The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
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Tour de Corn 2013
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By Barn Door
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By Matt Gholson
June 23, 2013 12:01 a.m.

IMG_0323 IMG_0324 IMG_0325 IMG_0326 IMG_0327 IMG_0328 IMG_0329 IMG_0331 IMG_0332 IMG_0336 IMG_0340 IMG_0341So Jim and I were going to Tour de Corn today.  I’ve wrote about TdC in the past, but just to summarize, its the biggest organized charity ride within 2 hours of my location, it attracts around 1100 riders, has really nice sag stops, friendly people, and really flat terrain.  Sometimes it has wind, lots and lots of wind.  Today was one of those times.
Jim’s alarm clock messed up and he was a bit late picking me up, somehow we were able to get to East Prarie with 15 minutes to spare, it was some impressive driving.  I was planning on hooking up with my mountain biking pals, JW and Justin but couldn’t find them at the start so I just started latching on to faster riders as they came by.  The winner of the pull Matt Gholson around the course award was a guy on a Trek Speed Concept.  He was an avid triathelete and an amazing pedal pusher.  At one point we compared Heart Rates, mine was in the upper 160s, his was 126 and I was in his draft doing 27 mph.
At the second stop he pulled off to use the rest room, and I saw Justin and JW.  He dashed into the porajohn and in a few moments ran out, mounted up and hit the road.  It’s true what they say about Triathletes, they are addicted to training, even training to speed pee. In all fairness he was in a hurry to finish the 100 mile ride because he had a run to get to.
One of the coolest things about TdC is that it feels like an actual event, its the only ride I’ve ever done where people in the town turn up in the morning to see people off like its a parade.  All along the course groups would be standing on the roadside ringing cowbells and yelling encouragement.  We even had aerial support from an ultra light pilot who followed the ride.  What a day!
I finished the ride with Justin and JW’s peloton, which also contained mountain bike legend Paul, and some guys I didn’t know.   At one point we turned out of the tailwind that had been pushing us and into a savage cross wind.  I’ve seen it on televised races, when the peloton explodes from the cross wind.  I was in the unfortunate spot of last in line and our echelon was stretched across the entire lane.  If I wanted any draft I was going to have to be well on the left of the center line.  When Justin realized that the group was blowing apart he backed the pace off, and let me back on.
Most of the return trip was in some kind of killer headwind.  One guy said he had done every TdC and this year was the hardest yet.  It would have been very difficult without the aid of the super strong group I was with.  After finishing I watched people trickle in, and it was obvious the wind was taking its toll on folks, everyone who finished today should be proud it was a tough ride.
Thanks again to the organizers for putting together the Midwest’s best ride!

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