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!


  1. I would totally give you that jersey if I had one. You rocked up that mountain!!! CDA??? piece of cake!!!

  2. Wow - I felt like I was on my bike next to you riding as I was reading your post.

    You are going to have a terrific race in CDA next month!

  3. what kind of polka dot jersey do we need to find on ebay for susi?

  4. A PURPLE polka dot jersey!

    Incredible ride. My legs burned just thinking about doing that.

  5. Yeah purple!!! You totally rocked that "hill" Susi!! That sure was a great day -- I want to go back. :) :)