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.
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.