Coming out of the water I immediately had my wetsuit stripped, then it was time to begin the looooooooong run to the oval.
However! This looooooong run has you running through the most EPIC crowd of people lined 5 deep behind the barriers.
You feel like a FREAKING rockstar!
I entered the transition tent in the utter chaos state. CHAOS people! I volunteered here last year, and I recall there being a slow trickle of people, and then BAM, the deluge swarmed us. I soon learned what it was like to be overrun by a horde of triathlon zombies.
This time? I was the zombie invader!
I found an open chair, plopped the bag down on it, did my thing, and got the heck outa there as fast as I could.
Before I knew it, it was time to bike!
|I found this picture of me in some random IMLP-er's facebook album!|
My biggest fear at the start was some yahoo taking me out in the first 30 seconds, where it is all windy and downhill. This did not happen. Phew!
And off I went onto the course...
Because I finished the swim in the time I did, I entered the course at its thickest. There were people everywhere. I was being passed; I was passing. I even somehow passed Emily without knowing it!
Now it was time to swallow my pride and spin........EASY! My coach walked us through this first section, which is all uphill for about 8 miles. "Find your rhythm!" He drilled this into us. "If you can find your rhythm now, you can carry it through the entire bike." So I spun.
And again because I was with the hordes of people, I was worried the first big downhill would have been packed and crazy.
And it turned out to be one of the easiest descents of that hill. I was calm and relaxed and I let gravity do the work.
As soon as I got onto the flats of route 9N, super stud Ironman, Peter Wickman blew past me. He was looking great and would up with a 10:23 that day and 7th in our age group for his first Ironman! Go Peter!
From here it was autopilot.....until mile 44-ish.
Why mile 44-ish? Well my bike broke!!!! To be exact, my front derailleur broke. And what is worse, I didn't know it yet!
So at mile 44-ish is when the road pitches upwards for the last 12 miles. I needed to shift from my big ring to the small ring in the front. Except stupid me, I did it too fast and the chain got hung. As I was slowing because I could no longer pedal, I frantically was changing every gear I had to force the chain. It worked. I got into the small ring and continued up the hills. A guy behind me witness my debacle and commented, "Nice save!" I felt proud of myself.
But the damage was done. And I didn't know it :(
I quickly learned of this mini disaster when I hit a flat section by the gorge and attempted to switch back to the big ring. I felt like Han Solo starting up the hyperdrive and it was a total EPIC FUCKING FAIL.
Panic set in and I immediately thought of the flats of route 9N on the eastern side of the course. I had a LOT of flat fast riding to do on the 2nd loop and no big ring to crank it! SHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!!!
My head was spinning but I immediately thought of the positive instead of the negative. So I was stuck in my small gear. Its a lot better than being stuck in the big ring!!! Fortunately I didn't really need it for the rest of the first loop since most of the climbing was still ahead of me.
I finished the first loop by stopping to see my family, which I told to be at the bottom of our road. It really helped me laugh it off and get my mind off of the matter.
This video totally cracks me up. My oldest brother was filming, while you can hear my older brother screaming at me, "Keep going!!!........you are losing TIME!"
Just down the road I quickly stopped off at special needs for loop #2, got some more vasoline "down there," chugged a generic Ensure, refilled liquids, and grabbed more food and I was off!
And I quickly realized it sucked to small ring flats and downhills. I figured that my big ring was a no go so I never attempted to try to use it.
Well, by the time I hit 9N on the flats, I was spinning like crazy and burning up my legs. There was no way I could keep up this effort to maintain my speed. I was going to ruin my run with this! So I just grabbed that lever and yanked. And the gear took! I was back in action!
I remained in the big ring until the climb up to Wilmington. Cya later big ring! Nice having you!
This section of the road has a lot of ups and downs, where you want to be able to switch between the small and big ring. I couldn't get it back into the big ring, so I got into a game of yo-yo with this poor girl. I would pass her on a climb, and she would fly by me on the downhill. I felt so bad that I actually apologized to her and explained my predicament. She understood and was cool with it. Phew! Triathletes are so nice :)
Meanwhile my frustration for not having the big ring was growing because there was another good sized section of flats up ahead. Two hills before this section, I had had it again and started wresting with the gears. The big ring took again, and out of fear of never getting it again, I big ringed the last two hills to Wilmington and I was set till the section where I originally broke the derailleur.
Then it was autopilot of climbing back to base.
Despite the mechanical, I did the first loop of the bike in 2:58, and the second loop in 3:08.
What I did right for this bike:
I got the fluids in. I think I went through 10 or 11 sports bottles of 50% water, 50% perform. This helped me stay cool and not thirsty. I also got the food down. Pacing took care of itself when I lost my big ring, however, spinning at such a high cadence did do more harm than good in the long run.
Also, biking this course 6 times in training helped build my confidence for the downhill, and getting to know the course better. I now know where every climb and flat is. I love this course!
What I should have done better for this bike:
This is a bit of foreshadowing for the run, but I should have been taking in electrolyte pills. Yes, I was getting in electrolytes through the perform, but it wasn't enough, I would soon learn on the run.
Also, I should not have been a knucklehead and switched gears too quickly! Doh!
Regarding nutrition, I should have eaten all solids on the first loop, then switched to all gels on the 2nd loop. This would allow time for the solids to get through my system so that by the time I hit the run, my stomach would be clear of any solids. I run better after taking in gels.
What got it done:
Riding lots. I owe this to my coach. He pushed me on the bike, especially by getting those long rides in. His training camp especially pushed my confidence levels to new heights. Remember how I drove up Whiteface the day before the race? During camp, we BIKED up that mountain! He put it perfectly with, "What I am putting you guys through will make race day seem easy."
Now that I look back on it, he was totally right! That 75 SUPER hilly ride we did that day made this 112 seems like cake with yummy frosting.
Stay tuned for T2 and The Run!