The task for today was riding the Ironman Canada (IMC) course. Some of us started out around 7:30am to get a bit of a head start. It was fairly brisk then, but we knew what the temp would be later in the day so didn't dress too much for the cold.
I slathered on the sunscreen. It was the spray type though and I swear half the bottle shot out as I was glistening with it! It was even dripping down my arm. I did get a bit of a burn yesterday around my shoulder, where the spray missed, so wanted to make sure I had a ton on today as it needed to last at least 8 hours.
Rather than give a blow by blow of the entire ride, I figured I'd just recap some of my thoughts and highlights from the day...
- Be aware, when you have tons of glistening sunscreen and you are going really fast, you tend to attract bugs. I swear, my legs worked better than those sticky hanging papers as the picture below will attest too. This is at the end of the ride too, so some of them had blown off! (The black dots are the bugs...)
- I think I had a really good pace going down to Osooyos, which is amazing consdering my legs hate me for the past two days of riding.
- It's hard to ride Richter Pass when you are crying. A fellow passed by me with a Tigger doll on his bike and that was it, the tears started to flow. I kept telling myself it was just a reminder that she's always with me, but still, the fact that's she's gone is still new and I had to have my cry. So I did for half of the ride up.
- Tumbleweeds would have been faster going up Richter and the rollers than I was. I did not have speed on the hills today. My legs were trashed from yesterdays adventure, but I was ok with this.
- There are a lot of beautiful butterflys in the Okanagan, unfortunately all of the ones I saw were dead on the road. Still, they were gorgeous colours.
- Never pee on the side of the road in the Okanagan. I stopped to take a nibble from one of my fruit bars and could hear Mr. Snake in the long grass beside where I was standing. I made sure to keep my eye out! Not to mention there were a few squished ones on the road...ew.
- I was definitely able to ride the flats a lot stronger than last year, which is saying a lot. Did I mention my legs were trashed? Well they were and I was super happy that even though I was slower than molasses on the hills, once I hit the downhill or flats I could carry a decent pace even though my legs didn't feel like they could.
- There is a nice shady tree to go pee by on the out and back (thank you to Heather for keeping an eye out for vehicles and holding my bike) however, you have to be quick to stop peeing midstream and pull up your drawers and look like you are looking for something in your bike when a car goes by, then go back to your business once the car passes.
- Not a lot of cyclists say 'hi' as they go by, why is that?
- Sunscreen dripping into your eyes really hurts.
- I have ridden this course four times now (once in the race) and for the very first time I had enough nutrition in me that I didn't bonk by the out and back, which is about 65 km from the finish. Therefore I felt like a rockstar when I got back to the hotel.
- Total ride time today was about 8:30 hours, and that time includes a stop at the Husky for a pee, food and chat; peeing under the tree, and peeing at the Bear and grabbing more food. Considering my race time for IMC was around 8 hours, I'm totally happy with that time as my legs were trashed. Oh, did I mention that already???
- The group at the camp were awesome and I was super stoked to get to know Heather, Pam, Jordan and Leslie more. I hope we get to do some riding back home!
- Heather rocks the friggin hills. For a gal who said she isn't good at the hills, holy hannah did she slay Richter and the rollers!!! It was great to see and I'm totally proud of her.
- There is some beautiful country to look at on the other side of Richter. I've never noticed it before because I was usually lacking in nutrition at that point and can't see straight.
- I finally saw the gas station and golf course at the top of yellow lake that everyone talks about. As mentioned in the point above, I'm usually too bonked to notice.
- There was a beaver like animal, sans flat tail, sitting on the median just before Penticton. It was huge and I wasn't sure if it was going to go for my jugular, but it just hopped off onto the other side. Of course Heather didn't see this so I have no witness...
- I had to yell at a Chipmunk to get out of my way - I felt bad.
- I swallowed many bugs today, and for that I apologize to Mother Earth. I did try to ride fast with teeth closed so I could catch and release some of them. I swear.
- My eyes after the ride were so red I looked like I was sampling some of BC's finest ganga.
- My knees and quads hurt a lot.
- I love that I rode the flats like I did....normally I'd just putter because that's all I have in me. So cool.
Oh, and lastly, this is what a fantastic 180 km on a bike looks like at the end....dirty, smelly, sweaty, snot crusted, bug smeared and smiling like this is heaven on earth!
It's been a great weekend and I say thank you to all that made it that way!!! I'm sure there is more I can add to this but I need serious sleep. I am sooo not waking up early tomorrow!
Oh! I almost forgot, that's a grand total of 440 km in 3 days of riding! This includes riding the rollers twice, up both sides of Richter Pass and riding up Anarchist. No wonder my legs hurt so bad! It's a good pain though, trust me.
Peace out my glorious friends!