|Watching My Step. I Can't Feel my Feet.|
My time in transition was quick - I was the third fastest woman to get from the swim to the bike! I saved time here by setting up transition as I would for any other race. I put everything at my bike - not in a bag. I dressed from toe to top: socks, shoes, jacket, gloves, hat and helmet. I was shaking from the cold and my teeth were chattering. I managed to dress and get out and into the sunshine in 5:40.
|I Look Worried at Mile One. The Guy in Front of Me Just Launched a Water Bottle.|
The ride through town was so much fun. I crossed the bridge and was greeted shortly thereafter by the Spice Girls. They were cheering and screaming as I flew by. I spotted Dottie and Ron on Market Street in Porters Neck and they spurred me on to the next leg: I-140 where I saw Neal twice!
|This Horse's Name is Apocalypse. This is Our Theme Song.|
|Posters EVERYWHERE on the course.|
|Off the Beach and Passing the Spice Girls|
My ride on i-140 was fairly uneventful. I checked out the scenery. The flowers at the ramp were amazing purples and whites. The traffic of Market Street dissipated on the highway. The worst scenery: I remember there was fresh roadkill early on. It must have been big. I didn't see the body, but there was fresh blood all over our lane. Gross.
I was in good spirits, but I worried. I was cold and shaking and had goosebumps. I still couldn't feel my feet. I fretted - especially in the shady patches - that I would never warm up. Plus, I had to pee! I had to make a decision on whether to stop at the first aid station and so I fretted about that for miles.
|View from the Top of the Dan Cameron Bridge|
After I crossed the Dan Cameron bridge and headed north on Hwy 421, I decided that stopping was the right decision. The time that I saved in transition would have to serve as a buffer on the side of the road. I lucked out: No lines for the port-a-john and a volunteer to help me put on my TriStacey arm warmers. Plus, I opened a few hand warmer packets.
I gave a big huzzah to Erica who passed me at mile 40ish. I was actually very surprised to see her - I expected her to be in front of me! She's a much faster swimmer, but she changed into warm, dry clothes at T1 and I had a few miles on her.
Many people have asked me what I thought about for six plus hours on the bike. The first 56 miles passed quickly. I was thinking about form: cadence, pedal stroke, heart rate, posture, etc. I was constantly checking in on my nutrition - was I hungry, how long had I had a sip of water. Plus, that long stretch on Highway 421 is littered with memories of past rides: Blueberry Road, Johnson's Corner grocery, Malpass Corner grocery, the Sampson County line, Shiloh Road - all intersected with memories of my summer adventures. I tried to focus on those adventures to keep me busy and to warm me up.
I was happy to turn left off of 421 onto Willard Road. The midway point was within reach and I was ready to stop. I knew that Anna and Leanne would be there and I was hoping that I had put extra socks in my special needs bag. Note to self: put extra socks in special needs bag next time.
|Erica in the Yellow Jersey. I'm in Pink and White|
|High Five from Leanne|
I didn't have socks, but I had more hot hands and tissues. I now had hot hands stuffed in the wrist of one glove and the palm of the other, the waist band of my tri shorts (warming the femoral vein on each hip/leg), inside my shoe covers and in the back pocket of my jacket. The tissues were invaluable. Sniffles are a pain in the arse at 18.3 miles an hour.
I stayed longer than I needed at special needs but I did a bottle swap and ate some peanut butter. Plus, I got a pick-me-up from the energy from Leanne and Anna.
|Happy Happy Happy|
Five miles later, I had my first energy dip.