Saturday, August 22, 2009


Seems I need to get on this whole Iron-race blogging thing, as I raced again last weekend and have another next weekend. Oopsie!

Hopefully my computer will refrain from crashing long enough to get through the rest of the race!

Ok, so it's all windy and grey, and I'm about to go for a bike ride. I took off, willing myself to calm down and settle in, since it was going to be a long day. I really didn't want to be racing to make the cut-offs, and all my on-the-bike math made that seem pretty unlikely, barring total disaster.

I was disheartened to note that the first little hill came up before I was warmed up, but it let me see lots of the run course, and where special needs was. I had thought about putting a vest on before the start of the bike leg, or putting one in my special needs bag, but decided against it at the last minute. Fairly early on in the ride I discovered that I had mixed too much Perpetuem powder in my bottles, making them too thick to drink easily, and giving me heart burn every time I drank them (I'm sure the lake water and being in the aero position didn't help matters much). This put a bit of a kink in my nutrition plans, but I figured I would take in as much as I could, and use the aid stations to get extra calories along the way. A little ways past special needs I heard a metallic clank and saw something fly off my bike, which turned out to be my CO2 cartridges. I stopped and got them, as having to beg supplies in the event of a flat would not be good.

Mentally the first loop was definitely easier, as I had done the half distance before, and breaking it into a 56 mile chunk was much less daunting. Everything was all happy and shiny, until I got to the hills. Greg had made the hills sound like a bit of a pain in the ass, and one of my customers had said they were no big deal, one descent got you enough momentum to get over the next climb without much additional work. I had chosen to believe my customer. Unfortunately, Greg was right. The climbs were all pretty short, but some were a little steep for my liking, and they were definitely not close together enough to allow for coasting. Suck-tastic. Fortunately, there were lots of spectators and signs and pretty things to look at, so I was able to distract myself a little bit. Someone had put little signs that said "Legs of Zeus" on all the especially ugly climbs, so I had an idea of what was coming next.

After what seemed like forever, I made it out of the hilly parts, and headed back into town. The wind was picking up more and more, and I was definitely getting cold, so I refrained from stopping to pee or stretch or anything, in fear of having a hypothermia repeat. I rolled through town, where the thousands of people make you feel like a rock star, and headed back out towards the special needs stop. There were a couple of Hammer Bars in my back that totally had my name on them. The volunteers were awesome, and had my bag ready when I pulled over, but I opted to sit on the ground for a bit and scarf down my snacks. The pavement was warm-ish, and my legs appreciated the break. I had also packed a more dilute bottle of Perpetuem in special needs, which might have been the best-tasting thing ever, right at that moment.

The downside to stopping for that long was I cooled down, and once I got going again I was freaking freezing. There was no bathroom at the special needs station, and the next aid station was a couple miles down the rode, so the next goal was just to make it there. I was so cold I cried a little, fearing I would get hypothermic again. Happily, I did not. I pulled over at the bathroom and a medic girl held my bike while I waddled over to the porta-potty. There was no wind in there. It was a happy place (except for the obvious toilet stuff), and I stayed in there for probably a bit longer than was necessary. When I came out the medic girl looked all concerned, and had one of her medic guys with her. They seemed to think I was puking in there. It took a few minutes to convince them I was ok, just cold.

Miles 65 through about 95 were the hardest for me mentally. I was tired and it was a big jump from half way to all the way there. The wind was worse, making descending in my aero bars super scary, and the hilly section of the course felt like it was deserted. I knew I wasn't in last or anything, but with that few people around it felt like it. I walked a little section of one of the Zeus hills. I didn't want to feel anymore burn. The hilly section felt a little shorter the second time around, and the specators were getting drunker, so there was a little bit of entertainment.

The last few miles were fun, with all the spectators, and the knowledge that I was almost done. I rolled into the bike with plenty of time before the cut-off, handed my bike to the guy taking bikes, and hobbled over to the changing tent just as it started to rain.

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