Bike: 7 hours 4 minutes 48 seconds
As soon as I got on the bike I quickly settled in and started rinsing my mouth with water to get rid of the salt water taste and I started passing people. One guy I passed actually Yelled at me! "Vigil!! Man, you're gonna pass me and not even say Hi, dang, that ain't right!! haha" It was Tuggle and honestly I didn't even noticed who it was when I was passing nor did I even think I would see him so soon on the bike as I thought he was farther ahead. I yelled back at him asking how his swim was and actually slowed up to chat shortly with him.
I quickly found a few athletes that were going about the same pace as I and we all just settled in to passing others. The ride so far had been nice and the speed's I kept seeing on the Garmin were 19-23mph, the road were pretty good and the sides of the roads were lined with these small short trees that covered much of the island, too bad they were not tall enough to provide any shade.
It didn’t take very long once leaving T1 till the South side of came and here is where the talk was on the 9 mile length of. Before I actually made the turn I could feel the head wind picking up so I was clued into what was expected once making the turn, or so I thought. As I made the turn I quickly noticed the salt blast of wind from the ocean in the face and the second thing I noticed was the drop in speed. I adjusted my gears and looked down at my Garmin to see 13.4 mph, Shit! I then took a look at the beach/ocean to my right and was wowed by the sands and the water rolling in. The winds were definitely kicking and I knew this section was not going to be fun.
I stayed aero while trying not draft anyone as there seemed to be more athletes now in this section. As I approached the aid station for bottle handout I thought I better grab some water as I didn’t want to run out not yet knowing where the next aid station was exactly. As I lined myself up I saw my Iron friend from Coeur d’Alene,Christy, and she was ditching a water bottle. I quickly yelled out to her and then I was looking to grab a water bottle but the volunteers were a little over zealous moving around the aid station to the athletes instead of the athletes coming to them and I missed the water handout. No worries, I still had plenty but just wanted to make sure, so the next aid station was a must. Just after this aid station seemed to be one of two small baby hills, more like inclines which made it actually nice to go up to change things up. Afterwards it was more flat cross-headwind and another aid station where I grabbed my water bottle and then I finally saw the left turn to head back into town.
( A side note here, since coming out of T1 there has been some locals along the way cheering everyone one, we passed a couple of beach and resort entrances and there was locals and visitors lining the intersections cheering and even on this far side of the island there was just a handful of locals watching)
I made the left turn along with others and we all quickly noted the wind was gone it was a HUGE relief, the speed came back up and it was almost a recovery time period. I did notice though that the 9 mile section was more like 13. As I started making my way back into town I noticed more and more locals starting to be on the course, all cheering from both sides of the roads with nice big smiles. Then Rutger came flying by me with another guy and the lead motorcycles, its amazing how fast the pro’s are! As town approached more and more people were on the route and it made it really fun to ride into town, there was a couple of turns and the roads were actually pretty great!
I made the final turn, where T2 is and it’s time to start the second loop but remember we actually started about 4-5 miles from here so this is the short loop. Also the road just passed T2 for about 2-3 blocks was actually pretty crappy, bumpy and even some good dips, but again it was only about 2 or 3 blocks and there was so many people there you really didn’t even pay attention to it. I actually venture to say that next year they will have this section paved. I did look at my watch at this point and it read 2 hours, but again I wasn’t all the way around on the full loops. I calculated it would take me about 2 hrs 15 mins to complete the next full loop. Back on the main road heading towards the park is a long straight and pretty uneventful. I did see Tuggle’s crew and they yelled out at me which was nice and helped me keep going. I crossed the starting point and I actually stopped at the aid station to use the port o can which was empty and clean, I heard others say they had dirty port o cans all day long but I had good clean ones, if there is such a thing. I went #1 which was good, grabbed some more water and off I went.
Now for some reason during all of loop 2 I had a nagging right foot ache that wouldn’t go away. I tried moving my toes around, pushing with the outside of my foot, pulling up more but nothing seemed to be working and it was burning aching so much so that I could not even push down with a good power. As I got closer to the south side of the island I noticed that head wind starting to creep up but this time it was a little sooner than the first loop and by the time I actually got to the south island and made the turn for the 13 miles-ish the wind was worse! Now my foot is bothering me and the wind is worse. BTW I am taking my salts and nutrition as planned and all is working well here with no complaints. I tried to stay aero here but again the damn right foot wouldn’t allow me and by now I guess I had been working on the right so much the left felt lonely and decided my left big toe needed attention so it went numb! I have had this before on a couple of rides and I have to wiggle my toes around and it will come back so now I had to do both so they wouldn’t get jealous of each other.
As the next aid station approached it was actually the Bike Special Needs hand out and although I didn’t even use this bag b/c I carried everything with me, I found it a good opportunity to stop and stretch/relax my feet. As I got to station, there was many athletes there getting there bags but what I noticed was a more of a cluster fuck! I mean there was bags everywhere and the poor volunteers were completely over run by athletes and under staffed. I got off my bike to relax my feet and actually walked over to the water handout and grabbed one. I saw athletes grabbing bags and throwing them to the side as it wasn’t there number and yes, there was a lot of numbers not in order. This will be clearly one of the areas that needs to be improved for next year.
I got back on the bike and finished out the south side of the island taking notice of the ocean and the beach just to make the time go by. My feet seemed to be doing better which was good but there was nothing like making that left turn from the south side to head back to town. After making it back into town I noticed more people were out lining the streets and cheering along. I completed the 2nd loop and looked at my watch, 2 hrs. 34 mins! Shit I thought but oh well, nothing I could do now but try and pick it up. This whole time I really didn't even notice the distance, I guess it was somewhere 60ish but I never saw my actual mileage till I hit 100 miles on the South windy side.
Heading back around for the 3rd loop I noticed again how the wind became more of head wind way before the South side of the island and this only meant the wind was going to be stronger. I stopped and used the port o can again with no problems and off I went. During the bike leg, I calculated I used 12 mins of stopping time which would have netted me blow 7 hours but again, oh well now. Making the turn to the South side confirmed how much the wind had kicked up during the day and later several athletes all agreed the wind got worse as the day went on. This last time around I vowed to stay down and stay aero for as long as possible and now that the feet were on board with the rest of the body I was actually able to do this for most this 13 mile section but again there was nothing like making the turn to head home. During this last loop I had been riding and playing leap from with Doreen, who I had just met on Friday via Christy and didn't realize it was her till the final 12 miles when we started talking, I would later see Doreen several times on the run and post-IM.
When I made the turn to head back to town I calculated my distance to go and my time and realized that if rode a certain mph I could finish just under 7 hours so I stepped on it and I started pushing about 20 mph, which with the tail wind was not too too hard and I started passing many people including one's in my age group. I would get up right behind them and then fly around and keep pedaling hard b/c I didn't want them chasing me or trying to catch me. Well this worked all but on one guy! I was just about 2 miles from finishing when a guy came up next to me and we chatted about how crazy fun the locals were supporting us and cheering. Then I noticed he was in my age group and working on passing me but just then we caught another guy in our age group and he was out of the saddle pedaling and I told the guy hey, he is in our age group too so let's drop him and he cranked on it and flew by him then made this right turn to the final straight to finish the bike and I started pulling ahead of the guy and then he started cranking harder for me not to pass him, Yes, I was going to pass on the right!! So we are neck and neck and I told the guy, Hey, I am not giving this to you, if you want to beat me in to T2 your going to have to earn it!! As I was cranking harder and then he started cranking it as well and we were basically racing to the dismount. I was at his rear tire when we got really close the dismount and the volunteers were totally waving us to slow down so I grabbed the brakes pretty hard and I said Okay, you got it and he jammed the brakes just before he hit the line.
I dismounted and grabbed my Garmin off the bike and away I went to T2 and my bike went the other direction. A good bike overall with some minor foot achenes which I could only contribute to the humidity.
Now let me tell you on the first loop of the bike I was passing people and then all of a sudden there was an athlete, lady, on a beach cruiser that I was approaching. I saw her and thought NO WAY! Someone has to be on the course but then quickly saw she had a race number and body marked and was clearly on a beach cruiser, that did have gears but sitting totally upright, draw string bag attached to the front and she was pedaling away. I could only think that something obviously went wrong with her bike. I later heard that the frame broke on it and she made it TWO Freakn' laps on that beach bike and then stopped b/c she knew she wouldn't make the time cut off or she would have! Lady, I give it up to you for doing that, b/c even on a Tri bike it was tough! Talk about determination.
I was quickly handed my T2 bag and went into the change tent. I again found a place right at the front where I put my stuff down, changed out my shoes, put on my trail running shorts, hat, put the bike gear in the bag, handed it off and away I went. Feeling good.