Grand Columbian: the bike

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It was chilly, so I’d grabbed my arm warmers and stuck them on my wrists. But since the race started with a 1.5 mile climb from transition to the road (and to think, I used to think that it was bad that we only had a mile before the Almira Grade… ) I didn’t need them initially. I was surprised at how good I felt on the bike. I was my usual wet and cold self, but my legs felt good and I was spinning easily up the hill. M & J were stationed on the hill, so I gave them my “rock” salute:

I love this shot that M got (even though I’m locking my elbows and somewhere my old coach would be so ashamed… Sorry Coach Cane!):

And this is me laughing in response to J telling me that I was “a third of the way there.” (That is a direct quote from the announcer to one of the iron distance guys. Apparently, his math needs work… )

Here’s T passing everyone in sight:

I’d heard T in the transition tent, so I knew he was close. But this picture, captioned by M shows exactly how close:

He passed me a little while later and we had a few moments to chat about the horrible swim chop and how he’d fared. Then he was off. I concentrated on keeping him in sight as long as I could. Then I was passed by M & J on their way home. J got these awesome pictures of me on my phone. Here I am giving someone “the look”:

And here I am in the distance (with my elbows still locked For shame!)

And also a few of the terrain of the race:

It is really a beautiful bike course. I was having a really hard time getting my head in the game. I kept finding myself being upset about my slow swim and how long it was taking me on the bike. I felt my time goals going right out the window and with them my desire for the race altogether. Finally, I had to give myself a stern talking to and basically made the commitment to do this race. There were the rollers and wind that I was expecting. I took a little wrong turn off the course and had some spectators in a car chase me down (“Are you supposed to go a different way than all of the other bikers?” Um, no… ) but thank god they were there and I got back on track pretty quickly. I used my fury at that to fuel me through some more rollers and wind.

Because of the change in start point, the bike course was less of a loop and much more of an out and back. So, I could see the folks who were ahead of me and it seemed like that was everyone in the race. I knew I was ahead of people because I’d passed them on the swim, seen them in the change tent and their bikes on the rack, but except for one person that I’d seen as I was rejoining the course, I was by myself. But I just kept pushing on. I spent most of my time in the aero bars due to the wind and thanks to Rev3, I was pretty comfortable with that.

I passed a few people and finally saw T coming back the other way. I was surprised when I reached the turnaround not that long afterward. I was either having a great bike or he was having a terrible one, not sure which. (He’d looked okay, so I chose to believe the former.) That gave me the confidence to push a little bit, plus the wind died down a little bit. Whatever the cause, I started passing more people and feeling really good. I kept eating and drinking and rolling along. I’d wanted to do the bike in 3:30 – 3:45, but ended up rolling in at nearly four hours. Since I based my target on the old course, I decided not to get too upset about the slower time.

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