Drew Cargile was panting and pedaling laboriously. His cadence was well below the 90 rotations per minute he wished to achieve.

“The body will pass out before it dies,” said Pete Coleman as he and Raymond Boone opened a 100-yard gap on their riding partner.

“ I know the way home; ya’ll don’t have to wait on me,” said Drew.

Drew felt horrible. He would later describe this 50-mile bike ride as his worst day of cycling ever. But, this was not a time to complain. They were nine miles into the ride, and the remaining 41 had much torture in store for the trio. Challenges like Vomit Hill and the infamous Flat Liner still loomed ahead. What sane person would choose to take the early exit on one of the county roads along the route and head back to Demopolis? Not Drew, nor Pete, nor Raymond. Suffering is expected and welcomed by these 30-somethings who call themselves the “Demopolis Mafia.” Besides, a 50-mile ride is only a small portion of the training that will go into this group’s preparation for one of the most grueling sporting events on earth, the Ironman Triathlon.