Saturday, 31 May 2008


Today I had company on my ride - Jenna and Keith! Jenna came out from Saskatoon to get a taste of some hills. She's racing in Ironman Canada this summer where there happen to be one or two hills...

As Saskatoon, well, all of Saskatchewan I guess, does not have what we would call hills, Jenna made the trek out here for the weekend. Welcome!!!

I was totally stoked to have her visiting and excited about introducing both her and Keith to my favourite hilly route - the Horse Creek / Lochend loop. As mentioned in previous posts its pretty much a steady upgrade with some rollers and hills thrown in. If this didn't give her some hill practice, I don't know what would.

We headed out from my place and took off down the hill. Well, Keith and I did. I looked back when I was almost to Hwy 22 and didn't see Jenna. Oh oh. I rode back and found her near the wee bridge that goes over Jumping Pound Creek. I guessed what may have happened, and when I got to her found my thoughts confirmed. You see, there are some bumps on the bridge and her Profile bottle and computer got knocked off.

Now here's the funny thing. When she told me Sask. was flat, I thought ok, and didn't think much else. When I got to her at the bridge she said something to the effect of 'Oh my god that was the biggest hill I've ever gone down! I'm still shaking'. Oh my. What till she sees the hill to Dartique Lodge!

Off we headed to Horse Creek Rd. It was a great day for a ride. The sun was shining, the temperature was great, and I was out with two amazing people. This is the life!

In addition to showing my friends my favourite route, my goal for today was to climb all the hills in a harder gear than granny gear. So I did. It actually felt really good! Yes, I am now officially a nutbar.

Although the rain we had the past week was a drag for riding, it sure has made things super green out here. It was beautiful. Along part of the ride there were bright cheery yellow dandelions in a row along the road. They were so pretty. The bright green of the meadows and fields made some of the red barns stand out too.

When we got to the top of Dartique Lodge hill I sent Keith down as his bike is mega fast on the downhill. I mean insanely fast! Then I looped around to chat with Jenna about it. This hill can be intimidating if you don't ride hills. I've gotten up to 68 km/h going down this hill, which is one of the reasons I love it so. I reminded her not to use her front brake first. It's the little things that can mess you up on a hill! I think she had a blast going down it!

After we whizzed down the hill we got to the section I affectionately call, my happy place. This section of the ride reminds me of home. Home being in BC. There are tall evergreens here and some poplars. It smells wonderful in there. We got through that then made a pit stop at the Bottrel General store. The store is great as I'm sure it's a million years old. The floor boards are old and warped and there are antiques on top of the shelves. The owner there is super nice too. If you happen to stop by you may be smothered with love by one of the dogs or the white cat. If you try to ignore kitty he will meow to let you know he's still there!

We took off from there and headed to our next pit stop, the Beaver Dam golf course. The three of us were having a great time riding. Jenna was doing amazing on the hills and I think Keith really enjoyed the route as well. I was so happy I could share it with them.

After the last pit stop we went to tackle Lochend Road. This road is what I imagine San Fransisco to be like. You climb, recover, climb, recover, climb, then go dooooooown, then repeat.

I had been doing well on the hill so far and wanted to keep it up. My heart rate was higher than usual, but I was also managing to ride up the hills in the 4th cog down from the top. What a difference from last year when I was always in the granny gear!! I was ecstatic. Seriously, there had to be something in the water in Penticton, because I rode strong out there, and today was more of the same.

I looped around a couple of times on Lochend to make sure Jenna was doing ok. The second time I did Jenna was almost done the last hill near Hwy 1A. I had been bugging her about pedaling at the top of hills when she got a bit of a downgrade as it was 'free speed'. When she'd crested the last hill I noticed she'd stopped pedaling. Huh. This just would not do for a future Ironman. I was behind and started yelling 'PEDAL! FREE SPEED!' Her response? 'NO!' LOL. So I yelled again, and again, and finally broke her down so she started pedaling. Do understand that all of this was done with much giggling in between all the yelling.

Finally we were on Hwy 1A and headed back to Cochrane. Jenna was pretty excited to see the sign saying Cochrane 12 km. What she forgot about was that I had said I had a surprise for her on this ride. Keith knew what it was and we exchanged knowing smiles as we headed back. We zipped along and then down Cochrane hill. I told Jenna that we needed to stop at the Shell at the bottom of the hill as nature was calling me urgently.

I had a little speech ready for Jenna. It went like this, 'So you've just ridden down the infamous Cochrane hill. This is the hill they do time trials on and where most do their hill training. A visit to Cochrane just wouldn't be complete if you didn't climb it. So that's just what we are going to do.' Just after her jaw hit the pavement I yelled 'SUPRISE!!!'.

I truly wish I had a picture of Jenna's face. Keith and I were killing ourselves. She thought we were kidding at first, but then realized it was no joke. We were climbing it. I put it in perspective, that this was her Yellow Lake hill for the day. She said something about having many names for me going through her head. I assume they were names like sweetpea, honey, darling, etc etc.

Up we went! When I got to the top I waited for Keith and Jenna. Keith was having a bit of a race with a Cochrane running/tri club dude. Then came our heroine, Jenna. I have to say I was mighty impressed with both Jenna and Keith. This was the longest ride for both of them and they climbed Cochrane hill at the end. A HUGE high five, jumping chest bump to both of them. You guys rock!!

Finally it was time to head home. Keith and I were having fun blasting down Gleneagles Hill (we'd ridden down Cochrane hill the first time, and there was a ton of rocks from some road work they had done so we decided this might be a better route.) At the bottom of the hill we were flying. As it turns out I got up to 75.6 km/h and he got up to 88 or 89 km/h!! So cool.

When we got to what Richelle and I call our 'bonus hill', which is the hill we have to climb to get to our houses, I went in behind Jenna. I wanted to make sure she was ok going up the hill, although she thinks it was so I'd make her pedal.

We were home! What an absolute brilliant riding day! We all had a blast and celebrated, along with Keiths Mrs., Linda, with a sushi feast. Yummm!

Tomorrow we are headed to Highwood Pass and more climbing! HOOOYAH!!!

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Penticton Pictures...

I didn't get too many pictures - my camera is too big so I didn't take on any rides. However, here are a few you might enjoy!

Greg and Mark getting ready for Friday's ride, while Darryl chows down.

Nice IMC shirt Mark! (I saved mine till Sundays ride...)

Part of Julie, and all on Upper Bench Rd during Friday's ride.

The post dinner training chat. From left going clockwise; Julie, Kelsey, Mark, Iona, Trevor, Dominic, Andrea, Darryl and IronGreg.

Mark and Darryl before the ride home. Boo, home time!

The Susi sandwich! Uh, nice shades Greg.... :)

My favourite picture! Yes, I'm that short that everyone else had to shrink down. Tee hee.

A truly memorable weekend spent with an amazing, talented group of people!! I'm ready to go back!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Hello My Old Friend...

Today was the day I would meet up with my old friend...the IMC bike course. True, we had biked part of it on Friday, but that was in reverse and it wasn't exactly the course route. This time I was going to do the entire course, including the out and back.

The rest of the gang was going to do the course minus the out and back. All except Pam that is. This year will be her first Ironman and she wanted to know the entire course. High five to that!! I'm the only one with a race five weeks away, so for me it was important I got the high mileage in - both for mental and physical reasons.

As I have a slower pace than most of the rest of the gang I opted to head out early. Julie was going to come with me as were Pam and Claire. There were several comments about Julie knowing the course...we learned at the first turnoff that this may not be the case...

We were to turn at McLean Creek Road, but Julie kept going up the hill on Eastside Drive. Now I know the exact number of hills on this course and I was positive that wasn't one of them. She was ahead of us and was at the top of said hill by the time we got to the turnoff. I called and called, but to no avail. She was off like a hurd of turds and couldn't hear. Needless to say we had a great giggle over it. I figured we would see her in OK Falls, but that was the last we saw of Pinky. Tee hee.

Personally I was having fun giving Pam and Claire some tips along the way of what to expect and what to think about. Once we got to OK Falls we agreed the next meeting place would be at the ever popular Husky.

I had a plan for this ride, to ride strong. Stronger than during last years race. For me that meant to try and keep my speed up, but at the same time to watch my heart rate. I rode really well to Osooyos, but I'm not quite sure of my speed. My silly bike computer wasn't working because the little tab on the back wheel wasn't aligned right. I tried to set it a couple of times, but it didn't work.

My heart rate indicated that I was doing well. It was pretty hot out again today so I decided rather than wait till I get to Oliver to get more water, I'd stop at a little gas station just North of there. I wasn't sure where the girls were, but figured they'd go by while I was inside. When I got out a group from Critical Speed went zipping by. I decided to tuck in the back as I wasn't sure if I could pass them or not.

The guy in the back apparantly didn't realize there was anyone back there or maybe he did?! Either way, at one point I saw his right butt cheek lift...then he let it rip. EWWWWW! So gross, yet at the same time so incredibly funny! Believe it or not I didn't say anything to him! I think I was kind of at a loss for words, and at the same time I was sooo thankful it wasn't stinky! EWWWWW!!

As we got into Oliver the group seemed to slow up a bit, I was thinking there pace was too slow for my goals anyways so called out 'On your left!' and off I went! Zoom, zoom! It felt sooo good to pace that many riders. That just doesn't happen to a gal like me!

I continued on my merry way to Osooyos. As with the other rides I took in all the sights of the vineyards and orchards. Sigh... The girls were at the Husky when I got there so we grabbed some water and I ate my banana. I was testing out whether the old guts would handle solids on a long ride as I figured I wanted to take in more nutrition during the big race. Greg and the rest of the gang caught up with us at the Husky - could they be any more fast?! I swear, my goal is to one day be able to ride that fast so I can actually go for a bike ride with Greg!

At the Husky I learned that Claire had ridden Richter once before (in the rain and sleet I might add!), but Pam had not. I figured I'd share with them some of the tidbits told to me about climbing Richter. Now in all honesty, Richter is not scary. It's not even a bad climb, especially not compared to yesterdays climb. That said, one should pace themselves on this hill because it's still early in the race and you have the rollers and Yellow Lake to deal with. I told them to find a comfy pace and stay there and to not be intimidated by the people whizzing past you. I also reminded them to take a look around - there is some truly beautiful scenery around here.

Then I asked them, 'So do you have a mantra?' I explained that having a mantra for the hills can be a good thing. It keeps your mind focused on the task at hand and it can help if there is negativity about to creep into your thoughts. They didn't have one so I offered my favourite of the weekend, 'I am strong, I am powerful'. A good climbing mantra I think.

We started our climb. Personally, I felt great. I was still mighty impressed with my legs and the fact they were doing so well after the last two days of riding. I AM strong!! A few of the passing riders said hello, and I chatted a bit with them. Then the rest of our gang started to go by. I have to say Andrea is a friggin amazing climber. The boys around her were definitely getting 'chicked'! I loved it. The rest of the gang were amazing too. Everyone was having a great time I think. At one point Mark came up behind me and was pushing on my back - unfortunately he wouldn't do this the whole climb! LOL.

I stopped at the top to wait for Pam and Claire and see how they felt. I was so happy when both of them said the mantra really helped them get up the hill. YAY! I then told them that now they had to count the rollers in Count Dracula's voice from Sesame Street. At the top of the first one they were to say, 'One! Ah, ah, aaaaaah'. I figure during the race it might be a fun thing to do, just in case they were struggling at that point. Pam thought this was a hoot.

Once through the rollers I felt the wind pick up. It was about then that I met up with Kels and the first of her many flats. Of course after making the statement, 'Ya, I know how to use a CO2 cartridge', I had troubles with them! Some CS folks came by though and had another cartirdge so all was well.

I headed out again. I was still feeling pretty good, but I was getting low on water and fuel. The wind was still howling, which is so typical for that section. Kels had caught up and I showed her the shortcut to the Bear Market. I continued on and met up with Pam. Greg then saw us and asked how we were doing. He was sweet enough to give me his water - I was starting to feel the lack of nutrition and water at this point.

Rather than head right onto the out and back, Pam and I headed to the market. I desperately needed water and to refill my Infinit. We headed to the out and back with the wind behind our backs. I was okay for the first part, but then things started to go pear shaped. I just couldn't push it. I had no energy at all. After we turned around I was starting to wonder if I'd have to call for a ride. My head was starting to get fuzzy.

It was then that the thoughts started to creep in. They always do at your weakest moment. I started to remember IMC and how it was on the out and back that the bike and my guts started to go downhill for me. I started to think about IMCDA and what might happen on the bike there. Would I have a repeat of last year? That's when I put a stop to all of it. I reminded myself to stay in the present. I also reminded myself it was very hot out, that I went too long without water and nutrition, and that I had ridden 246 kilometers in the previous days. I then went back to my mantra. I decided to head back to the market.

When I got to the market I guzzled some more water and sat for a moment. I collected my thoughts, had a quick pee, then we headed out. Apparantly, that was what I needed to get my second wind. I talked to Pam a bit more about making sure she had mantra's for the race and to think of ways that would help her remain positive. Then I went ahead.

My legs were doing great. I'd gotten back on course and was feeling strong again. The climb up to Yellow Lake felt great. I must admit my pace picked up a bit when a very handsome cyclist went by and said hi. Heh heh. I waited for Pam at the top of the hill so we could celebrate her making it through all the climbs. Then I took off and bombed down to the turnoff to town. Oh to have ridden this well last year! Oh to ride this well this year!!!

I waited for Pam at the intersection as she didn't know the course. I was getting worried about her when a driver came by asking if I was waiting for someone. She then said Pam wasn't too far behind. I was thankful for that because I was getting damn hungry. Turns out Pam stopped at a store along the way. My question - what friggin store?! I swear I have never seen a store there. Perhaps I was in my own little 'bomb down the hill' world?!

I headed back to the hotel. I was about 2 km away when the bonk started. When I got to the hotel the gang was there yelling their hellos! All I could mumble was 'Can't talk, need food'. My entire body was shaking from lack of food. Not a great feeling. I got in the hotel and ate two bananas, and orange, part of a chocolate bar, handful of almonds, handful of dates, and half a litre of chocolate almond milk. I finally felt normal. I knew that would hold me till dinner which was in half an hour. I should add that I managed to eat a full meal too!

What a great ending to a fabulous weekend. I biked strong and I battled some old demons. I also proved to myself how important positive thought and affirmations/mantras can be. Some people may think it's hokey, but I know for a fact they are powerful mental tools.

Total mileage for the weekend - 429 kilometers. Never in my life would I have believed I could ride that much in three days. It was an amazing experience which is what I had hoped for. It was also a great challenge - maybe too much of one at one point - be careful what you wish for!

I feel ready for IMCDA now!

Peace out my friends!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

I Want The Polka Dot Jersey...

Today's adventure would take us to gorgeous Oliver, BC. First on the agenda a wee dip in the lake. The lake of which the name I was told, but alas now escapes me.

Before we could do that though we had to find said lake. If Mark weren't Mr. Andretti in his wee Element perhaps this would have been an easier task. Tsk, tsk Mark. ;)

It had been a while since I doned the old wetsuit...IMC was the last time in fact. Ah yes, you have to love the feeling of squeeeezing it over your body. For any gal out there who has the slightest bit of jelly, such as myself, it can make one feel like they are turning into kolbassa sausage. Great fun.

The lake looked a wee bit cold but there were two motivators to get in. Well, maybe three. One, this may be the only lake swim I get in before IMCDA, so I had better get in. Two, it was already friggin hot out and without even having the suit over my hips I was sweating. Three, there was a little girl all of probably 4 years old swimming in her bathing suit with her mum, therefore I really couldn't wuss out and not swim!

By the time I got it on I was ready to run right in. Aahhhhh. Then I did my usual ritual - no not pee that's only for race day - I opened up the collar and let some water rush in so I could get a nice layer of water which would allow the suit to move a bit. HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS FRIGID!!! was that little kid swimming in here??

I took off with Kelsey and Julie and we did this weird zig zag of the lake. I was super stoked for Kels because she wasn't sure if she would be panicky in the water or not. You can't beat sharing a moment when a friend has achieved a goal!! Just to get her prepped for IMC I also smacked her feet a bit, tee hee.

We practiced entering and exiting the water a bit then got ready for a ride. We were headed to Osooyos. Why? To climb a hill of course!

Wait, did I just type hill? My bad. What I meant to write was to climb a FRIGGIN MOUNTAIN! Of course I can't remember the mountains name either - I just know it starts in Osooyos and you follow Hwy 3 East towards Grand Forks. Oh, it's also very windy, sometimes steep and about 18 km worth of climb. Gulp...

I was seriously wondering how my legs were going to deal with this after all our riding yesterday. The freak in me was willing and excited about giving it a go though!

The ride out of Oliver is great. You ride along all the vineyards and fruit orchards. I could see some of the workers tending to the farms and waved to a few of them out there. I can't wait to see what it looks like later in the summer. As for the vineyards I keep telling myself one day I'm going to stop and load up on wine. I'm pretty sure I could fit three bottles in my jersey...

We rolled into Osooyos, made a quick stop at the Husky to load up on water, then started east on the Crowsnest Pass Hwy.

I knew this climb was not only going to be a physical challenge, but a mental challenge. The majority of people in this group are damn fast and talented riders. I knew that going in and I also knew that it would be good practice for me to not compare myself. I have a bad habit of doing that sometimes, although I'm getting better at letting it go.

As we started our ascent a wee thought popped into my brain about the fact that pretty much everyone was ahead of me. It was then and there I put a stop to that. I simply thought to myself one word, 'Calm'. Immediately, my body relaxed and I got into a groove on the bike. I was going to do this and I was going to enjoy and savour every second of it!

I gotta tell ya, it's a hell of a climb. I have no idea how long it took me...likely 1:15 hours, maybe even more. It was worth every second though.

As I climbed I checked out the view below. Only on the parts where there was a good guardrail though - I'm afraid of heights and some of the road edge looked kind of steep. I pedaled through the lookout point and yelled to some tourists, 'Isn't this view amazing?!' I'm pretty sure they were wondering what I, and the rest of the gang were doing. I must say, Osooyos Lake is huge!

Part way up I saw this VW van stopped on the roadside. A lady was standing behind the vehicle watching me make my way up. I yelled at her 'Okay, this is what we are going to do. You are going to get a rope, tie it to the back of the van, then we will tie it to my bike and you shall PULLLL me up the hill!'. She laughed at this and said she'd love to help but the van had broken down. Huh. Well then. Obviously the Universe is sending me a sign - climb you silly fool, climb! So climb I did.

I climbed, and climbed and climbed. I enjoyed the scenery and noticed there was an observatory tucked into the hill. I bet they'd see a million stars in that area. So cool.

I encountered Claire about three quarters of the way up. She was in a bit of distress as she was having troubles breathing. Having been through that last year and then discovering my allergies were inducing asthma attacks, I tried to talk her through it. After a while she seemed better and we started the climb again. I'm so proud of her for continuing on!

I seriously had no idea where the heck the top of the hill was. I got to a bit of a flat part and pedaled like mad thinking the crew was there. That's when I saw a few of them come bombing down the hill - it was awesome! Everyone had huge smiles on their faces. Myself, I had a huge smile on my face because I had a pretty good pace on that flat and that was after climbing all that way. My mantra of "I am strong, I am powerful' was paying off big time!

I made it around the corner only to see there was more hill. Too funny. Claire wasn't behind me anymore, so I thought maybe she turned around with the rest of the gang. I did see Pam up ahead though. I rode by and asked if she was ok. She said 'Are we supposed to go down now?' My response 'I have no idea if we have to, but I'll tell ya this - I'm going to the top of this damn hill!' I kept climbing and Pam followed.

Finally we got to the top. Or at least what I thought was the top. There were carvings of animals up there and I remember Julie talking about it. I was happy with what we did, not to mention hungry and needing more water. It was super hot out that day! So we turned around, tucked and went like stink down the hill! If you think climbing was fun, which I really did, you should fly down that hill. The switchbacks are a hoot! Zoooooom, zoooom, zooooom!

Back at the Husky I had an idea that I would cycle back to Penticton to get in a bit longer ride. This would mean another 50 km or so. I gave Darryl the keys to my car and went in for more water and to wait for Pam and Claire while the others headed back to Oliver. They were going to do some of the Oliver Half Ironman loop as some will be doing the race there.

It was after the three of us had set out that I noticed the time. Shite! It's later than I thought. Dammit, I don't want to ride to Penticton now, it'll be late when I get there! Only one thing to do.....pedal like a bat out of hell and hope that Darryl is still at the lake with my car!!!

I have to take this moment to thank Mother Nature for a kick ass tailwind. It gave me that extra boost I needed. I have to say though I'm in total awe of my legs. Never in a million, gillion years would I have thought that I could ride 162.3 km, then pedal up a friggin mountain and then race back for 21 km! It was soooo cool. I loved every minute of it.

Amazingly enough Darryl was just getting back to the car with the gang that had gone for the extra ride. I explained that it's a woman's perrogative to change her mind and so I did. I then joined the gang in the lake for a little cooling off of the legs. Aaaaahhh.

We managed to log 84.4 km today in 36 C heat, at least 18km of that going up, up and up! Yet another brilliant riding day. Man I love this place!!!!

Oh, and I want a polka dot jersey because I am a climber!

Peace out my friends!

Friday, 16 May 2008

A Ride In Zen Country...

I really need some sleep! Funny thing though, I was so stoked to get out there riding that I woke up before my alarm went off. It was sunny, I’m in Penticton and we are going to ride, ride, ride today! Hooyah!

After giggling about the night before with Darryl, Mark, IG and Julie, we gathered all our stuff and headed out. The plan, to ride the reverse IMC route – without the out and backs.
We headed out on Green Mountain Road, which side skirts Yellow Lake. I will thank IG forever for taking this route – I was completely in my element. Lots of pine and evergreen trees, and a babbling brook that followed the road. Both Julie and I commented we had cheesy grins from ear to ear.

I was able to keep with the group for about 20 minutes, and then they were gone. LOL. It was a slow steady climb along this road. Funny thing though, it didn’t look like it! I kept thinking, why am I going so damn slow? My heart rate was at 164 bpm though so I knew there had to be a bit of an incline.

I could definitely feel my 2:45 hour run from Wednesday. I kept saying my positive affirmations ‘I’m strong, I can do this.’ I had to make sure I didn’t get bummed about my legs not doing exactly what I wanted them to. I figured even if I was slower than I liked, it was all money in the bank for IMCDA. I just needed to ride.

As I rode I took deep breaths enjoying the pine tree scented air. It was absolute Nirvana through there. I listened to the stream rushing by, to the birds twittering their hello, and to the crickets chirping ‘Go, go, go’ as I climbed up the hills. I also saw a bunch of horses at one point. One of them had a wee baby horse. Awwwwww.

The scenery was spectacular to say the least. I was either riding surrounded by trees, then I’d break into an opening and there’d be a lush green meadow with a sprinkling of buttercups flowing through it. I can't gush enough about how beautiful it was there.

I finally got to the top of the climb, near the Apex Mountain turnouff and started my descent. I got some great speed through here. The road was switchback and I was pretending, as I zoomed around the corners, that I was in the lead and my pelaton couldn’t catch up with me. I will admit that I said aloud, ‘This is what speed feels like! Zzzzzoooom!’.

I was flying along when I noticed another cyclist coming towards me. I was busy leading my imaginary pelaton, when I saw it was IG coming back to check on me. I was almost at the turnoff at the bottom of Yellow Lake. I shouted a giddy 'HI!' then waited for him at the corner.

We started off together and I managed to stay behind him for a mere 5 minutes, and then met up with him and the gang at the Bear Farm market. I was disappointed that it wasn’t open as I loved that market.

Oh! I almost forgot the freeloader!! I was riding in the aeroposition on Green Mountain when SCHWACK! a bug with the power of flight went right into my jog bra! It basically hit a couple of ‘air bags’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and survived. I quickly flicked him out as I wasn’t sure if it was a wasp or something! Sure enough, a few minutes later another one went right into my jog bra. I thought I got it out, but when I got to the market I looked in and the bug was all snuggled in there. Ya, that wasn't going to last long. Ick.

In typical Susi fashion, I pulled my job bra out a bit and said to IG and Julie, ‘LOOK! A bug hit me in my boobs and it’s still alive!! Don’t look at my boobs though!!’ LOL. All Mark saw was me holding my top out saying ‘Look!’ In my defense I wasn’t showing anything that you wouldn’t see when I’m wearing my bikini top!!

We headed off from there and did a part of the out and back road and onto the rollers towards Richter. I gotta tell ya, going ‘backwards’ up Richter is just as hard as going the other way like you do in Ironman! At this point I could really feel the heat. All I wanted to do was either jump in a cold lake or throw much water over my head. It was at this point I started dreaming about an ice bath for my legs and butt cheeks. Slowly I climbed up the hill.

I met up with the gang again in Osooyos and then bid them adieu. It was not before IG suggested I not eat the ENTIRE super sized dark chocolate bar with almonds. As soon as he left, I promptly forgot that nonsense and finished it off. My justification, I’d already burned 3 times that many calories at that point AND it was fat, carbs and protein. Perfect! I needed a boost.

The ride to Oliver was quite nice. It runs through all the orchards, which are just gearing up. I was still really hot so stopped in Oliver to chug down a large bottle of water and to dump some more water over me.

Shortly out of Oliver I saw a police car in the distance with it’s lights on. I didn’t see another car stopped but as I approached I saw a deer on the side of the road. It was alive and sitting up, wagging it’s tail, but as I soon realized it must have been hurt as the officer was putting on hearing protection and had his rifle out.

For those who know me, this is not a good thing for me to see. I completely realize that the officer was doing what he felt necessary, but I just couldn’t handle the thought of the deer being killed. I was very close to yelling ‘STOP!’ and to inquiring if we couldn’t just get a veterinarian out to help it. The tears started flowing down my cheeks by now, and as I quickly tried to pedal away from the scene I heard the crack of the rifle fire.

I was now in full out sobs. I must say, it is really hard to ride and cry, but I couldn’t stop riding. I had to get back and actually the crying and my trying to deal with the what I had seen and heard distracted me from the fatigue that was fairly significant in my legs, back and neck.

I pretty much cried from Oliver to Okanagan Falls. Just outside of OK Falls I saw IG coming around to check on me. As soon as he saw I was upset we stopped. I could barely make out what had happened as I was a crying mess. Poor IG. He didn’t know what was up. I was blubbering, ‘deer…gun…killed…don’t deal well with these things…I know why it had to happen…’. Finally I calmed down. I stayed with IG for a bit, then he booted it back to Penticton.

I was fine after that point - I think telling someone what I saw helped me. I made sure that even though I was upset I made sure to take in the view around me. Vasquex Lake is gorgeous as is Skaha Lake. I rode back along the marathon route of IMC. I have to say, riding it is much easier than the night I had to walk most of it. The hills still hurt my legs though!

I saw an incredible thing just outside of Penticton. There was an eagle circling over Skaha Lake. I was sneaking glimpses at it in between watching wear I was going on the curving road. All of a sudden it tucked it's wings in and dive bombed the lake!! I swear there wasn't even a friggin splash, it was a perfect 10 dive. Then it popped out of the water. I figured it missed it's target in the water as it didn't have anything in it's beak or claws. I'm still awestruck!

Finally I rode into town. It was nice to be back. I met up with Kels at the hotel and we headed down to Okanagan Lake where I knew the gang was. The water is quite cold right now and the perfect substitute for an ice bath!!

Even with my mini horror with the deer, I had a wonderful day. Although my legs were a little fatigued in parts, they always felt strong. The scenery was stunning to say the least! Oh, and I covered 162 km.

I’m so happy I’m here – the group is absolutely wonderful and I know we are going to have many laughs and much fun. Even while IronGreg continually challenges our mind, spirits and our muscles!!


Peace out my friends!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Hello Penticton!!!

Today was the trek to Penticton. I was pretty tired as I was up at 4am the morning before to do on of my two scheduled runs – this one was 1:45 hours. Yup, I actually slept in my running clothes; socks, leggings, HRM, and shirt.

Wearing my duds must have played tricks on my brain. I had the most bizarre dream!! (Could be that IMCDA is slowly creeping up too…) My dream started out with IronGreg (IG) and I on the beach waiting for the swim start of some foreign IM. Not sure which one, but we’d been talking about doing one so maybe that played into it as well.

So we are standing on the beach ready to go, and we are looking at 8 foot waves crashing in. People around were saying, ‘Oh, don’t worry, just swim through it!’ Riiiiight. Then I flash to walking on the pier beside the swim start and I’m looking down into the water staring at scary red seaweed and king crabs. Then I’m back on the beach and I look at Greg and say ‘I forgot all my fuel for the race!’. So we run back to the hotel, which is beside the beach handily enough, and try to throw all my bottles into ripped white garbage bags. The bags were because we weren’t given transition bags. Too weird!

Then we notice the swim start has happened so we drop all the bags and run to the beach to swim. I figured I’d just drink whatever they had on the course. Then BLAMMO! My alarm went off at 4am. One word, ‘bizarre!’.

So that was Wednesday morning. I then rushed to work, then rushed home, squeezed in another run, this time an hour, then cleaned up and rushed off to a movie screening.

So on Thursday when we were driving out I was pooped. It felt like the drive took forever. I was happy to have company, Darryl, also known as Runningman in our little blog world. We’d never met before that day, just shared a coach, IG, and shared blogs. As would be typical for two triathletes we shared our triathlon stories and hopes for future races for a lot of the drive.

We rolled into Penticton at 2am MST. I should add I’m proud to report we made it on one tank of gas in my little Mazda! Yay. We found the hotel no problem, and the key to the room that IG put in Marks gas tank thingy. We were going to have to share the room for one night, then we’d make the swap the next night to our respective rooms. (This was done so we wouldn’t wake up our future roomies.) Here’s where the fun started…

We got in the room, checked it out, set some stuff down, then went to unload the car. I walked out of the room first, then Darryl. He did what most people would do when walking out the door, he shut it. Problem was, I left the room key on the kitchen counter. Shiiiiiite. I started laughing immediately of course, so he thought I was kidding that I didn’t have the key. He now knows that I will laugh in these types of situations!! We tried to use a credit card, then our home keys – just in case the lock was old and loose. Nothing. So we went to the office, but no one was there, nor did they come when we rang the bell.

I figured we were doomed to sleep in the car. First though we looked for somewhere to sleep outside, like picnic tables, chaise lounges within the locked fenced pool – nothing. We got our sleeping bags out and tried to get comfy in the car we’d been dying to get out just moments before.

I can sleep in cars – ask the parental unit – but this wasn’t going to work. After an hour of this it was time to try and wake up IG without waking Mark. I quietly tapped on the window…twice. Mark answered the door, of course. He told us to keep buzzing the front and the office gal would let us in. We did, and she did. She was surprisingly okay with the whole situation! Finally we got in. It took us no time to get our gear in the room. Darryl took the floor, I grabbed the bed.

Ah well, at least we can get in a couple hours sleep before it was time to get up for the next days events!

Peace out my friends.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

No Rain On My Parade...

Boy did I ever luck out with the weather today! There were very scary black clouds looming over the mountains to the west. I wasn't sure exactly when they'd start to make their way to the east.

I started out my ride with uber-triathlete Richelle. As we were leaving her house we were having more discussion on what we were wearing. Seriously, you'd think we were heading out on dates or something! We were concerned about the clouds we could see, but her hubbies buddy pointed out that the wind was coming from the north, and the clouds were in the west, so we should be ok. I tell ya, ya learn something new every day! I was thinking, what a brilliant observation - I must make note of that if I'm ever questioning the weather in the future.

My plan was to do the same route as I took last weekend, the Horse Creek / Lochend loop. As mentioned prior, it's my favourite route. Lots and lots of climbing, plus beautiful scenery. You don't have to worry about cars for a good portion of the route as well.

The first part of the ride was pretty good. My legs felt strong and I could almost keep up with Richelle. The headwind was a challenge, but it wasn't too bad. We stopped at the Bottrel General Store for some water, to pet the store cat, and the dog too this time, and then we were off. When we got to Hwy 22 Richelle was pondering going on further. She'd worked the last 13 days straight and ran in the Mothers Day 10 k this morning and was feeling it. I made sure she knew it was perfectly okay to head home - she'd put in an awesome day already, and her body was telling her something.

I think sometimes we forget how much external commitments, such as work or even relationships, can affect our training. I'm a firm believer of listening to the body - if it's telling you it needs a break, then likely you need a break.

I continued on my way, but this time I didn't make the side trip to the golf course. Instead, I just headed straight up Lochend Road.

My legs didn't feel as strong as last week for the last portion of the ride. I think my legs prefer to do my long ride on Saturday, then the shorter, 'harder' ride on Sunday. I just didn't feel I had consistent strength. I had to go into easier gears a bit more often this time. I wasn't too fussed about it, like I said, you have to listen to your body. I kept pushing when I could, and took longer recovery's when I needed it.

On todays ride I got to have a flock of birds fly close enough to my noggin I could almost feel the breeze from their wings (SO cool!), watch some hawks play in the wind thermals (a beautiful sight), have a calf run along the fence with me for a bit, see ducks frolicking in the ponds, and listen to the frogs singing in marshland.

As I turned onto Hwy 1A I got in behind another rider. I tried to keep up, but the legs wouldn't do it. Shame about that, he had a pretty nice posterior. :) The wind had shifted and was now blowing in the from the west, and with it was bringing the dark scary clouds. I managed to make it home before any raindrops came down. YAY!

Today's ride was a bit of a struggle for me, but only in the sense of leg power. Not a big deal though - we all have days like that. I'd love to have consistent stellar days on the bike, but that just doesn't happen. All that aside, it was another great biking day. Nice weather, beautiful scenery and the love of Mother Nature. Can't go wrong there, now can you?!

Peace out my friends.

Saturday, 10 May 2008


I had a two hour ride today and I had to get it done early as I had some later appointments. I figured it might be a bit cool out early in the day, but I told myself I was going outside no matter what...

As I sat eating my Quinoa power breakfast I checked out the old Weather Network. Oh. Well. Look at that. It's 2C with a windchill of -2C and a 15 km/h wind. I see. Huh.

The following thoughts went through my head. I have run in -24C weather. I have xcountry skiied in -18C weather. I sure as hell can bike in 2C weather. I think.

I made a bargain with myself, I would bundle up and ride for at least a half an hour and if I was too cold, then I could go back and finish up on the trainer. I put on many layers: long sleeve tech shirt, bike shirt, thick long sleeve bike shirt, neon yellow windbreaker jacket, leggings, bike shorts, shoes, booties, and skull cap (thanks Kels!). For a moment I wondered if I might actually be too warm?!

I got my stuff together and went out. Guess what? It was great out there! I lucked out and had the perfect amount of clothes on and my booties kept my feet toasty.

I did the usual Grand Valley - Horse Creek route. I didn't see anyone for a long time, not suprisingly, then saw a ton of groups out there! I am sure I saw more people out there than when it's sunny out. What's up with that?! All the cows were out this morning and several mooed their good mornings to me. I, of course, responded in kind.

It was pretty grey out and there was still a bit of snow on the ground (we got 6" on Thursday unlike Cowtown), but the roads were dry.

My process goal for today was to ride like I did when I went out with Richelle a few weeks ago. So I did. There were a couple of moments when my legs slowed down, and I would let them recover for short periods. Interestingly enough those short breaks were enough recovery so I could push hard again. It was awesome. I'm so happy with the progress on my biking this year - that's really what I wanted to achieve this season. A reward for my work - I managed to finish in the same time as when I was out with Richelle - so very cool!

When I got home the wee pug that lives across from me, and typically just barks at me from the window, was outside with his owner. He was jumping like mad trying to get to me so I walked over and showed him some love. Funny thing - his tongue hangs out of his mouth. It's a tongue that Gene Simmons would be jealous of, it almost hits the ground. Seriously. I have no idea why it's like that, but he doesn't seem to mind.

I had to head out for my brick run so asked if the wee one goes for runs. I was told, indeed he did. So I asked if I could take him with me. Puhleeeeez! Oh, have I ever mentioned how much I love dogs?? I would love to have one, but I'm not home enough, so instead I like to borrow other peoples dogs now and then. Heh heh.

I got him all leashed up and off we went. He was sooo excited about getting out he was pulling me along by biting his leash and tugging. In fact, for a small dog he had a fair amount of strength and was pulling me down the hill at a rate that was not what I call a post bike pace! It was quite the site, a very small pug pulling me down the hill with me shouting 'Heel! Heeeeel!'. I figured he was small and so might tire out and sure enough he did, within about 3 minutes.

We then settled into a comfortable pace. It was so much fun having the little guy running with me. Once in a while he'd try to sniff something - that's when I had to inform him that there is no 'Stop and Sniff' in Ironman! Surprisingly, he seemed okay with that.

By the time we had to run up the hill I was thinking I might have to carry him a bit, but it appears my little furry friend is a true IronDog and didn't need the help. Hooyah for IronDog!

Peace out my friends.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Rules For The Day...

Routine can be a dangerous thing...

I got to the train station this morning and did my usual thing - which is begin to run down the stairs to the platform. I got about five steps down when my legs all of a sudden went 'NOOOOOO!'. It was then I remembered the last four days events. Ow.

For a split second I thought, 'Oh no! I'm not the five-foot-two-of-fury-ninja-princess-she-ra triathlete I thought I was! I can't even run down stairs!!'. Then I quickly came to my senses and thought, 'Don't be silly - of course you are!' Nothing like a little self affirmation in the morning.

It was then though that I thought, perhaps in light of how tired my legs are we should set some rules for the day.
  • No stairs. Not up or down. Be a wuss for a day and take the elevator.
  • No trying to pass fellow pedestrians as we all scurry to work. Not even if you know you could take them.
  • Stretching. Lots of stretching must occur. Just don't do it in the elevator.
  • Self massage the quads. Work out those knots!

For the most part I was able to follow the rules. I even got 'caught' taking the elevator up for one flight. Needless to say I was totally embarassed, but I didn't feel guilty. I did forget to take the elevator down at the end of the day, so ended up walking the five flights. I just took it slow and easy.

Today I discovered that a great way to stay awake in a meeting is to self massage the quads. This is a trick IG taught me. When I was in Malaysia my quads were super tight from running every day, so he suggested rubbing my pointy elbow lengthwise along my quad and IT band. I figured it would look weird if I did that in the meeting so instead used my thumb knuckle.

Let me tell ya, if you are ever about to fall asleep in a meeting, or somewhere you shouldn't, just take your thumb knuckle and slowly slide it down your IT band. ZIIIING!!! I was wide awake and doing something good for the bod. Plus, I'm sure I got bonus points from the boss for actually sitting through a two hour meeting without getting the head nods! A feat indeed!! The massage did help work things out, although my knuckles were pretty red after doing this for so long.

So I made it through the day just fine. My legs are still pretty tired, but they aren't that bad. I am glad though that I'm not running or biking tonight. Instead it's a yoga stretch night. Aaaah.

Peace out my friends!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

The Hill...

My morning started off as all my Tuesday mornings do...with a swim. It went quite well actually. Legs were thinking, 'thank you for not running or biking!'. Then I had to do 500 m of kicking. Nuts! It was a sloooow go, but I got the job done.

My calves decided to protest. They slowly got tighter. To the point that when I was standing at the pool end I could feel the toes on my right foot start to pull and curl a rather ackward way. YEOW!! I started hopping and trying to work them out. Just as I did so my left arch cramped and pulled. SON OF A... Massage, massage, massage. It was painful, and yet I still laughed cause it was all rather ridiculous.

My legs weren't too bad during the day, as long as I was seated. As soon as I stood up they simply said 'Ah, no'. I kind of had to give myself a wee push up off my desk. Once I got walking though it was all good! And no, I did not walk further than one flight of stairs today.

While I was in the elevator I decided it might be a good time to stretch my calves. I put my toes up against the wall and pushed. Then I wondered...hmmm...I wonder if we have cameras in here. Considering I have an electronic pass that I need to use to go up or down the elevator and in all the doors on the various floors, I figured it was a good chance there was. So now I'm left wondering - does anyone view these tapes and are they going to think I'm humping the elevator wall?? Hmmm.

Earlier in the day I was chatting with Keith and mentioned my legs were pissed at me. Then I told him of my workout tonight. His response, in typical Keith manner "And you're going to tackle Cochrane hill???? You think your legs are pissed now??? All aboard, the Susi pain train, leaving track one, for the boundaries of hurl territory, with a stopover in feeling really bad and tired." That seriously cracked me up...needless to say it was what I was thinking as I made my first ascent.

The legs were indeed less than pleased at the fact that I was tackling the Hill. I, on the other hand didn't really mind, afterall, I only had to do two of them. It looked like I might, just might, be able to get my workout done sans rain. Admittedly, it was a slooow climb. I saw others out there though - a few others were coming down from Glen Eagles - it must be hill night!

My legs were screaming on the first climb. I'm an endurance girl though, it takes time for these quadzillas to warm up. I have a feeling my legs would be screaming on the first hill even if I hadn't had some huge training the last few days.

Finally I made it to the top. Yay! I turned around and started zipping down the Hill. It was then that I realized it was raining. To the point where I couldn't really see and was wondering if my brakes would work. I then started analyzing the merits of disc brakes, haha. I was glad I was wearing sunglass, otherwise I would have been zooming down with my eyes closed - I was being pelted so with raindrops.

When I got to the bottom I thought, "Should I do a second climb? Would I do a second climb? Could I do a second climb?" It took me a millisecond to say 'Damn rights sista!' So I turned around and started back up the hill.

Just when I started a van slowed down and a very sweet woman yelled out 'Do you need a ride??' I think I saw a UCTC jacket in there actually. I thanked her and said no, I was fine. I thought that was truly awesome that she asked though!

The rain was coming down quite heavily now. I was just a wee bit further up the hill when this dude came out from the Glen Eagles exit. He was one of the group also climbing. We looked at each other and exchanged these devilish smiles like 'Oh ya, we are triathletes, we ride hill in rain, grunt, grunt'. And up I went...

I felt much better on this climb. Told ya it takes me a while to get warmed up! As I was climbing I had the Rocky theme song going through my head. No, not the dorky 'Eye of the Tiger'. Rather the other one, the instrumental one they play when he runs up all those stairs. It was awesome. I was feeling pretty great and almost at the top when something caught my eye. Something didn't seem quite right about my shifter...I looked down at my cogs. Oh. Well. Look at that. I am not in my top gear, but one down!

OH YA BABY! I AM SHE-RA!!! (Cue thunder and lightening sounds.) I can't believe I climbed the damn hill and had one easier gear I could have been in! Typical.

Finally I was at the top. I had debated which route to take down. Option one, right back down the Hill. If I lose my breaks I can just go swooooshing down the road and hope that the first set of lights I hit are green. Eventually I will slow down. Option two, ride down Glen Eagles, which has some flat spots; however, it also has a lot of corners that I'd have to manage, and if my brakes failed - I shoot off a cliff. Option number one it would be!

As I started my descent I realized I was very, very cold. In order to distract myself I started singing. Bohemian Rhapsody to be precise. This didn't quite take my attention away from the fact that I was freezing and now had soakers for shoes. How exactly did I get that much water in my shoes?!

I then developed a new song 'My toes are f'in toes are f'in cold. My toes are f'in, f'in, f'in, f'in, f'in cold. I climbed the hill twice, ain't that nice. My toes are f'in cold!' This was repeated several times, with f'in being song in full form I should add. I then started on 'My shins are f'in cold' etc etc. It was a jaunty tune that I was quite enjoying. I really didn't mind being out in the rain. It gave me energy and I felt connected to the Universe. A very cool feeling to those who strive for it.

I made it home safe and sound and even climbed the hill back to the house. By then I couldn't feel my toes...or my complaining quads. Huh. Now that I think about it...maybe that's why the second climb didn't hurt as much?!

Peace out my friends.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Mother Nature Loves Me...

Mother Nature may love me, but my legs are having second thoughts!

After just a wee bit of riding this weekend (yuk, yuk) I ran for 2 hours tonight. Why? Because I'm a glutton for punishment. Well, that, and I have an appointment on Wednesday so I had to move that run to tonight. Ah the things we do to accommodate our training eh?!

I was wondering how my legs were going to accept the run tonight because their attitude today was less than pleasant. For some reason they got really snippy when I walked up five flights of stairs at work today. I'm not actually sure why I felt the need to do this, but when I finally made it to the top (I was considering taking the elevator at about 2.5 floors) my legs were screaming obscenities at me. Whoops! Needless to say I took the elevator for the rest of the day.

As I headed out for my run today the semi-grey clouds started to spit at me. I figured I was in for a long soggy run tonight. Not a big deal as I'm from North Vancouver and therefore have webbed feet. As it turns out though, Mother Nature loves me and she made sure that after a few moments of spittiness it was fine outside.

The run was really nice and peaceful. I followed the river and noted that it seemed to be running quickly tonight. Oh to be out in a kayak!! I was having fun listening to the river rush by, the geese honking and the vast array of birds all doing their night calls. All I needed to complete the scene was Snow White singing with wee blue birds flitting about, and the odd bunny hopping by!

The first hour felt pretty good. I was getting a little bit tired after that, and my knees were bugging me at the 1:30 mark. I'm not sure why, perhaps the old bod is just tired. As I was running back home (in the west direction) I noticed there were some very dark clouds moving in. Somehow I lucked out and didn't get rained on, phew!

Oh, there was some excitement on the run!! I had my ankles attacked by the smallest, yet most vicious daschund I've ever seen. I don't think I did it's ego any good as I turned around, laughed and said 'ooooh, what a cute puppy!!'. That's when it growled at me, well, attempted to. Heh, heh. Too funny. The other dog that was there pushed it aside and came in for some loving. He knew he'd get unconditional love from me! Smart puppy.

Overall a truly excellent jaunt tonight. A little slower pace than normal, but perfectly acceptable.

Huh, wonder what my legs are going to think when I do hills on the bike tomorrow. I really hope dear, sweet, ever powerful Mother Nature blesses me again with no rain during my workout!

Peace out my friends!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Define Hard...

First off I must acknowledge my gratitude to Mother Nature for an awesome riding weekend!! Even the wind was great, because as we all know, it's just the big M.N.'s way of making us stronger!!

I had a great ride again today. I was hoping to have someone to ride with, but Richelle had to work and Kels was in Vancouver doing the 1/2 Marathon. (She had a rockin' race by the way, but I'm going to let her give all the deets!) So a solo ride it was to be.

My schedule called for 2 hours 'hard' on the bike. Now let's think about this for a moment. Define hard. High heart rate? Straining legs? Lots of hills? Speed? Trying to keep up with Kelsey and Richelle after racing a 1/2 marathon? An uncomfortable saddle? It's all relative really. There are many definitions of hard.

As I started out on my ride my legs felt somewhat lead like, so already it felt hard. Well then, there isn't much one can do but press on! So I did. Following my 'staying in the moment' theory I focussed on what I was doing. I figured once my legs warmed up they might feel better later on, so the trick would be to get them warmed up.

I kept my bike in an easy gear and kept trying to go a gear harder every once in a while to test how they were. Slowly they were coming alive. Very slowly. It was hard. About the 50 minute mark I could get my bike into the big chainring and get some decent speed.

I got through the last two climbs on Grand Valley and headed east. My legs were working nicely now. Yay! I hit Horse Creek Rd and gave it all I had. I felt awesome.

You know, I think I might be getting stronger on the bike. It took a while to get the legs going, but once they did, I seemed to be able to spend a lot of time in the big chainring. I couldn't do that last year. That much I know. The other thing was I was getting some great speed. Not so much up the hills, although they weren't too bad, but on the flats I was going between 30-35 km/h. I kept thinking something was wrong with my bike computer. Ah yes, such confidence in myself!!

Thing is...even on the inclines I was keeping that speed and staying in the harder gears. Hmm, was this hard?? It actually didn't feel like it. I mean, I could feel my legs, but my heart rate was decent.

All of this is pretty exciting for me. I knew that improvements would happen naturally. Well, I hoped they would. It would seem this is what is happening though. Who knows, one day I might just be able to hold that speed right from the get go??

I could keep dreaming about tomorrow and what might happen, but I think I'm just going to savour this weekends rides and continue to focus on the now. Total distance for the weekend was 177 km. Very cool.

Peace out my friends!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

A Solo 120...

The plan - to ride a minimum of 5 hours and 120 km. The details of the plan - to ride easy the first hour, then my goal pace for 2-3 hour marks, then just above for the 4 hour mark, then harder for 30 minutes, then easy.

Ah yes, the best laid plans of mice and men, go oft awry...

The plan looked good. I thought, cool, I'm going to aim for 27 km/h as my goal pace and go from there. Perhaps though, I should have taken into consideration my route and whether or not this would be achieveable.

The route I went is one I really love. I call it the Horse Creek / Lochend Rd loop. It's one that Leslie and I rode a few times and Mr. Mike B. and I rode as part of our mega 210 km ride last summer. I love it because the majority is through the countryside. It's also a challenging ride (this is the part I seemed to forget when I thought about my goal pace).

A first for this trip - I was going to ride it solo. I've done all but one of my long rides solo, but all in the relative safety of my basement. Worse case scenario down there is my bike comes loose from the trainer and I ride swiftly into a wall. I called Leslie this morning and asked if she'd be my rescuer if need be - she agreed thankfully. I truly hoped I wouldn't need to call her!

So off into the country I went. I quickly biked out of town and headed north on Horse Creek Road. The first thing I noticed was the wind. Holy hannah it was friggin blowin! To illustrate: I looked down and saw my shadow on the road. The wind was so strong that my braids looked like they were sticking straight out of the back of my head. I can just imagine what it looked like in real life.

I was praying to Mother Nature to keep the wind blowing this way because I knew I had a loooong climb towards the end of the ride and I really didn't want to face a headwind then. I know sometimes the wind can get to a person, but I was determined not to let it. In fact I was laughing at times because I'd be riding west at an ok click, then turn to go north again and whammo! I'd practically come to a screeching halt. I even had to stand on the flats just to keep moving forward.

Finally I made it to Bottrel. I stopped for a bit of water at the general store, and to pet the store's cat, then continued on east to Hwy 22. Then north again to 290, then east again. I was having to lean into the wind a bit going east, but at least it was just a cross wind.

The thing about this ride is it's all about the climb. You climb a few good hills on Horse Creek, then somemore past Bottrel, then it's a steady, yet slight, climb to Lochend Road. And Lochend? Well Lochend Road is like San Fransisco. Up, level, up, level, uuuuuup, level, doooooown, upppppp. I love it!

It didn't take me too long into my ride to realize that 'the plan' wasn't going to quite work. I'd love to ride 27 km/h up hills, but that's not for a few years. ;) Not to mention the 30 km/h winds. Rather than get flustered about not being able to follow the plan (which is what I used to do) I thought, 'new plan'!! I decided I'd make sure my cadence was greater than 60 rpm up hills and on the downhill and flats I was going to give it my best shot to achieve my goal pace.

For the most part it worked, and it made it an enjoyable ride. I was a smiling giggling fool most of the way. Even when the bumble bee smoked my cheek (I only saw his fluffy body when it was a few centimeters away from impact. Hopefully he survived!). And even when the wee ant with the power of flight landed in my profile bottle and got caught up in the mesh of the sponge (When I stopped at the golf course for a pee break I couldn't find him, which leads me to believe I got a little extra protein today or he managed to use his power of flight to escape - I so hope so!)

As I was climbing up Lochend I spotted a cyclist waaaay out in front of me. So I thought, hmmm, there's a nice challenge. Let's see if I can catch them. I then turned into Ms. Pacman...chomp, chomp, chomp. I pedaled like mad. I had some great speed on the flats, and climbed like a pro. Slowly but surely I was catching up. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

I was coming up to the hill he was climbing. He was slowing down on the hill while I was picking up my pace. NOW I HAVE YOU!! My bike, Eleanor, and my quadzilla's were no match for Mr. Mountain Biker! HA! (Okay, it would have been a sweeter victory had he been on a road or tri bike, but hey, you gotta take what you can get!) As I passed him I made sure to say a cheery 'Hey there!'. My grin went from ear to ear.

Finally I was up Lochend and back on Hwy 1A. The wind had shifted now and coming from the west. I pedaled as hard as I could. I practically flew down Cochrane hill - no brakes! It was brilliant. When I got into town I was going as fast as this one truck and when I looked over there was a little girl staring at me out this truck window I was riding beside. I think she was in shock I was going as fast as the vehicle she was in. I gave her a big smile and she smiled back. It was so sweet.

My ride was awesome. I had a great time out there. With the wind behind my back I got up to 50 km/h on the flats! I was in heaven. The only real challenge I had for the ride was my asthma. Stupid me forgot my damn inhaler. About 45 minutes in I started feeling it in my lungs. I'm allergic to pretty much everything in the country so it always sets off my asthma. For the last half of the ride I was coughing a lot and couldn't get a good breath in. It certainly made climbing more interesting! I was having too much fun out there to let it get to me though.

By the time I got back into town I decided I'd ride straight home as I needed to get a hit of my puffer. I knew I'd be around 104 km and thought I'd just finish it off on the trainer to get in the 120km. So that's what I did.

When I got home I checked out the bike computer and saw that I'd ridden 110.1 km in 4:40 hours. Nice. Oh, and look at top speed was 70 km/h! I'm pretty sure it was coming down this one hill on Lochend. Weeeeeeee!!! Overall my pace was not as fast as I had wanted, but given the conditions, I was happy with it. I felt strong for the most part and that's what counted.

I finished off the last 10 km on the trainer easily to make it 120 km. My total ride time was 5:10 hours. I didn't end up going for my brick run because my chest was hurting, I was still coughing and having troubles breathing. Lesson learned. I doubt I'll forget my inhaler next time!

I'm still smiling over today's ride. What a great day!

Peace out my friends.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ew! Is That A Snot Stringer???

Well, after a triumphant weekend, it's been a relatively easy week. My legs wouldn't let me do anything else...and I always listen when body parts start talking to me.

Actually, my legs weren't too bad, until I tried to go up and down the stairs...a few times. You see, my job requires me to go up or down to the 4th and 6th floors (I'm on the 5th). Typically, this is never an issue, and I like the little boost of energy it gives me. Monday was a different story, however.

When I got up in the morning I could feel the fatigue in my legs from my killer weekend. I wasn't troubled by it though and still had a cheesy grin on my face. I walked from the train to work, albeit a little bit slower than normal. Usually I pick off people I want to pass - this time I let them go by. No worries.

I told myself that today I would be forgiven for taking the elevator the one level...but I just couldn't do it. Actually, I thought that perhaps if I went up the stairs that it would work things out a bit. Uhm, my legs didn't quite see it that way.

After the third 'set' of stairs I got to the stairwell door and thought, 'Either I'm going to faint or spew...'. Neither would be a good thing at work. Instead I let out a 'YEOWZA!' as I felt the sting go through my legs. I told my legs, 'Okay, okay, I promise no more stairs...point taken!!'. Thankfully, no one was in the stairwell listening to me beg forgiveness from my poor quadzilla's.

I figured a swim in the pool on Tuesday morning would loosen things up a bit more. Of course, I guess I would have to actually kick if that were to happen...and what triathlete kicks?! Isn't that what wetsuits are for? To make you buoyant so you don't ever have to learn to kick??

I still felt a wee bit fatigued, but it was nice to be in the water. Until the incident. I was swimming along my merry way when I spotted what I had hoped and prayed was just a floating bit of tissue. (Just for the record I'm doing my best not to dry heave as I write this - it's not really working though.) I swam around it and proceeded to swim, hoping I didn't get any on me cap.

The next lap it was still floating there, and I was starting to panic. What the hell is that?! The lap after, I thought it had floated into the boys lane...but when I got was there! Okay, that's it, I have to stop and somehow remove this thing from the pool. Without using any part of my body of course.

I got one of my flip flops and tried to 'catch' it and flip it on the pool edge, but it was slimy and stringy and would slip off and break and land back in the pool and, and, and. Oh gag... All I could think about was Jenna talking about snot stringers. I was doing my best not to let a bone chilling scream emit from my mouth. The boys stopped swimming to see what I was doing and the lifeguard asked what was up. When I showed her the slop I was scooping I thought she was going to hurl too. I swear, we were seconds away from a friggin chunder fest!

I finally got the snot stringer or whatever it was out of the pool and off my flip flops. I could barely concentrate the rest of the swim as I kept thinking there might be more out there. YIPES!

Really though, it could have been could have been a snot stringer caught up in a hairball...gack...

Excuse me while I go launch my lunch...

Peace out my friends.