Even onto the bike I was still stressing about the glasses and my bag being gone. My brain was spewing all sorts of crazy stuff. “What if my T2 bag is gone, how am I going to get run shoes” “What if someone took my bag on purpose” “What if that same person let the air out of my tires” .... check tires... nope I’m good...wait am I good...no okay, I'm good. That’s how the brain works, when faced with stress it starts the mental chatter, and if the panic sets in, then rational brain goes out the window. So I developed a plan. When I went by coach I was going to tell him what happened, and then release the event. Tell him and be done with it. _H3X9438-Edit-Edit

After doing the Kuakini out and back coach was at the top of Palani and I yelled at him what happened. He asked if I wanted his sunglasses and I said no and rode on. He's awesome enough to hand me the sunglasses off his head. But my thought was that if I was going to take outside assistance it would be for a pair of shorts...should I need them...I totally released it and didn’t spend one more second thinking about it. Total success.

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Soon enough I was at the airport and it was game on. The airport is right about the time when my power meter threw in the towel. I tell ya, that thing will work in training like no other, but the minute I get in a race it quits. It’s quit 3 out of 4 races. And you can’t try to repair it on the spot because there are a million other power meters present. I was fine with it, I didn’t even care. Not sure why, other than the fact that I quit thinking of it as race reliable some time ago.

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My heart rate was high for my perceived exertion and my eye was swollen and trying to shut on me from swimming half the swim with some salt water in my goggle. I was riding more on the low end of 70.3 effort. Humm, what to do? The tail wind was raging pretty good and after 1 hour I had gone 24 miles. I just decided at that time that I was going to storm the castle. I was going to ride hard. I felt good, the conditions felt good, and there were no clouds over the volcano. Coach had said that wind would be low, so I just stepped it up and went for broke. What they heck, it's Kona.

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I rode the whole ride at 70.3 effort, or what I THOUGHT was 70.3 effort! This year the course was interesting, almost nobody talked to me, or visa versa. It was very quiet out there. I hit the climb to Hawi and there were no cross winds. It felt like a tail wind. I was riding fast. No cross winds! I think my brain was trying to make sense of it all, I felt like we were getting so lucky out there.

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Once in Hawi I stopped for my special needs bag, grabbed my bottles and got back on the road. Shortly after Andrew passed me. He’s my KE teemate. It spurred me. I know that he and I have similar bike abilities and I really used him as my carrot to keep the pressure on. Coming down from Hawi was actually hard this year, head wind, no cross winds, and pretty hot. I upped my game.

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Through Kawaihai again and we made the turn back onto queen K. Bam!! There she is, the head wind! I went through 70 miles at exactly 3 hours. Holy smokes. 21 mph all the way home and I could have a 5 hour bike split. But the wind got fierce those final miles. I felt really good. It’s the lonely part of the course where you just have to put your head down, keep your watts up and hammer. I went for it. Hard as I could. I'm actually starting to realize that this section is my money part of the course. I usually ride strong all the way home.

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Past the airport with 7 miles to go I start to compute my bike split and I know if I keep the pressure on that sub 5:10 is possible. This keeps me pushing hard. I think I passed Hailey in here somewhere. We exchanged a few words and I was impressed with her positive spirit. She's such a class act on the race course.

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Into home I was feeling good. I kept saying to myself, I feel good. I know that can change at any point, but I was thankful to not feel as bad as I have in the past. To be honest this ride was so much more of an even effort emotionally. The nutrition changes I made this year really shined in the Kona conditions. It was hotter than normal this year but my fluid intake was right on the money. HAving Osmo Womens Line in my bottles enabled me to drink to my hearts content (27-30 oz per hour) and using real food for the beginning of the bike kept my effort and blood sugar much more steady. No caffeine so far into the day, and I'm feeling strong and under control.

Off the bike and I threw my lovely Quintana Roo Illicito at the bike catchers. See ya baby girl...thanks for not one, but TWO 5:08 bike splits this year! That bike makes me fly! (Edit: just looked and I bike 5:09:05....so there's that...)

I didn't for one minute think that my bag wasn't going to be there. I willed it to be there and sure enough, there it was on the little hook. Whew! I sat down in T2 and actually took a few breaths, calmly put on my stuff and got out of there.

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