Up at 5am after not really sleeping much, a Coconut Cashew Chocolate Chip Hammer Bar (the BEST pre race food). We were at the pier nice and early, and I felt really calm (wow!). We had so many great visits with every athlete we met and the usual pre race excitement. I set everything up with Sherri – my Paddler Superstar: my nutrition, a go pro, jellyfish emergency stuff, race number and my phone – with the GPS on, so my crew could track me. My paddler had a hat on that was a medusa deal with glowing lights – awesome! One of the challenges with starting in the dark – with just the moonlight, is finding 1/40 canoes in the ocean after the pack gets 500 m out. We met up quite easily, as she was easy to spot! I am just another black wetsuit with a swim cap on to her, so this was perfect! My swim started out pretty solid….. 8:43 for 500m, perfect! 9:43 for the next 500 with a quick stop to find my kayaker. 10:33, 10:43, 10:41, 10:59 and then the current started getting stronger……. high 12’s and 13’s started to become normal. At about km 9 my arms felt like they were going to fall off, which I knew would come along…. but staring down at the coral, it was barely moving. I was throwing everything i had at the ocean and nothing was happening. I was swimming as hard as I could physically swim, and barely moving! Then my watch clicked over 10kms, but we were clearly a km from the end!!! When I stopped to drink my recovery fluid, I drifted backwards!! My paddler did everything she could to get me through the current, but it was just relentless!!!
I knew I could keep inching along and get there, and when we turned left into the bay, the current would change and reduce its push. ok… so that SUCKED….. BUT!!! WOO HOOO!!!!! NO PUKING on the swim!!! First time _ever_ in the ocean swim!!! I have been working with a nutrition genius and his team to help with my training and preparation. Ben, my direct nutrition coach, had me use Cyclic Dextrin for the swim – simple sugar, no flavor, just a plain dextrose molecule. Low osmolity and well accepted by the gut. Also part way through I decided to try a Gas X – to reduce the gas formation from the inevitable breaths that enter the stomach partially and build up. And when I stop to remember that just this past summer….. I could not lift my arm all the way above my head after 2.5 years of painful physio…… So awesome!!
I made it out of the water in 4 hours and about 20 minutes (I didn’t turn my watch off right away). I cruised up to the shore and hugged Sherri! The we crossed the finish line together and I felt AWESOME!!! My crew was in the water to set me up with everything and we headed over to the shower to wash off the salt water. Quick change and off on the bike!!!
We started out easy, it was SUPER hot and no clouds!! The day starts with some really steep climbs, the steepest of the race! Although day 2 has a lot of climbing, the climbs are less steep. But we can talk about that tomorrow.
The descent down to Kelakekua Bay was so fun!! I did incur a penalty though….. I slowed for a right turn on a 3 way stop intersection, and I was supposed to put one foot down. #mybad. Cost me 6 minutes added to my time.
I love to bike…. and this was my happy place! Lots of efforts, LOTS of hills and climbing in the heat. My crew was beyond brilliant at keeping me hydrated, fed, and cool. It was an epic day!! We hit some wicked head winds about 10kms before the turnaround and that made life tough, but the knowledge that we would soon turn around, made it easy to tolerate. I had been pressuring hard and catching a few people and was super excited to turn around, because the ride is mostly down hill on the way back….. still lots of tough climbs…. but more descents than climbs.
I had to ride through some junk at one point (rocks and glass) on the busy highway, and got a front flat. I wrestled the bike over to the side and jumped off, removing the tire and hoping my crew would be along soon! Darren and Drew arrived in the film truck 5 seconds later, but that wouldn’t help. Jeremy Howard (2017 UMWC champion!) was up ahead waiting for his athlete and yelled up to ask what happened. “FLAT!” I yelled…. “Front or back?” he replied. I told him it was the front and he grabbed their spare and ran up the hill to me, we put it on, high fived and I was OFF again!!! #Ohana.
At the next stop with my crew I looked down and my elbow pad was missing! Jochen and Lyle ran back and found it, returning it to me and taping it on at the next stop. #allaboutcrew
Soon enough I was back to the biggest climbs on the course…. but the OTHER way!!! 😀 time to FLY!!!! Reaching a speed of 80.2kph, I FLEW home! A few flat and uphill spots, but mostly straight down!!!
Finishing the day in 10:08 – plus 6 mins for the penalty – gives me a 10:14. And a PB on the bike!!!
I am exhausted and SO happy!!!! My crew is SO amazing!! We got the bike quickly tuned and I had a massage and ate. Back home now the van is re-packed for tomorrow….. more eating, thus blog and some self care.
Get the bike ready and tomorrow we ride 275kms!!!
I cannot begin to describe how HAPPY I am!!! To be here…. to finish day one… to be with everyone!!! Seeing Peter and Adam…. it’s all magic!
THANK YOU Lyn for doing a great job putting out updates all day!!! I promise to ride well again tomorrow and keep the shiny side up, rubber side down!!
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