Friday, November 11, 2011

Ironman Florida Race Report part 2 - the bike

first i gotta give my J-man some mad props for being such an awesome cycling coach and helping me to HTFU on the bike. i took this picture of him last Friday before he headed out for a ride in Panama City Beach. it was a little nippy, thus the arm warmers. when he got back from his ride, the first thing he said to me was, "omg, i hope it isn't this windy for the race tomorrow." to which i replied, " well, i do have an aero helmet, aero wheels and the right bike so i'll just deal with it tomorrow and take what the day gives me."

fast forward to saturday, swim done, run on the cheese grater asphalt, grab my T1 bag, and into the ladies changing area. best part about ironman triathlons? lots more men than women do them so much more space for us ladies to change without someone's butt in our face. there were chairs but i didn't even sit down. the volunteer (God bless all of them) dumped my bag out on the floor and handed me my helmet, then sunglasses, socks, and then as i put my shoes on, she sprayed me down with my personal spray-on sunscreen. i wasn't about to get slathered with that generic crap they have set up with latex gloved volunteers ready to slap it on you, as you are running out the door to grab your bike.

T1: 8:26 

it sure didn't feel like 8 and a half minutes, maybe more like 5 but it was quite a haul from the swim to T1. next year i'll shoot for at least 2 minutes less.

just like clockwork, my bike was awaiting me as i ran out. unfortunately, there were so many others exiting at the same time, we had to keep running with our bikes way past the actual mount line. it was crazy! sherpa Angie yelled at me to "be careful!" somehow, i knew what she meant and she explained later that people were all over the place and almost crashing into each other. thankfully, i was able to get clear enough to get on my bike, clip in and GO!

too many people at the same time trying to get the hell out of dodge

forgive me for not going into the finer details here but i don't remember all that much about the 112 miles other than it was freaking WINDY as all hell! i have never, ever ridden in such horribly windy conditions. NEVER, EVER! there were times i almost lost control of the bike while i was in an aero position, which was about 95% of the time. i would have to say that i fought the wind for 75% of the miles and maybe had a little help from the wind at my back for about 25% of the time. i was not happy. in fact, i pretty much had convinced myself by mile 50 that i would never sign up for ironman florida again. from the minute we rolled into PCB, nothing but crazy ass wind whipping up. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

i'm sorry if this post seems negative but there wasn't much good going on out there. one of the main things i noticed, that i had heard about from previous years, was that the drafting is off the chain. now, i know some people are going to cheat but for the most part, everyone "gets" the rules and tries to maintain proper spacing, passing, etc... unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to do with the volume of people racing at this venue. my legs were about to blow up before i even got to mile 40 because i kept getting caught up in groups of riders and i'll be damned if i was getting a red card from Heidi or Chloe, so i kept surging ahead, keeping with the "pass within 20 second" rule. let me tell you, it is IMPOSSIBLE not to draft at this race, period! if anyone tells you otherwise, they are full of crap. can you imagine trying to keep surging past these clumps of riders, over and over? by the time you hit the half-way mark, your legs are toast.

then at mile 43, some guy caused a horrible crash. he should be very ashamed of himself for riding like an aggressive asshole and for not even turning around or acknowledging the crash he caused that made 2 people hit the pavement hard. he just kept on pedaling like he stole something.

i stopped twice briefly to fill my aero-bottle. the volunteers handed off the water with the caps still tight and i couldn't open it and dump it in without feeling like i was going to lose control of the bike. so quick stop, dump water in, get going.

here she comes!
i had no flats thank goodness and for the most part the roads were okay. there was this one terrible road that went about 10 miles out, than you u-turned, heading back on the same road for another 10 miles. it had these deep indented ridges i guess is the best way to describe it. every 5 second, bump, bump, bump. i was getting so annoyed, i just wanted to scream. no matter where you were on this road, those bumps were there and stretched all the way across. the absolute worst part was the last 6 miles coming back. the wind would come from between the high-rise condos and hit you like a 350lb linebacker. i had to keep getting out of the aero position and grab the handlebars tight to not get blown over. my speed would literally go from 22 mph to 14 mph within seconds and this continued for 6 miles until the finish.

and there she goes ...
overall, i felt strong, but i knew my time on the bike didn't really reflect my true strength on the bike. at the end, my garmin had me at 20.2 for an average speed but with the 2 water stops, i ended up with an official race time of  5:43:16 (average 19.5 mph). 

so, in summary, the bike portion, usually my favorite part, royally sucked in my opinion.

to be continued tomorrow - part III - the run

much love and peace out!


  1. So you did not have much time to lose your mind out there then did you? Having to be on point for nearly 6 hours is tough. If you didn't have those winds and were able to kind of lose yourself and just pedal it would have been better BUT

    this is an Ironman and it is not meant to be easy right?

    Loved the recap and as any HoneyBadge you just didn't give a shit and kept right on pedaling.

  2. That wind sounds terrible! I'm just glad you didn't eat it...especially with that butthead who caused the wreck. What a loser! That's a great average in my book for 112 miles with a marathon to go. Way to go, KC!

  3. You did so awesome! The wind was pretty crappy - and the condo hurricanes are even worse at the end! But you looked great - and I'm sure Heidi or I would not give you a card! We would just stop to chat ;)

  4. What a Jack Ace for causing a crash and keep going... I know its a race and all but did he really think he was going to win the whole thing! What a dick.

    I think you did amazing. "KC - can take on winds she don't give a shizzle!"

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  6. Way to keep pushing through that wind! That in itself can break you mentally!!!

  7. Personally i think you should post his name and bib number. All over the damn internet.

  8. You just made a ton of people who would've been thrilled to avg 19.5 mph feel like old nuns. But that's because you're a beast on the bike. And don't worry about being negative, it's real and we'd all prefer that. Especially those of us who read reports as though they were product reviews.
    Great Ride!

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  10. Sorry you didn't have the ride you were hoping for, but it still seems like an awesome bike split to me! I've heard bad things about the wind and drafting on that course from previous years, I just think there's no escaping it. Nice job, I can't wait to read about the run!!

  11. How about 15 minute T1? Way too many unpleasant visions of A-holes (real ones) from last years race came to mind on that part of your report.

    I don't even try to space on the "packs"... impossible and too much energy wasted... I can say that's where being a weak swimmer and strong biker come into play though. Typically I was passing but hop skip jumping from draft to draft without ever spending more than 10 seconds behind anyone. (shhhh, is Chloe reading this?) Did I mention 1000 people passed last year? It was one big train and I was determined to be the engine.

    You actually nailed it. Crowds won't go away, wind WILL be there, and your negative split was right on..

    Oh, the out and back (route 388).. I forgot to tell you, ride the stripe on the side of the road. It is actually a little less bumpy.. (next year's tip to save you a minute)

  12. That is some mental toughness my friend! Well done keeping your composure and sticking to your plan!

  13. Killer bike split. 19.5 is legit on a day like that - and best description i've heard of the wind ("350lb linebacker").
    That frekin bumpy road was probably the most trying part of the whole race to me...i still feel it kicking my

  14. Nice time on the ride despite the wind! What kind of loser wouldn't even stop to check on those two people after he caused the crash. So very wrong.

    I am oddly obsessed with the sunscreen application at these races. You see the volunteers slap it on and then the people have all these blobs of sunscreen all over them. I guess they rub it in at some point as they are going along. It is just so weird to me. I am all about the spray.

  15. That wind was wicked out there... felt so bad for all the cyclists :(

    The D-Bag honestly should get kicked in his nuts from every single participant... it's only fair.

    Sad thing is, I remember 2 guys running by me with their arm in a sling... One of them had to be the dude that went down. BAD ASS M-Fer!!!

    J-Man, awesome guy, seriously! Loved his cool demeaner. Glad he gave you a good heads up for race day and you were able to take it and OWN it!!!

  16. I know it’s not what you wanted, but 19.5 in the wind is sweet, KC!

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  18. Sorry for the spelling errors. My fingers are not working well today.