Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Race Day - Bike

Out of the water and feeling good.  Running along the metal railings, wet suit half off at this point, grab the transition bag and take a seat.  A volunteer rushed over and politely asked if he should dump the bag, "yeah, great, please," came the response as I plied off the wetsuit.  Quick dry of my feet and legs, socks, shoes, helmet (snapped tight to avoid a DQ), race belt, pass on the cycle sleeves, slap on sun cream, grab cycle gloves and nutrition at which point the volunteer threw my wet stuff in the bag as I took off, "thanks!".

As I grab the bike, a voice comes over the loud speaker, "(some guy) just exited the swim in under an hour, great job!"  'Wow, I've been out of the water for at least 3mins, if this guy just finished in under 60, I must have been 56 or under!"

smile knowing I was under 60mins

Finally on the bike with energy levels soaring, 'focus, 112miles to go, don't over do it.  Nutrition time, one bar and one gel.'  As usual, the first 30mins was holding back from chasing the strong cyclists gliding past.  As a relatively good swimmer and weak cyclist, I'm used to being passed frequently early in the cycle, but time with so much energy, I truly had to hold back (visions of climbing helped).

The course headed north out of T1 for 13mi, then 3x 32mi laps and finally a 2mi off-shoot to T2.

15mi (just under 1hr) - we hit the climb on lap one.  I stayed in the saddle for much of it passing a good number of people before standing for the final few minutes.  'Phew, a good 10-15mins of climbing, one down and two to go, not so bad."

standing climb

Of course, what goes up, must come down.  The next miles were spent weaving down the other side at speeds that scare me, 'stay tuned in, breath deep and most importantly, don't touch those breaks!'

Feeling good post-climb and recovery, I was moving well and still conserving energy.  

conserved enough energy for a thumbs-up

30mi (1.5hrs) - I had taken down two drink bottles and time to grab a new one from the aid station.  Grabbing a bottle on the go is not something I've done before, so imagine the volunteer's surprise when I came flying through the aid station, "SMACK!"  The sound of moving flesh hitting still plastic at 20+ mph.  Needless to say, I didn't get the bottle, 'wow, what an impact.  Ok, next time much slower, just hope I didn't hurt the volunteer, she was only trying to help!'

Just after the aid station, I realized my stomach was more full than it should be.  I had taken on almost 3 bottles of liquid in 2hrs, ahead of my 1 bottle/hr target and on the flip side wasn't sweating as much as I thought, a sure combination for over-full stomach.  A bit of discomfort set in, so out of the aero position I came until the next aid station where I could relieve the problem.

45mi (2.15) - climb 2, and I'm passing people left and right building confidence with each pedal.

70mi (3.45) - battling back and forth with a few guys (helps pass the time) while maintaing control, saving energy for the run when the inevitable came over my shoulder, yes, Alan.  I was both happy and let down at the same time.  I thought the climbing on the course would hold him off.  Apparently not.  We chatted for a few minutes re-capping the swim and the previous climbs before he sped off.

I was left to contemplate, 'turn it on and stay with him or do I stick to my race? Stick to the plan, I'm ahead of target, major objective is to finish in 11.29, not to race Alan.'  It took some of the wind out of my sail, but I tried to focus on the fact that I was ahead of my goal.

78mi (4.15) - climb 3, people were struggling, including myself, but being a relatively better climber, I sped past more and more people, "what are you racing up this hill?" was one guy's comment which only bolstered my confidence.

BEEP, BEEP, on you're right!

The final half lap was spent back and forth with a guy and his Kona IM tattoo, 'this must put me in good company.'

110mi (6.15) - turn-off for the final stretch to T2 and support along the way was great, a couple hundred people encouraging every bit of effort.

112mi - unclip, grab a bottle of gatorade for the run, hand my bike to the volunteers and I'm at T2, clock reading 6.22, '8mins in the bank, let's do this!'


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