I jumped in and just got after it. To be honest, I wasn’t very excited for the swim, I knew it was going to be a long day and wanted to get that part out of the way, and I was still feeling tired. Also I was trying really hard to not even think about the 7 hour car ride home, but it did pop up in my head a few times during the swim. Despite the negativity in my head, due to my mediocre swimming skills and the wonderful current, I passed a TON of people… backstroking, breastroking… why were these people in the 35-37 swim time wave? Ugh. I really regretted where I lined up, but there was nothing I could do about it now, so I just kept swimming. Soon I was under the third bridge and nearing the swim exit. I swam hard to cut over to the right (small flashback of Louisville swim) and had two volunteers help me out of the water and I waddled up the ramp and along the sidewalk to the wetsuit strippers. I didn’t unzip my wetsuit all the of the way (I think it was stuck on the lining) so they had trouble getting me out of my wetsuit, but finally they did and I hustled to transition.
Swim Time: 20:01
When I got into transition, I noticed my bike was one of the few ones left on the rack. What the heck?! I must have really lined up in the wrong corral. Bummer. I then went back to focusing on MY race, what I could control, and focused on the task at hand. I did the same routine I practiced in my room, aero top, sunglasses, helmet and then shoes and I was off! Hobble, hobble, hobble allll the way to the bike mount and then I was really off! I noticed right away there were still rocks in my shoes I missed when wiping my feet, and contemplated stopping but hoped that instead maybe they would just all roll to the tips of my shoes and I wouldn’t notice them (they all did but ONE stupid rock).
I felt pretty good on the bike, a little tired still but ready to ride, and after a few miles I got into a groove and passed, passed, passed a lot of people. Once I hit the first aid station, making good time (however my watts were all over the place, I tried to make sure I was hitting the planned number, but struggled), I went to grab a bottle, which I did with success, but when I veered to the left a little to move away from the the volunteers, another rider came up on my left and I nearly collided with them. I immediately shouted out an apology and felt like a huge dumb-ass for looking down for that split second rather than keeping my eyes up until AFTER I was settled in my line. I filled up my aero bottle, tossed the empty and put my head back down to get back to work. However I couldn’t shake that horrible feeling of what just happened and what could have happened. I vowed to be extra cautious during the next aid station (which I should always be, regardless), and tried to focus on pushing to keep up my watts, but I felt a little deflated and didn’t want to ride any more. Oh, and I still felt tired. Too bad because I still had 35 more miles to go.. so I sucked it up, and kept pedaling, passing, pedaling and passing. I also hit the first big hill of the two big hills on the course, and while it was tough it wasn’t terrible, similar to the hills I ride at home, but I was definitely in my smallest gear while climbing up it!
When I hit the next aid station around mile 30 I grabbed a water, kept my head up and alert as to who was on my left and slowly moved back over, filled up my aero bottle and then tossed it at the end. Phew. Ok, that was better. I felt a wave of relief come over me and after I left the aid station knowing I was more than halfway down I felt more motivated to keep pushing and get my head back into the race.
Soon I approached the second big hill, although this one wasn’t as steep and more of a gradual hill. In fact at first I didn’t realize we were climbing and was starting to get cranky as to why I was feeling so slow and was seeming to push more effort when I realized we were slowly climbing. Once we reached the top and started to descend I saw I had less than an hour to ride and knowing it was mostly downhill/flat from here, I was VERY happy.
I focused on pushing the final 10ish miles and was starting to get excited for the run. I was pretty sure I was going to have a bike PR (spoiler, I did not, I think after the near bike crash it brought down my effort a bit after) so it really helped me push all the way back into town. As soon as I made the long hobble back to my rack I saw, once a-freaking-gain, all of the bikes were now back on the rack, and I was one of the last to make it into T2. So sad. Oh well, on I went, doing a better job of wiping my feet this time so no rocks in my socks, and after a quick stop in the porta potty I was off.
Bike Time: 2:55:15