Where do I start? Oh yes, coming out of the water and into T1. If you will recall I was on Cloud 9. I ran from the water to my bike (good sign!! I didn’t meander to the transition area). My bike was located near the Bike Exit so as soon as I got there I saw my whole cheering squad! I heard them too!!! I got my shirt on, gloves, helmet and sunglasses, put on my shoes, took a drink of water and headed out. I had my Chamoise Cream in my hand. I knew I should apply some to my body but didn’t want to take the extra time. I also knew I wouldn’t want to stop while riding to apply it. I tossed it back onto my bag and made my way to the Bike Exit.
I made my way to bike mounting area and took off. 56 miles. No bike computer, no Garmin, no music, no company. Distance PR ahead of me. Just me and the road. And a ton of fast people on bikes. I held strong for a good amount of time. I have no idea what my speed was and there were no mile markers. I couldn’t remember what they said about having aid on the course either. I just rode along, peddling away. The first half hour on the bike was awful. The road was so bad with bumps and cracks everywhere. Road bikes are not comfortable to begin with and my tires were filled to 120 psi. Too much I believe now. Every single bump in the road was felt in my bottom. The stupid tri shorts were about as useful as a pin cushion as far as providing padding for my poor bottom. Horrible. Every little bump was felt and noted. The bumps even caused the water from my water bottle between my aero bars to splash water out and spray me. It felt good.
Being in the aero position was tough. I held it for a while in the beginning, with my bottom screaming then my neck and shoulders began to ache. I thought about how I took a breath every second stroke during the swim, maybe that had something to do my my neck hurting? Who knows, didn’t matter. The fact was that my neck was hurting.
I passed some people. I got passed by some people. I noticed a few doing the Relay pass me. Yeah, they should be passing me. They didn’t just swim 1.2 miles… I got passed by a chick in a high speed tri suit (the same suit that J-Ninja was sporting). When you get passed, or when the other persons front tire passes your front middle tire it is considered a pass and you are supposed to let off and allow 7 meters distance in front of you to them before you can make your move to pass them back. So this chick passes me, I hardly had to let off to allow the 7 meters distance. But she didn’t even wait one meter before she blew a snot rocket out of her right nostril…then turned and did the same out of her left nostril. Gross. Biking is gross. I couldn’t miss it. I got nailed in the shin by both rockets. I nearly gagged. Gag-o-maggot! Seriously. It took me some time to recover from that. I couldn’t wipe it off, I didn’t dare take the time to do that.
As I was riding along I realized that I had no clue where in NC I was. I had no sense of direction. All I knew was that 56 miles was a long way and I was no where near done. It was getting hot and I felt my back sweating. I was thirsty and hydrating, alternating with water and Cytomax. Finally I came to the first water station. We were expected to be able to ride by, grab a water bottle, hydrate and ride on without stopping. YEAH RIGHT. I rode on through, I was good on fluid for the time being. I did ask what mile we were at: 18. I did the math in my head: 38 more miles. Ugh. My body was aching. My neck and wrists were hurting. My girl parts were hurting. Who would purposely do this to themselves? A crazy nut job, that’s who…
I had to keep going. I figured the next stop would be around 36 miles. It was boring, hot and lonely. I saw a dead squirrel on the road with his head crushed. TMI? Sorry but it made me wonder if some biker had plowed him over, like the one I ran over a while back. It was gross. I had to swerve to miss a turtle crossing the road too. I wasn’t about to run over that thing. I was looking around and alternating between the aero position and using the outer handle bars and fighting the wind most of the time. It seemed there was a headwind for the first 40 miles. It was ruthless. For a brief quarter of a mile I road through some shade. It felt nice to be our of the sun for a moment.
I was in so much pain I just wanted to be done. If you recall my bikes name is Nelly C.I.R.N. (Can I Run Now). I chuckled at this and thought about Tall Mom, who suggested CIRN. I was certainly feeling that way around the time I rolled up on the 35 mile mark, the second water station. I refused the water once again and was sorry I did so about 20 minutes later. I ran out of fluid. Epic Fail. It was hot and humid and I was thirsty. I was cursing myself for enjoying the spray of water from my water bottle in the beginning, now I recognized that it was precious fluid that I needed to stay hydrated.
In case you were confused, here is a pic of my water bottle, up front where I can drink and ride without having to grab a bottle from below. That is a recipe for disaster.
I wasn’t sure if there would be another water stop or not and I was beginning to worry if I might get dehydrated or even die out there on the road. I started looking for abandoned water bottles on the side of the road. In the beginning I saw a number of them but by 40 miles there weren’t any that I came across. I thought about asking someone for their water but decided not too, yet.
A woman passed me and she must have seen the rigid pain in my body because she said, “It’s a tough ride doll, hang in there.” I knew she was right. This was no child’s play. 56 miles is no joke. It is far. I felt out of my league. I got passed by guy who blew by me, somewhere between mile 35 and 40 and said, “Ride hard, baby. Ride hard.” I said something to the effect of, “Yeah, I’m trying…” But he was too fast to hear. I wondered where he came from and how in the world he is just now passing me this far into the ride. The way they start these races always throws me off as far as getting passed and knowing where you are placing. It didn’t matter. He was a dude and not in my age group so he could pass me all day long.
There was a small out and back that was probably a mile each way. I was checking out all the people ahead of me. Out and backs are fun because you can kind of see the playing field in front of you and then behind you. I got to the turn around point and kept my eyes out for J-Ninja and Breaking Pace. They were somewhere out there on the course, in the heat, suffering like I was…That brought me no peace. I was in misery and it was no fun.
Finally, I came out of the out and back and made a right turn. I saw a sign for White Lake 16 miles (or something like that). I was on the home stretch. Heading to the house…or heading to the run anyway. I kept saying to myself, swim is done, finish the bike, then fun a half marathon. No biggie. You. Freaking. Got. This. as EMZ would say. But thinking about EMZ just sent me into a whole other train of thought, if that woman can run 100 miles on a treadmill in 24 hours I can ride my bike for 56 miles. What the heck!? Who is that woman? Amazing, and so I had to ride. I had to finish. I started talking to myself. 56 miles on the bike, alone for the most part is boring. So I talked to my self. Not only did I say “Can I run Now?” I said, “Get me off the freaking bike!” “Good grief can I be done yet?” “This is the by far the dumbest thing ever…”
Finally I rolled up on the last water stop. I actually stopped because I was dying of thirst. I pulled over and filled my water bottle and asked how much further and the guy told me something and all I remember is him saying, “About 25 minutes.” Ok, great, 25 more minutes. No biggie…I was on my way before I realized I had no idea how fast he thought I could be going. 25 minutes going at a snails pace, like I felt like I was doing? Probably not. More math in my head told me I could have an hour left max. I did not want to be out there for another hour. Period. I picked up the pace as much as I could but my bottom hurt so bad, and other parts too. And my legs were on fire. My quads, calves and hamstrings were burring.
Finally I was almost done. I don’t remember too much of this part. I kind of remember the dismount. I got off my bike and tried to jog it into the transition area but I could hardly walk. My legs were shot. Again my entire race crew was there, whootn and hollering! It was so great to have them there! This is only the third race that The Hubs has been to and he was an amazing spectator and supporter! I loved looking out to see him in the crowd, waving and cheering me on, it’s something I always wanted and finally, he was there to see me! I came in off the bike hurting and tired. But hearing him yell at me from across the cones and into the transition area “Run!” Was really cool. I think he was proud of me. And even though running was out of the question at that moment I knew he meant well and it made me smile.
Here I am coming in off the bike. Can you tell you my legs are toasted? I could hardly stand up.
Here is the signature pose in action…first shot of it during an event…
I threw on my running shoes, Garmin, hat and race belt with the bib. I opted to not carry my handheld water bottle….but this is for the run recap.
Overall times: Bike 3:29.03/ 16.1 mph T2 (bike to run): 4:39
I am actually extremely happy with this time. My ambitious, I wish goal was 3:30. I hit it with 57 seconds to spare!! Now on to the run…..