IMoo - The Bike

As I exited the water I made my way to the wetsuit strippers. It was nice to have some help getting my wetsuit off, but I'm not sure it was any faster than if I had done it myself. I also ended up losing my goggles in the exchange. After they handed me my wetsuit I made my way towards Monona Terrace, an ideal location to host the transition area. Albeit an intimidating and massive building from the water front, I quickly made my way up the helix parking ramp to the fourth floor. The plush carpeted conference rooms were a welcome comfort as I entered the building and grabbed my transition bag. Upon entering the changing room, two assistants helped me empty the contents of my bag and pack up my swim gear. Every step of the way the volunteers treated every athlete like they were a pro which totally blew me away. Out I ran with my bike shoes in hand to get lathered up by the sun screen ladies, then down the length of the parking deck to pick up my bike and ride down the other helix parking ramp. Total time to execute, 6:14. Slow for a sprint tri, but considering the size of the transition area it was pretty good.

I saw very few cyclists as I made my way out of town on John Nolan Dr., which was great to not have to worry about congestion on the winding bike path out to the highway. Everything was shaping up for a great start as I headed out towards Verona to start the first loop. Then suddenly I heard what sounded like someone's tire flatting. I thought, "damn that really sucks that someone is flatting out so early into the race." I looked around to see who it was and then after looking down I realized it was my rear tire.


10 miles into the ride and my chances of achieving my optimal time was gone. I pulled off to the side of the road into the ditch. Luckily it hadn't blown on a steep descent I had recently completed. The tire came off easily and I diligently pulled out one of the carefully prepared packets I had stashed in my jersey for just this situation. I emptied the ziplock bag of the inner tube and CO2 cartridge and got the inflater out of my seat bag. I panicked about the time I was wasting as I fumbled around with installing the new tube. Within minutes a support vehicle came by and the asked if I had everything I needed. I said yes, and they sped away. Whoops, wrong answer! Apparently I needed to look a lot more hopeless before they were going to stop and help. I finally managed to get everything together and inflated, although the tire pressure was low. By this time, probably a good 10:00 later, the course was starting to get crowded. I got a little disheartened that I had lost so much ground, but forced myself to eject it from my mind. It was all behind me. Literally. As I got back up to speed I heard, "whow, what the...?" Apparently I almost got rear-ended by someone who wasn't paying attention. No harm done though. Just two ships passing in the night.

After that, things began settling in again. I was really enjoying the course. It was a perfect day for a ride and having aid stations every ~15 miles was a huge convenience. The only food I had loaded up on my bike were 14 packets of gu in my bento, an aero bottle (water only so I didn't get sticky), and a gatorade in the cage.

Once I got to Witte Rd., I saw what makes this course special. The landscape in this area is a beautiful wide open panorama, accentuated by the huge rolling hills I was flying down. It was a blast, but I was ready to crap my pants going down them. Tucked in the aero position I was maxing out at 45mph. I had never experienced descents this steep before. Most of them felt like I was falling off a cliff. Then came the winding decent on Garfoot which was INSANE. It had more curves than a car commercial and was a non-stop descent. If I was a better rider I would have taken it at full speed, but I rode the brakes around the corners because I didn't want to wipeout.

Soon after was the climb at Old Sauk Pass. The fan support here was simply amazing. It was a slice right out of a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Spectators were lining the road so tightly that it was difficult to ride two abreast. It really made the hills something to look forward to rather than dread. There were a few more curvy downhills after the climb which brought me to my biggest scare of my ride. Heading down a steep descent in my aero position I went into the turn. And then, suddenly, the handlebars began to violently shake. I immediately had visions of wiping out at high speed. I tried to get control, but I couldn't stop it. It lasted for about three or four seconds and then smoothed out. At the time I thought I had caught a strong gust of wind, but on further consideration I think it may have been a speed wobble. I made certain that on the next loop that I would be riding the brakes.

After that it was fairly easy riding back into Verona where all the fans from the terrace had been bused in cheer us along. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't see my family as I rode through, but they saw me and made plenty of noise to make sure I noticed them.

At special needs I made my first of several pit stops (7 total for the race). I had tried to pee on the bike so I could make up some of the time I had lost with my flat tire, but I couldn't get it to come out. I was glad that I was getting confirmation that I was staying hydrated, even though it ended up slowing me down further.

The second loop was a bit slower and harder because of fatigue, but I didn't bonk and I was able to eat the entire ride. I was surprised to find that my ass never truly hurt, which, especially on my long rides during practice, had always been a problem. And this was with less padding than I'm used to training with. I'll chalk it up to the cushy tire pressure in my rear wheel after my flat and the liberal amount of body glide around "points of interest".

Coming into transition I was feeling better than on any of my long training rides and I was very positive about how my race was progressing and my condition going into the run. With a bike time of 6:34:27 I was on target to finishing in 12 hours, my secondary goal.

Next the run...


Been looking forward to chapter 2 with great anticipation. Once again... you set the scene in all it's interesting details... and bring those of us who were consigned to catch mere glimpses of you along the way, right into the thick of things.
Great post! Can't wait for your next installment.

Well now you have an excuse to buy new swim goggles and keep them away from your cap so they don't get all marred up like your old ones. :-) More Gear!

It's so exciting to hear what was really going on while we were nervously awaiting your arrival at all the spectator viewing spots. You rock!

I look forward to each post with great anticipation. The highlights of the race still go through my mind every day and it's great to hear your version of the race. You and all the other athletes are so inspiring! If all of you can do what you did (set a goal and work for it all year and then go out and do it), I can at least exercise for 30 minutes a day for my health, for goodness sake. I'm so proud of you.

Love, Mom

Amen, and amen!!



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