Raleigh 70.3, Part II: THE BIKE


Let’s call it like it is. I crushed the ride on this race. 18.71 average speed. My normal pace with a group where I’m drafting is closer to 17.5, so I had aspirations of maybe holding a 17 mph average. Crushed. It.

What helped me is my Garmin died before the ride even started, so I had no idea for the entire 56 miles what my pace was. I just rode according to how I felt. The first 3-5 miles were shaky (I kept repeating, “You’re out of the water. You’re alive.”), but then we turned right onto the highway, I settled into my arrow bars and literally said out loud, “Let’s make some time.”

Fun fact: They mark your age in sharpie on your left calf in an Ironman race. Not sure why, but I do know I found it motivating as I sped by other riders. “Eat it, age 22.” “Suck it, 34.” “Oops, hey age 78. Much respect. Namaste.”

The absolute best part was at the first water stop. The volunteers at these races are phenomenal, every last one, and this water stop was no exception. More experienced riders grab food and water and keep going, but I pulled over to empty the fresh water bottle I’d been handed into my bike bottle. A sculpted 22-year-old blonde Adonis came jogging over to me, holding ice-cold water bottles in both hands. The sun was blazing.

“Do you need to me spray you down?” he asked, waving the bottles, all big earnest eyes and face.

Suddenly the massive entry fee I’d paid made sense. I mean, yeah sure, I’m in a race, but I’ve got time…

“Do you mind talking dirty while you do it?” I asked.

HA! Just kidding. I thought it though. The reality is that while I like to think I’m some sort of spandex-clad, athletic goddess to this innocent youth, in truth I’m bloated from the energy drinks, I have smears of chocolate around my mouth from stuffing in GU’s and bonk bars and—if I’m being completely honest—I peed on myself a little bit coming out of the water.

Near the last five miles I was definitely feeling it, but I never struggled on the ride. Which now has me thinking, “You know, if I actually had a really fast bike…” But that’s for another time.

I pulled into the transition area, which was the hardest part, having to walk my bike, in bike cleats, a solid quarter mile (or it felt that way) to my station. It was just after noon and temps continued to soar, but all I had left was the run. My strong suit. Right?

Here's where we are so far:

  • Goal #1: Don't drown. Check. 
  • Goal #2: Average at least 16.5 mph on bike. Check. 

Stay tuned.