After grabbing my bike bag and heading to the changing tent, it was clear that the real estate there was not adequate for the number of warm bodies trying to dry off and get changed for the bike. I found a picnic table outside the tent, sat down and started changing. Though I had a full wardrobe of warm clothing, I chose to only put on my arm warmers, helmet and sunglasses for the bike.
T1 = 8 minutes
Heading out on the bike was the point in the race when I knew I'd finish. The energy from the crowds and my overall excitement to be done with the swim was difficult to contain as I headed out the bike chute. Though I knew the wind would be a factor as soon as I woke up that morning, it was readily apparent heading east on Rio Salado that any pacing strategy or mile-per-hour goal would need to be tempered accordingly to adjust for the northerly winds. So while the first 25 miles heading north were a piece of cake (note, awesome tailwind) the return journey back into the wind was not so great (estimated 15-20 mph wind speed). I have never been so small and aero on the bike before but I know it made a difference to cut down drag. I was able to keep my speed around 16 (down to 13 at times) without over-exerting myself.
Just to make things interesting, it started to rain during the second lap. Being an AZ-local, I knew that the rain would be short-lived. There were others however that were clearly distraught about both the rain and wind. Sure, it was annoying and cold but I kept my head about things, maintained perspective and continued to keep my level of effort as flat as possible. There was one point however where I could see a wall of dirt blowing towards me. Some chose to stop. I put my head down and just kept riding.
(It is still uncanny that the bad weather chose to show up on the day of the race. The 2 months leading up to race-day had been perfect).
Overall, I felt really good about my nutrition and hydration - never did I feel hungry or get the 'vurps'. Miles 0-35, I stick with water and Powerbars. Miles 36-60 I move over to Perpetuem, Snickers and bananas. Miles 61-90 I hit the water, Roctane and more bananas. Starting mile 105 I grab another Snickers followed with more Roctane shots and water.
Though the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, there were a handful of things that stuck with me -
- Getting passed by Chrissie Wellington. I was doing 21 mph but I might as well been standing still. She rocks.
- Feeling the pain and disappointment for the fellow next to me after watching his bike seat break off.
- Being reminded and humbled knowing that even amongst world-class athletes, accidents still happen. Rain coupled with 40 mph gusts makes Arizona roads extremely treacherous.
In retrospect, I'm kind of glad it was windy. It forces concentration and a reassessment of your goals to ensure a conservative pace that would eventually help see me through the run. I was also happy not to have any mechanical issues.
Bike time = 6:28 (17.3 mph average)
T2 and run summary tomorrow.