Tucson may have the Shootout, but in Des Moines every Tuesday evening we have the Tuesday Night World Championship Ride. I’m not sure about the history of the Tuesday Night World Champs, but I do know that since I have been living and riding in Des Moines, this ride has been going off every Tuesday night. The ride used to leave from my local bike shop’s (Bike World) centrally located shop on Merle Hay Road, but since the shop recently moved to Douglas Ave, the ride now meets at a local coffee shop every Tuesday at 5:30 PM. The route is a casual stroll North out of town until the last stop light…then the action begins. For the next 28.5 miles there is a virtual race with just a few neutral zones for traffic signs and speed limits passing through a couple of small towns on the route. The World Champs typically runs from April/May until September/October and since I swim in the evenings until June, I miss the first few weeks. I try to add this ride into my schedule as much as I can as it gives me a solid unstructured workout and lets me practice some anaerobic intervals and short sprints (some for stop ahead signs, and some for the pure glory of trying to break away).  All of the local hammer heads typically show up for the ride and the pace is usually somewhere around a 27 mph average including the stop signs and neutral zones (this week my average was 27.1 mph). There are no hills on the course to speak of so it is really just a matter of drafting and playing in the wind. The lead pack can be anywhere from 10-50 riders, and there is always a chance of a breakaway heading up the road in small numbers.


I have had Stuart Hayes and his girlfriend, Michelle Dillon, staying with my parents for the past month and Michelle and Stu have joined me on this ride for the past three weeks. Stuart and I have both been riding our TT bikes which is typically frowned upon on this ride, but since we are both accomplished professionals, and comfortable riding in packs, nothing much is ever said. Michelle gets so jazzed for this ride and she typically treats it as her race for the week. She can’t wait to come back to Des Moines next summer and do this ride again. Stuart’s best memories from this ride are from last summer when part of the road on the usual route was closed so everyone took their road bikes off road, cycle cross style, down the ditch and back up onto the road, all the while racing and trying to drop people. Stuart thinks these cyclists in Des Moines are crazy.  I’m just glad that road is repaired this year so I don’t have to worry about crashing in the ditch on my TT bike.


Yesterday, Stuart, Michelle, and I all finished the ride comfortably in the main pack. Michelle was pretty excited about not being dropped and the only girl left in the front pack at the end of the ride for the second week in a row. While I am always happy to finish in the front pack, I am never quite satisfied with a group ride unless I am in a breakaway. It just takes all the fun out of it for me. Tuesday night there wasn’t much action in the breakaway department but I did my best to try and create one. I had several breakaway attempts with short sprints over 1000 watts, with my max wattage at 1125 and my best 5 second average being 1034 watts. Nothing succeeded, but if I am not out there trying it just doesn’t make the ride fun for me. My average power for the ride was only 293 watts but my normalized power was 336.


Since Stu and Michelle are headed to New York City where Stu will race the NYC Tri on Sunday, this was their last Tuesday night ride until next summer. We celebrated a solid ride from everyone with a salad dinner at Palmer’s on Ingersoll. Michelle said if she lived down the street from Palmer’s she would be there everyday. Well, Michelle, Palmer’s will be waiting for you next summer with plenty of salad to refuel from the Tuesday Night World Champs.


Work Hard,