Today we were to ride 200 km. Actually, in all honesty, our coach gave us a range of 180 - 200 km to ride...However, if you give a triathlete a range - you might as well say 'go the farthest distance'. Afterall, I think the reason people become triathletes is because they love a challenge! At least that's why I love it. I think, 'how far can I push myself?' and if I don't try to go the farthest given, then how will I know what is the farthest?!
So today was the day Leslie, Tigger and I were to give 200 km a go. The farthest I'd gone so far was 160 km - and it wasn't a great day, haha. Today was a new day though! We left Cochrane at 6:15 am in order to beat some of the traffic and the heat. It was pretty cool out, almost cold even, but knowing what the temp was going to be later on - we were all savouring it.
Our plan was to go to Longview and back. It's a beautiful scenic ride if you stay mostly on the secondary highways. There are some little climbs to get to Millarville, but nothing major - lots of downhill, which means lots of climbing on the way back. Between Black Diamond and Longview it's all climb - no matter which way you are riding.
We decided we'd ride in a pace line, and it was awesome. We'd switch up every 10 km (most people ride just a few minutes and switch, but we were new to this technique so were winging it.) It was a ton of fun though and a lot more social than being all alone somewhere along the highway. We had a great pace and I felt it helped me a lot with my riding technique.
I couldn't believe how fresh I felt when we got to Longview. It's amazing how 'easy' it is to ride 100 km now. Bizarre actually, haha. On the way back Tigger was having a bit of trouble with the hills so Leslie and I switched up as lead so she could draft. I think she may need to switch out the cassette on the back so she has more gearing options. Also, she's been through a tough year.
Let me tell ya a little about Tigger. (And yes, that's her nickname.) As she was waiting in line to sign up for Ironman Canada 2007, she had a couple things on her mind. Her sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer and no one was sure she'd make it through that weekend. Tigger herself was also waiting to hear if she had cancer. She'd had a breast biopsy before she left for Penticton and was waiting for the results.
As it turned out, they did find she had breast cancer, as well, they found some of her lymph nodes had cancerous cells. She had a double masectomy at the end of last year and then started treatments. So while we started our training for IMC in January, Tigger was going through her second round of chemotherapy, then radiation. She tried to do some training but was wiped out by the treatments. So her training essentially began in May for IMC. She is one of the strongest women I know, mentally and physically, and I admire her big time! She was feeling a little bummed out about her climbing, until we reminded her she has a very good reason for not being exactly where she wants to be! I was so happy for her today because other than the hills she was having a great riding day.
As the day went on Les had to leave us as she had a committment she had to get to. So Tigger and I continued climbing on our own up to Bragg Creek. I was having a good climbing day and was happy I could help her out. One thing was bugging me though, I was feeling a tightness in my chest after I got out of Millarville and wasn't sure why. The farther we got the worse I felt. By the time we got by Bragg I wasn't able to take a deep breathe and when I did I coughed. I'd had experiences like this when I was a kid, and actually the last time I rode to Millarville I had a similar experience. I'm not sure why, but I think it must be some sort of allergic reaction.
Even with this going on we were holding a strong pace, but this time it was Tiggers turn to lead. She knew I was having some troubles so took over and battled the growing headwind. We made it about 15 km from home when I had to stop. I was feeling worse and was starting to see spots, ie I thought I was going to faint. So we stopped and I kind of slumped to the ground. I figured I didn't look that great as Tigger had a concerned look on her face. She has asthma and thought maybe I was having some sort of asthma attack. In the end my coaches husband kindly drove out and collected me and my bike and took me back home. (I will be forever thankful for that.) I have to admit, normally I would have said to whoever I was with to carry on, but I was a little worried myself and was so grateful for her staying with me.
I was a little bummed as I didn't achieve the 200 km goal, but I was ecstatic that I achieved 184.7 km. I felt really strong, aside from the lung thing, the whole ride, especially on the climbs. Also, the new seat I was trying out was great and the positioning seemed to take care of the neck and back pain that plagued me during my 160 km ride. I know if I hadn't had troubles breathing I would have gone the whole way. I'm totally satisfied with that fact.
What really made my day was that Tigger finished the 200 km, and Leslie finished 195 km (a 3 inch nail going through her tire and rim stopped her just a little short of her goal). It was a really great day for a ride - awesome weather, although damn hot, amazing friends and beautiful scenery. I can say in all honesty, that even though I didn't do the 200 km, I had one of the best riding days of my life. I can't wait to go out again!!