The bike is the one place I really wanted to improve this year. It's also the one place I have very little confidence and a tremendous amount of fear.
Standing in transition just before the race, Coach gave a few pointers.
1) don't go out too hard.
2) hammer against the wind, on the turn after the school. on both loops.
3) do not depend on special needs.
4) there is an aid station 20-30 miles from finish. the next one is a long ways away. Top off fluids there!
5) climb in small ring. sitting. don't burn your legs in the big ring or standing. spin over the hills.
That last piece of advice saved my ass! I saw a lot of people grinding those gears for the first 30-60 miles, only to lose it on the last half.
I started out easy and took in water. I was thirsty, so drank generously. At about 20 mins, I had a few shot bloks because i actually felt hungry. The first big climb, i stayed seated, knowing there were soooo many more hills to come.
I was really surprised at the amount of traffic on Rte 42 that was backed up from the race. And i was even more amazed at the support of those in the stopped traffic. Some were cheering from the back seats while others just got out of the car and watched, knowing they wouldn't be moving for a while.
The next little interesting area was the out-and-back on 1694 (or something like that). there is a really nice downhill that leads into an uphill, then turn around and do that backward. The bad thing about this? Going down that hill without breaking was nearly impossible. I'd ridden it before and would've had no problem except that the course was so crowded by this point that i feared others' handling skills, even if i trusted my own. Those going the opposite direction were crossing the double yellow line and those breaking down the hills weren't staying to the far right.
I got to that turn where Coach said to hammer...and i did. I also saw where I'd get my special needs bag on the second loop. I rolled through the horse farms and then to the nice long downhill with the left turn at the bottom. And that's when it happened. The second male pro passed on my left. He stood. And he sprayed. All. over. me. I started to scream...but, well, he was spraying me. So, as I caught him on the turn, I said something to the affect "Go further right before you pee next time..." but I was playful with it, not bitchy. He apologized profusely. It gave me something to laugh about.
The narrow winding backroads there were fairly hilly. Again, I stayed seated, spun over. The first female pro passed me on an uphill. She was standing, but she can do that and still be strong. Especially when she's on her second loop.
Out to Rte 42 again where I saw Missy and couldn't help but laugh...in her purple wig. The crowd through this area was great. Roncker's had a tent set up out there and they yelled for Cincy...and I recognized a few people in that area from Cincy Express.
Many more rollers and back around for loop number two. I started to feel a little like I was just ready to be off the bike. And I was only 55 miles in. I was holding a pretty consistent pace at this point, but it wasn't blazing fast or anything. I was too afraid to push it, afraid I'd have nothing left for that last 40 miles, afraid I'd not make the marathon.
Then, we made that turn for special needs. And just before I got there, I spotted dad in a lawn chair taking pictures. And Clubber asleep on his leg! That made me smile again, as did the pbj in my special needs bag.
After that, it was hammer time again, into the wind. Through the town of LaGrange, off on the back roads, and just before we hit 42 again, Ryan came up behind me and gave a little push. We started together and well, he's super strong on the bike, but hadn't trained much for IMKY as he really got a case of the "I-don't-give-a-shit"s. I asked why it took so long for him to catch me. Apparently, his swim wasn't great.
Then, back to 42 for the ride home. Just 32 miles left. And my legs were still feeling pretty fresh from not having pushed too hard out there. I decided to take it up a notch for those rollers in. i played cat and mouse with this guy with a 21 on his leg and thought about what i was doing at 21. Definitely not thinking of doing an IM. Sheesh!
My tummy started to cramp up a bit those last 20 miles or so, so I took in only water. I had no problem eating on the bike, like some. That's when being a former fat kid actually comes in helpful. I can pretty much get my calories in.
Suddenly, it was time to dismount. I could hardly believe we were already through round two.
There were a couple moments out there when I just became overwhelmed by emotion. I couldn't believe I was doing this thing. I couldn't believe Coach trusted me with his disc. I couldn't believe I had so many friends and family out there cheering for me. Pretty cool...
I jumped off the bike and started to run through transition, glanced at my watch, about 6:02, I'll take it! Then stopped to take off my shoes. I ran. Oh, my legs! This may be a long run. I grabbed my run gear bag and headed for the tent.
The volunteer I got for T2 was a bit concerned about getting me out of there. She dumped my gear and promptly began putting it back into my bag.
"Um, is there body glide in there?"..
"yeah!". She digs around, finally dumps the bag again. Hands me the body glide. Starts packing up again.
"Actually, I want to change shorts. I peed to much in these." I grab my shorts, change. "That means i need the body glide again". Luckily, this time, it was still sitting on top. I grabbed and applied.
Finally, she said "Sorry. They just tell us to get you in and out."
I appreciate that she volunteered. Sometimes I just wish that volunteers were required to do a tri themselves first. But she did pretty good.
I ran out the tent and immediately heard cheers for me, for Cincy Express, for "doing it just like up at Caesar Creek" (that's where we usually train on Sat mornings)...and once again, I went under that big inflated transition arch, out to hit the road for 26.2...