The bike... Ohhhhh the bike... My weakest discipline in triathlon, and something I have worked so hard on since starting with Katie in November. I'm fortunate enough to have a lot of growth ahead of me on the bike, and I'm excited to see the type of cyclist I can become.
I came out of the changing tent, grabbed my bike, and went to the mount line. And there I stood, far over to the right in my own little world. I watched the rain coming down, and listened to the rumbles of thunder. I stood there for probably 3 or 4 minutes, and I don't know what finally made me go, but I started turning the pedals. Ever so slowly, and my hands securely fastened on my brakes. In all of my scenarios that I came up with, "rain while descending into Keene" was among the "worst case scenarios". I rode by Scott and Lisa, and yelled "this is my worst nightmare coming true". Dramatic maybe, but it's how I felt at the moment.
Off I went, spinning up the big hills leaving town, watching as everyone passed me at 150 miles per hour. I saw the sign that marks the descent into Keene, and took each portion of the descent as it came. I went slowly, in an effort to stay in control the entire time. I watched as people around me flew down the descent, wishing I could steal their confidence and bike handling skills. I stayed far to the right, out of everyone's way, and just burned through my brakes.
Once at the bottom, my teeth were chattering, and my hands white. This was the only time of the entire day that I thought about quitting. I was freezing, it was still pouring, and I was miserable. Then I thought about all of the work I had done, all the people who had sent all of their love, the people who got me to that starting line, and then fact that there was nothing "truly" wrong with me. I was scared and miserable, but physically, I was fine. There is a long out and back section after Keene, so I told myself that I had 30 minutes to take in food, try to get the heart rate back up, and if after those 30 minutes I was still miserable, I could re-consider. I decided to solider on, and in those next 30 minutes, I came back around. The rain had let up a bit, I was finally warming up, nailing my heart rate, and cruising right along.
The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful; I executed my plan, never looking at my speed. I didn't want to know how fast or slow I was going, everything was driven by my heart rate numbers. I spun up the hills, smiled a lot (even when the thunder and lightening made a re-appearance!), and fist pumped when I rolled over the 100 mile marker. This was now the furthest I had ever ridden on my bike, and oh my God I was doing it! I chatted to a few people, took in all of the energy from the spectators, and joked about how beautiful the scenery would be if we could actually see it!
I rolled back into transition, apologized to the volunteer for the amount of pee that was on my bike, and clack clack clacked into T2. I changed out of my tri shorts, and into my Coeur run shorts, which was one of the best decisions of the day. It was so worth the 30 seconds to peel off those soaking wet tri shorts, and into a dry pair of my favorite run shorts. As I was about to head out of T2, I heard them announcing Amber as the women's winner. What the what? She was WINNING, and I still had to run a MARATHON? I only sat with that thought for a few moments, and then remembered that I now got to do my favorite part of the race - the run!
With that, I headed out to the roads, with a huge smile on my face. I had conquered my biggest fear in Ironman, and executed my plan beuatifully!