I LOVE my bike!
So I spent a LONG time in T1. I found out that Jason had an amazing swim and that made me happy. I dried off, ate a banana, chatted with Jill, and made sure that I applied my bag balm.
The bike was the one and only portion of the Double Iron that I was thinking might not kill me and would probably be really fun. Last year, racers left the YMCA pool and got 30 minutes to get to Flatwoods Park by car due to construction. This year, racers had to ride over. Which meant we had to follow directions. And cross over interstate 75. All while maintaining a heart rate in high zone 1, low zone 2. I will admit, that I am NOT the best at listening to directions/instructions. In between looking for cool bugs with Kacie, and listening to racers argue over whether or not it was safe to ride over to the park in heavy traffic I heard something about "there will be a volunteer at every turn." So, I rode out of the YMCA parking lot and kept riding, and then the road came to an end into construction. Doh! I turned around, and found my way out to the main road.
So the main road was really busy. As I crossed over 75 and had to merge with traffic I saw a huge white Tahoe speeding towards me. It didn't look like it was going to slow down. I peaked at my HR. It was NOT in low zone 1. I made the executive decision to dart across the traffic to make it to safety (which was the volunteer that I saw wildly waving her arms at me) I got to her and she said "turn left at the Home Depot". This happened to be the exact time when a fellow racer, Ben, caught me. He made fun of the fact that despite beating him out of the water by 8 minutes he got on the bike before me (I am a woman, hello?! It takes us some time!) We didn't see the Home Depot, second guessed the turn, then missed it, then found it!
I was SO relieved to find Flatwoods Park. I was very stressed out, honestly the ride over added some years to my life. Once we got to the park, we had to do a small section of a loop, then 30 6.674 mile loops. This gave me the chance to see my height-challenged crew 30 times!
Jill and Emily hard at work!
I noticed that it was REALLY windy. It had rained the day before, making it quite humid as well. My asthma was acting up on me and I was trying to do the ONE THING I swore I would do: keep my HR REALLY low. Because the ride was a complete loop the wind took turns, cross, head, even a little tail. You can never really get enough tail ya know? But I tried to enjoy it while I could.
The lead guy blew past me at mile 30. Jason wasn't too far behind. He said that he was cramping some. I STRONGLY encouraged him to slow down. The single most important thing I learned from riding across Florida is that you cannot fight the wind. It always wins. People were riding strong, and I was getting passed, but I honestly didn't care. I was sticking to my plan. I caught Jason around mile 75 and he had full blown cramps. I knew that he had an upset stomach too and wasn't being honest with me. I offered some words of encouragement, and he promised that he was going to slow down and take a couple of breaks. I rode away hoping that the cramp God would have mercy on him!
At mile 120 I noticed people were getting pretty tired. No one seemed as peppy as they did earlier in the day. I felt great. Even better than I did when I started. I offered words of encouragement every time I saw someone. The ride got really spread out and I got a little lonely. I saw a couple of snakes and several small rabbits and that made me happy. There were quite a few cyclists out there training and they all said the exact same thing to me: "you're crazy!"
"Next time I want a sandwich with MORE MEAT!"
I was trying to not stop unless it was a nature break, so I did the very professional looking water bottle toss with a request for what I wanted on my next lap. The crew was AWESOME at the handoffs!
At mile 160 I realized that I had forgotten to put sunscreen on. What a horrible mistake. I was fried! I also realized how HORRIBLE my saddle is that I have owned for about 6 weeks. I will be taking suggestions for new saddles please! I wrote an open letter to my girly parts and read it outloud.
When I stopped to put lights on I inquired about Jason. Since I hadn't caught him, and he hadn't caught me, we were likely riding the same speed. This wasn't exactly in his race plans so I knew something was up. "Where's Jason? He's puking isn't he? He's puking and y'all aren't telling me!" Emily and Keith said no, Jill kinda looked uncomfortable and said "he had a little to get out, but he's better now." Uh huh. I wasn't happy that Jason wasn't passing me like he should have been.
"Um, you might wanna get back on the bike. Dani is catching you!"
I was excited for the sun to go down. I really like riding in the dark. Flatwoods Park was a great place to be, it was totally unlit, with lots of wild life. You could hear animals, but couldn't see a thing. At one point a pack of wild boars came walking across the path. 4 of them. That was quite possibly the highlight of the ride!!
I caught up with Kacie, the other chick from Atlanta around mile 200. I was so excited that she was having a great ride! I knew it was her first night time ride, and that she likes animals too, and I kept thinking "I hope Kacie is seeing these animals!"
220 miles into the ride my lights started flickering. Although I enjoy night riding, riding in complete darkness is not something I am fond of. I started to freak out a little bit. I saw a light blinking up ahead. Another rider! My light was dying and I went into panic mode. I caught the rider up ahead and pleaded with him to let me ride side by side until I made it back. It was Ben! My buddy from the missed turn at Home Depot. Turns out Ben is a student at Clemson, 20 years old, and hasn't been on a bike for more than 30 miles since October. He gave me one of his lights and instantly earned my respect. Not very many 20 year old kids would attempt something as daunting as a double-Ironman. Especially if you are taking a million classes and don't have time to train. Ben clearly is my long lost cousin!
I finally made it to the end of the last lap. Jill and Emily had all my stuff ready for me, and because it was totally dark I just changed behind the car. They told me that I wasn't far behind Jason, and that he seemed to be doing better. I got changed into my run gear and couldn't believe that I was 2/3 of the way done with this thing! The fact that I had tendinitis in my achilles and had not run in 5 weeks actually didn't cross my mind one time. 52.4 miles to go!!!
Bike Time: 12:33:44 for 224 miles, 17.83 mph avg, female course record!