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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Okay - I made it out of the swim. Some of my swim demons surfaced but I battled it out and crossed the timing mat at 40:20. I shut the door on the swim and ran through transition - the swim never entered my mind for the rest of the race.
My bike was in the first quarter of the transition area - bike closest to the bike start / finish. With wetsuit in hand I ran through transition. My feet were a little tender on the asphalt but I really did not notice them. It was a long run to the bike.
Helmet on - sunglasses on - really thin socks on - cycling shoes on. I clip-clopped to the mount line and clipped in (I'm not a flying mount / dismount guy yet). 3:05 in transition. It took me two tries. I had taped about 8 gels to the top tube of my bike and I took one at this point. I ate one every 30 minutes on the bike.
There were lots of bikes in front of me as we started out and I felt like going faster than them. I got up to speed quickly and my heart rate was still higher than I wanted. I tried to keep it low but was not very successful - it was about 162 and I wanted to keep it in the high 150's.
Out along the levee the wind was mild - there was wind but it was manageable. The route had completely closed road and lots of police support. About 20 to 30 minutes into the bike we came upon the first of the bridges. Some were overpasses and one was a draw bridge. I am not a strong climber - I'm and spinner not a masher. So I dropped down into my low crank for the draw bridge. I was not going to try and power up this steep bridge. I shifted a little too soon and lost some momentum but stayed seated and just kept spinning. Down the backside I was flying. I have no idea of the speeds but I was spinning out in my largest gear. Doing the gear math that would put it close to 40 MPH.
The first bottle exchange came up quick. I dumped the contents of my water bottle into my profile aero bottle and grabbed a fresh one. No drama.
The bike continued out into some swampy land along Chef Menteur Highway. It was windy at this point - the wind was blowing from the south west. A tandem bike was flying through the field. I believe that it was physically challenged athlete that was blind. That tandom was making some time!
I looked at my watch and I was an hour into the bike when I crossed the leaders heading back. Not sure who was in the lead but someone near me yelled go Macca. The soft tissue was starting to get a little irritated at this point. The cardio felt fine - the legs felt fine. We turned around on Chef Menteur Highway at about 30k's.
Turning around you could feel the wind. It was tough. I was making pretty good time but knew the wind would be a problem. After just a few miles we made a right turn North onto Highway 11. This took us out way into swamp land out onto a peninsula. There were boats and trailers decent crowd support. When we turned around on Highway 11 the wind took hold. There was another bottle drop at this point. I took a bottle and also managed 2 gels - better safe than sorry.
The wind was in your face and fierce. I am thankful that there was no dust or debris flying about. This stretch into the wall of wind was a little demoralizing. I was wanting to get off the bike. My heart rate had dropped and I was having to remind myself to keep up a good pace. There is definitely a mental aspect to these longer races - I need to work on this.
I turned back onto Chef Menteur Highway and the wind did not let up but I knew I was on my way back. I churned away on the bike and then I turned back North again on Paris Road. There was some relief from the wind and in the home stretch. I think I was passing the 2 hour mark on the bike. I was doing the math in my head and was still thinking that if I could jump off the bike and have a near perfect run than I would be close to my fantasy goal time.
Back along the levee and back up the draw bridge. I again shifted into my lowest gears and spun up the bridges. It was slow and steady but I was passing people. They suffered the wind also.
Lots of people were lined up along the street going back into transition. I was so ready to get off of the bike. My legs were tired but felt fine. My soft tissue areas were cooked. My skin was dry and caked with grim - grim from the lake and grim from me. I stopped and unclipped at the bike dismount line and looked at my watch - 2:42:48 - 20.64 MPH. I was pleased but the effort seemed like it was worth a little more.
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Posted by Tri-James at 8:10 AM