It went like this. Exit water and run 50m on sand to get to the grass. Run to wetsuit strippers and lay on ground as they pull off my wetsuit from the waist down. Run to get gear bag and run to changing tent. Empty contents of bag on the ground, strip naked out of swimsuit and put on bike clothes. Run out of tent and to sunscreen volunteers who slather me in sunscreen. Run to grab bike, run to bike exit, mount bike, go. 1:22 on the clock.
There were tons of people around cheering so the start was really fun. It felt like some huge bike race or something :) My legs were a little heavy to start and my speed was a little lower than I thought it should be. It was not until 8 miles later that I notice that my front brake was rubbing the wheel even though I checked it before the race. That happened in training and I was so careful about checking it, but it managed to happen during the race :( I may have used a little extra effort in the beginning but I don't think it affected my overall day too much.
The ride was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. The first part of the loop went out and back along the lake, then there is a flat part through small towns, then the hilly section. I drove the hills but hadn't ridden them until the race so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was a little worried because some of them were pretty steep but I know that hills often seem worse in the car than when you are riding them - this was the case here. None of the hills were too bad. I just got in my lowest gear and kept moving the pedals until I got to the top. There were a few tight turns and downhills and I wasn't sure how to ride them since I hadn't practiced. I probably could have been faster if I had been more confident on the course. The first lap felt good and I was on top of my nutrition with 3 bottles of EFS and 3 Larabars. I got back to town in 3:15 to start the second lap. If I could hold that pace, I would still be on target to hit my 12 hour goal.
The second lap got harder. The beginning section through town was fun with all the spectators, and again I enjoyed the lake scenery. I felt positive until about halfway through the hills. They seemed much steeper the second time around. I got tired of being on the bike. My back started to hurt and it was hard to stay aero because of the back pain. My head started to get negative and I slacked off on my nutrition. I saw all the bikers heading back who were in front of me and I started to get a little hard on myself for being that far back in the pack. I have to work so hard at biking and don't see the improvements I wish I would see. Why didn't I do more hill repeats in training? That was not the time to be having those types of conversations with myself. I made it through the second round of hills and was able to refocus my mind knowing that I just had to make it back to town on a flat section, however the wind had picked up and it was now going to be a headwind. A strong headwind for another 20 miles. My back was killing me more than anything. My stomach was getting a little gurgly from the solid foods and I switched to Liquid Shot for calories. I only got down about 500 calories and 2 EFS bottles during the second half of the bike, which was not nearly enough. I ended the bike in a state of bonk/dehydration. My second lap took 3:28. Given the fact that I didn't know this course, and that my biking is a little weaker this year than other years, I am generally happy with how I did on the bike. It wasn't perfect but it was decent for where I am at right now. My nutrition was much better than at my last Ironman.
Bike time: 6:43
Goal time: 6:20-6:30