I really enjoy this course - in addition to the well-paved roads (well, most of them), there were minimal cars on the road and the volunteers at the aid stations were outstanding (throughout the entire race). I don't know if it is just me but I find the athletes at Challenge races extremely nice. Maybe it's because athletes are not chasing "slots" but I have felt such a great vibe at the last two Challenge races.
I ended up using the first 20 minutes to do a few fast and heavy gear intervals. There was no specific time for each interval but just to help wake up my legs on flat terrain, I would electronically shift into a heavy gear and that would slow down my cadence to around 80 for maybe 30-90 seconds and then I would switch into a lighter gear (all still in the big chain ring) for 30-90 seconds at around 95+ rpm. I was not focusing on my Garmin, just listening to my body. After around 20 minutes, my legs finally began to wake up.
I wore COOLA suncare spray (SPF 30) and it always seems to protect me in the heat for long races and I never feel sticky with it on.
It felt like I was taking the longest time in transition but for some reason, I was in no rush to start running. I really wanted to compose myself before running 13.1 miles in the hottest temps I have ever experienced (including Kona - somehow it felt hotter than Kona).
As I put on my dad's hat and running shoes, I put on my race belt and then grabbed my Nathan hydration belt and started to make my way from the first race for bike-in all the way to run out on the other side of the transition area. Again, I took my time and was just not ready to run yet.
I also grabbed ice and dumped it in my sport bra and took a few pieces in my hands to hold to try to keep myself cool.