Last year I got myself a snazzy new road bike. Sexy, no?
I rode it quite a bit last year, but then I got the plague and broke some ribs and it took me forever to get back in the saddle. Even then, I didn’t ride nearly as often as I would have liked (we had a wet, wet spring).
My friend Hannah decided that we should do the relay in Eppie’s Great Race. It’s a 5.8-mile run, 12.5-mile bike, and a 6.3-mile down-river kayak. Hannah would run, I would bike, and our friend Sio would kayak. It would be my first bike race!
I thought, sure! I have plenty of time to train! Then we decided to climb Half Dome and my training edged away from my bike and more to hikes and stairs. In fact, I was only on my bike once in the month leading up to the big race this past Saturday.
Needless to say my nerves were running high on Saturday morning. I was terrified of a) crashing and b) getting a puncture and having to spend a half hour changing a tube (I can do it…but I’m sloooow).
The race started, and hundreds of us relay-ers waited for our runners to get to us. My team knew we weren’t going to be the fastest team. Our goal was “not last!” The first guy came in around 25 minutes. 25 MINUTES. To run nearly six miles. Dude was fast.
Hannah came running through with about a quarter of the people left. I was really happy about this. All of the uber-fast dudes with their aerodynamic helmets and matching triathlon suits were not only off, but done with the bike and into their kayaks. So I strapped on the timing chip and hit the bike path.
And I rode like the wiiiiiind!
Ok, maybe not the wind. But I rode faster and better than I ever have before. I had my bike tuned up and cranking the pedals was like butter. I never felt like I was tiring out and I maintained a very steady pace for almost the whole ride.
Except that part around mile 11 where I called out “on your left!” as I went to pass a lady (as cycling etiquette requires), and she swerved off the path and crashed. There was no need for her to do this…there was plenty of path for both of us! I nearly ran her over, but managed to avoid taking a spill myself. I stopped, heart racing, to make sure she was all right, and a medic came riding up and took care of her.
I spent the next mile and a half thanking Jesus I hadn’t crashed.
The transition to the kayak is a blur. I hopped off my bike, handed it to a volunteer, took off my shoes (I can run faster in my socks than I can in my clip-bottomed cycling shoes!) and ran toward the bridge. Sio met me, grabbed the timing chip, and took off! And then it was over for me. I tried to get back to the other location to watch Sio paddle in, but I wasn’t quick enough. My biking time was 47.44 minutes. That was about 15.8 mph average. Not. Too. Shabby!
The three of us and some family met for lunch afterward to discuss. We all did better than we expected to do, and were happy with the results. We’re definitely thinking about doing it again next year!