When we left off last time, I had walked over from the transition area…
It started to rain as we were getting loaded in to the starting corrals, all I could think was great…
I didn’t bring my headphones with because I knew I shouldn’t wear them on the bike portion on the race. It dawned on me as the announcements were being made that I really miss a lot when I wear them because I can honestly think it is the first time I have ever heard announcements. I was really happy I didn’t have them on, because the race organizers did a tribute to another Esprit de She ambassadors who was killed during her first bike ride of the season. Her name was, Penny Verdeck, and in the little time I had to get to know her, I was able to develop a friendship with her.
Penny had been super helpful to me with training tips for the duathlon as well as which triathlon I should sign up for in the fall. We had made plans to officially meet in person at the duathlon, so I never got the honor to meet her in person. It made me sad because in the short time I did know her, it was obvious that she was a very inspiring woman. It was nice to see Penny’s family there in her honor her. On Friday Ryan, Penny’s husband, reached out to me to let me know they would be in attendance and that I could find them because they would all be wearing pink shirts. I quickly scanned the crowd and noticed they were just outside of the corral I was lined up in. I had wanted to meet her family to let them know how much she had helped me and I wasn’t sure if they would be around when I finished. I decided I needed to do it before the race, I am sure I pissed a few people off but I made my way through the corral so I could introduce myself.
After running out to say hi, I got back in the corral and then we were off. As emotional as that was, I think it helped me a little. As I crossed the start line, I thought about how Penny was watching down and that I couldn’t disappoint her so I pushed myself.
I could tell from the start that the running course was going to be a hilly one, my only hope was that the bike course wouldn’t be that hilly. I made it through the first two mile run and was feeling good. As I entered the transition I knew I had made good time. I found my bike right away, that was one of my big concerns, that I would be so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t be able to find my bike and I would waste a lot of time.
I got my helmet and gloves on and then got my bike down. That was slightly challenging since there were crammed in there. As I walked it to the mount line, I ate a few of my jelly beans because I knew the 11 mile bike ride would be tiring and I wasn’t sure I would have the control to be opening the bag and riding at the same time. And then I was off.
The first three miles on the bike felt great, there were hills but I was in control. I wasn’t having too many issues with the gears, which was concerned about since I hadn’t practiced at all. We were riding into the wind and that was of course making it harder. Then the real hills started, and I slowly watched myself get passed. Then started to fumbled my way through the gears and several times was worried that I had totally screwed my bike up. However, I kept on, there was no way I was going to give up and let’s be honest it was nobodies fault but my own, had I trained I wouldn’t have had the issues.
As I approached the transition area to leave my bike and return to running, I got nervous again. I knew that there was going to be an adjustment when I got off my bike to run. So as I approached the dismount line I jumped off and was surprised because my legs didn’t feel to weird at all. I quickly walked my bike to it’s place, took my gloves and helmet off, and ate a few more jelly beans.
Next time, the last two miles and the finish line…