Yesterday’s post was all about the Patriot Half Ironman Swim Course… Today’s post is continuing with a recap of the Bike course!
The Bike- 56 miles, two 28 mile loops
Once I got out of the water, I was excited to be on land and on my bike! I am always relieved when the swim portion is over. It’s funny though, by the time I get comfortable on the bike, I often forget that I just swam 1.2 miles (or whatever distance it might be). My goal on the bike course was to break a time of 2:44 (my bike time for the Timberman 70.3 last August). I raced Timberman with racing wheels that I borrowed, and I did not know if I could maintain the same pace without the fancy wheels this time. Even without the race wheels, I went into the bike with high expectations, since I have been training so much! I also wore my new Rudy Project bright pink Aero Helmet, which I’m totally obsessed, with by the way.
As soon as I got comfortable on the bike and my heart rate was steady (about 10 minutes in), I took my four Power Bar Blasts (think shot blocks). Through out the ride, I drank my sports drink at a rate of one 24 oz bottle per hour, as I was instructed to do. The first loop of the bike course went really well and I was cruising along. I noticed a lot of men on the course and not many women. I actually passed quite a few guys who said they were impressed with my speed! Only one girl passed me the entire time, I was happy about that. There were two aid stations on the bike course, but I did not stop at either of them, since I had all of my fuel with me on the bike.
The course was absolutely beautiful. Think ‘mostly’ flat country roads with rolling hills (some that packed a serious punch). I heard it was an ‘easy’ bike course, but I must say, I disagree. At one point on the course, we had both sides of the ocean around us, loved it! At around the halfway point, at probably mile 27 there was a big hill that was killer at the end of the loop! The turns were all VERY well marked and there were volunteers and police officers at every turn. There were a few sharp turns that required me to slow down and lay on the breaks quite a bit.. but nothing too crazy. At the end of the first loop I got to see my husband Todd (and my puppy, Oliver) on the sidelines.
After the halfway point, I knew my average pace was over 20 mph and my goal was to keep it that way for the second loop. The good thing about two-loop bike courses, is you know what to expect the second time around. I figured that if I kept a steady 20+ mph pace during the first loop, that it would be possible to keep the same pace for the second loop. At around 2 hours into the race, I took my three additional Power Bar Blasts and continued to drinks lots of sports drink. I was drinking at a race of one bottle per hour (or more) and I could tell my bladder was getting full. Once it got to the point where I really had to pee, I thought ‘now’s my chance to pee on the bike!’ This was a goal of mine going into the race- drink enough sports drink so I HAVE to pee on the bike. I looked around me and no one was close by, or behind me. I will spare you the details, but I did it! It was really weird and pretty gross, but funny enough, I felt a sense of accomplishment! I now know I can pee on the bike during my Ironman!
The majority of the second loop felt really good and I held my pace. One thing that went awry, was I bit down too hard on my SpeedFill Aero bottle straw, and I actually broke a piece off of the straw! The piece that broke off is what helps slow down the flow of fluid as I’m drinking from the straw. At first I thought it was completely broken and I wouldn’t be able to drink my water, so I panicked. Luckily, this was not the case. My back of plan was to drink from one of the bottles that I keep in the bottle cage behind me, but it is too much of a pain and takes a lot of coordination. It all worked out in the end and I got the proper amount of fluid during the bike.
As I neared mile 56, I was excited to get off the bike and start the run (my favorite part), I was feeling good and strong! I heard Todd, cheering for me as I neared T2 and I was happy to almost be on my two feet again.
Official Bike time: 2:45:06, Average Speed: 20.4 MPH. (I was hoping to break 2:44, but I’ll take it!)
At T2, I popped another Salt Tab, threw on my running sneakers, grabbed my gels and I was on my way! I felt good getting off the bike, but my stomach felt really full. I figured it was just the sports drink and I shrugged it off… stay tuned for the run…