The bike path is narrow and it's sort of a slow-zone with a few sharp corners and no room for passing. I saw one crash under a bridge on this part of the path and I heard of a few others! I hope everyone was okay but it was a reminder for me to take it easy on the sharp curves.
My mantra for the day was "stay in the box" which might sound strange at first. But I used it to remind myself to stay true to the paces that I've trained for and that it didn't matter what the person next to me was doing. The only person I needed to worry about was me. I wasn't going to win so it didn't matter. For the bike, I wanted to focus on keeping my heart rate around 150 bpm. I knew it would spike up on the steep hills but I wanted to keep it contained when riding downhill or on the flatter portions. So when I was getting passed fairly often on the way out on the stick I reminded myself that good pacing would pay off later. And I mentally patted myself on the back for beating them in the swim! Ha! It's a long day so I can be a little petty.
I tried not to draft off of other athletes because I saw a few bike officials out on the course but at times we would get so crowded in. The hillier it was the worse the crowding got. I was pretty thrilled on the hills for the first loop and was passing people up them. Of course, they would soon pass me on the downhill and flat parts later. I am so glad I switched my bike over to a compact crank! One guy I kept passing on the hills started making comments like "Hello climbing legs!" as I would go by him! Once I responded, "I love hills!" I was having a great time and the thoughts running through my head were "This is the perfect day" and "I feel so great." I had a big goofy grin on my face for most of the bike ride.
Right before I got to the aid station in Mount Horeb I saw my mom! I saw her before she saw me so I waved at her!
On each loop there are some infamous hills named the three sisters (or b**ches) because they are steep! The crowd support on these hills is legendary. Like Tour de France style insane. Spectators line both sides of the road and they are all cheering and the music is playing. At the first hill, a guy dressed in a devil costume chased me up the hill for a while and asked me how the swim was and how my day was going. I, of course after all the positive pep talking to myself, responded that the swim was perfect and the day was perfect. PERFECT! I saw many more great costumes including a guy with his shirt off holding a sign that said "Free Lube" which made me laugh.
The crowds really pumped me up and carried me up those tough hills! Plus I got to see Amy again! On the second of the three sisters on Timber Lane I spotted my cousin Kristin and friend Molly! It makes me so happy that so many people came out to support me the day of the race! Next I passed back through Verona where Matt was cheering. I didn't see him but I heard him cheering but I couldn't look around because I was refilling my aero bottle at an aid station.
Quickly after that we went through a turn and I hit a bump and my full aero bottle went flying off of my bike! Thankfully it skidded across the road and a helpful spectator grabbed it for me so I didn't even have to fully get off my bike. Thank goodness because I don't think I could have made it the second half of the ride without that water available.
Right after Verona is special needs. I stopped to grab my extra tube and air cartridges because at the athlete meeting they told us we wouldn't be getting our special needs bags back so I didn't want to lose those. I spent like $10 on that stuff! Plus I had a peanut butter sandwich in there and some more Honey Stinger waffles and another Bonk Breaker bar that I threw in my pockets as well. Just a note on my outfit--I wore a Moxie cycling jersey with the Moving Comfort Juno bra and Pearl Izumi Elite cycling shorts. I opted for the nice cycling shorts instead of tri shorts because I wanted to be comfortable the whole time on the bike. The Moxie jersey was great because it has three big pockets. I didn't even eat all the fuel I carried! Plus it was cute! I got a lot of compliments on it!
Right after special needs I stopped to use the porta potty. I had to go since the swim but I couldn't figure out how to actually pee while I was swimming and I wasn't about to pee on my nice bike! I still was holding my peanut butter sandwich so I just stuffed that down my top while I was in the bathroom. Triathlon is so glamorous.
Loop 2 was more of the same. It was a little less crowded which was much better. The hills still weren't too hard. I just dumped it into the easiest gears I had and tried to spin up them. The crowds on the three sisters weren't nearly as huge as the first time around but they were still awesome! I saw Kristin and Molly again before Verona! Once I was in Verona I saw Matt and his friends Keith and Devon. Then a minute later I saw my mom and dad! Later I found out they weren't even trying to see me there, they were just walking back to the car!
Before I knew it, I was headed back towards Madison on the stick! I still felt great and the only thing that was bothering me was this screw in my bike seat that I kept rubbing my inner thigh on. And it tore a hole in my favorite pair of bike shorts! :( But my legs still felt good and my neck and back still felt pretty good!
As I was approaching the 100 mile marker I chatted briefly with a guy who grumbled that the course was measuring long. This was a great time to use my mantra because I was not going to be bothered by this at all. I figure everyone has to ride the same course so what does it matter if it comes out to 112.5 miles instead of 112.0. Plus my watch was measuring slightly behind anyways.
Since feeling like it was so crowded on the loops, it was pretty strange on the way back in to feel fairly alone for quite a stretch. I could almost always see someone in the distance ahead of me but this was the only stretch of time where someone was not right in front of me or behind me. I actually enjoyed that part. There is one significant hill on the stick and I was getting a little bit tired of the hills by then but I just kept checking in on my legs and my heart rate and was still thinking really positive thoughts. I am so glad I rode all those really crappy hilly rides back in Iowa this training cycle.
The bike course ends by going back up the helix to the terrace! As I came up to the dismount line I slowed down and easily put my legs down as I've buckled my legs in situations like this before. Thankfully my legs held up just fine and I passed my bike off to a volunteer and ran inside the terrace. T2 is similar to T1 in that you run through a room and pick up your bag and then go into the change room.
I once again got my own volunteer and she was so great. She dumped my bag out and organized my shoes and socks. I changed out of my bike shorts and into my running shorts and changed out my socks for a new pair. She helped me empty out my pockets of my bike jersey and all I put back in was the Clif Citrus shots that I think taste like Mtn Dew. She also grabbed me a cup of water which was very refreshing. Before I left I slathered vaseline over my top half where I normally get chaffing from my sports bra. Once outside I got slathered with sunscreen before heading out on the run. I was a little bit tired from the bike ride but my spirits were still high! I was going to be an Ironman today!
For nutrition on the bike I ate: 1 regular-sized Almond Butter and Honey Bonk Breaker, 1 mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bonk Breaker, 3 Honey Stinger Waffles (I think, I can't remember if I had 2 or 3), 1 Clif shot citrus gel, and one peanut butter sandwich. At the aid stations I was taking a bottle of Powerbar Perform for my bike cage or a bottle of water to refill my aero bottle. I was trying to eat every 45 minutes to an hour throughout the bike ride.
Bike Time: 6:37:15
Average Speed 16.92 mph