Did I mention, its all about the bike?
The weather was cool, overcast and a little bit misty. Perfect weather for hammering the bike out of transition. Ok stupid, don't hammer the bike even if its mostly downhill to Hwy 117. It was so hard to hold back as pretty much everyone passed me. I looked down at my Garmin and I noticed I was missing one of the fields. I screwed around with it but I had no heart rate readings! Great. I adjusted the strap but nothing came up. This was going to be fun. Of all the times for the batteries to run out in the heart rate strap.
I reached Hwy 117 and started heading up the highway which has numerous false flats. The drafting was incredible. I've done this race twice as well as the half Ironman and I don't remember ever it being this crowded. There was absolutely no place to ride as packs of riders passed me as if they were on a training ride. Several times I had to sit up and slow down to stay out of the draft zone of people ahead of me. I reached the massive hill on Hwy 117 and headed down. People have asked me if I've changed my riding style since Chris' crash and I'd respond "sure I have. I don't take as much chances as I used to." While I didn't ride in aero position down the hill, I did manage to hit 73.2 km/hr (not my fastest) but the adrenaline rush is unreal and clearly I am an adrenaline junkie. At that speed, a crash is not survivable and I know that.
The first loop was uneventful as the weather stayed the same. I couldn't believe my luck as the heat and humidity didn't appear as predicted. I worked my nutrition just as planned. I carried enough nutrition for three hours in one bottle and swapped the water bottles at every aid station. I took a swig of nutrition every 15 minutes and washed it down with water. Heading out to the turn around, I saw pro triathlete Jordan Rapp blaze by in the opposite direction on his funky looking bike. He was really smoking. I totally expected Lionel Sanders to be right behind him but Lionel was about 10 minutes behind Jordan.
Climbing back up Montee Ryan was a grind and as I rode by the Scandinave Spa I mentioned to the guy beside me, what a rip off it was. Tammy had mentioned several times how good it looked so Saturday morning while she was out with the kids, I booked a massage and bath treatment for $150. Really, when you think about it, you're paying $150 for a massage and sitting in a hot tub for a couple of hours. When she came back, I told her and she was so happy. I dropped her off and took the kids swimming in the hotel pool. The guy beside me laughed and said "can you say IMMT 2016"? I said no, that was taken care of by getting the basement finished. And IMMT 2017. He laughed some more. Anything to pass the time of a slow, grinding climb.
I headed passed the village and up to the climb to Lac Superior. Oddly, it didn't seem that bad. Just past the turn around at Lac Superior, I passed a guy riding this bike:
Part of a Telus promotion, one athlete rode a Montreal.Bixi bike. The entire 180 km! I'm sure his legs felt fine for the marathon. Coming down was much more fun. I managed to hit 68.3 km/hr on the last down hill. I hit special needs at exactly three hours. Ohh a little too quick. I'd better back it off on the second loop.
At special needs I only needed to swap out my bottle of nutrition, apply more cream and grabbed my treat.
It was a short transition and I headed down Montee Ryan and back to Hwy 117. This loop was going to be a lot different than the first loop. I had a couple of M&Ms but my stomach did a flip. I put the package back in my pocket and later ended up throwing them away. The sun had come out and the wind had picked up. I wasn't sure if I had a headwind, tailwind or side wind. I thought I had a tail wind and looked around for flags to see which way the wind was blowing but there weren't any flags. Along with the sun came the humidity. I began dumping the water on my head and wetting down my arm coolers. I saw Jordan Rapp blaze by again in the opposite direction but Lionel was way back and had fallen to somewhere around fifth place. He was favored to win. I later found out he got a flat tire and then the chain got caught in the crank. His race was over
By the time I reached the turnaround on Hwy 117 it was scorching hot. The wind turned into a head wind and the humidity became unreal. I started dumping water on my head and my arm coolers. Just pass the turn around on the highway, an official on a motor cycle pulled up beside me:
"Peter, are you married to that girl beside you" he asked.
What girl? I thought. I said "Nope".
He said, "well then you can't ride beside her. You have 20 seconds to get out of her draft zone and make the pass." "
"I'm trying" I whined. I was bagged but rode hard to get away from her. The official took off to nail someone else.
The long hill on Hwy 117 was a complete grind. For whatever reason, the wind completely died down and heat radiated up from the pavement. Several other riders mentioned the scorching heat as we climbed the hill at 10 km/hr. At the top of the hill was an aid station. Lots of people were stopping. I pulled over and dumped one bottle of water on my head and arms while drinking another bottle. By now my stomach was getting bloated and was having trouble drinking the Infinit mixture in my nutrition bottle. Thankfully I put salt pills in my bento box and started wolfing them down. Last year I ran out of salt pills as I only filled up half of the container. This year I made sure I had a full container. After that hill, at each aid station, I started picking up two water bottles and use one for drinking and the other for dumping on my head, back and on my arm coolers. It didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Heading back up Montee Ryan, I passed the spa again and looked over. Beside me was the same guy from the first loop. We had a good laugh as we replayed our conversation from three hours ago. The climb back up to Lac Superior. Just after the turnaround there was a bad bike crash. I found out latter someone went off the side of the road into a small 8 foot gully. One ambulance was already there when I passed the scene heading up and a second ambulance was on scene when I passed on my descent. As I flew down the last hill at 59.8 km/hr, there was a guy ahead of me riding all over the road. As I went to pass him on his left, he started drifting towards me. I screamed "LEFT, LEFT, ON YOUR LEFT!!!! A crash at almost 60 km/hr on the narrow road would have been ugly.
Bike Goal: 6:15
Actual: 6:25 First Loop 3:00 - Second Loop 3:25
After a volunteer, took my bike, I stumbled/hobbled to the change tent. The bottom of my feet were swollen from the heat. Once inside, I sat down and rested for a couple of seconds. I took my time and put body glide on my feet as I knew they would be getting soaked from dumping water on my body once I started running. The body glide would help prevent blisters. The guy besides me was putting bandages on his nipples. "Oh great idea" I said. "You want some? I have extras" he said. Gladly I did take them. In case you're wondering why a guy would put bandages on his nipples, its because a wet shirt rubbing against the nipple for four or five hours will leave them extremely sore or bleeding.
Time 6:32 (slowest T2)