Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ironman Austin 70.3 Race Report: Part 2-The Bike

Heading out of T1...

Picking up where I left off on the last post, I was dashing out of T1 in a not so special time of 4:04. It was a long run from the lake to where my bike was located near the Bike Exit and I took time to clean off my feet before pulling on my shoes. I am not sure why I wanted to clean off my feet to stick them into the nastiest and smelliest shoes on the planet, but I did.

Once I got over the mount line and started pedaling my first job was to get my sun glasses on and dig out my Clif Mojo bar and get ready to snarf it down. Some poor dude had a flat tire not 300 yards from the start of the bike course and he was pulling a Norman Stadler on the side of the road and yelling. The bad thing was he was swinging his wheel around and his bike was still in the road. I yelled at him to move his bike off the pavement. I am sure he was feeling the love for me. After we passed the Travis County Expo Center and got onto Decker Ln. I knew I had a few miles of rollers to eat my Mojo bar before there was a hard right turn on the course. Coach had set a plan for me to hold back a little on the bike so that I would still have energy for later in the race. The second part of the bike plan was to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate....and then hydrate some more. I had almost a full gallon of water and Gatorade on the bike with me and I was going to do my best to drink the majority of it. Pedaling along and eating and drinking I was coasting on the down hills and holding my own on the up-hill portions. The sun was out and I was feeling good.

After I made the right turn I had a little more road space to maneuver around people and find free space to tuck into. I knew from riding this course before that at the end of the road was another right turn that put us right onto a steep uphill. I prepared by dropping my chain into the small ring as the corner approached. I made that corner and was ready for that hill as I sped past people who were mashing and frantically changing gears. SWEET!!! There was a nice downhill to coast and recover on. Soon I was passing the 5 mile marker. Dang, that was fast. I had not really checked my watch to notice what time I left T1 but I was quickly doing some math in my head based on speed and distance and determined that I was rocking a killer pace. It may have even been a tad too fast. I went back to focusing on my hydration plan and was mildly amused at some gal who was working hard to pass me up only to have me pass her on a hill. Since this was a hilly course we played leap frog for quite some time before I dropped her like a bad habit on a long uphill on a feeder road of a highway.

Over the highway we went and through a neighborhood of sorts of large ranch homes. I found another gal who played leap frog with me. I just tried to make sure that I was not too close and accused of drafting. The officials were out and I saw them nab some dude and flash him a red card. Mile 10 was passed and the course made a left turn toward Manor, TX. Thankfully the road crews had been out and had filled in a lot of the wheel sucking cracks that ran along the pavement and parallel to the shoulder of the road. It also helped that I did not have to ride in the shoulder since we had the entire lane on a closed part of the course. The sun had been covered up by some hazy clouds and for a moment I was regretting the fact I did not have my arm warmers. Oh well, HTFU cupcake! It was time to eat a Clif Kid's Twisted Fruit Rope and I could tell that I was nearing the bottom of my aero bottle. Drink, drink, drink. Around mile 15 there is a speedy down hill with a bridge at the bottom and the pavement is bumpy and rough. The second gal who I had been playing leap frog with was slowing for nutrition. As I passed I gave her the head's up about the bump at the bottom of the hill. She was very thankful as I pedaled past. At least the race crew had set up "BUMP" signs in bright orange at the bottom of the hill and had sprayed orange markings on the pavement. The road work crews had also done some work to make it a little better as well. On the way back up the hill and to a right turn, I emptied my aero bottle. I started filling it back up after I got around the corner and popped a few S-Caps as well.

I was letting a bunch of men pass me up and that was fine by me, they were all the faster young guys. I saw one of my TNT friends, Caroline, pulling over to the side of the road and I asked if she was OK as I passed. She said she was good so I kept plugging away. With the sun still covered by haze I was not sweating much or at least as much as I normally do on a Texas bike ride. However, I kept the hydration going. Passing the 20 mile marker I did quick math in my head and figured that my pace was around 20 mph. I was happy with that because I was holding back as per the plan. There were plenty of volunteers out on the bike course that were keeping us on the course and from making a wrong turn and to flag us about rail road tracks and turns. I made sure to thank them all. The next right turn put us on Monkey Rd.

I am only out of my aero bars because this is right before a turn. Notice it is not too sunny. This is where I wanted my arm warmers.

So far, I had moved to the left to move out of the way of people slowing down to go through aid stations but on Monkey Rd. there were cones up and signs telling us to stay to the right. I knew another steep hill was coming and I also knew I needed to get out of the way of these people. I had to ignore the volunteers who were motioning us to stay right to move around a guy and then I saw all the orange tape all over the pavement highlighting the cracks, holes, bumps, and patches. OH SH-T!!! Now I know why they wanted us to stay right going up that steep hill. At the top of the hill it was time to spin out the legs and get ready for a tight right hand turn.

It was time to eat and drink again. I had some nice speed on gentle down hills to just cruise along and take care of nutrition and hydration. I was noticing a gal who I would pass and then she would pass me back up hooked onto some one's back wheel. She was 24 years old as indicated on her calf and I figured that this was her first time at the dance. She probably had not read the rules and did not know about them at all. She probably did weekend rides with a bike club, but she stuck out as a newbie because of her blatant drafting. I just let her roll on by knowing that I would see her again.

I rolled up on my friend Lauren on Hogg Eye Rd. and told her she was doing great. At the top of the hill I knew that we would be rolling down on the stretch of road that only a week earlier had been gravel and pot holes. In that week, tar had been laid down to keep the dust down and to fill in the holes. It was about this time that I emptied my aero bottle for the second time. I needed to get rid of fluids as well. I did not want to open up the flood gates and hit someone with spray who was behind me, but then I thought that it would serve them right if they were drafting. I worked on releasing just enough pressure so that I got a little relief but nothing was running down my legs and into my shoes. When I passed the 40 mile marker I looked at my watch and saw that my speed had dropped off a bit. Oh well, I was holding back. Just as long as I kept my pace, I would be able to finish in 3 hours or less. Just past mile 40 was the bridge with a sharp lip on it that I broke a piece off of the axle of my Mavic Krysium wheels last month. Again I was giving people the head's up about this down hill and bridge as I passed and thankfully the road crews had put down some asphalt to make a small ramp up the lip. The volunteers flagging people to slow down on the down hill and the large orange "BUMP" signs were great as well. A little further down the road was a sharp right turn at the bottom of a hill and then it was time to start heading back to T2 with some tailwind.

Again, coming around another corner. The sun is out and it is starting to warm up.

This part of the course got a bit dicey in parts. There were tons of cones out so that cars could travel in each direction and the race participants could have room on the road as well. Sadly, there was only room in our lane for two bikes abreast. This meant that there was a lot of drafting by the young fast dudes passing the old slow ladies like me and the 50+ men. I saw the 24 year old draft chick again pass by on some one's wheel as well. All I could do was ride my own race. Other than a few rough patches on the pavement, some gravel, and the cones, we had a nice sized shoulder to ride on. I stuck with the eat, drink, pee, pedal formula the rest of the way in. When I knew that I was less than a mile from T2 it was time to open up the flood gates for good. On my last downhill, I emptied my aero bottle for the third time and stuffed the last three Shot Blocks into my tri top for the run. On that downhill I saw the most wonderful thing. Someone had erected a big banner on the side of the road with Coach Allan Salinas' picture on it and and his name and set up a little memorial. Allen was supposed to do this race in preparation for Ironman Arizona. I gave a little kiss to the sky and told Allan that he would have loved this race today.

There was no time for tears because I was quickly approaching T2. Looking at my watch I could tell that I was coming in under 3 hours and I was happy with that. How much under 3 hours, I was not sure. So my pace could be somewhere between 18.5 and 20 mph. I would just have to forget about it and focus on getting to the run. Later I would find out that the bike leg took me 2:51:20 to complete at a pace of 19.6 mph.

So, did I meet my #1 goal for this race? Yes I did! I did not fall off of my bike. Yahoo!!! I hoped that the road surface on Hogg Eye Rd. had been repaired, and it was. I hoped that I would not crack a wheel rim on the bridge at mile 39-40, and the wheels were intact. I hoped that I would not put my wheel down into one of the vertical cracks on the pavement during the early part of the bike leg, and the road crews had been out and had patched them up.

After I got off the bike and ran into T2 I just focused on moving swiftly to get my socks and shoes on and my bike gear in the bag and tied up. On the way out of T2 I heard someone yelling my name and saw that it was one of the gals who attends my early morning cycle class. Her husband was racing as well. It was great to see a familiar face. As I ran out onto the run course I knew I had a lot of work still ahead of me. T2 took 3:03 minutes to get through. Again, nothing special here.

Stay tuned for the exciting recap of the run and some amazing stats for the race.

Later Gators,



Christi said...

Amazing detail! I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday so I can't believe how you can remember so much about your race. Thanks for sharing and great job on the ride!

Jamie said...

HTFU sounds much funnier when preceding "cupcake."

Heather said...

Love how stoked you are about peeing on the bike! hahaha, I tried to explain to people why I was so excited to regress from adult to baby when I peed on the run and no one got it. Great race! Smokin time!