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Barb’s Race Recap – Bike + T2

August 7, 2011 Fitness, Friends, Fun No Comments

This is Part 3 in a 4-part series.

Part 1 – Pre-race + Nutrition
Part 2 – Swim + T1

The bike course is a 56-mile loop that winds through three famous wine regions in Sonoma County — Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley. The scenery is just stunning. I had to keep reminding myself to look around and enjoy it rather than just looking at the pavement a few feet in front of me.

Caryn and I pre-rode the bike course in June and that provided a lot of insight. There are a couple of tight turns to navigate and I was able to set my expectations on the terrain. The first five miles are flat getting out of Guerneville, but the rest of the route is rolling. There is one big climb (Chalk Hill) that happens at Mile 45, so you’ve got to save your legs for that. The roads are pitted with potholes and I adjusted my tire pressure to offset this. When we rode it in June, there was a lot of broken glass and loose gravel on the roads, but they thankfully had them swept before the race. There is on-course support at Miles 18, 28, and 40 — water, Gatorade, and bananas are offered.

I was able to settle into my aero bars and keep a steady pace until turning onto Chalk Hill Road at Mile 41. My average speed never dropped below 19 mph until the climb at Mile 45. My race goal for the bike was to average 18 mph and finish in 3:05, so I felt really confident the entire time I was out there. My heart rate was under control and my legs had a lot of fire in them. I ended up averaging 18.8 mph overall and finishing in 3:00:12.

Greg and Jeff parked at a friend’s house at Mile 38 to spectate. I saw the van and gave a holler to let them know I was coming. I knew I was ahead of schedule and they’d miss me otherwise… Greg’s poor spectating skills are often joked about (as is my modesty in cheering for them to cheer for me). Paula and Kevin came down in time to see Caryn go by. They made signs!

I knew I was going to be somewhere around 10 minutes ahead of Caryn out of the water. But she’s a faster cyclist than I am and I knew she’d be chasing me down. When my average speed started to drop climbing Chalk Hill, I knew she’d catch me. I kept waiting for her to catch me. She never did!

I was prepared to pee on the bike if I needed to, but the urge wasn’t there. I did start to have stomach cramps around Mile 20, which concerned me. I was able to go to the bathroom early that morning, but it wasn’t what I’d call “normal” and I had a feeling things were going to be off because I had eaten dinner so late… I had a plan. I had packed a vial of PREV with my run gear at T2 and I willed myself to remember to drink it as soon as I got off the bike. I hoped it would kick in fast enough to thwart any GI issues that were brewing.

Ryan turned me on to PREV and I am forever grateful. I used it once before when my stomach started to revolt after a hot and hilly training session. It worked within minutes to quell my upset stomach that day, and I was glad I had planned ahead to bring it on race day.

There were tons of spectators on Windsor Road watching the bikers come in and the runners go out. My cheering section was there — Tara, Addison, Mike, and Tiff — and it felt great knowing they were there for me. The tri club was situated nearby and the two groups joined forces as I came through the chute to the dismount area.

The clouds were just beginning to break up, but it wasn’t unbearably hot. In fact, race conditions were perfect!

My Timex watch was tracking overall race time and I felt great looking down to see 3:37 coming into T2. I knew I had bought myself a lot of time for the run and the minute I took those first steps off my bike, I knew I’d need it.

The distance between the bike dismount and our transition area was far! My legs didn’t want to work and I felt like I was going to fall running on the pavement in my cycling shoes. Also, there were surprisingly few people spectating in the transition area. The whole thing was kind of surreal. Since Caryn didn’t catch me on the bike, I kept looking around for her in the transition area. I really wanted to run with her!

Official T2 time: 4:25

Click here for the gritty run details!


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