With my calf issues coming out of the water I was already running behind in my Transition 1 time. On top of that my bike was mysteriously missing from the bike rack! Looking at this video it's pretty hilarious what happened but not so funny at the time. The race support staff call out your number on a bull horn to the bike transition crew. Then a crew member gets your bike and meets you at the transition bike exit. The problem in my case is I did not run down the middle aisle to get my bike from the volunteer, I turned right when I entered transition and ran down the outer perimeter to where my bike was racked. Who knew someone was getting my bike for me?? This video says it all.
T1 GOAL TIME 10:00
T1 ACTUAL TIME 14:58
Now that I have my bike, it's off to do my favorite part of a triathlon. As I headed out on Beeline HWY to do my first of three 37 mile loops I noticed three things, 1. My calf was still bothering me, 2. My stomach did not feel great, and 3. There were going to be challenging weather conditions. These are common things that can happen during an Ironman. You can plan and train for this grueling event but all of the planning and training doesn't help you for race day unknowns. On the first half of my first loop I was averaging 18.7 MPH and trying to keep my effort steady and under control. I was on target at this early point in the race. I reached the turnaround and the ride back to Tempe is a slight downhill so I was confident now in my bike time. As I rode back towards Tempe the winds, rain and even occasional hail started. But the toughest part was the wind. As I fought the wind on the way back I saw my average speed slipping downward. After one loop my average speed was 17.2 and I knew unless the weather changed my bike time goal and my sub 13 hour Ironman was out the window. The second loop was worse with gusts up to 25 MPH and no place to hide. I saw numerous racers drafting which is not allowed in Ironman races. One of them had an Ironman tattoo. "You call yourself an Ironman sucking wheel?!" As bad as I wanted to suck wheel myself I was not going to taint my first Ironman. At least my stomach was feeling better and my calf was not seizing up on me. My wife was volunteering at one of the bike aid stations so I pulled in to say hi and use the potty.
At this point in the race I knew I couldn't make my bike goal time and I have to admit I was a little mentally defeated. I had a great swim and now the part of the race I enjoy the most was not fun. The unrelenting wind was just beating me down. If you ask most bike racers or triathletes if they prefer wind or hills, most will say hills. They have a beginning and an end. The wind just keeps coming at you. I had to keep pushing on and oddly enough I was looking forward to the run. My biggest concern now...how would my calf react to the run?
I want to thank the IMAZ volunteers at the bike aid stations. It was cold, windy and rainy and they always were pleasant helpful and had a smile. Amazing!
GOAL BIKE TIME 6:20:00ACTUAL BIKE TIME 6:54:34