After I ran out of the water and got my wetsuit off with the help of the wetsuit strippers, I started the long (and I mean long) run to the transition area. It was about a half mile run to the transition area from the swim exit at the marina. I actually had to walk a couple of times because it was so long and I was out of breath from swimming.
I was quick once I got into the transition area, and I put my cycling stuff on and ran out of there to start the 56 mile ride. I didn't know much about the course, other than that it was relatively flat with one steeper hill (although, I'm not really quite sure where they were referencing, unless it was removed due to part of the course changing because of construction).
I started off easily enough, with a nice tailwind as I left the park. The first 5 miles were a bit sketchy because the road conditions were not great. Luckily, we were warned about how bad the condition of the road was, so I was aware.
The miles were going by pretty quickly, and I was surprised at the speed I was holding (but it was definitely due to a tailwind). I was enjoying the course and most cars were respectful even though we were on some busier roads in the beginning.
We rode through Huron during the race, but saw this the next day!
The course kept reminding me of different races we have done, like the SOS Triathlon, because of how similar the scenery looked. Eventually we came to a school and turned in and rode around the back of the school and came back out to a different road on the other side.
We made one turn that was my favorite, on the way out. It felt like there was no wind and I was flying. I enjoyed the corn fields, and then much to my dismay, we turned down another road that had a bit more wind. I was worried about the way back, but I tried not to think about it too much.
I looked for Mike while out there, but there was only one opportunity for us to see each other and he was too far ahead of me by the time I got there. After making a turn, I went up a hill (that did require the little ring, but it wasn't that bad) and then turned around to head back.
There was a bit of a headwind now, but I just tried to push through it. At the halfway point I was averaging 17.5 mph, which for me is pretty fast and 3 weeks after an Ironman is really good! On one bridge, the course was rerouted due to construction, but there were plenty of volunteers out there to direct us in the right direction.
The half athletes eventually deviated from the route that the full athletes had to ride (though some full athletes did pass me). Mike said that when he went through this section a full athlete went the wrong way and then u-turned, but almost ran into another participant! I thought it was really clear which way we had to go, but maybe it wasn't.
As we made our way back, the headwind was a bit difficult at times. There was one nice section where I hit over 20mph but the rest was a struggle. I actually worried about my legs since I was working so hard to keep up a decent pace. The course went back through the school and then went back toward Cedar Point Amusement Park on the same roads we took on the way out.
As I rode back, I saw a water bottle that looked like Mike's on the ground. I later found out that it was his, but that he had dropped it on the way out. I guess it rolled all the way across the road!
I was really happy when I approached one of the final turns. I had about 5 miles left to go to get back to transition, and I was still worried about my legs. They were cramping a bit, but I tried not to think about it too much. The road condition was still bad on the way back, but I took my time to go through the really bad spots.
Finally, I saw a volunteer directing us toward the parking lot for the park where the transition area was set up. After a short ride through the parking lot, I saw the dismount line and got off of my bike. As soon as I got off of my bike, I could tell my legs felt really heavy.
I just hoped that I could run/walk my way through a half marathon to finish out the rest of the race!
Bike Leg (56 miles) - Jamie: 3:21:01, Mike: 2:57:04
Transition 2 - Jamie: 2:17, Mike: 2:56