Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ironman Arizona '07--The BIKE


And now, for the bike!

Apparently Coachancé thought I was going to hit everyone riding out of the narrow chute that led to the road at the start of the bike. I’m way cooler than that. It felt great to get on Stealth Pinky and ride (for some reason the hammies didn’t want to swim anymore).

We went out past the “hot corner” where all the spectators stood. I was flying with zero effort! I was invincible! It is an out and back course, and I made it out in less than an hour. Could it really be true—I might actually do the bike in 6 hours or less! I rule! Taper rocks!

But no. As much as I would like to believe my athletic prowess got me out on the course with lightening speed, there was also, you know, a massive tailwind. That then, in turn, became a massive head wind. That effortless 22mph average very quickly became an effort-ful 9-10mph.

OK, no problemo, I thought. I’ll gladly fight this headwind for the fun of flying back out on the course. Just stick with my nutrition plan and keep eating those electrolyte tablets and I would be a-ok.

Honestly, nothing is greater than getting to ride a century without any inkling of fear that I will be smashed, maimed, or otherwise murdered by an idiot controlling a massive amount of steel. Because riding centuries in Los Angeles? Super not cool. In fact, people die every year on the roads I ride on. And it’s not always because they got “in the zone” and weren’t paying attention. Those idiots with steel battle-cages drive too fast, and try to paint their nails, eat, talk on the phone, and veer into the very narrow shoulder reserved for fit, awesome people, and thereby rid the world of its more highly esteemed members, one at a time.

So no matter what, this 112 miles was going to be awesome. Headwind or not. Bring it on.

My Ironcheersquad positioned themselves close to the turn around in a very conspicuous area, and were ready for me as I flew by. Coachancé’s white board read: Just Keep Spinnin’…

Good plan.

I flew out on the course again. This time, I had to go potty. Thus began the great internal battle: to pee myself or not to pee myself. This is a long race, and running in my own pee for the rest of the day might not be worth the minute or so it’d take to stop at a porta-potty. But it’s also a source or pride to pee oneself in a race. No joke.

What to do, what to do…

OK, now it’s not just pee. I’m going to have to stop. There are porta potties at the turn around, I’ll stop there.

But no! They are all taken, and there’s no way in heck I’m waiting in line! I’m on a 6 hour pace here.

Turning toward the head wind again, I try to turn my thoughts toward spinnin’ and “just chillin’” and try not to think about the intestinal rage that is developing. Then, I concentrate my developing anger on the riders who are obviously riding in packs as they blow by me. Constantly. Aren’t they going to go in the “penalty tents”. Nope. Nada. But I will not join on the back of them. I will never get a drafting penalty. I can do this all on my own. I am the greatest, I am a machine.

I need to poo. I skip the “special needs” station, because I have discovered that I really don’t care what I’m drinking, and as long as I have water to trade off with sips of the disgusting orange Gatorade I have somehow acquired, I’ll be fine.

Next porta potty: 5 miles out. I can do this. I can do this.

YES! I get there and nobody is in line. A very kind volunteer takes my bike and I run inside.

Ahhhh. Relief.

Back on the bike. I am kicking ass! I rock! The headwind sucks, but I get to fly out again! This is the best day ever!

Again, my awesome Ironcheersquad is waiting for me. Well, kind of, I yell at them and then they turn in astonishment as I whiz by. Guess I came in earlier than expected. Because I am that cool. I go out on my third loop at 4 hours of riding.

By this point, my crotch is ready for me to run, even if I’d like to bike all day. I can’t stay in the aero position for too long. Like for more than 30 seconds. But I figure sitting up and making myself into a sail can’t hurt—it’ll only help the wind push me out faster.

So out I go, passing supporters and aid stations. I can’t believe the bike is almost over! All of my crazy lonely century rides and intervals and early mornings when I came home and couldn’t feel my body for 2 hours after the ride—all of that comes down to this. All of that training, and now I am a human sail. And hey! Some girl in my age group is passing me! That’s ok. I’ll get her in the run.

I round the turnabout at just under 5 hours. Freakin’ sweet!

Then something not so cool happens. The wind picks up (as if it could get any stronger). Whatever, I think. I’m almost done! I rock! I see the camera guy and make a big goofy smile. I’m 2/3 of the way to becoming an Ironman! Woo hoo!

Just keep spinnin’…just keep spinnin’…I’m going 9 mph…but there’s no point in pushing it now, because it’s almost time to run my first marathon. Don’t try too hard against the wind, or you won’t be able to run…(Thoughts from inside my head…but I’m sure you guessed that already.)

I come in significantly over 6 hours. Coachancé’s sign, witnessed just before the last half mile, reads: Wind Blows. I’m with stupid. With an arrow pointing to our friend, who flashes his hairy stomach at me. Nice.

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