Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ironman Florida Race Report: Bike (part 1)

So apparently life after Ironman means catching up on everything I neglected all year. I feel like I'm busier than I was during my training! I wanted to post each part of the race report together but I think I need to just do a few paragraphs at a time. It'll be easier to read that way too! Without further ado...

BIKE: 7:24:45

I'm not one of those people who can jump onto their bike and just go, I need to stand there, lift one leg over, etc. So once I crossed the "mount bike here" line, I made sure I was far to the side and out of the way, got on my bike, and then realized someone else had done the same thing right in front of me and was blocking me. There were so many people in that 6' wide chute that I just had to wait for her to start riding.

Once on the road, there were lots of people riding, and the first stretch of road is pretty low quality. A few pot holes here and there (nothing like the VI, but not as smooth as you expect in the states). I'd worn my arm warmers since the previous morning it had been super windy and the wind made it chilly, but I felt like the only one with arm coverings. As expected I got a couple of comments about my hot pink arm warmers. People love them. Dave especially likes them because they make me easy to spot! Dave cheered really loudly when I rode past him. He is an awesome cheerleader.

The first 6 mile stretch is parallel to the shore and it can be super windy there, but it's where the most amount of spectators were too. Plus it was the beginning of the ride, so it wasn't too bad. I knew I needed to not be one of those people who pushes it hard early on the bike and ruins the rest of the day, but I also knew it might be tempting to go faster than I should because so many people were going to pass me. But before the race I just accepted that given my typical swim time and my not so amazing bike speed averages, I'd probably have about 1000 people pass me on the bike. I decided that made me cool. Once people started passing me, I honestly thought about counting them. It was especially fun when super awesome fit guys with amazing bikes and aero helmets started passing me. Hah. I decided I really need a jersey that says "yeah well I swam faster."

Once turned onto the highway to go north, things started to spread out a little bit more so I paid more attention to making sure I wasn't drafting. The rules on drafting are strict - you have to be 3 or 4 bike lengths behind the next cyclist (I knew the number at the time but have since forgotten!). (This is one reason I did most of my training alone this year.) If you enter into that zone, you MUST pass the person within 20 seconds or you can get a penalty. When someone passes you, you're required to drop back the correct distance. Well I wanted to play by the rules, but there were a lot of cyclists out there. I felt like I was dropping back a lot. I passed a few people too though, sometimes only because I suddenly realized I was in the zone.

1 comment:

  1. You knows, with 2500 riders and assume 20 miles between front and back, there is only 42 feet between riders on average.
    With so many riders, drafting is unavoidable. You should ride your ride and put in a "best effort" not to draft, but NEVER change your race plan do to it. I think the race officials understnad the congestion issue and take that into consideration.