I'm on my bike, I'm clipped in, and I'm off. I see my mom looking desperately into the crowd as I ride right past her. I shout "Hi Helen", so that she won't stand there all day thinking I'm a really slow swimmer. She was shocked. As was Troy, but he saw me and gave a typical booming Troy cheer. Troy said later that I was only 4 minutes after the boys (Steve and Anthony) out of the swim, but I made two of that up in transition (Heh Heh Heh) and they didn't expect me so close to the boys.
So we head out of town, out of all the cheering and suddenly its just you and hundreds of your favorite triathlete friends. There were tons of people on the course with me, sometimes it was three across. But I knew that 1:10 was a very common swim time so this was to be expected. For some reason I could not wipe the stupid grin off my face. I felt like Bree Wee, she's always smiling up a storm when she races.
Every volunteer and spectator that I passed, I smiled...no GRINNED, like a big stupid silly grin. I was having so much fun, just happy as a clam.
There was a hill pretty early in the course and while I was going up it, trying my darnedest to expend zero energy while doing so I glanced uphill to see hundreds of competitors on the hill with me. I wish I had a photo of that one. It was insane. And here I am grinning my way up the hill while people are grunting.
After a fun descent where I tried not to hit my breaks but still got passed by guys in full tuck we were onto a long flat section of the course. In past years there was a head wind on this section, but this year it was a tail wind. It was easy to sit around 21 mph through here. I was a little nervous about this, I didn't want to be pushing too hard but knew that sometimes it's easy to do that at the beginning of a race. TriBoomers words of advise kept popping in my head "The race starts 80 miles into the bike". So I decided that I would chillax until then. Medium effort. My goal was to keep my smile and to keep my sense of humor.
One lady and I were going back and forth every once in awhile and she asked me "Who is Amy?" because I had written "For Amy" on my calf. I told her about Amy and her cancer and her baby and the lady said "Thank you for sharing her story". That also really reminded me to be grateful for the fact that I was out there. My grin just got bigger...for Amy. Someday Amy will be out there too, and when Amy races an IM, I will too! Hands down!
So about mile 30 I sucked down the last of my 400 cal bottle of Perpetuem and it was time to refill. I had a spare baggy of powder in my race belt pouch. I pulled my bottle out of the cage, hooked it onto my aerobars and refilled the Perpetuem. It took about 10 minutes to get it all done while keeping my pace. I put the bottle back in my cage and was so proud of myself. Success!! About 3 minutes later I decided I needed a drink. I took out my bottle and BOOM, I DROPPED it. The guy behind me ran over it. I yelled sorry and gave him my best pouty cute girl look. Shoot dang, nutrition gone. So, I went to Gatoraid, what they were providing on course and figured that I could get one more pack of Perperuem at my special needs bag at mile 70.
At 50 miles in we start climbing. Richter pass is pretty awesome, not to hard, lots of cheering fans, and pretty darn fun. The perma-smile was still fixed to my face so I got a lot of "Nice Smile" and "She's having fun". Loved it! I also passed Keith here. He is a super fast swimmer and was wondering when I would get him on the bike. I pulled up next to him, we talked for 10 seconds and then I was off with a smile.
After the pass there is a series of rollers that are pretty big. About half way through them I was out of NUUN in my rear bottle so I decided to refill it while climbing one of the rollers. I pulled out my last bottle and jammed it into my aerobars, removed the lid, dropped in some NUUN and put the cap back on. I did this all while climbing, and passing quite a few people. I'm just about to put the bottle back in my bottle cage when I hear "Sonja, Don't you think there is a better time to do that"?. I jump because I thought the dude knew me and BOOM, I drop my second water bottle. Dang! Because we have to wear our bib number on the bike, and our names are on them, this guy was calling me out by name. It flustered me, and I lost my last bottle. I was now going to be completely dependent upon what I could get at the aid stations (narrow mouthed bottles that you can't fill with your own stuff).
Still, bigger smiles. Entering into the dog leg and out and back sections was really fun. I saw Amanda Lovato looking awesome as ever and noticed that Steve and Anthony were about 2 minutes apart from each other and I was about 8 minutes behind them. I rolled into the special needs bags and this wonderful volunteer had my bag open and ready for me. I stopped, grabbed what I needed and got rolling again, loosing about 10 seconds. It was AWESOME. I gave her some big smiles too! Here's Anthony climbing...and for some reason not smiling as much as me (he just changed his flat).
We went up a hill shortly after and I dropped my chain. What? Since when do I ever drop my chain? As I was putting it back on a guy that I had been riding near yells "Sonja, that's what you get for taking off on me". I laughed and then I got back on my bike, looked down, saw that we were at 80 miles and decided it was time to throw down. From here on out I went hard and I passed and passed and passed people. On the final pass my parents, Troy and my aunt and uncle Steve and Sandy were all there cheering like crazy for me. I was so high from passing people that my perma-grin had obtained an obnoxious level. I was eating it up. I noticed that my average had dropped to 19 mph with all the climbing and so I spent the final descent trying to be as un-chicken as possible to boost my average up as much as I could. I rolled into town with 19.3 on my average, very happy with that, knowing I was well under 6 hours for the bike. My final bike time was 5:45:18.
I love this picture of one of the guys out there. Dad took it.
The Ironman Canada bike course is pretty phenomenal. It's one of the only Ironmans with a one loop bike and the scenery was amazing, not that I had much time to look at it. But the FANS! They were amazing and very fun and silly. My legs felt phenomenal on the bike, they had truly delivered for me. But in my training I've noticed that everything can change when you get running on them. So, how would they feel on the run???...