But luckily I had the help of some volunteers who handed it to me and off I went into the women's changing ballroom. There, my volunteer dumped out the contents of my bag and helped me get dressed. How helpful. The atmosphere is go! go! go! so I felt a bit rushed, but ok. She picked up my jersey and it felt heavy, so she reached into the back pocket and pulled out my camera. "Do you want to take this with you?" I answered "Yes!" and she said that was a first.
So, dressed and ready to go, I headed out to get my bike. I was glad Alicia had tipped me off to not put on my bike shoes just yet. It is a looooong way to run in bike shoes and very slick on that cement. I went towards the bikes, a volunteer lathered me up with sunscreen, another volunteer grabbed my bike, saw Brad, we ran towards the end of T1 together. A volunteer asked me if I wanted him to hold my bike while I put on my shoes – man these guys think of everything!!! Got my shoes on, clipped in and off I went!
The ride down the helix was fine. I had heard to go slow so as not to crash. And we were off on our way to Verona.
The bike course is basically downtown Madison to Verona (14 miles) and then 2 42-mile loops from Verona-Mt. Horeb-Cross Plains-Verona and then back to Madison. Some people call it a lollipop course and you lick the middle twice!
So, off to Verona. People were very focused. It was hard to take pictures because there was a lot of people.
As we passed through Verona, we saw the penalty tent with athletes in it. Someone made a comment about all the athletes and we started talking. Don, my new friend, said he wasn't in it to win it and he even brought a camera. I told him I did, too, so we took pictures of each other.Here's me and Don. He had a disposable camera.
Through Verona and now onto the loop. It started with a few hills and some wind, but I would rather the wind on this part of the course where the "real" hills aren't. I made it to Mt. Horeb with no problem. From Mt. Horeb, you get Witte Road, which is basically a big hill. At the top, I saw my dad's friend, Fran, volunteering. Said hi, got some cheers and off I went. A little more climbing, then downhills. Now HERE'S where I first started really passing some people. They were braking. On descents. Seriously? Guess my mountain riding would pay off. I just kept yelling "on your left" and shot right through. I've been down steeper, windier descents than that, so no worries here. Before I knew it, I was in Cross Plains.
From Cross Plains to Verona is where the "hills" are. There are 3 of them. The first one (Old Sauk Pass) not so bad, the second one (Timberlane) shorter, steeper and FILLED with spectators and then the third (Midtown) less steep, but longer. I made it through the first two and got a surprise at the top of Timberlane-- JESSIE AND JASON! They were there cheering. Yay!
Also at the top of Timberlane, Brian, a friend from high school, caught me. We talked for a bit and then he was off. I made it through Verona and then passed the special needs area. I was doing pretty good, so no stopping for me, and onto the second loop!
Amazingly, I felt good. Like I could do the loop again. Brian caught me again at some point early in the loop and stuck with me this time- I had passed him at special needs. We biked a lot of the route just talking and catching up. (As my friend Sonja said, "Only you, Randi, would be re-connecting during the middle of an Ironman".) But it was good. Kept my mind off things. At one point, we got warned by an official, so we stopped "blocking" but kinda continued on the same pace.Here we are, loop 2 almost to the hills.
The second loop, the later hills were kind of annoying. This time, I wanted to take a picture of each, but only got the first one. I had to concentrate too hard on the second two.Beginning of Old Sauk Pass, you can see the spectators are starting. p.s. This "pass" is not really a "pass" by CO standards.
We got to Timberlane again and I knew I had J & J to look forward to. I plugged along up, up, up. Saw them again. Yay! A friend of Brian's told him he was about 3 minutes behind his goal pace and off he went. (Good for him!)
I finished the loop alone and went back towards Madison. At this point, I found 2 other riders all pacing about the same and the three of us kind of leap frogged each other. I made the comment that at this point it was really which one of us just wanted to be off the bike the most-- that's who was gonna finish first.
Before I knew it, I was seeing the capital and I just wanted to be there so bad! Then the helix. Almost home! As I rode up the helix, I saw my brother-in-law peering over the edge-- I waved and got big cheers! I was SO, SO, SO happy to see them!
Leg 2- DONE!