The Superman Ride, formally known as the Supertrek is part of the Superman Celebration in Metropolis IL. Unlike the sprawling city of the comics Metropolis IL. is a small rural town, but they put on a big festival with all sorts of events in honor of the worlds first superhero.
The ride is your standard family fun ride that looks to draw more than 200 riders. The route is on great roads, mostly flat with a few rollers and one slightly tough hill. I can’t really comment on the sag stops because I never got off my bike, never even unclipped a pedal during the whole ride.
I made sure I had my camera charged up for the ride, but forgot to replace the memory card, so I have no pictures from the ride, but I’ll just give a brief report. There were 7-9 riders with Continental jerseys and we all got together around the middle of the pack and once the route took us out of town “Father Benny” gave the command to begin moving up. People would say things like, “Oh Lord there they go,” as we passed, it was a hoot. I looked back and our pace line had picked up several riders as we moved to the front of the ride.
We were going around 23 mph and there was a small group way out ahead of us. We caught them and they integrated into our group, I counted 16 riders with us. Riding in a paceline of 16 riders requires a great deal of attention and when you’re on the rear of the group all of the little changes of pace seem to amplify so it feels that you are constantly speeding up and slowing down.
At the second stop the group decided to take a break but a couple of riders continued up the road. I started to stop and said, “Screw it, I’m going for it,” and caught those guys. We worked together until the big hill when one of the guys dropped off. We caught the tail end of the 38 mile group many whom were off their bikes and walking up the hill. I climbed it going about 13 mph until my lungs exploded and I had to slow down.
At the 3rd stop I was tempted to stop, and I would have if I’d seen anyone I knew, but seeing no familar faces I rode on. We were now moving through the 38 mile group quickly and I was feeling kind of surreal, I was quite sure I was riding well beyond my abilities, climbing and riding on equal footing with a guy who had to weigh 50 pounds less than me and was a dedicated endurance athlete. I have to admit I felt pretty awesome. Me this dude sit up and rode together the last couple of miles and I finished with a 21.2 mph average speed. I’ve been joking with everyone that I won the Supertrek, a non-competitive family fun charity tour! But in truth I now think I could at least hang on in a Cat 5 road race that wasn’t too hilly.
My nutrition strategy for this ride was simple, I had 3 bananas and 4 fun size bags of M&Ms, but the real special ingredient was my water bottles, Kool-Aid with light salt added for electrolytes. My fuel for the ride cost less than 3 dollars and I never suffered any cramps. After eating a banana I was just like Pac Man, my stanima gauge was at full power and I was gobbling up the yellow lines on the road! My buddy Jim tossed me a Gatorade at the end and I was more or less recovered by the time we got home.
Sunday Shauna and I went to Panthers Den Wilderness Area which is the only wilderness area in the Shawnee I’d never visited. It was a unique place with some real interesting rock formations and offered lots of fun exploring, we hiked 4 miles and I remembered my camera so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.
All in all, just another super Southern Illinois weekend!