I did it!
Goal met! I rode the 14.3-mile bike leg of the Waterloo Fit City Triathlon Relay in 1:08:22 (average of 12.6 mph) -- my best time to-date -- and I did not come in last!
I came in second-to-last!!
Our swimmer's time was second-to-last and our runner's time was third-to-last, placing our relay team's combined finish at second-to-last. Go Team V(icki)A(nn)L(ynn)!!
Thankfully, the weather, while not perfect, was much improved over what we'd been experiencing. I think the last ride I took prior to the race (on Wednesday) really took a toll. Combined with the continued extreme humidity and heat, various air quality and pollen issues, and a week of late-night sleep-disrupting fireworks activity, my pushing on the last ride left me completely wiped out and useless for the rest of the week. If it had still been awful (hot + humid), I don't know that I'd have been able to do it.
The temperature on Sunday morning was moderate and it was much less humid; sunny, bright and clear, though with a pretty good headwind! The route was the same as the one I'd downloaded and driven in my car a few weeks ago, but the direction was reversed -- and it was a LOT hillier than what I'm used to riding around home.
Our swimmer, Lynn, was in Wave 3 of 7; she swam her 500 yards in 11:05, ran out of the pool and met me in the transition area for the chip exchange, and a minute and four seconds later I was on my way!
Did I mention it was hilly? I turned left out of the parking lot and right away, there was a hill. It felt like it was uphill all the way! Man, especially with that headwind, which didn't allow for gaining much momentum on the (few and short) downhill sides and made it hard to gain and sustain speed on the (very few) flats. Heheheh.
It sure was a pretty ride -- when I took a sec to glance on either side -- gorgeous views of south-central Wisconsin farm country from the tops of those hills. We did pass a couple of farms at very close range where, with the wind just-so, the smell nearly made me sick.
The route was well-marked and there was personnel/traffic control at all the important intersections -- though I cursed a couple of times as I was motioned to slow for traffic; I thought that racers would have been given priority for the morning.
I think that, eventually, all of Wave 4 and some of Wave 5 passed me by -- many with words of encouragement. "You are doing AWESOME!" "You go, girl!" There were some comments about the hills and the headwind -- thankfully, because, you know, I'm glad there were experienced riders complaining and it wasn't just me. Waterloo is the home of Trek Bikes and there are probably more than the average fit, experienced, local cycling enthusiasts! Time at this event could be used as a qualifier for the Iron Man, I was told, so I was also passed up by some VERY serious (silent) racers... serious demeanor, serious equipment, serious speed. Blistering! I like to think it was a lot of those experienced riders and contenders who were passing me by.
There was one time that I was passed and I managed to close the gap a bit before falling hopelessly behind. Chug, chug, chug!
There were some cheerleaders at Mile 12 -- about a half-dozen boys, one with an accordion -- playing some very upbeat music and cheering like mad. It felt good to feel a spark and smile right about then... only two miles to go!
The last hill was K.I.L.L.E.R. (one I was originally looking forward to as a good downhill run!). I seriously thought about getting off and walking a couple of times, but I put my head down, concentrating on the pavement under my bike rather than the very far away top of the hill, and put... my back, my butt, my legs, my feet... EVERYTHING into it!
Sharon -- our cheering section -- popped up just in time for the last exchange. I didn't have to do a thing, as Annie was diving for the chip on my ankle the minute she saw me -- and was on her way in 20 seconds! She finished her 3-mile run in 31:29. Our total time was 1:52:15.
There are a few pictures -- all on Ann's camera. It's difficult to be a race participant and photographer! I was very proud of the team number written on my left arm and back of my right calf -- #211 -- so there are a few photos of that. There were complimentary 10-minute massages afterwards, too, and there are a few photos of that. Oh, that felt good.
I am so proud of myself, so happy that I competed and completed and met my goals and live to tell the tale -- even if I had ibuprofen for a bedtime snack last night and am still not so spry this morning. I pushed it, baby, and it feels good -- a good kind of soreness and ache! As my friend, Kate, pointed out last night, "You just started riding!!!" And it's true. Only a month-and-a-half has passed from the time I picked up my bike to NOT posting the worst time in a 14.3-mile bike race. Who'd a thunk it? Not me... this wasn't even on my radar on July 1st when I brought my bike home!
Thanks to all of you for the support and encouragement over the past month or so. It's been awesome to read your comments and emails; the articles, stories, and experiences you've shared. You guys ROCK!! XO