Friday, September 22, 2006

A cold wet bike ride

I enter T1, heart rate is out of control but I don't care. I'm ready to get on the bike and see how the rest of the day goes. It was a rush going up the helix and having all those fans and spectators cheer you on. You almost forget you are only part way into a really long day, but it sure is nice to have everyone cheering.

This is when things get interesting and my next move will haunt me for the rest of the bike ride. I sit down, dump out all my bike gear. For some wierd reason I feel tough today and don't want to bother pulling the arm bands on. My gloves look like too much of a burden, so they too are sent back into the bag. I LEFT MY ARM BAND AND GLOVES IN MY T1 BAG. I could have easily put them in my jersey pockets and decided later if I needed to pull them out. But no, I had to worry about time and made a rash decision without thinking. Lack of experience or too much trust in the weather forecast.

In the video and pics I look naked compared to those around me. I remember standing up on a downhill to stretch the legs and I was shaking. I felt cold right down to the core. Lap 2 was a lot better than the first for some reason. My time was steadily slipping away on lap 2 and my knees ached liked never before, but I didn't feel quite as miserable about the conditions. I think after almost 3 hours I came to accept that it won't clear off anytime soon.

I did almost end my day on lap 1 as we turned near Verona. Spectators were lining the course and I took a right turn and felt my front wheel slide out from underneath me. Somehow the bike stayed upright and I caught my breath while I took a second to make sure both tires were inflated and still attached! That was scary, my whole day could have been over with one bad move.

I took all corners a lot slower from then on. Maybe cost a bit of time, but it takes a close call or an accident to realize that I'll be a lot slower if I'm my bike isn't in one piece.

I was really hoping to see my wife, my poor IronWidow!, and my Mom in Verona. I knew it would be busy an I might not get more than a glimpse at best, but the boost would have been great. I also knew that they'd be yelling like mad if they saw me coming. Unfortunately, no sign of them and I started loop 2.

SimplyStu told me to take it easy on loop 1 or you'll pay for it later on. Trouble is, I'm bullheaded and it's hard to tell what 'easy' feels like on a new course. Welllll, apparently I went a little too hard as my avg. speed dropped more than I would have liked as I pushed through the second loop. This course does deserve a lot respect, but what a beuatiful place to ride, even in the rain! I did manage to see my family on the second trip through Verona. It was awesome to see them and it was nice to have that boost late in the bike ride.

The turn back to town was a nice feeling. Except the headwind and memory that we still have some inclines to conquer. Other than the chain slipping off a couple of times the bike worked great. I managed to not flat out which was a big worry. I haven't changed a tubular on the fly before, and my fingers were numb which would make for a long change.

I was so very glad to see Monona Terrace. No matter how much you love cycling, being out there for 112miles is long enough. I wanted to get in under 6hr and was lucky enough to be about 10min ahead of that goal. Things were going well so far.

I was assessing how the legs felt during the last 20+ miles and trying to remember back to some of the big training rides. I was hoping to have the marathon as my best of the three disciplines, but I was worried that the tough bike course and cool weather might have ruined this for me.

I get rid of the bike to a great volunteer and headed into the warm Terrace. How nice to have a warm place for a few minutes.

I knew T2 would be a smooth transition, and I didn't have to worry about warmth. Nothing could have been as cold as the bike! Overall a quick and painless transition. Now the many questions!


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