Monday, June 7, 2010

Honu 70.3 - Let the race continue (unabridged) (part 2 of 4)

I finally got my ass on my bike. (This will be a shorter post than the previous one because there is just a lot of pedaling and not much drama - which is a VERY good thing.)

Sitting here now (still at the Starbucks on Palani Drive in Kona, Hawaii) the bike seems to have flown by. I guess that is a testament to my uneventful ride. I remember feeling like the pokey puppy heading out of transition to get on the Queen K highway, but I was advised to take it very easy up this deceptively steep and long hill. It was valuable advice to heed. You don't want to turn yourself inside out getting up the first quarter mile hill in a 56 mile race. I did realize that I have for-shit bike handling skills. I was all over the fricking place. I was kind of embarrassed with my poor skills, but whatever, no one got hurt (at least not yet.)

Once I got on the highway I just settled into an easy rhythm. For some reason my cadence sensor wasn't working so I had no idea how fast I was pedaling, but I figured I could go by feel and if I was a little fast, it was better than grinding away on too high a gear. I just kept an eye on my heart rate and made sure I wasn't working too hard.

You always hear about the winds on the Queen K highway, but until you are out there you have no idea. The wind doesn't stop. In my opinion the worst wind isn't a head wind, it's the cross winds, which we had all day. I haven't had my bike for very long and so I decided to use my training wheels instead of getting race wheels and it was a great decision for me. My left wrist was so sore from fighting the cross winds blowing from the right. I would have been exhausted if I had to fight much more with deep rim race wheels. It was nothing scary, but you sure had to pay attention and make sure you didn't get blown into anyone.

The course is hilly and it doubles back a couple of times, so any hill you go down you have to go back up later. I was cruising up the hills with little effort. When I say cruising, I don't mean flying. I was getting passed on some of the uphills, but I kept repeating a mantra I read somewhere - "You will pass people and you will get passed." I just kept to my plan and made sure I stayed in the saddle and didn't redline my heartrate up the hills.

Now the downhills were another story. I fricking hammered them. (Now, when I say hammered, I mean I pedaled down them as fast as I could while not letting my heartrate or cadence get out of control and I coasted very little.) I was a little more conservative in the first half, but on the second half I absolutely could not go fast enough down the hills. I really wanted a higher gear. And there were some LONG downhills. I topped 40 mph a couple of times. It was fantastic!

About three-quarters of the way through the ride I caught RR. I slowed down and we were chatting. It was kind of funny to me. Here we are racing along talking about stupid stuff.
Then I realized she was talking to all the guys. She was looking for fricking dates. I was going to pass her, which was kind of surprising to me, but like I said I was hammering the downhills. We stayed close for awhile and then I started to pull away on an uphill. She said she was tired and let me go. The last thing I heard her say was "Throw me a tow rope!" I replied, "Give me a fricking push!" Really, I just didn't want to cramp her style and scare off any potential dates.

I was most proud of myself on the bike for the flawless execution of my nutrition plan. I had prepared my aero bottle up front and two water bottles in back with my drink of choice. I had an open cage on my seat tube for water and then when I had emptied the bottles in back I would chuck them and grab Gatorade. I had GUs taped to my top tube and a bunch of backups in my jersey and I had my salt tabs. Coach and I had developed a schedule for feeding and I followed it to a T. At some point I lost one of my back bottles, but I just kept downing the Gatorade. There were only two glitches in the plan. First, I can't do math. I was supposed to have a GU every 20 minutes and I figured I'd be on the bike between 2:30 and 2:45. That would be at least 8 GUs. I taped on 6. I am dumb. But I had my back ups. Second, at one of the water hand-offs I grabbed a Gatorade and they had forgotten to take the inner seal off. I was like "What the FUCK!?" I had to tear the top off with my teeth and then tear the seal off.

Overall the bike when well, but of course it can never go perfectly. I've been dealing with a minor saddle sore for a couple of weeks, but it is now a major saddle sore. (Anyone with any suggestions please forward.)

The bike leg is coming to an end. I am hydrated, still sweating (although my shorts are very salt stained) and my legs were feeling pretty fresh. Coming up to the bike-in I am getting out of my shoes and once again my fucked up bike handling skills rear their ugliness. As I am struggling to get one foot out I start to weave and all of the sudden there is a woman beside me and I have now forced her off the path into cinders along the side. She swears (rightfully) and I apologize (feebly) and she thankfully doesn't go down. Her number is #1060 so if any of you San Diego peeps know Kebby Holden please put her in contact with me so I can apologize profusely for being a total dumbass. (We actually saw each other later on the run course and talked, but I didn't realize it was her until later and I couldn't find her after the race and she finished immediately in front of me.) (As I reread this before posting I am realizing I may not be solely responsible for that mistake - what was she thinking trying to pass me coming into the bike dismount area? But whatever, I still have terrible bike skills.)

So now I have my feet out of my shoes and I have one foot down and am trying to throw the other over my seat and it gets hung up. So I am hopping on one foot with one leg up in the air as I am manhandling my bike and trying not to fall on my face. (Anyone who has video of this, I would love to see what an embarrassment I was.) I had forgotten that I still had a Gatorade bottle in back and my leg caught it.

I was again surprised to see how few bikes were in the racks. My bike is definitely not my strong suit. I came in at 2:42:00. So surprised. I ended up 121st overall and was 21st in my division.

Stay tuned for the run. This is where the real drama took place.


Beth said...

I am loving your race report!! What a great swim/bike combo - can't wait to hear about the run!!! :)

Charisa said...

I want to see the video of your bike dismount - that sounds FANTASTIC!!!!

So far I'm thinking your race has been stellar - very well executed!

rr said...

I was NOT looking for dates!!!!

Teresa said...

I like your way of taking out competitors...but next time make sure they are in YOUR division (or mine ;))...ha! Nice work! tn