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!


  1. Aww sorry bout the deer ;( but the ride sounds amazing. If I had been there I would have been trailing behond you zenning out as well....

  2. Yay Susi!! Love your journaling abilities -- you capture the essence of things so well. I am still laughing at the boob bug -- LMAO!! You HAVE to get Greg to post the pic of it -- that was one of the funniest parts of the whole trip! LOL!! The poor thing was dazed and in heaven!! LOL!!

    Bless you Susi-- you have a big heart. :):):):)