Woo Hoo! I did it! What a crazy, great race. Here are some highlights:
THE SWIM: It's amazing to me that I always love the swim. It felt long and choppy, but I loved being out there. I felt like I sighted well and I felt strong. I didn't even drink as much lake water as I normally do!
THE BIKE: What an adventure this was. My goal was to stay in zone 2 and to find a groove that was not too hard. My power stayed in zone 2 but my emotional and mental power was all over the place. Dirty Spice started in the aqua bike wave about five minutes after me. Her goal was to pass me on the bike. She passed me at about the 15-mile mark. We played leap frog so we could talk a bit without drafting and then she took off.
At the 25-mile mark I see her ahead of me on the side of the road. I slowed and yelled, "What's up?!" It was a flat. I slowed to help, but she encouraged me to keep moving and not to stop. She is the fastest flat changer that I know. I struggled mentally with what to do. The farther away I rode, the angrier I got. She's been sidelined with an injury all season and the one race she entered as an aquabike (swim and bike only) is foiled by a flat? Come. On. I figured that she'd be able to catch me eventually, but I didn't see her again - which then worried me.
Then came the rain. For 15 miles it rained. Not mist. Not a passing shower. A hard, soaking, puddles-in-the-road rain. Water was coming up under my helmet shield so I was tasting rainwater and grit. The crosswind was catching my disc wheel and I was hanging on for dear life! The greatest thing about this, it drowned out the tar patches on the road. Highway 53 is notorious for the tar patches that cause a duh-dun, duh-dun, duh-dun every two seconds on the way back to the race site. I didn't even notice.
Instead, I sang. I created a new song to U2's Streets Have No Name:
I want to ride, ride my bike in the sun. I want to get off this bike. I want to run. I wanna reach shelter from the pouring rain. Where the streets have no rain. Where the streets have no rain.
THE RUN: The conditions for the run could not have been better. By the time I finished the bike, it was overcast and a little breezy. The streets had no rain. I had to wring out my socks in transition but, my first miles were stellar. My legs felt great and I felt strong. At mile four, I felt a little sloshy - my belly was full. I knew I needed calories so I downed some cola. Big mistake. Within minutes, I got a side stitch. I slowed and it went away. I sped up to race pace and it came back.
At the famed white wall, I drank my pickle pop. It was so delicious. And then, Sigh. I think I downed it too fast. The side stitch grew. I ignored it as best I could. I counted to 100 twice in french, I counted to 100 four times in english. I sang the Star Spangled Banner (verses one and four). I looked forward to the turn onto Hwy 53 and the cooling headwind I knew was coming and didn't stop again until I hit the finish.
NEXT EPISODE: THE RESULTS