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!