I head into the transition room, grab my bag, and make my way to the women’s changing area. A volunteer is there asking me if I need any help. I dump my bag and change out of my swimsuit and into bike shorts and a tri top. I do a quick spray of sunscreen, grab my biking gear, and I’m off.
Running though the bikes towards my rack I hear “Laura! Yeah Laura!” I look over to see my mom and Joe just on the other side of the fence. I am so happy to see them, and I give a huge smile and wave.
I grab my bike and run all the way to the other end of the transition area. I am off. My only goal for the first half of the bike is take it easy. I wanted to feel like my legs were doing no work at all. The section from Madison to Verona goes by fast, and we are on the first loop. I drop it into a super-low gear and begin to climb the first hill. I feel great, so much better than when I rode the course in training. Still taking it easy, I keep moving forward.
Several times on the bike I am overcome with emotion. I think how lucky I am to be doing this on such a beautiful day, surrounded by great people. I look forward to seeing my mom and Joe, as well as Steve and another friend Steve on one of the hills. I get to the first hill and no sign of them. Second and third hill, I don’t see them. A little disappointed, I head through the cheering crowds in Verona and on to the second loop.
I make a stop in special needs and switch out my empty bottle of Infinit. My legs still feel good, and I am saving my energy. My nutrition and hydration are spot on so far. The crowds are slightly more sparse, the course a little more lonely. The hills are only slightly more difficult this time around, but not too bad. Before I know it, I am on the last set of hills again. First hill, no sign of anyone. By now I am ready to be done biking. Almost to the top of the second steep hill I spot my mom. She yells that Steve is up ahead and snaps a pic. Then I see Joe and he starts running next to me and cheering wildly (second pic).
I see Steve and he starts running next to me. He tells me he loves me and is proud of me and I can’t stop smiling. I say see ya later! and zoom down the other side of the hill. Unless you do this, you cannot understand how it feels to have your family and friends out there cheering for you. My spirits were soaring all the way through the rest of the second loop and back to Madison. The last 12 miles are long, but over soon enough.
Up the helix and I can’t believe the bike is over. I am actually kind of sad that the day is going by so quickly, but I am so excited to get out and run.