Well, the first outdoor bike ride and first race is in the books with the Montauk Brewery Beer Chug – Row – Bike – Run – Beer Chug. Raul put together a stellar team —Marcus, the fastest beer chugger in the East, Luis, the fastest local and winningest 5k & 10k racer, Paul, the former Irish Rugby player turned rower and me, the little engine that could! It was really fun to be with a great bunch of guys who were out there to have a little fun, drink a few beers and race hard. I loved the local feel and grassroots nature of this first time race and I think the organizers did a great job.
First off, Marcus had to chug the beer and by golly, he chugged that baby in about 3 seconds, faster than anyone else attempting the first leg. It was impressive! Then Paul started rowing. Now, this was interesting—he wasn’t the fastest but he was steady and as the minutes wore on (5000 meters would take around 20 minutes) he got stronger and stronger. The other rowers started to waiver, a few started to pace together, but there was Paul the same steady as when he started. And wouldn’t you know, he also finished 1st and they hollered at me to go! (I told you it was grassroots!)
So having muscled my way to the front of the pack to start at the line, I didn’t pre-clip in and nearly tipped over when I started off. (How embarrassing!) I found my balance and started off, I wanted to push myself since I didn’t have to run after but I wanted to have my mojo for the hills, hoping that there would only be a 1-way headwind and I could battle out the hills. This 20k course is one I know well, as it’s a version of the last spring tri of the season and yes, the views are spectacular if you can manage to look while trying not to get blown over from the gusts. It was indeed a day to use my mantra: It’s Windier In Kona. (Although, not by much!) And then I started to get passed and I admit, I tried to see if I could glom on to the pacelines or at least match the pedal pace, but they were just too fast. Soon I was in no man’s land, riding my own race and hoping not to let my teammates down! The wind was relentless, which happens when you are on an island, particularly at the very end of it. The last 2 monster hills were particularly grueling with a head and side wind – I stood up in the pedals to get some traction because I didn’t want to be the one walking up the hill. (Perhaps that would have been faster!)
My husband drove by looking for me and I thought, “Crap, I’m absolutely last!” But I tried to stay positive and pedaled on and then he came back around with 2 bikes on the rack for the guys who’d flatted out after the hill. I’d offered one guy a tube but he said he didn’t know how to change a tire anyone but to send someone back for him. (Do practice changing your tire!) I came back around through town and back to the brewery and I was happy to see that I wasn’t last after having gone out first, although sadly the first runner came through soon after Luis went out. (He usually does a 5k in 16 minutes.) Luis rallied and ran past at least 5 runners (17 minute 5k–not too shabby!) and then Marcus once again impressively and swiftly chugged the final beer.
I have to commend my team on their very excellent support and sportsmanship. I felt bad about squandering the lead they’d built up and really losing it for the team but they wouldn’t have it. They all had fun and team coach Raul let us know we were top 10 out of the 25 teams—still a very good showing! It was really fun to ride outside again and be able to accurately access my fitness level on the bike and test myself in the hills and wind of Montauk. (Thank goodness it’s pre-season ’cause I have some work to do!)
I also want to give a shout out to All Season’s Cyclist because I used the Serfast Women’s Bike Pump and it was da’ bomb! What a cool and easy to use pump that’s perfect for women and also for someone like my husband who helped me get ready and graciously pumped up my tires. He loved that it was easy to read the gauge and hooked on the valve easily. Thank you again!