Subscribe without commenting

Ironman Arizona 2011: The Bike – Geek Turned Athlete

Ironman Arizona 2011: The Bike

…Continued from pre-race and swim

Transition 1: 12 minutes (ACK!)

The changing tent was crazy. The moment I stepped in, I felt and breathed in a warm humidity just from all the body heat. The air was thick!  I also felt extreme panic in the air. There were half naked women everywhere! I didn’t really get this because I wasn’t planning on changing but some people probably wanted to get out of the cold wet clothes if they were going to cycle in the cold.

I sat down in one of the chairs. It had a puddle in it from someone else sitting in it, but this dreamstate that I was still in from the swim made it that I didn’t care. Plus, I still think I was in shock that I was actually participating in an Ironman. Directly ahead of me, a women in her 60’s was shaking badly in a mylar blanket. A volunteer came over and just started hugging her for the body heat.

A volunteer came over to me asking me what I needed. That’s right. I’m in a race. Enough people watching! My hands were shaking so badly from the water that I couldn’t get my arm sleeves up. The volunteer quickly stepped into action putting my arm sleeves on correctly and putting my socks on for me. I managed to get get my shoes and helmet on by myself and headed out the door.

On my way out, I got slathered in sunscreen by two women in latex gloves. I ran through the bike area, and all I could hear were volunteers yelling, “181, 181, 181!!!” all the way up until I got my bike. I was so out of it, I tried to put my fleece on after I put my helmet on (NOT a smart idea), but the volunteers were there to help.

One of the male volunteers stuck his hand up my shirt and said, “this should keep you warm.” I was a little alarmed until I looked down, and in between my fleece and my tank top was a plastic shopping bag. Insulation NOT random groping. Oh good. haha

Can you see me trying to put my blue fleece on?


After that, I was ready to rock and roll!! Even though I was still out of it trying to put clothes on, my legs knew exactly what to do as soon as they were on the bike.

Bike Goal Time: 6 hrs 30 min to 7 hours (16 to 17 miles/ hour)

The goal on the bike was to keep it consistent. I know that cycling is NOT my strong sport. My coach told me to not wear my legs out for ride portion because I needed them for the run. The goal was also to EAT!! If I messed up eating here, it could screw me for the rest of the race.

About 10 minutes into the race, I lost my spare water bottle on the back of my bike. It bounced off the asphalt to somewhere! There was a no littering rule on the course, but since I couldn’t see it, I wasn’t stopping. I felt bad, but there were what seemed like a million people behind me and no where to pull over so I rode!

The bike course was separated into the 3 loops. Each loop had a mild incline for the 1st half and a mild decline for the second half. The end/beginning of every loop went through the Tempe Beach Park area which contained A LOT of spectators. You got to see family/friends a lot, which was a good ego boost while riding 112 miles.

The 1st loop went great! I had a little bit of a head wind for the 1st half which kind of sucked, but the tailwind that I got coming back had me reaching speeds of 23/24 miles/hour with minimum effort which was FAST for me. I took in my nutrition at the appropriate times and quantities.  I couldn’t believe it when I was already seeing spectators which meant it was time for the second loop!

As I made it to the turnaround to start the 2nd loop, I heard a bunch of people screaming, “GO NICOLE!” It was my two nephews, sister, mom, husband, and coach. It was so good to hear their voices, but all I could single out was my husband.  It was so good to see his face and hear his voice!

After my family saw me, they had to wait another 2 hours to see me again and started getting bored. My sister decided to give her really expensive camera to her 4 year old and let him take pictures of her and her younger son. Pretty good, eh? I think we have a great photographer in the making!


Back to the race… The first part of the 2nd loop was going surprisingly a lot better than the 1st loop. The uphill didn’t really seem to have an incline. One of the girls who passed me commented on it as well. We agreed that this seemed a bit easier than before. Then, we hit the turnaround to come back into town. Now, I get it! The winds had changed and instead of a nice tailwind to push us down this mild decline on our way back, we had a nice headwind. I was struggling to maintain 17 miles/ hour on this downhill that I was previously effortlessly pedaling at 23 miles/ hour. This sucked.

People passed me. It wasn’t a lot, but a few did. I just kept saying to myself: I’ll be seeing you on the run! I was racing my own race on the bike. I had a plan, and I was NOT going to deviate from my plan. This was the pace that I had trained at.  Why would I go any faster? People who went harder than they trained on the bike ended up paying for it on the run later. Trust me on this.  It wasn’t pretty.

Guys seemed especially peeved when I passed them on the bike.  I was going at a steady pace, would pass them, they would get mad and pass me, then slow down.  So annoying.  This went on several times with a few men in particular.  Afraid that I was going to be pegged for drafting because of all this constant place trading, I slowed it down a little.  I just made sure to remember what their race kit looked like so I could make sure I passed them on the run.  And I did. 😉

IMG_7109.jpg  IMG_7115.jpg IMG_7117.jpg

My nutrition plan was working a little too well as the potty stops started up on the second loop. Two on the second loop and two on the third. Also  annoying. Each was 4 minutes long with waiting in line taking up the most time. Yes, I timed them. The good thing was that I used these potty opportunities to slather on some Hoo Ha Ride Glide. If you haven’t tried it, it is amazing. It definitely calmed the angry lady bits down for at least a little while until I had to stop again. I actually plan on doing a post about products you shouldn’t live without for an Ironman later, and this is one them. The volunteers were great here as well. They held your bike for you and filled up your water bottle with whatever you wanted. I thanked them the entire way!

IMG_7118.jpg IMG_7119.jpg

I felt great until I got to mile 100.  The last 12 miles were kind of difficult for me.  I wanted off that bike!!  Overall though, the ride went great considering my longest ride before was about 80 miles.  Looking back I probably could have pushed it a little harder, but since I had no idea what my legs were going to feel like after 112 miles I was really conservative.  While I was out on the course, the hubs said that my coach told him that I needed to work on my cycling a little more.  I believe that is an understatement!

IMG_7122.JPG  IMG_7124.JPG

Concentrating really hard as to not fall off the bike headed to transition?

IMG_7126.JPG IMG_7127.JPG

I handed my bike off to a volunteer and picked up my run gear.  I could hear my mom and sister screaming their heads off to cheer for me, and it was making me laugh.  It did not feel like I had been on the bike for 7 hours at all.  I couldn’t believe my day was almost over with.

Bike Time: 7 hours

IMG_7134.JPG IMG_7135.JPG


Finally, the only sport I’m kinda good at.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my rank was 2,059 out of about 3,000.  It was time to run some people down. 😉


{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Jess November 29, 2011, 9:42 am

    I am totally transfixed reading these posts on your Ironman. The more I read, the more in awe I am. Seriously. I am sure you KILLED that run…and can’t wait to read all about it!!! PS. I’d LOVE to hear about your nutrition during the ride, what you ate, what worked, what didn’t, etc.
    Jess recently posted..Things I’ve learned: healthy eating edition

    • Nicole November 29, 2011, 9:44 am

      Great idea! I will probably do an Ironman nutrition post…

  • donna November 29, 2011, 9:57 am

    Ialready KNOW that you killed the run but I can’t wait to hear about itin your next post. Keep ’em coming Nicole. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your nutrition and product posts…and maybe a list of your top IM tips.

  • merrymishaps November 29, 2011, 10:50 am

    As much as I like instant gratification, I love how you’ve broken up these posts. Lets you go into a lot more detail without a super-long post!

    I kind of chuckled when reading: ” I couldn’t believe my day was almost over with.”
    And you still had a marathon to go! LOL.

    Congrats, girl. You are awesome. I can’t wait to read the rest!
    merrymishaps recently posted..race report: marine corps marathon

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 29, 2011, 10:50 am

    I love reading these. And it made me giggle to read “time to run some people down.” I’m picturing Nicole the the Mack truck running over people who tried to pass her on the bike :0)
    Cynthia (It All Changes) recently posted..SPAM vs. Bacn

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) November 29, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Had to laugh at the little game with the guys. I’ve had that happen just out running. Kind of funny. Love the pics of you on the bike. And I think it’s awesome that there were volunteers like that helping out. I’ve never seen that at any of the sprint tris, but had to be a huge relief and help for you.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Weights & Simple Dinner

    • Nicole November 29, 2011, 1:40 pm

      haha. Well, you pay for it at the Ironman brand events. They are volunteers, but from what I hear, it is like this at every Ironman event (which is more expensive than “local” races).

  • Sana November 29, 2011, 3:27 pm

    oh wow, I can’t believe I am getting nervous reading this!!
    Sana recently posted..Food Rules

  • Heather@Just a Colorado Gal November 29, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Just found your blog! I’m thinking of my first half ironman this summer, so I’m really loving your recaps!
    Heather@Just a Colorado Gal recently posted..I’m Almost Done With Work…**Giveaway!**

    • Nicole November 29, 2011, 6:23 pm

      Welcome! You should totally do a HIM!!!

  • Marcie December 1, 2011, 6:52 am

    So inspiring. Great Posts. Wow!!

  • Army Amy* December 3, 2011, 5:53 am

    In the picture of you trying to put your blue sweater on, I’m completely distracted by the guy in the foreground. That helmet is bananas! I’m guessing that it makes him more aerodynamic, but he looks like the Rocketeer!*

  • jrm December 4, 2011, 8:14 pm

    Love the recaps. I could never do an Ironman (horrible knees) but am planning on doing a team Tri with my sisters in August 2012. I’m also a little in awe that you are smiling in that picture. Seriously I give you a medal just for that. Also can’t wait to hear about you running down the bike guys.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge