another great guy!
Al, bike partner
Rural Girl, who thinks I’m nuts!
Taconite Boy

I’m HORRIBLE with names. So if I have you listed incorrectly above, I’m very sorry. Please let me know and I’ll fix it. If I have you listed as Debbie and your name is really Dan, just let me know. And I’ll probably forget your name come IM. So again, if I see you in September and call you Debbie and your name is really Dan, I’m so sorry.


Michelle 3:08 PM, July 09, 2007  

I had a great time. You are KING eater!!! I was truly impressed.

:) 3:19 PM, July 09, 2007  

My favorite quote today:

“There’s a special place in ‘Fat People Hell’ for Steve.”

So true brother! I want that burger.

E-Speed 3:31 PM, July 09, 2007  

Glad you guys had so much fun! Love all the photos. Sorry I couldn't make it out this year it looks like I missed an excellent time.

xt4 9:14 PM, July 09, 2007  

This was awesome Steve, it sounded like you had a great day. I would've loved to have been there - maybe next year! And I'm really glad your knee was in good form throughout. Awesome. I'm really excited for your Ironman journey, man.

qcmier 9:19 PM, July 09, 2007  

Great riding and running with you out there, but I'm just a bike partner? No "great guy" or "he's nuts"? Well here's one more song for you - It's a small world after all...

And if you're going to be at WIBA 08 - you - me - Great Dane - habenero wings - mano a mano

RunBubbaRun 5:49 AM, July 10, 2007  

Great to finally meet ya, hairy and all..

Great job riding out there, you looked strong out there. I wished I would have had a chance to run with you guys.

Take care of that gash.. And man you can eat...We might have to have a WIBA eating contest next time.. See ya at the promised land in a couple of weeks.

Born To Endure 7:17 AM, July 10, 2007  

Wow is that what the bike course really looks like?? Crazy!!!!
I will be there in Sept. to cheer you guys on though!!!

Spokane Al 12:37 PM, July 10, 2007  

Terrific report that gets those of us who were not there wishing we were - except for the leg gash of course - more graphic info than I needed.

TRI Vortex 6:48 PM, July 10, 2007  

Wow, truely an Adventure. Great report. Now I just have to step up my game to be able to join you guys next time.

Widget 12:06 PM, July 11, 2007  


It was great to meet both you and Pharmie this weekend and start the ride out. Good luck in Madison, I'll be out there to cheer you on.

Oh, and its Matt not Mike you started the ride out with. :-)


Steve Stenzel 12:58 PM, July 11, 2007  

DANG IT! Sorry Matt!! Good luck with your half!

Wedgie 3:48 PM, July 11, 2007  

Stupid sexy steve...

Tracy 4:47 PM, July 11, 2007  

What an AWESOME write up. I reall am so glad you guys came out - it wouldn't have been the same without you :)

GP 3:44 PM, July 12, 2007  

Close-ups of food and injuries. Yum and yick!

Great report &mdash I've always been fascinated by "adventures" like this one. And one day I hope I won't bee too big a wimp to participate in one.

Be careful out there!

Anonymous,  1:45 PM, July 13, 2007  

Ew Steve, like you post pictures of your "ankle wound".
Pretty sick.
Bahaha you wearing that wet siut thing was also pretty sick.

-- Sarah Jean Z

Triteacher 7:05 PM, July 13, 2007  

Rockin' WIBA report, Steve! Sounds like the heat got to you all a little bit after I (being of the intelligent variety) turned around and went back to my 65 degree room...

It was a ball meeting you. See you in September! (I'll be volunteering this time around though.)

SingletrackJenny (formerly known as IronJenny) 9:38 PM, July 19, 2007  

Steve, you gotta shave those legs.
this comment brought to you by the letters fcfxqzal

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