A few weeks ago my friend asked if I wanted to come and visit him in Madison and do a bicycle race. I had never heard of such a thing…but was up for something new and that seemed challenging. Words can’t describe challenging! So on Sunday I woke up at 7am to get ready for this race. The day before we went to St Vincent’s thrift store to find some unique garb for the ride. My friend and I rode our bikes to one of the lake front parks where the ride began. We arrived and it was super windy from a front moving in. It was pretty chilly, but we knew once we got riding it would probably be a good temperature.
I was already worn out before the race began! Because I don’t ride my bike back home, I was pretty out of shape for such aerobic and strength requiring exercise. I almost gave out a few times, especially going up all the steep hills around Madison, but the excitement of the race and the need to challenge myself made me push forward. After the race there was a ‘party’ with giveaways, music, and free samples from the sponsors. Even though it was very tough (including 2 days of painful soreness), it was fun and whew, a lot of exercise!
The race was called the Urban Assault Ride, a bicycle scavenger hunt around the city. This maps shows the extent of the madness and each checkpoint, 24.6 miles of pedaling adventures. At each of the checkpoints we had to complete obstacles which made it even more difficult and we only had about 3 hours until the checkpoints closed. It all started at Madison’s Olin Park. From there teams started in three waves and chose their own course.
The race was more of a scavenger hunt than a time trial sort of thing, but it was fun nonetheless. The farthest check point out in Fitchburg, Barriques. This was by far the most difficult section up a few long hills, but after that it didn’t really get easier. We trekked it to Whole Foods on University Drive and were met with some pretty rough hills in those neighborhoods. Up to that point we had completed only a quarter of the race total, but had used about 2 hours doing it. That meant that we only had one hour to get to a few more check points. After a quick break we marched on…
The next stop was Williamson Bikes and Fitness on East Washington, a rather easy few miles. After that, it was off to one of the secret checkpoints, Fontana Sports on Henry St., where we were given a clue to another secret checkpoint. After figuring out that the other checkpoint was Moving Shoes on Park St. we decided we could grab that on our way back to Olin Park. We had three checkpoints to get to with only about 40 minutes left in the whole race. We decided to pedal out to Tenny Park and then to Vilas Park where we completed one of the funnest tasks of the day. Shooting shoes into a bag with rubber bands attached to shoes! After that we hustled past Moving Shoes and then onto Olin Park to complete the race on Trek Big Wheel Racers with a time of 3 hours and 28 minutes!
At the end, all of the sponsors had a party back at Olin Park where they gave away a lot of free samples and door prizes. It was fun to watch all of the race participants compete for some of the prizes. All in all it was a crazy time and was well worth the entry fee that we purchased for half off for using a Groupon. New Belgium does the races all over the country, so it would be nice to experience a new city this way.