Greetings from gorgeous Penticton, BC!! If you've never been to this location, let me tell you a little about it. Penticton is home to Ironman Canada and on the May long weekend the roads and highways are taken over by lycra wearing cyclists and triathletes. The collection of IM wear here is outstanding needless to say!
Penticton is nestled in the Okanagan Valley and surrounded by desert, vineyards and orchards. In the summer months the fruit stands are all open for business and you can buy some of the most succulent fruit you've ever tasted! And let's not forget the wine! If you love wine, you will love this area. The majority of vineyards are open for tasting sessions and sales. Can you say yum??? Oh how many times have I ridden these roads and thought, I really just want to pull over and do a taste test!
After leaving Vancouver at about 4:55 am this morning, I arrived here shortly before 9 am. The gang had just left but Greg had arranged for Sarah, who wasn't riding today, to drive me to where they were and start riding from there. That way I wouldn't have to ride alone.
Todays route is a counterclockwise route of the Ironman Canada course; however, we take Green Mountain Road out and skip the out and back. Green Mountain Road is my happy place. There are towering trees, yellow daisy's lining the road, horses, baby horses, cows, wee lakes, a creek, and some great road. It's a bit of a climb to Apex Ski Resort, then a decent to the bottom of Yellow Lake, which is what you climb in the race.
The best thing about this section of road is that you get to feel what it would be like to ride like a pro. After all the climbing there is the decent and some flats. The decents are fast enough that you can hold a kick butt speed on the flats. Then the roads twists and turns and you lean into and peddle like stink and it just rocks!! I was giddy. Which was good because at the start my legs were burning climbing up the hills. There is something to be said about starting your ride on a hill!
Some of the group turned to go up Yellow Lake and back to town, while the rest of us met up at Bear Market. It's closed until the summer season, but the owner happened by and opened up the loo for us, how sweet was that! Of course it was only the girls who used it.
We left there and started for the backside of Richter. I had felt fairly strong for the most part, and even slayed the first few of the rollers. I was really stoked that I could stay in my big ring for a few of them. Then I hit the last roller before Richter and things sloooowwweeed riiigght down.
I have no idea what happened, but as my pedaling slowed, my confidence dropped and negative thoughts started to creep in. I really have no idea why, but it totally sucked. I was starting to question my abilities and why I was doing this. I tried to fight the thoughts. I acknowledged that I was thinking negativly and started to focus on positive things - the clear blue sky, the warm sun, the sprinkling of yellow flowers along the hills, the fact that I had ridden as far as I had, which meant I had my health, and the smiling faces of some of the cyclists I saw riding down the hills.
The battle of good and bad went on for the ENTIRE climb. Thinking like that is truly exhausting; therefore I don't recommend doing it. Staying positive and in the present is the name of the game. What can I say, even those of us that practice that on a daily basis can fall into the old negative ego trap. At least I'm aware when it happens!
I made it down to the Husky station and met up with Kelly, Leslie, Chad and Greg. I have to say a huge thank you to all of them because their wonderful positive energy was what I needed to blast away the negatives I had! Yay!! I am sooo not meant to be a negative person, I swear!
After refilling water bottles etc, we headed out. The majority of the group had already left, so it was Chad, Leslie and I that started out together. Chad was off like a shot and Leslie and I had a bit of pace line. Both of us were commenting how much our legs were screaming on the slightest incline. We'd both only done 76-80 km prior, so this was our first big ride of the year and it was a doozy. I could literally feel each muscle that make up the quadriceps. Oh and let's not forget my IT band. I could feel that big time. My butt cheek...well, it's a given I could find that.
Leslie got a flat just out of Oliver so I stopped while she changed it. To be honest, I was good with taking a bit of a recovery break. After that we motored on through to the next stop, which was an outhouse. We then quickly zipped to Tickleberrys and met up with Chad and Rusty, who also suffered a flat.
At one point we had thought we'd go ride McLean Creek, but by the time we were near there our legs had had it so we just rode the IMC run course. It was pretty smooth sailing along there and I had a big smile on my face just being near the lake. It's so beautiful along there.
I was able to stay in the big ring for the little hills along there, so that was a bonus. When we got back to the hotel we ran for about 10 minutes then gingerly walked into the lake to cool our legs. I am not sure how many times I said 'bugger' as I walked in, but it was several. Holy hannah that water is cold! Thankfully it's not that bad during the swim of IMC.
I checked with Leslie to see how many kilometers she had so I would know how many I missed by getting a drive out. Turns out I rode 19 km less, so I'll try and make that up tomorrow. So my total mileage for today was 139.2 km. And yes, the 0.2 km count!
Speaking of tomorrow, we'll drive to Oliver, swim (water temp depending) in the lake there, then attack Anarchist. That's a 20 km climb that is Hwy 3 East out of Osooyos.
This weekend is mainly about putting in mega amounts of mileage. Last year it made quite a difference for me and I'm hoping for that again this year!
Oh, and the best thing? Other than the amazing people, and gorgeous scenery? It's supposed to be hot, hot, hot out!! Snoopy Happy Dance!
Peace out my wonderful friends.