After seeing my family out of T1, I headed to the mount line, which was sooo crowded! Because I had tears streaming down my face I actually waited a couple of minutes to mount my bike because I really didn't want to crash right off the bat!
|1 loop of the 3 loop course|
The first part of the course consists of several different streets before you actually get on the beeline highway. It was a nice way to ease into the long ride ahead of me, but before I knew it, I was on the beeline. While the beeline is not a "hill" by any means, it is a steady climb to the turn around with about 500ft. elevation gain. For the first loop, I was still trying to get my "bike legs" and I was surprised at how hard heading out the beeline felt. It wasn't like it was a huge climb, but I was only averaging about 14mph going up, which totally surprised me! I just tried to keep my cadence up instead of pushing the big gears because I knew I still had 2 1/2 loops to do and I DID NOT want to burn out my legs right away.
Finally, I came to the turn around and I knew it was mostly all down hill from there and I got really excited! I FLEW down the beeline! I felt so fast and it was awesome! I definitely had my "bike legs" at this point and I just cruised back to town. At one point I looked at my Garmin and I was going 28mph! Woohoo!
As I came back towards transition people were lining the street on both sides! Everyone was cheering and it was just amazing! I didn't think I would see my family at all during the bike because we had talked about how difficult it is to really know where an athlete is on the bike and when they are coming. BUT, to my surprise, as I headed to the turn around, I saw my sisters, dad, and niece/nephews on the side of the road screaming at the top of their lungs! I was sooo surprised to see them and so excited that I started to tear up AGAIN! Seriously, I was a mess this entire race! Ha ha!
This is kind of hard to see, but I'm the one on the other side of the road in my blue jacket! That hand is actually my sister's hand..ha ha! I waved and blew kisses to my family as I went by and I just got so excited! Seeing them definitely gave me a burst of energy as I headed out for loop 2.
At this point, I started getting hot! I stopped on the side of the road, took off my jacket, and stuffed it in my tri top pocket. Then, I was off for another loop! Once again, I got on the beeline and started cruising. BUT, this time, heading up the beeline felt a lot easier and I found myself averaging around 17-18mph. I chalked it up to finally having my bike legs and I got visions of having a fast loop!
Well, my visions faded pretty fast when I reached the turn around to head back down the beeline. Right as I turned around, I was greeted by a major HEADWIND! I immediately thought, "That's why riding up was so easy...I had a tailwind the entire way!" Then, my next thought was, "CRAP..I'm going to have this nasty wind the entire way down!" There goes the 20+mph miles downhill! I was sooo bummed because I HATE the wind! But, training in CO, where there is almost always wind, really prepared me for it. I decided at that point that I was NOT going to let the wind ruin my day! I knew what I had to do, so I just stayed in aero, put my head down, and just kept on going forward.
Finally, I made it to the Special Needs area (around mile 67). I stopped and an awesome volunteer gave me my bag and helped switch out my nutrition bottles. Honestly, I didn't even want them. I had actually started feeling a little nauseous on my bike and wasn't sure what the problem was. I was taking in my EFS, eating my Honey Stinger waffles and chews, and doing everything the same as I did in training. BUT, my stomach just felt off and a little queasy. I started wondering if maybe swallowing gallons of Tempe Town Lake water was the culprit. I had no idea what to do, so I just kept going, hoping that it would pass. Unfortunately, a short time later I had to make a pit stop...ugh!
Finally, I was winding back to transition and I was sooo glad to be at the end of the 2nd loop. Again, I didn't expect to see my family, but as I got closer to the turn around, THEY WERE THERE! WOOHOO!! My sister actually got this shot of me as I rode by!
|This was taken by someone on beginnertriathlete.com. It turns out he was out there taking pictures of as many BT athletes that he could! How cool is that!?|
FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY I came to the fork on the bike course where you could either head to the finish, or continue on for another lap. I was sooo happy to make that right turn into the finish shoot! The volunteers were motioning me towards the dismount line and I pulled up, swung my leg over, and clipped out. The volunteer said, "There you go, that's how to dismount!" I passed my bike to another volunteer who would rack it for me, and headed to the run gear bags. I was surprised at how good my legs felt! I thought they would feel like mush, but they didn't! A volunteer already had my bag out and ready to hand to me...it was awesome!
|All the run gear bags in nice little rows!|
After taking several deep breaths, I took off my helmet, gloves, and bike shoes and started to put on my running stuff. I got my compression socks on easily, slipped on my shoes, put on my visor and race belt and thanked the volunteer over and over again for her help. I took one last long breath, then headed out of the change tent for the last leg of my awesome adventure!