Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tour BC- Stage 7, Kimberley to Creston

Today was the last day and I think a lot of people were relieved it's almost done. I've been feeling so great throughout the entire week that I'm a little sad that I'm not going to be waking up every morning at 6am and go out for a long ride. I think the most valuable thing I've learned out of this week is that if I have to do it, I can. No matter how much I may be dreading a 5 or 6 hour ride if I set the intention and I'm smart about fueling, I can get through any training day. I really needed to re-learn that before Ironman.

Today's ride was another beautiful one, there was one stretch of rode that looped around a farm with some horses and then vered up into the hills. The pavement was absolutely perfect and there wasn't a car anywere near. The trees sheltered the road and cast some beautiful shadows and all I could hear was the effort of my breathing as I powered up the hill. I knew that I just had a prefect cycling moment, that moment when it's just you and the road and the beauty of nature all around. That's why I love coming on this tour, I always have a moment like that at some point during the week.

The rest of the ride was great other than a slight mechanical I had with 55kms to go. I went to put my waterbottle back in the cage behind my seat and the whole set-up fell off! Waterbottles, cages, spare, levers, CO2, holder, everything. I was really lucky no one was behind me because it surely whould have taken out whoever was there. It seems the alloy was obvouisly cracked and split down the middle, oh well I kind of liked my previous set up anyway. The bottles came out of the holders way too often with this system.

I made it back to Creston in decent time and had a chance to find all the bags and have a shower before Amber got back. We checked-in to our dumpy motel in town and immediately went to get Harley as soon as possible. It was so great to see him again, Amber and I have never seen him so excited when he saw us. All four limbs and his body were shaking at the same time, it's nice that he missed us too. I'm happy we're all back together again, everything is as it should be.

Bike- 140kms, 4:14

Tour BC- Stage 6, Radium to Kimberley

Today was the second last day of the tour and you can tell everyone is starting to feel really beat up from all the consecutive days on the road. It's so hard to motivate yourself to go for another 5hr ride after five hard days in the saddle. However Amber and I opted for a motel in Radium and had an awesome night watching the tour and resting. Friday morning we got up early went to a coffee shop and had a little breakfast and hit the road.

I planned on taking it easy today, it was going to be a long day and the final climb into Kimberely looked really tough from the profile. Once I get out on the road though my mind calms and my legs take over, this is their domain and I'm powerless to stop them from hammering. There is such a sense of peace and contentment being out there on the road crusing along at 40km/hr. I suppose it's the same feeling that draws people to ride motorcycles but I enjoy it so much more when my legs are the engine.

The first water stop was at 40kms and after a brief refueling I headed out towards the lunch stop at 95kms. It's much easier if I can break down the day into; 1st water stop, lunch stop, 2nd water stop, finish. It seems a lot less daunting than '160km ride today.' I made it to lunch in great time covering the first 90kms in 2:45. The ride was incredibly beautiful and I felt truely blessed to be out here with Amber. We're both missing Harely a lot and I think 7 days away from him is long enough. Somehow it's tough to really feel like you're on vacation unless you're together as a family. Still I'm loving every mintue of this holiday and I'm going to remember this time of my life as one of the best.

Bike- 160kms, 5:07

Tour BC- Stage 5, Golden to Radium

It was a lazy morning today, I think all of these cumulative miles are starting to play havoc on my body. Surprisingly my legs feel a little tired but great when riding. I needed a day like today; flat and fast! I left town with Amber and didn't know what kind of day I was going to have until I dropped into my aerobars and started a hard push. I was absolutely flying today! The course was gentle rollers and I cruised by people at 40kms/hr listening to them go "whoa, what was that!" What a great feeling that is.

Fortunately I didn't have any issues with my knee and I covered the first 70kms in under 2hrs. Amber was in a paceline with the two other GP girls and was not far behind me. I was happy to see that she was having a good day because yesterday's long ride really hurt her. We are both getting stronger though and by the end of the tour we'll both have some excellent bike fitness leading into the Calgary 70.3.

Radium is absolutely beautiful and after resting and eating I did manage to get out for a little trail run in the heat of the day. It probably reached 36 or 37'C, the run hurt but I definitely got what I was looking for with all this hot weather training. Tomorrow calls for showers so maybe one day away from the heat will be a nice break. It's another long day tomorrow, 140kms; I'll try and stretch it out to 160 but it all depends on how my knee holds up. There are some big climbs going into Kimberley so I definitely have to keep some in the tank for the finish.

Bike- 120kms, 3:42
Run- 40 minutes

Tour BC- Stage 4, Revelstoke to Golden

Today was definitely the longest and hardest day of the tour, two major climbs one of them Rogers Pass which gains 900m over 30kms. Most of the climb was a slow-steady grade which really paid havoc on my knees. By the time I hit the top of the pass at 68kms my right knee was in so much pain. I thought the descent and a little easy spinning would help but there was another major climb leading into the final water stop. At that point one of the staff offered me a couple motrin and the pain was magically gone, I don't usually like taking anything but I absolutely needed it to get into town today.

The heat really started to hurt everyone before the end of the day, I ran out of water and was dying by the end. I met up with Amber before the finish and she was suffering in the heat too but still made it in without any major issues other than some neck and shoulder pain. The rest of the day was so hot, it was very difficult to find someplace comfortable to go. We did the best we could to try and cool down and I iced my aching knee and fiddled with my seat to see if changing it had some effect on my position.

Bike- 160kms, 5:42

Tour BC- Stage 3, Nakusp to Revelstoke

Well the miles are starting to take effect on my body, in a good way and bad. I felt pretty good going into today I knew it was going to be a short day but it was all climbing and desending. The first half of the ride flew by and I felt really good but another ferry ride and a lunch stop seemed to knock the 'get-up-and-go' out of my legs.

The second half was a real struggle with two big climbs but some incredible views and really fun desents. I managed to beat the luggage truck so I went out for another 15kms just to get to the 120 I'm shooting for per day. Tomorrow won't be a problem making the distance, it's the toughest day 150kms with 900m of climbing for the first 68kms. I'll try and make it a 180km day (I haven't done one of those rides yet this year!) but we'll have to see how my body holds up. Tonight I'm sitting with ice on my knee and compression socks on, hopefully that revives my aching legs. I can feel my bike fitness coming back and my metabolism is burning through all the huge meals I've been eating. I should be right on my race weight by the time this week is done.

Bike- 120kms, 4:11

Tour BC- Stage 2, Woodberry Resort to Nakusp

Today was another great day, a lot tougher than yesterday but really fun. My legs are definitely feeling the 280kms in two days I hope all this riding is going to pay off but I'm having so much fun that I really don't care.

I remembered to bring some music with me today so I had the motivation to turn the cranks. The ride was two big climbs with an awesome descent into New Denver and another into Nakusp. The climbs were tough but fairly shallow so it was a slow steady pace into a headwind most of the day. The good news was the morning was really cool and overheating was not a problem. Although by the afternoon on second climb the temp did hit 35'C again and I was sweating buckets. The ride was 115kms but I added a bit more and by the end of the day I managed to get in 160kms.

Nakusp is an incredibly beautiful little town with amazing mountain views and a cold, cold lake to take the edge off the heat. I did a short transition run and met Amber at the beach afterwards so I could soak my exhausted legs. We had an amazing dinner hosted by the seniors centre and I know breakfast tomorrow will be just as good. They are always so warm and welcoming here that I'm really glad this was a part of the tour again.

Bike- 160kms, 5:48
Run- 17mins

2009 Tour BC- Stage 1, Creston to Woodberry Resort

It's finally here! It feels like it's been a long winter and I have felt like I've just been waiting for the warm weather to come so I could finally get in some good riding. The day before we left for tour BC it was warm and sunny in GP but the wind was howling at 40km/hr. I was actually thinking of riding in the basement for an hour instead of going outside. How riduculous is that, a warm sunny July day and the wind was so bad that I contemplated not going outside. In the end I did go out and had a nice 40km ride but still had to battle the wind.

We spent the next two days in the car which was a little uneventful other than some drama with the caregiver we arranged for Harley. Amber and I really want to make sure he is in a good home for a week but there was a bit of a mix up with who we arranged to take him in Calgary. So he made the trek with us out to Creston and Amber found a great place for him there plus we'll get to see him as soon as we're done the tour.

I was a little nervous going into the first day of riding, I still haven't been feeling 100% and Saturday in Creston was 35'C. I haven't had any warm weather training this year and now I'm jumping right into this! Yikes. The ride turned out to be okay after both Amber and I finished fixing flats in the first 8kms. The road was a cyclists' dream, beautiful rollers next to an incredible lake with perfect weather. I rode with Amber and although she was pushing a lot harder than she's used to, it was nice to have her there.

When I came close to the ferry crossing I hit the first major climb, about 5kms at 6-8%. I was riding well and bounced up the hill easily. After the ferry was the next big climb and that one was a lot harder, not necessarily steeper or longer but after relaxing for an hour or two waiting for the ferry and on the ferry, my legs started to stiffen up. However it was only another 20kms to the resort and I made it without any trouble. I'm glad I didn't push myself too hard today, there are a lot of tough days ahead.

Bike- 120kms; 4:15

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Looking For The Bears

Amber and I had a great weekend in Jasper, I even completed some great business with the Financial Advisor which made it all worth it. We spent a lot of time on our new mountain bikes, a nice change from being on the road all the time. However I really missed biking some of the great road routes in and around Jasper. It is definitely a road rider's paradise!

I had some good trail runs with Harley and an incredible mountain bike ride with AD and Harley when we saw a bear cub. Amber was a little freaked out but Harley wanted to really get to know him. He was a little hard to control, I had him on the leash while riding my bike and trying to get away as quick as possible but he was pulling me toward the bear. We made it away without seeing his mom but I'm really glad I had Harley on the leash.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mission Accomplished

It was a little nerve wracking going into a 1/2 Ironman while being very sick the weekend before but I had a goal to qualify for Ironman Canada and I was determined to race. The entire week I've just been resting and training very little, I went for a 30 minute open water swim on Wednesday and a little 50km bike on Thursday but the rest of the week was very low key. I was hoping to do a little more running but over the past couple of weeks my right knee has been really bothering me.

I went into the race with a good attitude and excited to be there. I knew I wasn't going to break any records but just having the opportunity to feel healthy enough to race was a real blessing. We arrived in Stony on Friday and attended the pre-race dinner and package pick up, sat with some friends and swapped stories about racing. It was nice to see a few people from Calgary that I haven't seen in a while. Saturday I did my usual routine of getting everything ready and going for a little swim-bike.

Sunday morning the weather was perfect and the water at Allen Beach Resort was warm (at least compared to what I have been swimming in). I was as ready as I could be and by the time the gun went off I was in "race mode," focused and ready to rock! The swim was great, I felt strong and ended up having probably my best open water swim ever. It wasn't incredibly fast but by my standards I was flying- 31:02. I took a little more time in transition than I usually do but I wanted to make sure I had socks on for the bike-run. I ended up getting a blister anyway so I probably should have just gone without. The bike course is incredibly fast and I felt so good on the way out, of course there were a lot of bike specialists passing me but I knew that the swim and bike were just a warm up for my speciality.

I pushed as hard as I could on the bike, I didn't hold anything back and I was moving really well until about the 75km mark. by that time my energy dropped to almost nothing and I was struggling with some bad cramping in my legs. I tried to push through it but I knew I couldn't get any more power out of my failing legs. By the 85km mark I was just trying to get back to town and start running, I knew I didn't have any more to give on the bike. I made it back in a resonable time but the effort I put out definitely ruined my chances at having a good run.

I struggled to stop my legs from cramping up and I thought that if I could just shuffle for a couple kms that they would start to recover and I could run at my normal pace. However they never did recover and the run was absolutely horrible, I felt like I was trying to move two tree stumps that were cramping and causing incredible pain. I shuffled through the first 10kms and actually managed to catch quite a few people despite not being able to run well. By the 19th km I was really hurting and I just kept telling myself to keep moving and just get through the last 2kms. I ended up finishing in 14th overall in a time of 4:27.18, sub-4:30 and I'm really pleased to have clinched a spot for IMC. Although after the day I had yesterday I started to question whether or not it's a good idea to do IMC this year. I know I just need a couple days to recover and I'll be back on board with going into all the hard training I'm going to need to do to get back into shape. I love Ironman and I'm so fortunate to have someone like Amber to support me in achieving my life goals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is for the Psychos

This is for all triathletes who are tired of people telling them their psycho when they are asked what their weekend plans are. I'm looking forward to hanging out with other psychos this weekend at GWN!