Before I tell you how MISERABLE an experience the bike was, let me clarify again:
1) I do not own a bike
2) My longest ride before the 112 miles I did Saturday was 10 miles
3) My butt is KILLING ME
The bike was terrible, god awful, horrendous, the worst physical pain I have felt in my entire life. Ever.
Knowing what I know now, I would substitute any of the below in place of the bike if I had the choice:
a) Receive 200 lashes from an amazon
b) Let a professional sumo wrestler pancake me over and over for 20 minutes
c) Fight a hungry bear
d) Get run over by a small car (preferably less than 2 tons)
e) Receive 10 firm kicks in my privates by someone wearing steel tipped boots
Yes, the bike was that painful.
Here is why:
Above all, I rented a road bike from a shop who caters to families who like to take pleasant afternoon rides. It was NOT a bike meant to go 112 miles in one day. It was not a tri-bike, not even a very good road bike. The tires were thick, the bike was heavy, and the seat was not nearly as padded as I needed it be. It had a HUGE sign on both sides of the frame that read:
“Rental from West Orange Bikes and Blades.” (When I asked to have that removed the response was that it was good publicity as they usually do not support triathlons.)
Why did I get such a bike? It was the best bike at the only shop I could find that could deliver the bike 12 hours before the race and agree to let some lunatic use it for 112 miles who doesn’t ride often. To be fair, there were no issues with it and it lasted for every one of those 112 miles.
112 miles is a long way. That is like riding here (New York City) to Albany and then some. When I think of it in that way, it sounds even worse.
What made it even worse was the fact that the course was extremely difficult. I know this will sound like a grandfather scolding a 10 year old about complaining, “I had to walk 5 miles uphill to school in the snow with no shoes blah blah blah every day.”
It was 90 degrees and the sun roasted my skin like something roasts something else. The course was very hilly (we rode up the highest elevation of Florida) while there were other hills that made the ones in San Francisco (or Ithaca for anyone who knows where that is) look friendly. These hills dragged on and on and on and on (you get the point). The worst part was seemingly every down hill we were forced to turn, or stop, or brake. Speaking with other participants they shared my views on the course which is why someone broke the 2.4mile Ironman swim record but the bike part was below average even for those who competed.
Another reason why this part was sheer agony was because my body was not used to biking for 8 hours. My longest bike ride (10 miles) took me 40 minutes. My official time for the bike part was 8 hours and 17 minutes. My knees felt like someone took a crowbar to them and my behind felt like I was spanked with bamboo over and over again.
The bike took every ounce of energy and strength, both mental and physical that I had. Upon finishing the bike course I crashed the bike forgetting I had to unclip. I got up and thankfully a volunteer took the bike away from me. I do not want to see that god forsaken cycle ever again.
The only thing left was the run. 2/3 done, just had to get through a little jog around the lake, no sweat. Too bad I couldn’t feel my legs.
Keep reading for Part 3: The Run