About 25,000 folks took to the streets Sunday to take part in the sixth edition of the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. And that’s too bad.
Because with unseasonably warm weather, they probably would have had a much better time taking in the 23 mile Rock ‘n’ Roll bike tour which I rode in with about 1,000 other cyclists. (At least that was the ride limit, I haven’t been able to confirm the actual number of entrants).
True, it’s certainly not equivalent to the marathon or half marathon in terms of prestige, bragging rights, or fitness ability, but heck, it’s just flat-out fun!
How often do you get to ride in such a large pack on a tight, curvy, closed circuit course? Plus it’s not a timed event, it’s a tour, with a pace vehicle out front at a steady 20 m.p.h., and one in the back of the pack making sure everyone maintains a 10 m.p.h. limit.
What that means is that almost every type of rider can partake and enjoy the event. The more fit elites can trail off the pace vehicle, while the rest of us can find a pack to pace with elsewhere in the group. As a result, you’re never alone, you get to experience the same course as the marathoners (minus a few miles), and you get a little bit of a workout without feeling beat to a pulp.
You also get this: an appreciation for speed. I rode the course with a friend, and while we certainly weren’t pushing the pace, we were definitely moving the whole time. Had we done the full 26.2 mile course, we figured our finish time would have been only 10 to 15 minutes quicker than race winner Michael Wardian, who finished the race on foot in a time of 2:31:19.
While that’s certainly impressive, it’s more than 10 minutes off the best time for the event, which was likely due to warm race conditions. The day started at about 75 degrees and peaked at 89 degrees late in the afternoon. The temperatures affected rookies and veterans alike, pushing the times of the runners well past their predicted goals.
That wasn’t the day’s only drama. Out on the bike course, we saw our first accident near mile two, another while rolling through the Pearl, and others as we carved our way through Trinity University and up an unexpected hill. A little scary, for sure, and the first time I’d actually seen any major get-offs in the third year of riding the event.
After that, things settled down a bit. After winding through the city, the new course eventually brought us back downtown vi the Mission Reach, a nice touch for sure.
Aside from completing the event, which kicked off about an hour ahead of the footrace, the best part was finishing in time to see friends and race winners come through the finishing chute, and being able to freely commute on bike around a relatively gridlocked downtown. There’s nothing better than that.
Tom Trevino is a writer and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. His weekly column covers anything and everything related to health and wellness. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with certification and training from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, NPR, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.