sexta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2015

1st day - Bike

After finishing the transition I got my bike, we were ready to get over those 148 km. My best guide, my heart rate monitor, was forgotten in the hotel. That was such a basic mistake! Things just didn´t go worse because cycling is my strongest discipline. I had to measure my effort depending only on my RPE. That´s not what I had planned and trained for. The plan was to have the heart rate monitor during all the bike and run.

The whole bike course is here

In the beggining of the ride I had to stop at many stoplights, a punishment for someone wh´s eager to get over that cold day as fast as possible. I´d calm down and have some GU Brew or water on every stop.

After the first 2 km I couldn´t feel anything below my ankle. The temperature was too low (for someone that just arrived from Rio´s summer) and the wind chill made me feel even colder. I´d only feel my feet again back in the hotel.

At the airport there´s an "out and back" part of the course with almost 20 km, through this part I was able to see all the athletes that were in front of me, they seemed strong and consistent with their pace. I waved to them wishing good luck, some of them waved back. In a race as big and complex as the Ultraman if you want to finish strong you have to focus on your pace, not on other competitor´s. To overcome your own fears and pass through all the obstacles that are put in front of you. I guess by that time most of us already had that spirit.

On Narcoosee Road another "no feed zone" started, on these zones the crews are not allowed to feed the athlete due to the abscence of somewhere safe to stop the car and give us food/drinks. On the last turn before Narcoosee André was waiting for me with a full bottle of sports drinks and one powerbar, that would keep me nourished through the next 23 km (14 mi).

Narcoosee Rd. is very long and full of traffic, I lost the count of how many stop signs I had to stop. Whenever I´d see a red or yellow light I´d start stretching my legs and loosenning my muscles. Some red lights took too long to turn green, my patience was tested many times.

Grinding through the 148 km biking.
The Saint Cloud region was a nice sight, first of all because I was able to meet the Crew and refuel myself with more water, GU Brew, GU gel and powerbars. The second reason is because the car was able to follow me and stop right beside me in a couple of red lights. Carol got out of the car to talk to me, that was really nice! The third reason is because it is really a beautiful place, to pass by the shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga was good for sightseeing.

A little before accessing US-192, a highway full of traffic, I stopped to pee. It was a real relief and also a very good sign that all my vital functions were working well and I was hidrated.

After entering US-192 I was feeling very comfortable and well set in the position I was in, I had no problems or pains on my back or on my neck. I was able to stay in the aero position through all the 40 km we were in US-192. There was a crosswind coming from northeast that was a little annoying but the best I could do was to stay tight in the aero position. This part of the course is extremely flat, it is excelent to increase the average speed but at the same time you don´t get any breaks from downhills.

The Crew was with me supporting and doing their "leapfrogs". We finally got to the conclusion that we needed a contact for refueling every 7 km (15 min), with this period it was sure that I wouldn´t be caught without food or liquids for too long.
 After biking 63 km.

The last time I´d felt my feet was before mounting on the bike. The temperature was above 16 C (61 F) but the windchill was harsh. My hands were not as bad as my feet but that wasn´t a comfortable temperature to ride. It was very good to have the aero helmet, without many vents, and the visor in order to keep my head warm.

One of the last parts of the cycling was just after leaving US-192, that was a 30 km country road heading north. It was a lot better to bike there, much less traffic than the highway and we could enjoy the country atmosphere. The Crew was able to give close support and even though we had a strong headwind, the average speed didn´t drop too much. There´s no shoulder on this road but that wasn´t a problem because of the reduced traffic. After training in the plains between Macaé-Carapebus-Quissamã-Barra do Furado with the hard northeast wind, the Florida headwinds looked like a breeze.

Heading north, last 30 km.
I passed Ariel Heller, one of the UltraJews while he was doing some maintenance with his crew. Soon later he appeared in my rear view mirror. We biked a few hundred feet from each other, it was good to have somebody close, after 146 km I met only 3 of them.

The last part of the course was a small stretch of 6 km (4 mi) on highway 528, I was already in "cool down mode" and glad that we arrived before sunset. After the sun was gone the temperatures would go down and it would get much colder than it was.

It was thrilling to cross the finish line. The Crew arrived with me and the total day 1 time was 8:25'50" with the cycling time of 5:08'13". I ended up in 8th place, not bad at all! To me it was a true surprise to be among the top 10, my goal was still to finish the Ultraman within the 12 hour limit on each day, regardless of any place.

Crossing the finish line on the 1st day.
Recharging my energy after the finish line.
The Rock´n´Roll Crew + Sway,
race director and ultra-veteran in UM races.

It was very cold and I headed straight to the heated tent, I had no pains and no muscle cramps. Ben Keyes gave me a very good massage, aplying just the right pressure on the main muscles to increase blood flow and recover faster.

After the massage I went to the van and back to the hotel. During the trip to the hotel everybody had the impression that it was really good for the first day. In the van I took one dose of Endurox and another one of Muscle Milk. It was another marathon to update everybody with the facebook posts. It was so much positive energy in those messages from people all over!

After we arrived in the hotel I went to the shower while the Crew had a chicken breast, caesar salad and mashed potatoes ready for me. Soon later it was already time to lie down and rest, there was 275 km (171 mi) waiting for me on the next day!

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