Coming out of T1, I set out hard and the wind was in my face but the legs were feeling magic. I started moving through the field and pushing a big gear. The last Ironman I did (wisconsin) I slid back through the field on the bike which really pissed me off as I usually am a pretty good biker. I was stoked to be moving up. The order of the jungle had been restored as I had trained myself to ride a proper 112 miles.
MSU tri supporters- Iris, Nancy and Klingler’s family gave me a split that I was three minutes down to Inch at mile 35… I was thinking, “what the hell? No way am I three down.” I shifted down, screamed a curse that I won’t repeat (it sounds like bunions that itch) and set off. They drove away leaving me quite annoyed. The anger was short lived as I saw them a quarter mile later yelling that he was the next biker up the road! Apparently, the 3-minute split was after the swim… Beauty! I caught him and we worked together for 16 miles and peed a ton, which was weird for the aid stations workers as they heard us grunting together trying to get the stream going. This isn’t really a pretty sport.
I felt strong so I pushed to break away after seeing about 3 major groups of drafters on an out and back. Klingler, another MSU racer to whom I despise losing, was in one of the groups. Shit. I needed breathing room but just as I picked up the pace, the constant stream of gu’s I had been shoveling down my gullet started to make me sick… I let up trying to keep from ralphing and a group of four guys picked me up. I was miffed as they were weaker riders but I was content to let them work as I tried to get my stomach to come around. Once it did, I went to the front and blasted off as we turned and got the wind at our back. I rocked home and, on another out and back, saw my two teammates (inch and klingler) in a group of about 20-30. Dammit. I needed time on both of them to be able to relax on the marathon so I doubled the effort despite having to go alone. They were less than 3 minutes back.
NOW: rant time. I did not enjoy the Ironman Florida biking as it really rewards middle of the pack swimmers who come out onto the bike in huge groups. They then shamelessly draft in the STRONG wind on the course. Drafting isn’t an issue when you are up front, but about 5 minutes back it is ridiculous and I felt I was robbed of one of the faster bike splits as weak riders ended up out splitting me because they are sitting in huge packs. Fair enough- it isn't just a bike race but I think I will be doing a more honest Ironman next time.
Either way, I got into transition feeling ok. I knew I had to hustle through to bank some free time on Inch and Kling. They are both capable of running in the 3:15 range and I didn't want to be forced into an unreasonable pace too early. I got out of T2 and heard, "and here comes John Severin... leading his age group!" Excellent start to a marathon.
Split- 4:52 (23 mph average)