So, right, off to the bike. Like most sane, rational would be Ironmen , this was the part I was most looking forward to. Only a freak would enjoy the swim and anyone looking forward to a marathon (I’m talking to you Molly) well, they are in serious need of some mental examination. Since getting my beautiful Doris Day last spring I’ve been really enjoying riding a bike again. Doris was preceeded by The Gold Child, a fine bike but a bike that never fit me properly. Doris is female specific, I am female, Doris is short, I am short, Doris is white, I am white… perhaps that’s reaching.
So, as I was saying, the bike was going to be my time to get nutrition and liquid into me, to enjoy the desert, to think about all the wonderful people and experiences that got me to this point.
Alex and I, along with never getting into Tempe Town Lake, also never got a chance to check out the bike course. It’s a 3 loop that runs into town and out into the desert on a highway with pavement like buttah. Arizona doesn’t get frost heaved roads. We love Arizona pavement.
I’m heading into the wind, staying in my little girl gear on the front, spinning at 90 RPMs cursing the wind but absolutely stoked that I’m on the bike, racing an Ironman. I feel great. A fellow competitor summed it up perfectly as she rode by me and said “isn’t this amazing”.
It was tough going into the head wind but I was thinking about the ride coming back down after the turn around. Coming back down also gave me a better look at the length of the false flat I had come back on. This was fun, I was in the drops and remembered to shout “weeeee” at one point.
The only annoyance was the groups of drafting athletes moving through the race course. I honestly don’t understand why I was passed on so many occasions by riders moving as a pack but I never saw more than one athlete in the penalty tent. If you showed up with your buddies, drafted off them and qualified for Kona then I hope some Hawaiian god gets wind of your cheating and smites you well and good.
Otherwise the first 2 laps were a joy. Riders passed energy and encouragement back and forth. My bib was on back with my name on it and it was wonderful to hear someone take the time to use my name and wish me well as they passed me. There are some great riders out there and I’ll tell you when ever some young (good looking) athletic (good looking) probably type A took the time to speak to me I found myself just a little lighter on the pedals.
One aid station was manned/womaned by young fit people and I’d like to thank the topless men wearing hula skirts. One seemed to be only wearing a leaf of some sort but, damn, I was moving too fast to really assess the situation.
The only problem I had run into at this point was asthma. I don’t generally get asthmatic on a ride, and only notice it once I finish a run or a race but starting on the 2nd lap I found myself choking and coughing when I tried to speak to volunteers. I wasn’t too worried as I didn’t want to get my heart rate and respiration up to a point of deep breathing but it worried me enough that I started on my puffer. I’m not sure if I overused it (probably), if the Cliff bar I got from special needs was a bad idea (maybe) or if my body just decided that it wasn’t happy with the situation but my stomach rebelled and blew up into a good big distended organ. Rule number two was “don’t puke” but there were times heading up for the third lap when I thought I was going to pull a Norman and give it a go on the bike.
I started to head from aid station to aid station looking forward to the run so I could stand up like a proper homo sapien and let all my organs find their proper place. I struggled to get into the drops to make the most of aerodynamics on the final head down the highway back to transition.
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