Kelly the Culinarian: 2013 Illinois Venus de Miles Ride Recap

Sunday, July 28, 2013

2013 Illinois Venus de Miles Ride Recap

I've had a truly blissful weekend. Shall we pick up where I left off?

Last night, Jenny came over and we went bike shopping before meeting Alyssa for Pho in Schaumburg. We went to a new place and it was fabulous. We tried spring rolls and I had beef ball and sliced beef loin pho. It was the perfect pre-ride food.

Next, Jenny brought me this shadowbox for my 70.3 Ironman Racine mementos. I think it turned out really nice! I'm going to eventually buy all the official photos, too, but that will be a battle for another day.

Jenny bunked at my house and we got up at 4:45 a.m. to leave the house by 5:15. We made the hour-long drive to Lake Forest and had no issue snagging a great spot. We racked the bikes, picked up our packets and shirts without incident and met up with the Chicago Running Bloggers for a photo.

I also met with my fellow Venus de Miles ambassadors. While I received a comped entry for my involvement with the ride, the opinions are 100 percent all this kid. I did the inaugural Illinois Venus de Miles ride last year and loved it so much that I started working with the organizers to improve upon the event.
Jess, Erin, Alyssa, me, Lauren and Amanda
After photos, we had breakfast at the event - mini muffins, peanut butter, chashew butter, coffee and fruit. If you leave this ride hungry, you did something wrong. We also hit up the bathrooms - this ride has the cleanest port-o-potties you'll find at an event. They're also fully stocked with odds and ends you end up needing at these types of events.

The ride started a few minutes late because Trek was negotiating a trailer near the start line. No biggie, it's a ride, not a race, so I was raring to go. Jenny, Lauren, Erin and I set out for our 60-mile jaunt and found ourselves at the first of four rest stops. The rest stops were catered by Whole Foods and had amazing food. I actually overheard a woman say, "I actually gained weight on this ride last year." True, true. We had a few snacks and hit the road again.

There were a few bumpy patches and certainly a few hills. My Garmin told me I hit 29.4 miles per hour, but the bike computer topped off at more than 30! I didn't even crash ... except for at one of the aid stations. A rider stopped suddenly and I veered off, righted myself, then fell on the other side. Sigh. It's not a ride without a new bruise, I suppose. We also got yelled and honked at near Lake Zurich, which was annoying. I wore my hydration pack, which was nice to have water on demand, as well as a place to stash all the goodies I collected on my ride.

We made it back into Lake Forest College just after 1 p.m. for a total ride time of 4:30. The morning was chilly and I was glad I had arm warmers, but when we got back, it was quite toasty. The finish line this year was a bit strange - we looped around past the bathrooms and there wasn't any fanfair, which is fine, but a bit anticlimactic after 64 miles of pedaling.

However, the post-ride party delivered again this year. We had adult beverages, a catered lunch and ice cream. I had a blueberry basil lemonade that was lovely, along with a lunch of pesto smoked turkey on ciabatta with a side of house-made parmesan potato chips. It hit the spot. We also got facials from beauty school students, which was lovely. I hear there were massages, too, but that they left at 1 p.m., so we just missed out. I was disappointed and drown my sorrows in Luna bars and salty caramel ice cream.

We actually spent a great deal of time visiting vendors, snacking and chatting. Again this year, we were the last people to leave, which was fine by us.

In all, we had a lovely ride even in unseasonably cold weather. We had great food again this year and made the most of the pre- and post-race party and enjoyed every minute. If you're in Illinois, I highly recommend this ladies-only race, which raises money for the Greenhouse Scholars. This fab program sends talented but underprivileged kids to college. Riders have a fundraising minimum and can keep collecting donations until Aug. 31. Come hungry and enjoy the ride!

Time: 4:30:59 for 64 miles

Cost: $79 for early registration with a $75 fundraising minimum (free for me)

Pros: Fully supported ladies-only ride with clean and plentiful bathrooms, great food at the aid stations, fun post-ride party with a catered lunch and cocktails

Cons: Massage people cut out early, there is a fundraising component to entry, it's not timed, if you're into that sort of thing, I liked last year's shirt better

Would I do this again? Yes! I hope to do it every year.


The Brit With A Blog said...

I was very disappointed to not be able to have a massage, my back was sore and I thought midday was a little early for the massage therapists to leave - however I heard they were a last minute booking?

runningthewindycity said...

This ride was really fun and I'm glad I was able to do it this year. It was nice to see you again too!

Jamie said...

Looks like a great event! Mike and I are planning on doing the 100 mile Lobster Ride and Roll in Maine next year (as prep for our full Ironman!)

Run with Jess said...

Great recap.... and great to see your smiley face again this weekend. I had a FABULOUS time and ride in my 1st Venus. I agree - my shoulders were aching for a lil massage and bummed that we just missed it. But someone gave me their beer tickets, so after a few more of those, I felt better... :) THANKS for inviting me to be a part of this event!!