From city streets to country roads, roundabouts to freeways, through farmland, urban sprawl and rolling hill country, Ibiza left almost nothing wanting. Although the elevation gain was notable as far as triathlons generally go, it was the heat I knew could be my undoing. I’ll gladly climb all day; heat me up and I get cranky quick. So the name of the game was restraint: keep it aerobic, spin easy, do not push hard power despite your inclinations. Long descents on the back half of the two-lap course tested this conviction sorely; oh, the time I could have made up by putting my inertial advantages to their full use! But I had learned where that road leads at Nationals; pushing the 3rd-fastest bike split overall there left me decimated 10 miles into the run. Limits discovered, but not an exercise to be repeated. Instead, my Spanish mission focused on fueling and hydrating, letting gravity do most of the work wherever possible. There was a beast yet lying in wait, the taming of which depended greatly on what I could preserve to feed it.

There was heat, to be sure, and it began to wear on me by the end as expected. Particularly inside my poorly ventilated helmet.
But no mechanicals, no flats, no crashes, no penalties. By all measures a successful ride, especially as a 73-mile bridge to the final challenge of this long day of work.

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