It was out of the water and off to find my swim to bike bag.
In my bag I had my bike shoes, socks, helmet, gloves and sunglasses. I also had a towel to wipe down my feet and a small tube of sunscreen.
I figured I should be pretty efficient in transition as I wasn’t planning any costume changes. We had so far to run to get our bags, go through the change tents, then to grab our bikes and get to the ride out though.
Luckily finding my bike was easy as there weren’t many left in transition.
I ran my bike out to the line which saved me maybe 15 seconds over walking??
The Bike: 7:45:27
Time to get on my bike and ride! I gave Neil and my parents a hello and then headed on my way.
Thanks to the rolling swim start the bike course didn’t feel as crowded as I expected it to, at least until we got to the short out and back on St. Vrain.
There the crowds coming towards us were quite a bit larger as some folks crossed the yellow line to jockey for position. As we rode down the hill to the turn around there were all kinds of signs on the road urging us to slow down and exercise caution which took away some of the fun of riding downhill.
I loved the first half of the bike course. It was so pretty and I loved the mix of rolly hills. I was eating and drinking every 15 minutes just like my plan. I had a small pain in my stomach though that I was hoping was going to go away though. When I hit special needs at the halfway pointed I decided to get off my bike and see if a stop at the porta-potty would help that small annoying pain go away.
I had some frozen bottles of EFS, a bottle of EFS Liquid Shot and some chips in my special needs bag. My frozen bottles were actually still somewhat cool, which was nice! I tried munching on some of the chips but they felt like sawdust in my mouth. Luckily after the potty stop my stomach was feeling better, but things were about to get rough out there.
One of the fellows at the aid stations told us that it was 90F out there. I definitely felt like it was cooking out there. I started to notice a lot of people on the side of the road, lying in the ditch with race staff hovering over them. My feet started to cramp in my shoes (not unusual on hot days) and my right hamstring started to cramp too. I kept having to pull over to the side of the road to stretch and to try to get my feet to loosen up.
I knew I needed to keep drinking or my day would turn disastrous. Thank goodness for the aid stations that had ice to cool my warm EFS down and ice cold bottles of water. That ice cold water was like heaven. I saw more people laying in the ditch, people complaining of feeling dizzy at the aid stations, people taking naps on lawns with their bikes laying by a tree.
I was entering a dark place. The false flats seemed endless and the distance was slowly ticking by. I kept having to stop and get off my bike to deal with the cramps. I wanted to be done and off my bike so badly. I tried every trick in the book to turn my attitude around but it wasn’t working. I was almost happy to see the Three Sisters climb around mile 100 just to be doing something other than riding false flats. Riding the three climbs felt good, but on the flats between the climbs was the very first time I felt the altitude. It was getting hard to catch my breath.
As I rode in to town I started to cry when I recognized one of the street names we turned on to. Thankfully the bike ride was over and I had made it. I felt pretty darn lucky to make it through the bike but I lost nearly half an hour from having to stop and stretch on the second half of the ride.
We had a silly long way to go between the dismount line and when we actually handed our bikes off to volunteers. I stopped to take my shoes off so I could walk in socks instead of clomping along in bike shoes. I noticed rows of cardboard boxes where special needs bags used to be.
My brain wasn’t comprehending why they were there but after running on the track for a few seconds I decided to run along the cardboard. No doubt between that cardboard and my socks I saved my feet from getting burned on the track that day as that black rubber was smoking hot.
Once again, it was one long, long transition…