Pablo made fun of my transition times, because T1 was 9:33 and T2 9:45, but I am totally okay with those times! My T1 could have probably been faster (and I thought it was faster to be honest), but I stopped at the port-a-potties and made sure to get sunblock on almost every exposed inch of my body…I obviously missed this spot.
Then I headed out to bike 112 miles.
On the bike I had one goal: stick to the HR-zone and nutrition plan so I can survive the run. I stuck to the plan; I stayed in Zone 2 as much as I could and consumed my planned nutrition every 15 minutes when my watch beeped.
I started the bike with 3 bottles: the aero bottle with perform, a water bottle (for cooling and occasional sips) and a bottle of Perform (as a reserve) on my frame. I kept the back cage empty for Perform pick-ups along the course to refill my aero bottle…which at first I was unsure about, because I had only practiced hands-offs once (on Thursday) and hadn’t felt super comfortable reaching for that back bottle while on the move.
Can I just tell you how I proud I am of myself?!? I did bottle handoffs at aid stations and refilled on the go all but 2 times when I needed both water and Perform!
As I started, I was flying on adrenaline and just excited to be out racing. I smiled all day, even at my lowest moments, and the distance never overwhelmed me. The bike course, for anyone considering racing Louisville, is pretty fun. It’s definitely filled with rollers, but they are totally doable if you’ve trained on hills.
The first 10 miles are flat and people flew by me. I checked my speed: 18mph. Fast, but I was within my heart rate zone. Then the rollers started and they didn’t stop ’til we hit those last 10 miles again.
Around mile 18, I entered the dreaded out and back section of the course and was surprised to see Pablo, I cheered him on and got mentally ready for one of the tougher hills. I wasn’t as worried about the hill as I was about the endless amount of cyclists in both directions, sometimes flying by you at over 40 mph (I hit 36.8mph myself and I’m a cautious downhill rider).
The Grim Reaper and 2 devils were waiting for us near the top of the hill which was awesome! I climbed strong, pushing myself just enough, but keeping my legs fresh for the remaining 90 miles.
The cops, volunteers and the crowd on the course, including our sherpas, were awesome. There were a few stretches of nothing, but when they were out they were out ALL day and they were loud! People had fun signs and at a few sections they put up tents and lawn chairs and were having parties.
Pablo, if we ever move to a Ironman or full-distance host city, we’re moving to an apartment/house on the course!
La Grange was AMAZING! While my parents didn’t make it to see me the first time (sorry mom and dad, I know I said 14-15mph and went closer to 16mph instead, oops!) the announcer called my name and people cheered and hollered as we came through. The second time there was no announcer, but seeing my parents gave me an extra boost.
You super fast racers might not have time for this, but for us slower folk, here’s a tip: smile at people on the course. When you smile, they cheer louder and when they cheer louder, you bike stronger.
The rollers continued and I kept trucking through them, staying in my zones, focusing on nutrition. The other tough section of hills is on Ballard Rd, but again, if you’ve trained on hills, you’ll be just fine.
At mile 80 I started feeling tired, but this is probably because that is when the sun started blazing. We got super lucky and during the first 5 hours on the bike I enjoyed amazing cloud coverage, which made life much easier. Then the sun came out at full blaze.
I did the math, 32 miles left. For a brief second my brain said, THIRTY TWO? CRAP! But then I reminded myself of what I had already done and how amazing it was going to be to cross the finish line. THIS, I told myself, is YOUR Ironman!
By mile 90 I was ready to be off the bike and start the run. Wouldn’t you be? I focused on checking off the miles as I rode. The overall downhill slope, made tackling the last few hills a little easier and I cruised the last 10 miles into transition.
When doing 112 miles, the last 2 miles seem like the longest miles! I swear even going 17-18mph I thought I’d never make it back!
But of course I did and it was awesome with a big crowd cheering us on as we reached the dismount line. I was happy, because the bike had been my most feared leg, and I had done it! I HAD DONE IT!
I handed off my bike, kicked off my shoes and ran to my gear bag. I don’t know why my transition times were so long, because I felt pretty efficient; I put on clean socks, stuffed my pockets with nutrition, notes and more, took a high sodium GU and headed to the sunblock tent.
It was time to tackle the last leg!