The Bike 6:49:52
T1: 9:27 (stupid coolwings)
As I ran through transition a volunteer handed me my bike bag and I rushed into the transition tent. It wasn’t as crowded as I expected so I sat down and had a volunteer help me with my coolwings shrug. Man was that thing sooo hard to get on while you are wet. That poor lady used all of her weight to pull it on, without her help there was no way that thing was going on! Next I put on my sunglasses, helmet, and stuffed my 3 hour bag of infinite in my kit back pocket. I finally grabbed my socks and bike shoes and was off to my bike. Because the grass/transition area was so muddy from the rain I decided to put my socks and shoes on next to my bike rather than run with them on to my bike.
Once I got to my bike I put on my socks and shoes, grabbed my iamAthlete tracker (basically a gps pager you can wear during the race so your friends and family can track your exact location) and was off.
I ran to this mount line, hopped on my bike and was ready to go! Oh boy!
I tried to take the first 10 miles easy since they are so flat and it’s easy to go too hard. I kept checking my heart rate as well and had decided that I wanted to maintain around 145…which was the rate I had when I rode the course in July. Then I focused on drinking water, my infinite and also taking salt tabs.
Before I knew it I was at the out and back on 1694, which is a huge descent followed by a steep climb, and then you turn around and do it again. I was pretty nervous about this stretch since it was known for lots of horrible crashes due to the huge descents and congestion. I took a deep breath during the descent and surprisingly I felt ok and was not as scared as I had envisioned. I was even passing a few people! I also powered up the climb and passed some strong-looking men which made me pretty pumped as well. After the turn around I was also able to descend without freaking out and climb fairly strong. Then it was back onto for 32 to do two 30 mile loops.
Most of the ride I focusing on the time, heart rate and when I should drink/eat, which really made it fly by. Also, the scenery was awesome – horse farms, cute towns and lots of green fields to look at while riding. Plus, (seriously) almost everyone I rode around was in an AMAZING mood. Everyone seemed just as happy as I was to be out on the course and racing on such a great day. You couldn’t help but smile! (so super cheesy, I know, but it was true!)
When I flew through LaGrange I felt like a rockstar! I also saw my whole family while riding through and managed to do a little wave.
I was in a great mood. The next 20 miles I felt good, lots of happy chit chat with other athletes, focusing on nutrition, and soon I was making the turn for the second loop. This time on this loop I stopped at the aid station near LaGrange (the first time I rode through and just grabbed water while riding) to use the porta potty and mix my second bottle of infinite. It only took about five minutes, but because my family could see that I was stopped for a period of time, they started to get nervous (per JMR after the race). Then I was back on my bike, doing my thing, and passed through LaGrange again, feeling like a rockstar, but not as much as the first time, as the crowd had really thinned out. Seeing my family gave me another boost and as I was heading out, I thought ‘This is easy!’
….and then… around the 70 mile mark… I started to feel pretty bad. Nauseous, tired, no energy. Oh no. No no! I cannot end this race on the bike! I set out to finish! I took two salt tabs and ate a whole honey stinger thinking maybe it was a nutrition issue. I also drank more water. Nothing seemed to help, I just felt really nauseous. I looked at my watch and saw that my heart rate was in the 150’s and then thought that maybe my heart rate had something to do with it, so I slowed down and worked on getting it back in the low 140’s. That seemed to work a little but I still felt crappy. I started to let my mind wander, which was a bad idea, because it was going into a very negative, dark place. I was frustrated…. (why did I sign up for this!?!?!) not only did I have 30+ more miles to go, but I had to run a marathon after. That did not sound like fun. At. All. So I just tried to focus on pedaling, hydration and nutrition to help distract me.
(It’s probably better Ironman photographers didn’t get any pictures of me during this stretch because I was not happy)
Finally around mile 90 I started to feel better. I started to get excited, and finally realized that I was, in fact, going to finish the bike! I made witty comments to the people I passed, and everyone that passed me seemed to do that same. It was like everyone was on the same page and was excited that the finish was near!
The last ten miles I was still cautious since the roads are known for being rough (no flats please!!), but finally two miles away, I got teary eyed again. I was going to do this. I was going to finish the bike, the part I was most worried about. I can run…so if I finish the bike, I’ve got this!!
Soon I was arriving the dismount line – I got off my bike, waved to my friends and then saw my mom. I stopped to hug her and we both got teary eyed as I said ‘I did it! I finished the bike! I’m actually going to do this!’. We hugged for a bit (hey, I was still watching the clock, it is a race!), and then I rushed to transition to hand off my bike and then head to the changing tent.