Rocking, but Mostly Rolling at the San Antonio Marathon

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More

You didn't have to run, but you did have to get up extra early to partake in the Rock 'n' Roll bike tour which shoved off at 6:45 a.m. near Commerce and Cherry St.

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).

You didn't have to run, but you did have to get up extra early to partake in the Rock 'n' Roll bike tour which shoved off at 6:45 a.m. near Commerce and Cherry St.

You didn’t have to run, but you did have to get up extra early to partake in the Rock ‘n’ Roll bike tour which shoved off at 6:45 a.m. near Commerce and Cherry St.

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!

The 2013 Rock N' Roll Marathon route map.

The 2013 Rock N’ Roll Marathon route map.

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.

Riders line up in preparation of the 23 mile ride.

Riders line up along Cherry Street, ready for the 23-mile ride.

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.

The iconic Tower of the Americas sits in the background as the sun rises and riders prepare to hit the bike course.

The iconic Tower of the Americas sits in the background as the sun rises and riders prepare to hit the bike course.

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.

Cyclists pedal empty downtown streets.

Cyclists pedal empty downtown streets.

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.

Twists and turns kept riders on their toes during the third edition of the Rock 'n Roll bike tour.

Twists and turns kept riders on their toes during the third edition of the Rock ‘n Roll bike tour.

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.

Single file: Riders along a stretch of the Mission Reach.

Single file: Riders along a stretch of the Mission Reach.

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.

Riders dismount and grab refreshments at the conclusion of the 23 mile bike tour.

Riders dismount and grab refreshments at the conclusion of the 23 mile bike tour.

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 headshot

 

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.

 

 

Related Stories:

Bike to Work: A Prescription for America’s Health Care Cost Crisis

The Gorilla in the Room: One Cyclist Death Too Many

Conversation: Cycling en Masse to Fight Multiple Sclerosis

RAGBRAI: Iowa by Bike

The Feed: Sweat Equity and the Philanthropic Workout

The Feed: The Future of Cycling in San Antonio

The Feed: It’s Okay to 5K

The Feed: Siclovia – It’s a Party and You’re Invited

 

 

3 thoughts on “Rocking, but Mostly Rolling at the San Antonio Marathon

  1. I am about ready to swear off RNRSA after completing my fifth full there yesterday. You’re right, it might have been more pleasant on a bike! The weather has been miserable 4 of the 5 years I’ve run it, temps over 80 at the finish. Ugh. I don’t know why on earth competitor group agreed not to have the marathon in a month when the weather is predictably cool.

  2. my guess is it has something to do with the other relatively well known marathons in the region – there’s dallas in december, houston in january, and austin in february… and by march and april, the short and middle distance events take center stage (5ks and 10ks and the like). so, we’re a little stuck with ours happening in november… i say sign up now for next year’s bike tour at the rnrsa! and if you’re anxious to run but want to make sure to avoid the heat, look for one of the other regional races later in the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *