Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Punishing: The Bike (Part 1)

Nobody trips over mountains. ~Author Unknown

I think it was 21st Century Mom that once wrote me about Ironman, "Respect the distance but have no fear." I like the sound of that and...

... fearlessly, I ran out of the ballroom converted into T1 and directly into the first open port-a-john. The below-the-belt rumbling I felt on the swim was what I worried about... diarrhea. Ugh! Not the most pleasant way to begin a long ride. Once out of the blue hut I ran to IronJenny who was volunteering and ready to smear sunscreen on my shoulders. She excitedly said some encouraging words and gave me an update on her friend, ski coach, professional triathlete, and cancer fighter John Shelp. He was racing today and she said he was looking strong after the swim.

112 miles on the bike is a distance I have covered multiple times. I probably did at least that a half dozen times since July and, earlier this year, I rode as wingman 0ver 150 miles in one day with the soon-to-be Ironman, TriGreyhound. So, I was familiar the distance but for just one leetle difference... the Wisconsin countryside hills. My training wasn't on hills. Well, yeah there are a few hills in my part of Texas, but not the rolling and turning hills over the back-of-a-monster kind of hills I've been warned about so many times.

Here is where one of the best piece of advice given to me proved its worth. Podcaster, author, and founder of Team raceAthlete, Roman Mica, said to me the day before the race, "Take the first lap ridiculously slow. People will pass you but don't let it bother you. Just be conservative." And that's what I set out to do.

Riding through Madison was a flat exercise through city streets and office parking lots until reaching the road leading to the suburb. It was easy to get into a groove and was the perfect warm up to find my bike legs after the swim.

Legs were good, back was good, stomach... not so good. I stopped at the first water station, only some ten miles out of town, to find relief. There was a war waging in my guts and, besides the painful episodes in this and the successive port-a-johns, my head was aching. Here's where I was presented with my first problem of the day: possible dehydration. Whatever was causing the trouble it was diverting water from other parts of my body and flooding my intestines. Unless I increased my drinking of water and electrolytes a crumbling on the first lap was a serious possibility. I also knew to cut back on simple sugars as this might only further the trouble.

Around mile 30 I rode up to cancer survivor and friend, JetPack. He lost his nutrition along the course.

"Dude. I'm dying here. Can you give me a gel?

As I reached into my bento box a used PowerGel wrapper fell onto the ground.

"JetPack, here you go," and I handed him a gel.

No sooner did I make the hand-off when a race marshal pulled along side of me and flashed me a yellow card. "Report to the penalty tent for littering and helping another athlete."


... sigh...

Stay tuned...


Bill said...

Good words to read, now that I'm just over 35 hours out from the start of my first IM-distance race. Lotsa hills, but I have had the advantage of riding the course each weekend for the past couple of months.

Bad luck with the wrapper, but it all happens for a reason. Perhaps an unscheduled rest break is exactly what the gut needed.

21stCenturyMom said...

That damned race marshall!! What does he expect you to do - let your friend starve to death? grrrr.. As for what I said, I'm pretty sure I got it from somewhere else. Can't remember where but I don't want anyone to think I think I'm being original because I don't think I am.

Okay - keep writing!!

kt said...


Looking forward to the next installment. Helping a fellow athlete may be a penalty in the rule book but think of it as a good samaritan kinda thing. Nice job on the race, by the way. =0)

momo said...

really? no way. i guess i should have been in the penalty tent all day during cda. i helped out ironshane while he was walking with his hernia. i gave ironbenny water when he was on the ground. i gave someone salt and someone else immodium. (yes, i carry a pharmacy with me!!) something about that doesn't seem right - i'm with kt - you did the right thing in my book.

now the littering ... that's another story. :-)

Wendy said...

Boomer, you know, in hockey you'll hear folks talk about "good penalties". That was a good penalty!

Vickie said...

Too bad the "help" wasn't taken for what it was worth. Glad you survived, despite everything.

IronJenny said...

...ooops and I held out out a bottle of Endurolytes on the run course and people were taking them until they were gone. Good thing I didn't get Roman a penalty!!! He took the last two!

Tri-Dummy said...

I agree w/Momo...I grabbed my extra tube at Special Needs specifically to give to anyone who might need it.

I'd take that penalty any day of the week. Honorable thing to do...and thanks for carrying the name of my grandma and my uncle!