Within 5 minutes I passed a girl (hehehe does 40-44 qualify as girl?) in my age group. And I passed her solidly, almost like she was standing still. A few minutes later, a male pro passed me......which only meant I had passed him in the water with a 10 minute head start. I giggled about that. Another guy passed me and said, hey Michelle nice job! I thought it was someone I knew, but then realized my name was on the race number. But that was cool he gave me a shoutout. Then I passed another girl in my age group and I was a bit concerned. How many women in my age group beat me out of the water??? Focus Michelle, focus....I concentrated on getting to the turnaround.
Have I mentioned that is was windy? And cold? And that there was a possibility of rain? In transition, I decided not to bring my rain jacket since it was sunny at the time. But it was still chilly and I needed to make sure I stayed warm so my body could concentrate on cycling hard and not on keeping warm. I went with my Trakkers jersey over my tri-top, arm warmers, and compression socks for warmth. It looked initially like I had overdressed since I saw no one covered as much as I was, but I was warm, not hot, and that was what I needed.
The course is simply an out and back, uphill to the turnaround and supposedly a screaming downhill on the way back. It is known to be a fast course and I was looking forward to going fast. On the way out I noticed that it was a bit gusty but I didn't put that much thought into it. The uphill seemed easy! Let's give a big shout-out to the taper! Except when I hit the turnaround, instead of a screaming downhill I realized that the reason the uphill was "easy" was the intense tail wind I had. Which now meant I had an intense headwind. Zoinks. I was struggling to stay above 20mph.....on the downhill. I remembered some people telling me that the winds here were famous errr infamous for switching directions so I figured that would happen at some point. I saw PIC heading up and wished I could warn her of the wind. Mind you, we have been training in the wind for the last few months. Sometimes with winds so intense that I couldn't take my hands off the bars for fear I would lose control of the bike. But we figured there was NO WAY the wind could actually be that bad on race day. Right??? Coming back into town, there was a big flag that looked like this:
|This picture is from one of my windy training rides|
The nice part of a 3 loop course? Coming into town and all the cheering spectators. I heard Tyler yelling and saw Anne and Michael and Eric was taking pictures and I was so happy to see them! So many people were yelling my name, I had no idea if I knew them or if it was the name on my butt. But who cares? It was so uplifting!
|Start of the 2nd loop|
The rain stopped as I came into town but with my glasses dirty I had a hard time seeing things in the road and hit a couple of bumps pretty hard. I thought to myself, that could be bad but then saw the awesome support crew and turned around. Why is my front end handling so poorly? Oh no. No. Noooooooooo! I passed Tyler who was telling me to pick it up and I yelled, Am I flat?? He didn't understand me and Anne thought I said Am I fast? But I knew. I had flatted and had little control of my bike at this point. Ok, let's deal with this. Don't freak out. Just deal with the problem. I got off my bike and looked at the tire (remembering that we bought these tires because they were supposed to be bomb-proof!!). Are there any obvious thorns? Any obvious tears? I didn't see anything. What do I do? Change the tire? I decided to gamble. There was a bike support tent about 5 miles away and since I couldn't see any damage, I figured that pit stop would fill and seal the tire enough for me to get there and talk to the support guys. So that is what I did. And then I rode conservatively to the tent. Sonja finally caught me and asked what was going on. I told her I flatted and was heading to the tent. She said, don't worry you are so far ahead, just take care of it. She went on her way and I stopped.
|Starting the 3rd loop, front tire is squishy|
Once again, I cannot say enough about the Ironman volunteers. I got off my bike and someone was right there to take it. I attempted a "jog" to get my run bag but that didn't happen...I was stiff. Another volunteer handed me the bag and I slowly jogged to the change tent. I wanted to cry but I smiled instead and another volunteer complimented me on my smile.....oh if you only knew what I was thinking. It was sunny as I entered the tent so I ditched the jersey and arm warmers and changed out of the wet socks. As I was leaving, volunteers asked if I wanted sunscreen and remembering that Chuckie and Sonja said not to get sunburned, I said yes. Well, as you can see, they caked me in sunscreen!!
|Coming out of T2 slathered in sunscreen|
8th "fastest" time in age group, 3rd in age group after swimbike