Hey! The last post left you at the point where I had rolled throught the first water stop and was riding through the residential areas with all of the cheering folks along the course.
From here, we made a right hand turn and skirted a mall and then we went on to a main road that pretty much had been shut down from traffic just for the race. Once we got under a bridge, we took a left hand turn and we were on a long parkway. The cars were on the outside two lanes and the racers were on the inside lane and the shoulder. There were still more fans in the median and at the crossovers since none of the cars were allowed in these areas. It was fun to see the cars creeping along or at a bumper-to-bumper standstill while were zipping along past them. There were a few large groups that passed me on the way out to mile 20 and the turn around, but for the most part I was holding my own and keeping a check on my speed. Sometimes I would look down and my speed was 19 mph and sometimes it was 22 mph. I was feeling good and my legs were turning. I had started in on the Accelerade and a package of Clif Shot Bloks for fuel. Every once and a while I would here ambulance sirens, but I never saw the emergency vehicles. All that those sirens told me was that someone had crashed on the bike. I made sure that I was not drafting and no one was going to take me down. Not long after I had made that mental note to myself, some DORK (I had a better name for him during the race...)from the Men's 40-44 age group came screaming around me and cut in front of me so close that his back wheel almost hit my front wheel! Was he looking where he was going??? Well if looking ahead is where he was going, then yes, but other than that he was not looking. I had no time to hit my brakes, but I did momentarily pop out of my aerobars and made it known that I was not happy with his race tactics.
I approached the turn around and then headed south and all of a sudden it felt like there was a tailwind. Once I changed my gearing and settled in to my pace, I checked my watch for the time. HOLY SMOKES!!! I had only been on my bike for an hour. That means that my pace was averaging at 20 mph! There should be no problem in finishing the bike course in under three hours if I kept up the pace. Around mile 25, Geoff pedaled past me and gave me a shout out. I was surprised that it had taken him that long to catch me on the bike. That must mean that I was crankin' on the bike. SWEET!!! We pedaled under a pedestrian bridge were a large crowd of people were cheering for us and they had hung motivational banners. The cars in the lanes next to us were still moving slowly. At one point I was hanging tough with a guy in a convertable and I was VERY temped to look over and ask him how fast we were going, but before I worked up the guts to do it, he had to slow down and I rocketed past him. The cars were now being diverted off the road and into one lane. I saw the flashing lights and saw that the traffic was moved over so that we could move over and get around a bad crash. I saw at least two people down on the ground and being attended to but there seemed to be at least 3 or 4 bikes on the ground as well. That was not good, but I just had to keep up with my race and not get distracted.
The cars were exiting off of a ramp so that the racers had the Hwy 19 bridge over Tampa Bay all to themselves. Looking down at my speed I saw 24 mph! Man I was cruzin'!!! I had some German guy pedal past me and ask me a question which I had no idea what he was talking about. I just shouted back "ONE!" Oh well, so much for foreign diplomacy. I was working on my second bottle of Accelerade now and mildly thinking that I had better think about making room for all those extra fluids I was drinking. I had emptied the holding tank on the swim but I had slurped down 48 oz. of fluids since then. I had thought that I was going to take Geoff's advice of not stopping and draining the bilge on the bike, but as much as I wanted to and gave it my best effort, nothing happened. I was suffering from sphincter lock-up. All those men who have to take Flow-Max, just get them to do a cycling race and try to make them pee on the bike. They might be hard pressed just like me. A few times it was a cheering parent and their kid that kept me from relaxing and other times it was just being on top of the game in the race. I figured that I was not in pain and my eyeballs were not yellow yet so I could probably wait for the transtion area. I had been thanking all of the police men and women who were doing a fantastic job of keeping the course auto free and keeping us safe.
The course now took a right turn and we were headed west again. The fantastic tail wind turned to a cross wind, but it was still a fast course. The only traffic problem I encountered was a large SUV that pulled out of a parking lot and then SAT IN OUR WAY. People who were cheering on the street began yelling for the SUV to move and I started my own cussing tirade. They could not move because the lane of traffic they were trying to get into was at a stand-still. I slowed down and got around their back bumper and took off. We were quickly approaching the turn that would take us north back to Hwy 60 and then back in to Clearwater Beach.