The transition area was further away from the water than I expected so it was a long run/walk/shuffle up the sidewalk while barefoot. I made it to the transition area and found my bike! I was really concerned about losing my bike like I did at the mini triathlon I did last summer. The transition area was laid out differently which made it much easier for me to remember where all of my gear was. I tried to be fast in the transition but I knew I couldn’t leave without at least drying off a little and reapplying some sunscreen on my shoulders! Once that was taken care of, I put on my helmet and cycle shoes and I was off again! You have to run the bike to just outside of the transition area where a sign directs you to mount your bike. The pros can hop on their bike while running. I however have to make sure I’m standing on the left side of the bike, stop, swing my leg over, clip my right foot into the pedal and THEN mount the bike to start pedaling. It’s very graceful. My coach was standing on the sidelines shouting directions because the sprint distance athletes were already coming back in from their bike ride so it was kind of confusing and I certainly didn’t want to collide with anyone!
Once I got onto the road though, I realized that my bike computer wasn’t working so I had no idea how fast (or how slow!) I was going or how far I had gone. I knew that the magnet down on the spokes had shifted and the transmitter wasn’t picking up the signal. It’s an easy fix but it would have required me to stop and get off the bike. I just knew that I’d never hear the end of it from my coach if I stopped so I just kept going. I had my watch so I could kind of guess how far I had gone based on time but I quickly realized that pacing would be the least of my worries. Nothing could have prepared me for what was ahead. The bike course seemed to be uphill every direction we turned! All throughout training, I HATED hills. Even the simulated hills we did on the indoor spinning bikes over the winter. As I was heading out and others were coming back, I saw several people pushing their bikes up the hill that I was going down at the time. I cursed under my breath knowing that I was going to have a rough time when I was coming back. I kept going but it seemed to be one hill after another. There were some good down hills that I really wished I had my computer for because I know I had to be going at least 25 mph a few times. But each fast decent was rudely interrupted by an uphill. There was one hill that I was preparing for the worst. I thought for sure I was going to roll right over. I was in my easiest gear, standing up but still swerving all over because I just didn’t have enough strength to get up the hill any other way. I was going so slow that I couldn’t seem to get the leverage to unclip my shoes from the pedals either. At one point, I tucked my elbows in and made my way to the edge of the road so that if I fell over, I would at least land in a grassy ditch. After some loud cursing and heavy breathing, I somehow made it up one of the last nasty hills without falling over. I knew I was almost done because I could hear the announcer back towards the lake shouting the names of those that were crossing the finish line. The sound was carrying up and over the levy.
Continued in part 4