Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Go Biking Baby - Serve me up 112 miles!

The Transition Area. I had seen it on so many NBC episodes and I was finally there!

Who's the dork wearing her heart rate monitor and a tiny splish to swim! O wait! That's me!!

The bike was like nothing I even imagined. The part in town was crowded and the streets were lined with people everywhere. I couldn't help but get excited and my heart rate skyrocketed above where it was supposed to be. The goal was to stay under my aerobic heart rate of 160. During those first 10 miles with some going uphill and all the cheering it kept hovering around 170-174. I kept telling myself to relax, this was going to be a VERY ling day and right now, it was just the beginning. For some reason, my nervous system didn't seem to be listening and just stayed on "high alert" mode!!

Finally, we headed up steep Palaini hill, and out onto the Queen K where I could calm down and think about what was to come. Once we were out of town about 20 miles (30 miles into the bike), the wind was insane. At one point, I picked up my bottle to drink and a big gust came out of nowhere. I had to quickly put it in my mouth and bite down and grabbed both handle bars with all my might to keep from going down. I rode like that (bottle in mouth) for 40 seconds before I could put it back. THAT my friends is what makes this race hard to keep nutrition going in when you can't even get it to your mouth without almost wrecking your bike! The winds kept all of us moving about 13-16 miles per hour through about a 15 mile stretch (way earlier than I thought we would have these conditions). After riding past another MAO teammate I said "who turned on the wind!" and she said "wait to Hawi - you haven't seen anything yet!" Great, that should be a lot of fun I thought. My visions of a 5:40 bike split quickly disappeared, and I just tried to follow my heart rate and stay on my nutrition.

For those of you who are interested (and I am sure there are some like me out there!) here was my nutrition on the bike:

One 24oz bottle per hour filled with 220 calories, and one powergel ranging from 110-120 calories per hour. I also drank about 10oz of water per hour from my profile design bottle. I also took one salt tablet per hour (220mg) for a total of around 800mg per hour. I drank each bottle filled with MAO Fluid energizer orange - with protein, except the one in the sixth hour in which I only got in about 1/4th (I ended at 6:04 so I figured I was doing pretty well).

One of the views from the bike

The whole way to Hawi's turnaround it was PACKED with riders. There would be whole lines of men evenly spaced and once you decided to pass one, you had to pass them all because you couldn't get in line without being too close to be considered drafting. I know they person behind you is supposed to fall back, but it just didn't seem cool to jump in right in front of them. Unfortunately, my plan to stay within my heart rate zone would not work during these type of situations and I was forced to just keep going until I could finally get into a reasonably sized space. At one point I was passing while climbing a hill (this course is VERY rolling, lots of long uphills - not steep, but long), and there was another girl who had pulled out in front of me to pass also. I was about 3 bike lengths back and we were both gaining ground on the men beside us. I could hear a motorcycle coming up behind us (I saw a referee about ever 5-10 mins during this portion of the course), and out of the corner of my eye I could see he was hovering behind me. I assessed the situation and thought "A. we are going uphill and B. I am at least 3-4 bike lengths away, he CAN'T be gunning for me right?!" Wrong. He pulled up right then and gave me the big red card for drafting. I was totally stunned, but didn't argue. I almost asked if it just wasn't enough room, but obviously, in his mind, it wasn't. So, I would be taking a 4 min pitt stop at the turnaround, bummer. I tried not to let it get me down, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally, I decided it was better than having to stop to change a flat and prayed for much more careful biking the rest of the way and no flats!

At Hawi I stopped and there were at least 6 of us in the tent. Obviously, they were cracking down hard and someone told me sometimes its just the luck of the draw since it's sort of a subjective call. I don't believe in drafting, so I guess if I needed to get called, I did and it could be worse.

For example of what I don't believe in, read this excerpt from Diana Hassel's blog who just happened to be by someone who was NOT doing our sport any good.

The only unpleasant thing on the bike was watching this 28-year-old Belgian chick cheat like crazy, sitting directly on the wheel of whatever guy was in front of her and looking back over her shoulder for officials every 30-45 seconds to make sure she didn’t get caught. Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate drafting cheaters. I remember her number well…1729. I just looked her up and unfortunately she won her age group due to her extremely fresh legs coming off the bike (at least I beat her to the finish line by 30 seconds : ).
I got my special needs bag, replaced my bottles, and headed back out behind people I had seen at least 10 miles back and had already passed. O well.

It was much less crowded on the way back and I didn't have to worry nearly as much about keeping the distance constant. The winds were bad on the way to Hawi, and bad on the first 10 miles going out. At some points I was going 30 miles an hour, but it was a scary 30 mph because at times the wind seemed to want to carry me away. My arms were getting cooked and I could feel it big time, as was my back because the sun was out in full force. I just chugged along trying to keep my cadence high. I backed my heart rate down even further just in case to about 150 bpm. At mile 80 my bike computer broke off (probably melted), and was just hanging from a rubber thread. I had to put it in my bento box the rest of the way so no more looking at how far it was to get to T2. I ate and drank right on schedule, and even when I didn't feel like it, I took at gel & salt tablet. I never had to pee on the bike, NOT ONCE. Toward the end of the race this started to worry me - was something wrong? Had I just not drank enough. I had practiced peeing on the bike (I know I'm a dork, but I did, I can't believe I am admitting it!!). If I was drinking enough - why didn't I have to go!! Finally, we passed the airport and headed into town. The bike was drawing to a close and I tried to only think of running one mile to the first aid station off the bike.
We came into town and down Palaini and I hoped to see my family. I also wondered if I should get out of my shoes and if so, where! I didn't have enough time to think about it, so i decided against it and it was an ironman, I'd just run in shoes.
I hoped my legs would feel like running because here goes nothin...!!!

No comments: