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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Redman Half Ironman - The Bike

Continuing my race recap from The Swim.  I entered transition and got started getting ready for the bike.  I sprayed some sunscreen on and watched it run down my arms.  I was worried that I would get sun burnt but I tried to rub it in and deal with it! I put on my shoes, helmet, bike gloves, and sunglasses and was ready to go.  I had opened my gel chews earlier when I set up transition so I didn't have to mess with any of that. I got my bike off the rack and proceeded to the bike out. 

I hit the line and saw my brother-in-law and cheerleader Tim and my friend Mandy's mom.  I said hi to both and clipped in and was off! The first few miles of the bike course were on a road that circled around the lake.  I took things easy on this stretch to get my legs turning over and tried to settle into a good pace.  The next few miles were on some major roads and had a lot of police support to keep the athletes safe.  It was very reassuring to know how well they took care of us! I tried to say thank you to all the volunteers and police officers working the turns and intersections but I know that I missed a bunch.

In the pre-race meeting, they explained the aid station procedure.  The liquids would be given out via hand ups from the volunteers.  This freaked me out since I hadn't actually practiced this and had done all of my training with rest stops.  I had polar bottles on my bike and there was no way that I was going to toss those.  My friend Britt had given me a couple of tips...slow way way down and watch for tossed bottles on the road.  I rolled into the first aid station and almost forgot to slow down enough to take the bottle.  I grabbed a water bottle from the next volunteer and took a few big swigs from it and then tossed the bottle at the end of the aid station.  Mission accomplished!!!

The bike course wasn't too bad for the most part except for a section of the route that was trashed.  The roads were awful in this section and the road was basically painted orange with pothole and rough road markings.  You had to watch the road because the line was constantly changing in order to avoid the rough patches.  This section of road was on an out and back section of the course so you got to experience it twice...yippee! I took a bottle of Gatorade on my way back through this section and stored it in one of my back pockets on my shirt.  I spent the next 8-10 miles worrying that it was going to fall out of my pocket and get me an abandonment penalty. 

This definitely impacted me and I chose to stop at the mile 42 aid station to put water into my bottle versus sticking a bottle in my back pocket.  The ladies at the aid station were super nice to me.  I pulled up and had my bottle lid already off and was holding it with my teeth.  It was an attractive look, I'm sure! I unclipped and stood over the bike and then squeezed the water directly into the bottle still in the cage.  Then I screwed the lid back on while the aid station volunteer removed the old Gatorade bottle from my back pocket.  I was out of there within 30 seconds tops!

Around mile 49 I realized I came pretty close to missing a turn on the course.  Luckily a couple of riders passed me just before the turn and so I saw them move over in the road to prepare for the turn.  It kind of scared me that I wasn't paying as much attention to the race so I definitely turned it up a notch after that turn.  Around mile 52 I could see ahead that we were almost back to the lake road.  I got a little choked up for a bit just overwhelmed that I was doing it and getting this race done. 

Overall I liked the bike course.  It was fun on the out and back sections to see all my friends on the course.  The route was mostly flat with some slight inclines...nothing long or steep just a nice little elevation change.  We got lucky and the Oklahoma winds weren't too crazy.  The only negative besides the crappy section of road was that the course wasn't very spectator friendly.  There were a few small groups of spectators out on the course but it was pretty much the racers on the road and that was it. 

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