I bet you thought this part of the race would never come. (Actually, I know you were secretly praying it would never come so you wouldn't have to continue with these ridiculous race reports.)
I ran to my bike with my shoes in hand. Maybe it wasn't the quickest option, but it's what I had decided to do. I hadn't been practicing my shoes-on-the-pedals-flying-bike-mount so I opted for the slow, safe and infinitely more dorky step-over-push-off method.
Down the helix and on the course. (I will try to keep this short - don't laugh - how much can I say about pedaling my bike? Oh, just you wait.) As we recall, I had forgotten my sunscreen so when I came running out of transition I shot by the sun screen "slatherers" and had to go back to get "applied." I had the presence of mind to have them slather my forehead so I didn't end up with a stupid "vent burn" from my helmet.
About two miles into the course we get on a section of narrow, bumpy bike path. It's a "no passing" zone and it lasts for what, maybe, like 3/4 of a mile at most. I get behind someone who is kind of poking along - doesn't bother me, I need to get my heart rate down a little bit. Some total douchebag is yelling a couple of people behind me, "GET MOVING! C'MON, PICK UP THE PACE!" Dude - really? Going slow for this short section is not going to make an once of difference in your day. If it really means that much to you, perhaps you should have swam a little faster or not dicked around in transition so long. Seems to me the only person you have to blame for your position is yourself. Prick! Once we got through the "no passing" zone I got around the guy in front of me, but I don't recall anyone jetting out and around me as they tore up the course. Hmm, perhaps D-Bag isn't as fast as he believes himself to be.
Shit happens, right? So here is some shit that happened. The tape holding my handlebar tape started to come off and it was getting my hands all full of black sticky stuff. That was annoying. I kept trying to tear it off without completely undoing it and kept almost going off the road. I tried to ignore it after awhile with varying degrees of success.
On the first little climb that required me to shift to the small ring, I slammed the shift lever down and dropped my chain. FUCK! Half way up a hill on the side of the road is not where you want to be fixing your chain. 30 seconds, fixed and done. Now, I have dirty hands. I hate that.
My nutrition plan was to take three salt tabs every hour. Here comes hour one. I pull out the canister with my salt tabs, try to flip it open with my thumb (done a hundred times during training) and proceed to drop the unopened canister. FUCK! In a flash of brilliance I had placed an identical canister of salt tabs in my "needs especial" bag. I could easily do the first half of the bike without salt.
The bike went along without major incident (this is good for you, because if a MAJOR incident had happened we might be here for weeks.) At water stops I was grabbing water bottles like a pro. Kept my speed up, but reasonable. Pointed to the bottle I wanted - grabbed it - squeezed as much in my mouth as possible - tossed it - pointed to and grabbed a second to carry on my bike. At one particular stop I came in way too fast. I went to grab the bottle, but it careened off my hand flying through the air and more than likely striking an unsuspecting volunteer in the face (or I like to think so.) I slowed down and grabbed the next two bottles. Nobody's perfect.
On the bike I had to pee. But I just couldn't actually "pee on the bike." I had never practiced it and although I did try - I have a horribly bashful bladder and it wasn't my bike - I just couldn't do that. I made a port-a-potty stop. It was actually a welcome break.
I also stopped for my special needs bag, got my salt tabs and another bottle and soldiered on.
About 3/4 of the way through the fact that I was riding a borrowed bike with a less than perfect fit started to become apparent. My shoulders were starting to get tight causing my neck to stiffen up and I started to get a screaming tension headache. I started to sit up a lot more, coasting down the hills instead of attacking them and standing to pedal slowly up the uphills to try and stretch out some. I could see it reflected in my computer data. My guess is it probably made about a five- to ten-minute difference. But, hey - I'll take it.
Coming down John Nolan Drive back into Madison I really found myself looking forward to the run. Not necessarily because the bike was so bad, although I really wanted to be able to stretch out my back and shoulders, but because everything was really feeling so good.
Up "the Helix" - much easier than I had expected - and off to transition. Legs feeling good.
Here are a bunch of pictures. Some are obviously me as they were taken by professionals. The others are probably not of me as they were taken by A and my mom. I'm SO glad I made my helmet so ugly and visible, but you still couldn't pick me out.
I really hate the way I look on a bike.