See Jenny Bike

Woman and man reading online at coffee shop

Back for more??? Woohoo! We are spotlighting Jenny Lorenz’s Ironman experience in a three parter. (If you haven’t read the first one yet, jump over here.) Ready for the next leg of Jenny’s journey? Take a deep breath, maybe grab a power bar, and get ready to See Jenny Bike:

I headed out on the bike up Palani and made the hard left a few blocks up the hill.  When you make that turn, there are tons of people cheering, cowbells ringing, and music pumping from the announcer stand right at that corner. It’s a fabulous send off.  People are going nuts.

The only bad thing about that is you can’t hear a thing, especially something… say… like your bike computer flying off and hitting the pavement. So when you run over it with your back wheel you think you’re running over one of a gazillion reflector things that are in the roads over there. (Due to their opposition to having street lights.)  Yep, in the very first mile I’m without my Joule which tells me my speed, power output, heart rate, etc.  Not ideal.

I notice it’s gone a bit later when I look down to check it.  I tried not to panic and calmly pulled off the course. I then looked back down the road to try to assess where it might have fallen. In doing that I realized I had no idea and also realized that it would be incredibly difficult for me to go against the grain of bikers coming toward me or fight the crowds on the sides of the road to get back there. So I chose to mount up and ride on.

The course intersected again at the spot where we took the hard left before we left town, maybe 8 or 9 miles into the ride.  So when I got to that spot I stopped again to ask a volunteer if anyone had seen it fly off and turned it in to them.   I waited as he ran down a few blocks inquiring, but no such luck.  So before I headed out onto the Queen K I was struck with the realization that I was going to have to bike this course completely by feel. I tried to think positive and have faith in something Marilyn tells me – that I have a good sense of feel and perceived exertion on the bike – and resolved to stay positive and do the best I could.  I did have a watch on so I at least had the time which is extremely important to me for timing my nutrition.

The first part of the bike was relatively uneventful. I was hydrated well my stomach felt good, and I was doing a good job of taking care of myself and keeping cool by dumping water on myself. I made that a high priority and didn’t miss one opportunity to do so at the aid stations.  I ate my Luna bar after settling in and then just churned away. Hydration and nutrition (enough Gu to choke a horse) went like clockwork and I was enjoying the ride.  That is until the turn up to Hawi. Holy cow!  I thought that section of the ride last time was tough. Well that seemed like a recovery spin compared to this year.

At one point in that climb with the headwind gusting so hard I was afraid to be blown off the road and I remember thinking “It’s probably a good thing I don’t have my computer because I know I’d be super mad at how slow I’m going!” It was awful. When I made the turnaround in Hawi I actually yelled “Yippee!!” to the crowd. I was so happy not to be fighting that wind anymore.

I decided to stop at special needs and grab my Coke and a banana. I felt like I needed a shot of caffeine and sugar after that effort on the bike. The ride out of Hawi was with the wind so I was flying and loving it. Unfortunately it was short lived. Once I made the turn back onto the Queen K it was headwind for what seemed an eternity. The winds never make sense to me there. It seems like they are against us WAY more than with us. So I tried to stay small and aero and did my best to bike strong without blowing myself up for the run.  I continued to be diligent with my hydration, nutrition and kept myself cool and was proud of my efforts here as I didn’t feel overheated and my stomach was in a good place for the whole ride.

In assessing my bike after the fact, a time of 6:28:18, one of my absolute slowest IM bike times, I probably rode too conservatively.  Not having my computer, I really wasn’t sure.  Interestingly, my time was 39 seconds faster than my Kona 2009 bike time, however, in tougher conditions. Within a minute of the same time!  As it turns out, I have mixed emotions about the bike, I had hoped to ride much faster and felt I was fit enough to do so.  It was slow, yes, but I took away some positives from the bike, as well.  And even though I’d been battling headwinds for a while, I felt good (relatively speaking) coming into transition.

When you come to the dismount line in Kona a volunteer is right there to take your bike for you. No running around searching for your spot in transition. You just have to manage to get off your bike and it’s magically taken care of for you. So nice!  Once I got off my bike I headed to my T-2 bag; same efficient drill as T-1 with a volunteer having it ready for me before I reached them.  Back to the changing tent which was much less crowded this time.  A 6 hour + bike will help spread things out for a girl. Argh!  My wonderful volunteer, after putting an ice cold towel on my shoulders, (which feels better than almost anything in the world at that time)  help me put on my race belt and fuel belt as I slipped my shoes on.  Another quick layer of sunscreen and a shot of Coke and I headed out to the run.

Join us next week as we live vicariously through her as Jenny finishes the last leg of this Ironman challenge – with a MARATHON!