Thursday, October 22, 2009

Race Day - Part II ( The Bike )

WHEW ! ! ! At last the swim is over. Not because I am a poor swimmer or that I find the swim physically difficult. It is very stressful not to be able to see where you are going. Imagine swimming with fogged up goggles in an ocean swim . That's not exactly what my vision is like but it may give you an idea what it is like. We head through the fresh water showers, grab our cycling bags and head into the transition tent. It is organized chaos in there. the volunteers a little more organized and the racers a little more chaotic. They are trying to save every second possible. We take our time , making sure everything is ready for the 180km ( 112 mi ) bike. We cross the timing mat, mount our tandem and start hammering. Immediately we start to pass other cyclists. I had [planned to keep count but that idea goes out the window in the first 5 minutes when we must have passed 75 - 100 riders and I lost count. We climb Palani and now we are on the Queen K and rolling along betwen 40 - 45 km/h ( 24 - 27 mph ).Everything is going great. We cover the first 60 km in 90 minutes, right on schedule. I feel good about our progress , especially as we riding onto a headwind. We battle a continuous headwind all the way to the turnaround at Hawi and it is HOT ! Thinking we may get some tailwind assistance on the way back from Hawi I am disappointed but not surprised to find that we have a crosswind for about 20 - 30 minutes after the turn around and then another headwind all the way back. The Kona winds are not kind. Our speed is slowing down and we fail to meet my time splits at 120 km and 150 km. We are still passing lots of cyclists, in fact we passes 768 riders during the ride. I wonder if hat is some kind of record. At about the 130 km mark I am having a lot of discomfort in my left hip and quad. The night before while riding to transition to drop off our tandem and transition bags I had a little accident. Our cycling shoes were in our cycle transition bag so we were riding in our flip flops as we had done several, times before. However to add to the unstable conditions of my flip flops on my Speedplay pedals I now had our 4 transition bags in my left hand. Do you see where I am going with this ? My left foot slipped off my pedal, I had mt left hand full of transition bags so I had no support on the left side and I fell off ,landing on my left hip ,knee and jamming my toes on the pavement. There had to be at least 200 - 300 people around to witness my expert cycling skills. I jumped upi mmediately, more embarrassed than hurt at the time .I don't know if this had any affect on my race but it couldn't have helped. No excuses though, the Kona gods kicked my ass.`As we approached the bike to run transition I was looking so forward to getting off this bike. For those of you who have never ridden a tandem and for those of you who have, 5 hours on a tandem is like 7 - 8 hours on a single bike.Your back hurts, your butt hurts, everything hurts. WE finish the bike ,grab our run bags and head into the transition tent. It feels so good to be sitting on a chair, something wider than my butt as opposed to a bike saddle. Sorry no pics at this time. Next the run.

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