The race director finally counted down my wave and we were off swimming! I entered the water very slowly and carefully, because I’d really banged up my shin on my practice swim (why, hello, giant gap in the boat ramp). The water seemed icy, but in the same way Vicodin makes you not care that you’re in pain, wetsuits make you not care that the water’s cold. You know it to be true, but… eh, you’re disconnected from the sensation and it doesn’t matter. I tried to stay to the back and outside of the other swimmers, but I still got kicked, swam into, and splashed in the face repeatedly. I am not a fast swimmer, and it felt like I was out there for hours. It was gorgeous, though; the sun had just come up over the tree-studded mountains, and the Saint John’s bridge is really pretty.
I tried to transition as quickly as I could, hurrying back to the bike as I was pulling off my swim cap and taking out my earplugs.
I learned some things, such as: hey dumbass, don’t put your number belt on under your wetsuit, and: wow, my dad (a very accomplished triathlete) is really lucky he’s bald, that would make this so much easier. Alex was near the bike-mounting area cheering me on, because he is made of awesome. I apparently had no time to look at him, because of Serious Athlete Business.
And then I was on the bike! I literally shrieked with laughter when I saw the hill we had to climb at the very beginning. It was substantial, and it was steep. I saw a few people have to get off and walk their bikes, but I kept (sloooowwwly) pedaling. Just after recovering from that, there was another quad-killing hill, but again I powered through and then it was smooth sailing all the way to the turnaround point. The bike I rented was lighter and faster than mine, and with no stop signs or traffic lights I felt like I was flying. I may have slowed down to high-five some volunteers. I might have WOOHOO-ed my way down a hill or two. I definitely drooled a little when we passed the Portland French Bakery (nothing smells better than bread baking). I was feeling really good when I came back into the transition area.
Tomorrow: the thrilling conclusion!