September 27, 2017

Ironman Wisconsin 2017 Recap: The Bike



After transition 1, I ran out to my bike with my shoes, helmet and sunglasses on. Last year I remember a volunteer grabbing my bike and conveniently having it ready for me, but this year I had to fend for myself. I was a little discombobulated from the swim still, so it took me a while to actually find my baby in the sea of bikes, but alas, there she was!

The start of the bike course is super crowded and narrow so I just tried to settle my heart rate and take in some water for the first 30 minutes or so (no solids). My goal was to keep it somewhat relaxed the whole “stick” out to Verona which is roughly the first 14 miles. I knew my family and friends would be waiting to cheer me on when I hit Verona and I absolutely LOVED seeing them quick before I set out on the first loop.

The ride started off well and before I knew it I was climbing the dreaded Barlow Hill (it is seriously no joke) which was added to last year and this years course due to construction on the old route. I have conquered Barlow time and time again throughout training, so I knew I would have no issue getting up it…but it doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a complete B 🙂 I actually spotted my brother in law, Tom, just before the climb and secretly watched him crush Barlow for the first and probably the last time. I eventually caught up with him a few miles after and it was so nice to ride with him for a few minutes as we chatted about the swim that already seemed like an entirely different day.

Since Timber Lane climb was removed due to the new bike course, the crowds all gathered at Midtown Hill instead which was SO fun! I always look forward to this hill and love the rush I get when climbing up it. I knew friends would be here cheering me on, which is always something to look forward to, and I even managed to give them a few high fives. Music was blasting and everyone was screaming and cheering and running next to you all while wearing ridiculous costumes, I just loved it!

About a mile after Midtown, my coach was waiting in a more quit spot where we could actually hear each other speak. I was about 50 miles in and feeling great! I gave her a quick smile and thumbs up and was on my way.

I rounded out the rest of the first loop without incident and unlike last year, bypassed the special needs area which saved me a couple of minutes. Around this time is when I also felt like it was time to use the restroom, however I wasn’t planning on stopping for this. I’ve learned to just let it go on my bike (TMI for some, sorry) but never around other athletes and always when I have a spare bottle of water to “rinse off”. I felt like the second loop was even more crowded than the first, and had to wait 10 solid miles before I found a spot where no other athletes were around me…which was basically torture!

The second loop started off decent, but I could tell my speed was slowly declining. I still had room to build and increase my heart rate, but my legs were telling me otherwise. I began to get super frustrated with myself, because I knew I wasn’t going to hit my goal time. I started looking at EVERYTHING negatively…”why did that dude just cut me off on that turn?”, “why is this person riding in the middle of the lane not allowing me to pass?”, “why is it SO windy?”…everything under the sun basically.

I saw my coach again at mile 90, in the same spot she had been before on the first loop, but with a different reaction to seeing her. This was the first time in the race I actually wanted to cry, and I just shook my head at her. She looked directly at me and said, “keep your chin up”. That’s when my mentality shifted. I looked at my watch and my average speed was 17.7 mph (I wanted to come in around 18.3-18.4) and brushed it off. I started reflecting on the entire year of training, how much I had improved from last year, and gave myself an imaginary pat on the back and began to focus on what was up ahead. I still had 22 miles to go and I was going to make the very best of them. And after that? I get to RUN! What I love best! Let’s do this thing.

As I rounded out the second loop, I saw my friends and family cheering me on one last time before I headed back in on the stick for the last 14 miles. Seeing them there was probably one of the highlights of the bike for me as two of my girlfriends ran beside me for probably a solid mile uphill leaving me smiling the entire way in.

Once I got on the bike path with a few miles to go, I started to mentally prepare for T2 and the run. I knew it was going to be tough, but I was ready for it.

Time: 6:14:50
Pace: 17.93 MPH
Division Rank: 5
Gender Rank: 34
Overall Rank: 507

Fuel: 2 Infinit Nutrition sports drinks(doubled up~4 scoops in each), 2 bottles of water, 1.5 PRO Bars, 2 gels= 1,465 calories



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