I cruised out of Quassy Park ready to rock. I ride hills all day long. So I was prepared mentally for this race. In fact, in order to ride flat roads, I must go back and forth on a 5 mile stretch. I do this at times in order to work on specific speeds or to rest the legs. But otherwise, I'm forced to be a climber. I live in Oxford Hills. The Foothills of Western Maine. My road is Paris HILL Road. And yet I drove away on Sunday announcing to my husband that we do not in fact live in hills. We are delusional. Middlebury, CT has hills.
I went off track. Back to the race. As soon as I started riding I heard this rhythmic noise. flip flip flip flip flip flip. ARGH! What is that???? I checked my tires 1000 times to be Sure they were strong and full of air. (refer back to PolarBear race report to see why...) And I was flying so I knew I wasn't hearing a flat. But flipflipflipflip...?? Huh?
I was trying not to ride into the middle of the road while loooking over my bike but I did slow and sway around the lane. I had no idea.
Finally---whap! Something flew off the bike. I never saw it. Something had been stuck in the spokes it seems. Hmmm...whatever.
RIDE Girl RIDE!
Honestly, I don't remember a lot. So don't worry...you don't have to endure a mile by mile account of 56 miles of climbing.
I do remember this.... there were Men. Lots and lots of men. And that's it. The first 10-15 miles or so were very very crowded. There were packs of people and Lots of drafting. I did my best to ride clean. I dropped back when I was passed. I didn't hang onto the gangs even though I could have very easily. But I must comment....many many guys out there seem to be very irritated (just guessing but that was my impression) when a woman catches them. I experienced this quite a few times on Sunday. I would work my tail off to get ahead of a guy, my wheel would go in front of his, and then he'd look me in the eye, and stay there. Grrrrrrr..... I'll leave it at that. Rules are there for men riding with men and women with women and men with women!
I rode along with men for this entire ride. It was strange. I did have a couple speedy ladies fly by me early on. I wasn't sure how old they were b/c the ages on our legs were blurry. I also knew I had a hard run ahead and I wasn't too concerned. I have felt very confident and strong on the run and felt that if I rode smart, I could catch them. So that's what I did. I rode steady and strong but never hammered. I pushed as hard as I could on the down hills that were safe and focused on keeping my cadence up on the hills.
This ride was pretty intense. It was Hilly. There is no other way to say it. We climbed and climbed. The downhill portions were often capped off with a sharp turn to the left or right which made it difficult to carry over speed. I must say that they did a great job marking the course with Caution signs and left/right signs. There were many helpful police on the roads stopping cars and keeping us safe. The course was wet so this was key. My dear friend Mary Lou actually crashed at the bottom of one of those hills. Get this...another Midcoast Tri Club Team member had just crashed in that same spot. He was in an ambulance with a broken hand. Mary Lou fell, hit her head and was knocked unconscious. So they took the other man out of the ambulance and put her in. What are the chances? And..another friend's husband was at that very corner (mi 35) watching and was able to call for help for MLou!!! yikes...
The road was never ever flat. However, I felt good. I never felt too tired and my quads were hanging strong with the climbs. More than anything, I just got sick of it. I became bored. I wanted to see some women out there... where were they???
I thought I was doing a good job with nutrition. I had a gel at 1 hour, I had sips of my bottle and did finish it by the end (220 calories) and at hour 2, I had another gel. That's 400 calories. ok... I felt ok. I didn't want pain in my stomach again from eating too much. I was trying to keep it simple....
When we hit the mile markers on the course I realized just how slow my ride was averaging. At 2:04 I hit 40 miles. Really??? Ok...it doesn't matter.
Just. Keep. Riding.
I admit that I did feel like I would never see the end. I wondered why I wasn't catching all the 35-39 women who had started ahead of me in the water. I was confused by this. And frustrated. I even said out loud at one point..."Where are the Women??" Some guy, riding near me up this hill, said back "you're ahead of them all!"
Huh? No...really. I don't think so! I knew this wasn't really true because I had seen a few go by. But it made me wonder. Where was I in this field? Was I still chasing or was I now being chased? I had no idea.
At one point, we were climbing yet another long long hill. It was a big open field and man did it Stink! I'm familar with that smell. Cows. Plenty of them up here in our pseudo-hills of rural Maine. I guess I stopped paying attention because next thing I knew my chain was locked. No!
I stopped and prayed nobody would run into me while my head was down fixing my bike. I wiggled the chain and tried again. Nothing.
One more time and I got it. Dumb mistake. The course required so much shifting that the bike got ticked off and called it quits.
The rest of the ride is fuzzy. I just rode and rode and figured I'd eventually get there and be able to start running. My quads were definately feeling the fatigue by the time I neared the park but I know I rode smart.
Unfortunately, I think I rode smart but failed to fuel my body enough. And where do you end up feeling that??
you got it...the run....
but first, I rode into Quassy and was once again ready to getmeoff this bike.
The Transition area was so cool there. It was clean and organized. No mud or uneven ground to maneuver on. I loved it. I slipped my back wheel into the wooden groove, grabbed my gels, hat, race belt and I was off.
"HEY PINK!" Some guy called me Pink. "Your Hat!"
I dropped my hat. It was pink. I made the decision to run back for it. It was super hot out and I needed it. annoying little moment.
I ran back out the OUT path and was happy happy happy to see my little guys with their hands outstretched for high 5s!! They rock. My hands were full of all my stuff but I managed a semi-Mommy slap for the kids. Mark and Mary were right there and I gave them a beautiful look and mouthed off about the ride, "Oh mY GOSh! that ride! !" ( You can see Mary's blog www.tri-ingtodoitall.blogspot.com for a lovely look at that face I made.)
My ride time was 2:55. (19.1 mph). I ended the ride in 1st place for my age group and 15th position overall (pros included) .
And now...the fun begins...