This is part 4 of a series of posts about the 2014 Augusta Half Ironman. Click here to start with the first post!
My mom asked me on Saturday which part of the Half Ironman I was the most worried about. That was hard to answer because I wasn't really worried. I had done my training. I was well-prepared. There were some things, however, that I could not control - getting a flat tire or crashing on the bike. Those were the things I was the most concerned about. However, I had prayed over the previous few days that God would protect me from any mechanical issues on the bike. But I also prayed that if there were any issues, He would help me get through them with calm and peace.
So the bike was my area of greatest concern. It's my weakest event overall. But I had cycled the course twice before, once in a race simulation, so I knew what I needed to do. I just had to do it! I had to stick to the plan!
And I did, for the most part. Almost immediately, a wrench got thrown into The Plan when I had to go pee right out of the river. I usually feel that way after I swim, so I didn't think much about it. Most of the time I can just get on the bike and keep going and the feeling fades away. But this time it didn't. It just got worse and worse. I knew the first aid stop was around mile 17 and there would be porta potties. I hadn't planned to stop until the 2nd aid station for fueling and hydration, but it was not comfortable to ride like that. And then once we got onto the Savannah River Site and the bumpy roads in there, I KNEW I had to stop! LOL
I was nervous about stopping because these are aid stations where you slow down and are handed a water bottle to swap out. And I've heard there can be lots of crashes. So I just moved over the best I could and, well in advance of my stop (right past the hand off location and near the porta potties), I announced loudly, "Stopping!!" And I stopped and nobody crashed! Yay! There was no line for the potties and I was in and out as quickly as I could. Felt MUCH better afterward!
This area also marks the end of the mostly flat first segment of the course and into the middle part which is the hilly part. None of the hills are terrible, but there are a good many of them especially if you took it too hard on the flat part. But I didn't. I maintained a good cadence and speed in the beginning so I wouldn't kill my legs. It was fairly windy, but not anything terrible.
The second stop - where I was going to prepare more UCAN - was supposed to be at mile 35 but it was more like mile 37. I also managed to navigate this aid station with no incidents, and a volunteer actually brought me the water bottle so I didn't even have to find a place to put my bike! That was super! I had planned my fueling for it to be around mile 30 like the athlete's guide had told us. I was happy when I learned it was moved to 37, but I think in the long run, it was bad for my body to have to wait that extra 30ish minutes for more fuel. I would like to compare the mile splits for this race versus my simulation and see if there was any marked decrease in performance right before the aid station. Once I started taking in the UCAN I felt much better! But I was also getting to the point in the course where I always feel "blah". This stretch of road is usually windy and just annoying. And then there is the short, steep hill followed by the dreadful 4 lane highway. But this is another example of how beneficial it was to ride the course ahead of time! I knew that this part sucks. So when it sucked, I didn't feel like anything was wrong. I just knew this was that part of the ride and to deal with it and think about something else!
Once we get off the 4 lane highway and onto the flat road that returns us over the river and to the transition area, my spirits lifted. I knew that I was almost there! And once I hit 2 miles to go, I figured I could carry my bike that far if I needed to! ;) I was so relieved that nothing mechanical had happened, and that I didn't crash!
Stopping at the dismount like, I walked my bike back to to transition.
Official Bike Time - 3:56:02
In transition, I changed socks and shoes and got my run stuff pulled together. Very uneventful!
Official T2 time - 7:00
Click here to go straight to the 5th part of this series - the Run!