This is the third installment of my recap of the Rev3 Cedar Point Full Tri. If you missed out on the previous posts, you can still catch up:
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As I exited the swim-to-bike transition and hopped on my bike, I was feeling pretty good. The swim didn’t tire me out too much, I’d had a chance to eat a bar in transition (which I was still chewing as I rode), and it was cloudy and cool out.
Nutritionally, my plan for the bike was to have 1 gel per hour, drink all of the Perpetuem in my bottles (pre-measured to last for 6 hours) and drink plenty of water with Fizz Endurolytes in it for the rest of my hydration needs, then I had two bars in case I got hungry.
Miles 0-20 went by quickly, and my legs felt awesome! I actually kept the pace at 20 mph for the first hour, so I was pleased with that. Part of that had to do with the super smooth and flat roads for that section! Right around mile 20, it started to rain pretty hard, so I took my sunglasses off and hoped the rain would stop soon! Also, around this point, I saw my family for the first time on the ride! It was great to see them cheering and enjoying themselves! I was still trying to stay focused and keep my power where it needed to be. Also, I had just come up the first (out of only two) steep hills, and I was rounding a sharp corner, so I didn’t really acknowledge them here.
I remembered from the Rev3 preview ride I’d done 3 weeks earlier, that after this little town, the ride really started to get hard. I had a long, gradual climb up a straight and very open road. Given the 15 mph winds, I knew this would be a challenge. My back still felt fine at this point though, so I was glad about that. I had about a 15-mile stretch between here and where I knew I would see my family again. They’d told me they would be at a gas station at the end of the long straight road. I settled into my power zone and tried to tuck as aero as possible in the wind. I passed a lot of bikers on this section too, so that was encouraging. Unfortunately, unlike all of my other races this summer, no one on the bike course said ANYTHING to me as I passed them or as they passed me. In my other races people would say “hello” or “good job” or “nice bike”. This race though I think people were staying so focused on keeping their bike upright in the wind that they couldn’t put forth any additional effort. That’s how I was feeling anyways! It literally took all the mental focus I had to keep from being blown over at times!
I finally made it to the gas station and saw my family again. This time I was a little happier and gave them a “woo!” and a smile.
Miles 35-50 were a bit of a challenge. Thankfully it stopped raining around this time, but the wind was picking up even more, and there were some brutal sections of road during this stretch. There were two portions of about 4 miles each where there was fresh “chip-and-seal” pavement. If you’ve not heard of this, it’s basically gravel sealed into the pavement! Let me tell ya, it’s NASTY on bike tires! Also, around this time my left shoulder and left side of my back began to ache. I prayed that the pain would go away, or at least not get worse.
At mile 50, I had the option to access my special needs bag which had emergency bars, gels, and chamois cream. My back and shoulder were feeling fine at this point and didn’t need any additional nutrition, so I flew on by! Mile 56 (the halfway point) quickly came and went, and I realized I was ahead of pace for a 6-hour bike finish! I was so excited to come through half way feeling so good!
The next 30 miles went by pretty fast as well. I was really starting to enjoy myself and have fun! I didn’t even mind the chip-and-seal too much the second time around! Yes, the wind was still terrible, but I was managing it. At mile 85, I literally screamed, “This is so fuuuuuuuun!” as I flew by my family!
As happy as I was at that point, just a few miles later I came out into an open section again, and the wind was insane! There were several times when the cross wind was so severe that I gripped my handle bars as hard as I could and prayed I wouldn’t get knocked over! Along with that, there were several sections where the headwind was so powerful that I was only going 8 mph!!!! I finally made it to the last 6-mile stretch along the beach where I knew the wind would be terrible, and the bumpy road would be painful. It seemed like it took an hour to do that section (though it really didn’t), and I was SOOO glad when I finally made it to the dismount line after 6 hrs and 7 min!!
The only thing I could say to my family was, “It’s a tornado out there!” Over and over, I said it. I just couldn’t believe how awful the wind was for those last 20 or so miles! I was so, so glad to be off the bike, and ready to run! However, I was definitely feeling the fatigue. I quickly changed my shoes, put on my visor, run belt, and race bib.
I jogged out of transition, shoved a banana down my throat ,and hit up the port-a-potty before beginning the last portion of my triathlon! “26.2 miles left,” I told myself, “You can do this!”
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Next Post: The Run
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