Wha...? Where was I? Oh yea, this thing called Ironman, :D Let's get back to it.
After getting out of the transition area and heading down the chute, I mounted my bike and headed out on Thomas Dr. Wes and Dee Dee saw me heading out, as well as Melissa who got a couple of photographs of me. BTW, as far as photographs go, I am gonna do a post after this one of race photographs and comments below each one :)
As I headed out on the bike, I kept reminding myself that I needed to take a dose of humility and make sure I did not overdo it on the bike. I am notorious for going out hard on the bike and then falling to pieces on the run because I cramp up or just lose steam. The wind was coming out of the NE, so the ride was going to be most favorable coming back in on the bike except for the last 6 miles finishing the bike. I settled in on the 6 miles out on the coastal highway until we headed north away from the coast. I had taken in a gel and half a PBJ before getting on the bike, so I was not keen on taking anything in for the first few miles other than water. Once we began heading north on Hwy 79 I noticed that the wind had not picked up a lot yet, and so my average on the way out was higher than I expected. People were not lying, this was going to be a draft fest. Better to take a dose of humility and let people pass, than to get clipped with a drafting or blocking penalty.
The only other frustrating thing about races such as this, you get into your "zone" and then there are people in the way. I liken it to going to Six Flags or Disney World/Land. You get there, and you know what you want to do, you know what rides to get on, etc, but for some reason the people around you don't seem to have the same sense of urgency that you do. Unfortunately in an Ironman this is caused by different speeds, different gearing, different road conditions. You will get behind someone where you know that they are kind of in your way, but if you go around them, there is a chance they are just gonna pass you again, or you were almost going the same speed as them. This problem pretty much ended after I got to the halfway point of the race, but before then, it was a minor annoyance. I did pass some people on the way up 79. I think it was more my frustrations than anything, because I was pretty much happy with the speed I was going, I just did not want to have to slow down for anyone.
About 10-15 miles into the course we went up and down one of the only hills on the entire ride, which was a bridge going over a waterway. The ONLY hill. If anyone tells you this course has hills, just laugh at them please :) This is Florida for crying out loud, there are no hills. Once we turned onto 20 East this was our first real taste of the wind that IMFL had to offer, since it was almost a headwind at this point. the elevation was up and down, but there were no hills, just the wind. There was slightly less of a problem with regards to traffic, but I was picking people off. The really good swimmers that were OK at the rest of the race. My back was acting up a bit, but there was no sense to come out of aero, would just make you more miserable, and work harder to get where I was going, which was the next turn. I got to mile marker 20 which was my first scheduled stop for aid. I threw away one of my water bottles, and took one of the 22oz disposable water bottles that they were giving away (Zephyrhills water for those of you who drink that brand). It also fits really well into XLabs Gorilla cages for those of you who have those cages. After I got the water on the fly, I stopped and took a gel, which lasted about 40 seconds and then was back on the bike in aero headed to Hwy 77, the next turn.
Hwy 77 headed South for a few miles before we had to head back East on 388. I eventually hit mile marker 40 here, and stopped for another bottle of water and another gel. After this I went strictly on a gel an hour, and since my average speed was less than 20mph, I was taking one quicker than every 20 miles after that. Once we crossed over Rd2301, this was the part of the ride that I considered hell. The weather was good, still riding fast enough to where my arm warmers were needed, but the road was absolute shit. Cracks and chip seal everywhere, and bumps every bike length. For the next 10 miles it was going to be this, and half of this was also going to be into the wind. I was out of the saddle a good bit during this section. Sure I had a carbon frame to absorb some of the vibrations, but I could only handle so much. Before I got to the turn around and eventually the 60 mile marker to get another bottle of water, I stopped on the side of the road to pee. While not sexy, it saves time because I am not waiting in line at the porta-johns at the formal aid stations waiting to pee. That and I am not fast enough to need to pee while on the bike. Wes And Dee Dee headed out to the turnaround after we all went through T1, so when I got to the turnaround they were both there cheering me on. I had a smile on my face, however I let them know how I felt about that stretch of road I was on.
After the turnaround I tried my best to get back in aero but I just could not do it. I got my water bottle at Marker 60 and I figured that I would keep doing what I was doing until I go to Blue Springs Rd, and get of this crap road. Once I got to Blue Springs Rd. I breathed a sigh of relief that the worst of the road issues were over. The wind was almost at our face again as we were all headed North for a short period of time. After Blue Springs Rd, we made a left back onto Hwy 20 on our way back to the finish. The wind was at our backs at this point which was great. There were periods where I was not pushing too much wattage, and I was north of 20mph consistently. Even though I only averaged 18.5 or so through the middle 1/3 of the course, I think that the crap road section and heading North on Blue Springs, and one other section I will talk about in a moment just held me back from averaging more. There were a few people in this section that I boomeranged with back and forth. I took another piss break before mile 80 so that I would not have to wait in line, took another gel, and then just cruised through mile 80 grabbing a water and headed on.
I forgot to say that I did have other nutrition on the bike. I was hitting up a mix of Heed and Perpetum every 15 minutes from two bottles I had on the bike. There were 600 calories in each bottle, and then I had a gel for every hour plus one more in case, so I was going to be averaging just over 300 calories an hour. Around mile 90 I was going for a salt tablet in my bento box and not only did I miss the salt tablet, but my Ziploc bag will all the remaining salt tablets for the bike fell on the ground as I kept riding. Oh well... stuff happens and I had two salt tablets i was hitting in T2 anyways. I stopped on the side of the road to take one more piss, and then it was a right hand turn onto Steelfield Rd. just for a few miles so we could fit in 112. This was the third area that held down my average for the middle third. I had once again hit it too hard on the bike, but not as bad as I would have normally. Instead of the bad cramping, my legs were just fatigued. I was tired. and so I thought since I was getting closer to finishing the bike leg, I would just slow down on the Steelfield Rd section of the course. I am glad I did because I felt better for the remainder of the ride coming back in.
Once we finally got back onto Front Beach Road, it was the 6 miles of headwind. Definitely slowed down the average of the last 1/3 of my bike. I mean there was no point in fighting it, and also I was about to run a marathon, so why blow your legs trying to go 17mph when you could go 14-15mph and save your legs. It was only 6 miles anyways. Quote of the day happened here. Some guy pulled up next to me and said, "Hey buddy, I have been staring at your ass for the last two hours, I think I know it better than your wife!" I am not married, but I told him thanks nonetheless and he headed on past me to the bike finish. Not to long later I was getting of my trusty steed and headed into T2.
Overall Bike Time - 6:24:07
Average Speed - 17.49mph
Thank goodness that I had a short T2 with regards to running in my bike shoes and picking up my transition bag. I was into the men's changing area quickly and moving along quite nice until I tried to put my left sock on. My left leg kept cramping up. I think this added about a minute thirty to my transition time. While 1:30 did not mean much in the whole scheme of my race, you know, you just don't want to have to spend any longer in transition than you absolutely need to, right?
Another half of a PBJ and another gel, two salt caps and a swig of drink and I was off onto the run course for the last leg of the race.
T2 Overall Time - 5:57
Well this post has gotten really long for the bike, which I guess it should since the bike is usually the longest portion of the race for most people. On that note, I am going to extend it to a part three for the run and finish that I will post this weekend! Have a great weekend y'all!