Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cicero Triathlon: Biking

If my physique didn’t give away the fact that this was my first triathlon, the bike sure did. To help you visualize what I mean, imagine all the other slim and sexy triathletes dismounting their sleek street bikes off of their fancy car racks as I pulled and tugged my Huffy out of a minivan. Needless to say, as I walked my rust coated beauty over to the preparation area I got a lot of stares. In fact, I know that on several occasions that the shock of seeing my bike stopped conversations, which I found to be quite humorous.

There was no doubt going into this race that I would have the absolute worse bike on the course, but I had no idea that some of the other bikes were going to be so fancy. My basket wielding mountain bike didn’t stand a chance against some of these Tour de France contenders. Even before I mounted up and got on the course I knew that I would be near the end of the pack.

Sure enough, even though I was part of the first swim group, everybody ended up passing me or at least it felt that way. The most interesting part about being passes was how nice everybody was about it. The first couple of times that other bikers started to go around me they would shout out things such as, “Keep up the good work!” or “You’re doing great man!” Now the cynical side of me automatically assumed that these people were being sarcastic jack-asses, but there was no hiding the sincerity of their support. Throughout the entire race I experience more positive support from the other participants than I have in any other activity I have done.

Even though the other riders were being extremely supportive, it didn’t make up for the fact that I was being passed by everybody. Elderly women who were the last to start the race had caught up and surpassed me. It wasn’t until about three quarters through that I then realized I had not once changed gears and had been biking the entire course in middle gear. After I got over the next hill I quickly switched it over into high gear and I was soon flying much faster than I had been. By that point it was too late. Nobody else passed me after that, but I am pretty sure that it was because there was nobody left to pass me.

Other than not knowing the course and dying for two right turns to come up so that I knew that I was headed back to the beginning of the course, the bike event went smoothly. My old faithful bike didn’t give me any problems and the basket did a great job of holding my water bottles so that I wouldn’t have to reach out to the sidelines and spill water all over the volunteers as I clumsily grabbed at the cups they were holding out. As much as I am grateful that my sister loaned her bike to me, I think that if I decide to participate in another bike event I will simply break down and get something that might help me keep up with the rest of the pack.

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