It's been about a year now since I last went out for a ride with my Ironman Canada training buddy, and supremo good friend, Leslie. She didn't race this year, instead opting to go to Africa for a month this summer to check out a new school that was being built high high high in the mountains. (We're talking a 12 hour hike to get there from a very rural start point.) So cool!
I had been hoping to get her out at some point this summer, and finally did now that she's back home. I think the fact that she's signed up for Ironman Calgary 70.3 helped. Her words to me? 'I can do the Grand Valley/Horse Creek distance, but I won't be able to go fast. So can we make this a fun, enjoying the weather ride?!' FOR SURE! I was just excited to be out there with her again!
I rode to Les's then waited as she remembered all the things she needed to bring. Then I remembered I needed to use some sunscreen as I was out. Finally we were out the door! Not before laughing about how many times we went in and out of the house. I'm pretty sure her husband was silently rolling his eyes - he's a cyclist too, but more organized.
By the time we headed out it was just after 1 pm. It was pretty hot out at that point, but we had a brilliant northwest wind that, although challenging to pedal in, felt great. See, headwinds aren't always bad!
As we rode along Hwy 1A I started letting out some serious burps. Mental note, do NOT put on, then ingest, mass quantities of Mikes Red Hot Hot Sauce on your nori wraps before going out for a bike ride!! As I let a few of my burps rip I joked with Les about how much she must have missed riding with me. She was laughing and said that's just what she was thinking as I let out a loud 'BRAAAACK!' Seriously, I could give Booger from 'Revenge of the Nerds' a run for the money. Yes, I'm proud of that fact.
Other than the burping, the ride itself felt really good. The pace was a bit slower than I've been doing, but it was so much fun being out there with Leslie and just riding and chatting. We were really just savouring the fact that we were in a beautiful area, on a gorgeous day with our friend.
As we got to the first big climb Les mentioned this was going to slow her down a bit. This particular hill is my 'Tour de France' hill. I have no idea why I think that of it, but I love killing it. I try to stay in two gears harder than granny when I go up it too. So I told Les of my plans and then booted it up the hill. My heart rate was up there but I had great strength and it was a real boost for me. I'm ready to start building on my biking again - YIPPEE!
When we got to the four way to turn east we passed a cyclist. I recognized the jersey and the rider as Dr. Phil so called out. We call him Dr. Phil because he's one of the local vetrinarians in town, - and as it happens he is mine and Leslie's vet - and his name is Phil. We chatted for a while about our season and then he turned around to head back with us.
The rest of the ride was brilliant. We had a tailwind all the way back down to Hwy 1A and all of us boogied. You have to love a good tailwind to push you along! I parted ways with Leslie when we were back at the big intersection as I live on the other side of town. Dr. Phil lives at the bottom of the bonus hill so he rode back with me.
Before Les and I parted ways I told her how much fun it was to ride with her again. She did amazing out there too. She hadn't been on her bike since last fall, but in my opinion she's still 'got it'. We both loved being outside today. It was so nice out! It was great being on the bikes too. Oh, did I mention our bikes are twins? Yup, the only thing different are the glossy vs. matte aerobars and the colour of our bottle holders.
People usually tease us about looking like sisters too as we both have blond hair and wear it in braids. I can't tell you how many times during races people have yelled 'Go Leslie!' to me and 'Go Susi!' to her. Even at Ironman Canada last year! Too funny.
What an absolutely glorious day! I think I'm still on a high from it. It was wonderful having my former training buddy out there with me - hopefully we'll get out for a few more rides together before the cold sets in.
Peace out my friends!