Once I exited transition with my bike, my mindset had changed. I was concerned about my energy level for the rest of the race after that hard swim. But I knew I had to get going on the bike and take care of business. I wasn't sure of a goal time for the ride because I knew it was a little longer than advertised. My focus was broken down in to blocks of mileage instead of one long ride.
This course is flat and fast. There is one 'steep hill' on it that basically is an overpass so I knew that played into my strength. Most of my riding is flat land because that is what is around me.
The elevation profile looks like it is rolling, but really, you never feel it. You are constantly moving on this course. I knew the aid stations were at mile 15, 30, and 44 so I had the ride broken down into those blocks.
As I made my way out of the park, my goal was to get into a nice rhythm early and work on my cadence. I figured if I had the cadence in the range I wanted, the speed was good. I waved goodbye to the Wingman and set out on my ride.
I had a lot of room to ride on this course. If there was any drafting going on, it wasn't near me. I was passing people and got passed by just a few. My new saddle was working out well so far. I was comfortable and settling into the ride. I had my nutrition timer set to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to drink. I started feeling really confident around 5 miles in. The soundtrack in my head was now on this tune:
I was caught
in the middle of a railroad track
I look 'round
And knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do?
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums
Beatin' in my heart
The thunder of guns!
Tore me apart
I was rockin' down the road now. There was an interesting disconnect between by upper and lower body. My upper body was at ease while my legs were spinning to the soundtrack in my head. I was firing on all cylinders. Bad swim? What bad swim? I was owning this bike course today. Like my cousin Carolyn told me earlier "to take this mother down." I felt like I had such a swagger now. Amazing how in the span of 40 minutes your whole mood can change.
I got to the first aid station and called out for water. The volunteers on the course were incredible. The hand off went smoothly. I looked down and thought "15 miles down, 42 to go." I kept up my pace and my mood. I passed a few more people and checked on my cadence. I was humming along. Next song up:
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin'
Trees flew by, me and Del were singing little Runaway
I was flyin'
Yeah Runnin' Down a Dream
There was a section on the bike course that was ~6-7 miles of rough road. The bike was vibrating and taking a toll on my upper body. I had no idea how long it was actually going to go on for so I picked it up to try to get past it as quickly as possible.
I made it through the next two aid stations and was cruising. I started to feel a little tired, but was now focused on maintaining my cadence and average speed. My legs were spinning round and round, but I wasn't even thinking about it. They just went. I stood occasionally to give myself
There was a little bit of headwind the last few miles. Nothing that I couldn't handle, but I felt like it was starting to slow me down. I looked down at the mileage and knew I had 6 miles to go. Only 6 more miles. And then all I had to do was run 13.1 miles. But now is not the time to think ahead. I've made it through 51 miles unscathed and wanted to be sure I made it to T2 without a flat or accident.
Now I can see the promised land. A volunteer ahead waving me to make a sharp right turn to head back towards the transition area. Whoo hooo!! I made it. Or did I? I had one small scary moment. I was on a narrow path and there were spectators on either side of the path. I looked side to side to be sure no one did anything stupid. And then I saw something that chilled my blood. Two small girls playing next to the path. I was almost paralyzed with fear. I kept hoping as I approached they would stay off the path. Please little kids, stay off the path. I had my hands on the brakes ready to stop. But thank goodness it was a non-event. They never came out and I was able to avoid another unique bike crash. Imagine I had to tell the Wingman again "Don't worry. I hit some kids. I'll tell you about it later." But there was no story here, I'm happy to say. It was on to T2 to prepare for my run...............
Up next Chapter 3: Running on Empty