But things got better after that. Had probably the fastes T1 ever and it was on to the bike. The bike leg was simply awesome. Rain started falling midway through the first loop and the crosswinds were killer. At times, I was nearly pushed off the road by the winds. The deep dish wheels I was using didn't help much. But by the end of the first loop, the rain had cleared up and conditions were much better. I finished the first loop in one hour flat, the second in 58 minutes and the final in 1h04m, for a total time of 3h02m02s, over an hour faster than last year's 4h05m51s. Of course the cooler conditions helped a lot this year. Last year it was so hot, my skin was bubbling from the heat.
Looking fast on the bike
Senn going aero
My T2 time was slow because my race belt decided to fall apart on me. As I was running out, I found my belt around my thighs. A quick look showed me that the buckle had come off. Spent two minutes trying to get it back together. Hastily put it back on and it was on to the run.
Race belt sorted, it's off for the run
It took me about 5km to get my running legs but and all the people I overtook on the bike were overtaking me again and just pulling away like I was standing still. But I kept on running the entire first loop. At this point, my initial target of sub-8 hours was modified to sub-7 hours. The second loop was a run/walk, mostly running. In the end, I came home with a run time of 2h33m47s for a total time of 6h48m16s. Much much better than last year's 8h35m35s.
All in all, I had a good race. Some weren't so fortunate though. Please spare a thought for Bernard, who had a nasty crash on the second loop. Apparently the guy in front of him decided to stop to puke... in the middle of the road. Bernard couldn't avoid him, went smashing into the puker's rear wheel and endoed. End result:
a carbon frame broken in three places
Pictures courtesy of Ivie. Thanks!