The bike leg....224 miles of fun!
We left the pool and had to ride through some ugly highway and construction to get to the park. Fortunately, it was over quickly, and we were in the park. Flatwoods park was beautiful. It was really nice to have a comfortable 6.8 mile loop to cozy up to for 31 laps.
The course was great. It was just around and around. I had 3 places that I let myself get out of the aero position to stretch in each loop, and I think that helped me stay loose and aero most of the time (except for the one picture of me on the bike above!).
I saw some cool animals while on the bike. I saw a huge rattlesnake, a ton of frogs, and a giant wild boar. Seriously. I was NOT hallucinating. I felt fine the whole time.
I had quite a game plan for the race that Anne was in charge of executing. I stopped every other lap for a quick bottle exchange and for her to give me food. I would give her wrappers and she would make sure that I was eating/drinking enough. I was trying to average 200-300 cal/hour, though the closer to 300, the better. In all, I think that I ended up averaging right at 250/hour in the actual race. I ate powerbars, powerbar gels, pop tarts, oreos, snickers, powerbar chews, and lots of water.
I took 10 minute breaks after laps 10 and 20. My crew literally timed it. I got off of my bike, sat down, and put my feet up. I took off my shoes, and my awesome husband squeezed my feet to slow down any swelling. I ate and drank.I talked to my mom on the phone. Anne showed me a video of all my middle school students cheering for me at the top of their lungs! I wanted to hear funny stories from the crew. They sprayed me with suncreen. I really looked forward to these breaks.
I also took a quick break when it got dark. My crew put on a front light, a back light, and I switched helmets. I had a headlamp on my regular helmet ready for dark. I have never ridden in the dark like that, so my first few laps were slow while I got used to it. Then I went back to my extremely even splits. The battery in my light went out on one dark lap, so that one was a slow one, and then I went back to even splits. Once I got used to it, I enjoyed the peacefulness of the night. The sounds were different, the animals were different, and there was no one else out on the road except the racers.
I only had a couple of issues. My aero bars kept moving, but George and Coach fixed them any time I needed it. It was really windy. There's nothing you can do about wind. Headwinds suck and tailwinds rock. That's about all there is to it. I tried not to loose too much energy in the headwinds, and I enjoyed the speed of the tailwinds.
Now for the fun part of the bike ride--my crew. Since I was stopping every other loop, the loops I did not stop were hilarious. They were in costume. They drew on the ground. They had props. They were singing and dancing! I think I missed out on the fun by racing here in Florida! I also got amazing cheers from Jason and Dani's crews every time. It was so uplifting to get a quick cheer after every loop!
This might be one of my favorite pictures from the race. I do have a picture of my coach in that tu tu, but I think I will spare him the blog embarrassment and leave that picture for Facebook :-)
I like dinos, and when this guy showed up, I was fired up about it. He is holding the animal tally of all of the animals people were seeing on the course. There was another turtle on the bike course. My crew thought they might be a relay team.
Just because it got dark, they didn't calm down. Oh no. They just put on lights, lit up the tent, and kept the support party going. At one point, they calmed down because other crew complained that they were too loud (there was no one in the park after 7 unless they were related to the race). Then another athlete (not me--they cheered for everyone) came by and said, "Where did the cheering go? We NEED you." That's all it took. They were back on it!
You can see that the entire tent had glow sticks and glow in the dark paint. There is also a disco ball in there. We came to have fun!
Now, these glasses might take the cake for over the top light up stuff!
An old friend from college, Leslie came! I haven't seen her in years, and she showed up to give me her support and cupcakes. What an awesome person!!
And of course there was bingo!
The ride really didn't feel like it was that big of a deal. By 200 miles in, I was tired of the aero position, so I spent most of the last three laps out of it and up on the bullhorns. I was nervous that my feet would hurt because my bike shoes are really stiff and I don't use insoles. I even brought a second pair of shoes that are squishier, but I didn't need them.
My total bike time was 13:32. My ride time (my coach was keeping my ride time as well) was 13:07. The discrepancy accounts for my stops and rests. I was aiming for 13 flat, but considering the wind and the heat, I am totally fine with that! I can't quite say that I got off the bike feeling fresh, but I did feel fine!
I did extremely even splits the whole time. I had my garmin on my bike, but I wasn't really paying attention to anything but my effort. I have never ridden my bike this far. In fact, I have never ridden my bike farther than the Iron distance of 112 miles, which is half of this distance! I must have been trained for it though, because I felt fine throughout. This post feels far more low key than I mean for it to. I just executed my plan. I never had to dig too deep. I just rode and rode and rode my bike!
I was happy to get off the bike, but that happiness was also tempered with knowing what I still had left...a double marathon.