T1 to Bike
After having my wetsuit stripped of at Mach 1 I headed into transition. I was able to find my bike right away, my bright orange towels worked again. I grabbed a gel and sucked that down, then threw on my helmet and snapped it right away. No need for disqualification today. I kinda took my time in T1 compared to how I usually go through during a sprint tri. I wanted to ensure I had comfort for 56 miles and that I had my nutrition ready. I found that I forgot my gloves, not a big deal. I got on my shoes and grabbed the bike and headed out to the mounting line. I had my bike in an easy gear to start and mounted without problems. With the cheers of the crowd along the bike exit I headed out onto the course.
Right after leaving the park we make a right hand turn onto the highway and there is the first hill up. I felt real good after the swim and so I stood up in the pedals and stretched while powering up the hill. After cresting the hill it was a long sweeping turn that I pedaled in my large chainring and rested into my aero bars. I was a little worried about the upcoming hills and if my training had been enough. So with my mind racing ahead of my body I settled in for a long ride.
At the 5 mile mark we took a left turn onto Route 107, the hills lay looming ahead. The first set came up quickly, I stayed in my aeros and lowered my gearing to maintain 90 rpm and easily pushed up to the top. Back down the other side I stayed aero and pushed the pace, passing other riders along the way I found myself really being careful not to draft along the way. The officials on motorcycles seemed to be everywhere. At the bottom of the hill we turned towards Route 106 and the next test of my hill climbing abilities. The next set of hills included the "Monster" a 1 mile climb to the 13 mile mark. Most of the riders settled into a high gear and kept spinning, the pack grew ahead of me and slowed. I stayed behind them as best I could to avoid drafting but shit, you can only go so slow. So I lowered my gearing and stood in my pedals and pushed. I drove the course on the prior days and knew that if I could top this hill the next 13 miles were downhill to flat, I should have recovery time. So I cranked up the hill passing rider after rider. My legs felt strong, my lungs were not aching. Plenty of oxygen at sea level. After a short time I crested the hill, turned the corner and pushed. Downhill, yes, love it.
The next 13 miles or so were along Route 106, Nice smooth breakdown lane - just like in Colorado. Slightly downhill to flat, I was able to catch a great rhythm and stayed aero till the turn around. This may sound corny but I felt so comfortable I actually started whistling. I maintained a steady 90 rpm and kept up the pace. I probably could have done better with my nutrition, I took only 4 gels with me. I should have lined my top tube with gels and taken one every 30 minutes.
The turn around was uneventful and I grabbed a couple of bottles of Gatorade from the volunteers and refilled my aero-bottle. The next 13 miles would be a challenge. Slightly uphill to flat. Yeah !!!! I found myself pushing pretty hard, still feeling fresh. I stopped to relieve myself on the crest of a hill, then pushed on. Ahead I saw a car lot that I picked out to remind me where I was and the final game started.
Once I saw the car lot I knew what was coming up. On the other side of the hill the car lot was on was a steep downhill followed by a sharp right hand turn that let to an immediate steep uphill for about 2 miles. So, knowing that, I pushed up to the crest and headed down with all the power I could muster. I was passing other riders like crazy, before reaching the bottom I moved my gearing for a steep climb, came around the corner at the bottom, stood on my pedals and started cranking up the hill. I pushed until my legs started to cramp, then settled down until the cramping stopped, then stood again and cranked to the top. The next 5 miles are a blur, probably because I headed down the "monster" hill at 45 miles per hour. Look Mom - no brakes!!! I guess flying down 8-mile back home helped after all. Riders around me we using brakes so much the air smelled of burning rubber. Not me - what the hell these are free miles...
Once down the hill, after taking a few turns and back onto the highway I settled into a spinning gear at 95 rpm and tried to rest my legs as much as possible before transition. My legs felt tired but not too bad. Once back in the park the cheers of the ever increasing crowd was awesome. I dismounted without difficulty, shot my family a smile and headed into transition...........
Next up the run......