Here's part one in case you missed it.
After getting out of the water I had to run down the length of the transition area which was about 100+ yards long. Since I didn't know how cold it really was, I erred on the side of warm and put on my SS bike jersey and arm warmers - I saw Potts leave with a vest on, so I figured a jersey would be ok.
The goal for the bike was to stay settled and ride in my Z3 for the duration - saving it for the final 10 miles and then the run. So much for a plan.... With about 2,000 people on course and after my not-so-impressive-swim, there were a lot of folks I needed to pass before getting up with the guys who are racing the event. Before the race I was warned about a few hills. Since few people seemed to have data on the grade of the hill, I had to guess and bring a 27 which was pretty extreme. The bike course was rolling - but the first hour or so is relatively flat and the roads were wide open. I quickly settled into my ride and grabbed some food.
Noticing that my HR was about 8-10 over what my coach has provided me as an optimum effort - I tried to relax and get into a steady tempo but kept coming back into the higher HR range. It was also tough to not want to pass as many people as possible -which is what I ended up doing. Since I came out of the water with about the 1,300th best swim and concluded the ride with about the 250th best bike split - I spent the entire ride in the left lane, passing about 1,000 people (really 1,028) and only saw 3 guys pass me. In the first hour I was averaging about 23mph- not bad, but decent and it was on pace with where I wanted to be.
The rest of the course would prove to be much more challenging. It was littered with rolling hills but more annoying was the constant headwind. I amused myself by making a few friends out there and cheering for people (which was a good way to keep myself 100% positive for the duration of the effort - it works and I never once had a single 'bad patch' that I had to work through).
The hill which was mythical was indeed a good one. People who brought a 39x23 suffered badly. The climb was covered in carnage and suffering - I suspect it was 14% or so but no more than a 1/2 mile. I relaxed and spun up the hill (there were actually 2 decent climbs but one was indeed mythical for a triathlon) which took less than 3-4 mins at most but easily 2x more for folks who were over-geared. For once I felt great climbing - I think I probably even smiled.
Many others also seemed to fall off pace around the 40 mile mark - a few guys who shared the pace making with me also disappeared. I kept my head down and pushed on knowing I had burned a lot of matches on the bike and didn't save much for the run. I ate everything I brought (1/2 Clif bar, 5 gels, 2 bottles of juice and 4 electrolyte pills, and one water). In the last 1/2 mile I relaxed, shifted down and got ready for the run.
I love the bike portion of the race because I generally do well in it - though I do love the run because there is no hiding, no disc wheels, etc... running is the same for everyone and you can only run well with genetics and hard work. Unfortunately, I had blisters that I hadn't anticipated on returning so quickly. The transition from bike to run was a blur and I felt great- setting out likely around a 7min pace so I could ease into something faster if I felt ok. About mile 3 my feet were hot and asleep as I had snugged my Zoots up too much. Since I knew there were going to be blisters, having my feet asleep wasn't so bad but by mile 6 or 7 I stopped and loosened them a tick. I took in water and over 13 miles my 3 gels and 3 electrolyte pills + water (a few sips) at every water station. I actually felt better on the 2nd lap and tried to pick it up but my feet were on fire. I ran with a few people sharing a few brief comments about the race and as I got close to mile 10 I pushed it a bit just wanting to get my shoes off quicker.
Part III coming soon - I've got to sleep 7 hours before I swim at 5am.