What I first noticed as I started the 1k run to my bike, was the sheer number of spectators! I mean the entire length of that little run was PACKED on both sides with people cheering! SO cool! I was in total tunnel-vision mode though... I could hear everyone... but only just barely. It was an odd sensation... kinda like a dream. I got to my bike without any problems. Shoes off, helmet on, glasses on, GO! My shoes were already clipped in so I ran to the mount line, (hee hee... I said "mount"), and hopped on board.
Here's the stats for T1:
- Time: 6:04
- Overall Rank: 76
- M35-39 Rank: 12
Yeah! That's RIGHT! I had the 12th fastest transition in my AG! I knew I was flying and I was SO excited. Everything felt right. My breathing was calm, my mind was quiet, and I just felt like I was floating. SO much fun!
I started pedaling hard right from the get-go. As you remember, Liz had told me to leave my legs on the bike... and that's exactly what I planned on doing. The first mile or so is completely flat and I was goin at it hard! What I couldn't figure out was that it didn't feel like the asphalt was moving under me. You know what I mean? I was cranking away and it was as if the breaks were on. About a 1/4 mile in I looked down and to my rear... and yes... my rear tire was flat. "You gotta be kidding me." I pulled over to the side, launched off my bike, said one juicy expletive, looked up at the crowd and noticed the old ladies and children, then reigned my emotions in. "Focus. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast." Never mind the fact that this was the 3rd time i'd EVER changed a flat tire! You know what's really really scary? I almost didn't pack a tube and Co2 on my bike the night before! Seriously. With only one extra tube, and knowing that the course is historically rough on the tires... I took a little extra time to make sure everything was seated properly. While I was changing the tire, in addition to hearing the crowd, "Oh maaaaaaan... that sucks" and "Poor guy." and "Dude... you need some help bro", I was also hearing the whir of wheels flying by me. I'd glance up and see a solid line of blurry bikes 3 deep. I was being passed literally by the 100's of triathletes! I must say that I'm shocked that I didn't completely loose it, curl up into the fetal position and take a nap right then and there! I hopped back on my bike and put some torque to the pedals... and immediately threw my chain! Yeah. Not kidding. Dismount. Set the chain. Back on. Crank... uh... why am I not really moving? Dismount. Laugh heartily. Adjust the rear break. Spin the wheel. Back on. GO! FREAKIN GOOOOOOOO! I can only make a rough estimate b/c I had not hit my Powertap before going flat. But, I'm sure that I conservatively lost at least 12 minutes due to that fiasco. It is what it is. Shit happens.
From that point on, I didn't let up. This bike course is notorious for its hills. To be honest, the day before, when I previewed the course in the car... I was completely freaked out! It looked SO brutal. Once I was on the bike though... nothing seemed that terrible. The worst part was having to pass all of the people that had been passing me by while I was dealing with my tire/chain/break issues! I actually got hoarse from having to yell, "ON YOUR LEFT!" so loudly and so often! It felt good to be passing people going both up AND down the hills. I hurt myself bad on this bike... I wasn't passed... not even once... and I'm very happy with how Erich's bike handled the hills, the technical turns, and the not even close to perfect road conditions. At one point I was bailing down a hill passing a guy on the left, and we were both laughing our asses off at how rough the road was!
As a side-note, while I was out there to compete and do the absolute best I could, I did take the time to look up occasionally and appreciate where I was. In addition to the course being brutally hilly, rough, and technical it was in equal parts scenic, beautiful, and FUN! Also, I didn't meet one single asshole/assholette out there! Really. Everyone I encountered on the course was completely pleasant and just plain happy to be there!
Being only an 18 mile course, it was over before I knew it. I came down the last hill and hit the flats on Marina Drive FLYING by people on their TT bikes. That was an odd feeling. I kept thinking... "Why aren't these people going hard?" No matter... the crowded entrance to T2 came up quick and I slipped my feet out of my shoes and cruised on in!
OK. So. Here's the unhappy stats:
- Bike Time: 1:07:16
- Overall rank: 807
- M3-39 Rank: 179
My PowerTap tells me something different... but that's without the 12 min delay. It is what it is. Subtract roughly 12 minutes and that puts me right back into the top 20 of my AG. Eh. Again, shit happens. I was really happy with this bike... yes... even with my issues. I had a GREAT time out there and I pushed hard, Hard, HARD on those hills. I have absolutely ZERO regrets... about anything. I mean it. Shut up Bigun. LOL! I didn't give what happened a second thought... which is odd for me... I'm a stewer... I like to stew. But for some reason, I didn't waste my time with that... I still had 8 miles of hilly running to do.
I racked my bike, helmet off, shoes on, grabbed my 2 gels, my visor, and my number belt and took off! Then it got REALLY fun...
But you'll have to wait until tomorrow...