So once on the bike, the first priority was to bring my heart rate to a zone 2. Take in some calories and get settled into a 90 RPM cadence. There is a mile or two of uneven sidewalks and street bumps, so staying in control and not loosing any water bottles, especially avoid getting a flat was a big priority as well. It was going well, until I was not paying attention and side swiped a traffic cone, Mann, after that I stayed more focus, that would have not been pretty going down like that, I thought to myself..
So along the way to the loop I saw kickstandpam on one of the bike stretches. So with my non-talking race policy into effect I waved hello as I passed on by. So after 16 miles, the 1st loop now began. From riding on this course so much these past two years I knew every part about it. When to shift, the road surface, and even the lawn ornaments along the way. Familiarity does bring on confidence, NO DOUBT!!
So I was feeling great out there, my garmin watch was not beating excessively to lower my heart rate down. I did look at a couple of times to see what it was, it said 172, how can that be, I was feeling great out there. Even the long sections of the course I usually dread, I was now riding with ease. So I tried to put that number out of my mind and stay focused. So on one of the hills, I passed a group of riders, low and behold it was blogger ERIN, somehow I picked her out of the crowd going up a hill. We said "hello" and asked how everything was going and then I was on my way. Then on another hill I picked out blogger TRIShannon, I finally got to meet her, even though it was just for a minute or two. Okay I broke my "silent-biking¨ rule once or twice.
Then it was the final hill of the 40 mile loop. My "NEMESIS", last year I walked up it both times, I always remember the SAG vehicle asking if I was okay, "Uhhh YEAH," I said. For some reason, never in training on the same hill I would be okay going up it. Race day, my thighs would cramp and scream out in pain. I guess this day would NO different. C'mon, "PAIN is temporary" as it shot up my quads, keep going, you don't want to be walking it again!!! Pain, keep pedaling, don't look to far ahead. Finally over the top. Pain starting to go away.. Whew, I will see you again in a little bit.
So before the end of the 1st loop I kept on seeing 172 again on my Garmin watch again, which I thought was my heart rate, but it was my actual average bike speed of 17.2 mph for 56 miles.
Woohoo, with a time of around 3 hours 15 minute for the 1st bike split. Hmmmm, could I actually do a 6:30 bike split, a 1 hour PR from last year I thought to myself. I felt great at the halfway point, but I knew I had to slow down. If I didn't, I might run the risk of walking most of the marathon. So for the second half of the bike, I slowed down, which was not hard for me to do anyways, since I was getting a little tired. It was a strange quite feeling the second loop, the racers were more spread out and felt more alone out there at some points in the race. But I felt good the second loop as well, the miles seemed to just click away. Tackled my "NEMESIS" with greater ease the second time around.
So with 6 hours and 50 minutes and with everybody yelling "go spider man," go "bubba" and "go Dennis¨ from everybody along the route, I was finally done on this somewhat windy 112 mile bike course. Another PR, I was so pumped up. Nutrition and my bike race plan worked out so well.
Nothing spectacular here, I rode up the spiral helix for the last time into T2, shoes still attached to the bike and ran in to get changed.