This weekend I went up to the interior to ride portions of the Ironman Course. Coach had me down for a 3.5 hour ride/1/2 hour run on Saturday and then a 15 OWS (open water swim) with a 2 - 2.5 hour ride and a 15 min run on Sunday.
Judith and Cindy - 2 ladies I ride with, were also going up and agreed to take me under their wing and show me the course. They have both done Ironman a couple of times, they are absolutely amazing women. Riding with them is always empowering as it shows me I am capable and they are always full of great tips. The plan was to ride from the Bear in Keremeos backwards along the rollers and down Richter’s to Osoyoos meet up with some other ladies riding the entire course and head back up Richter’s and over the rollers back to the cars. The reason - I was not supposed to be out for more than 3.5 hours, this would let me see the much talked about Richters hill and rollers, stay close to time and get me back to my car. As well by riding backwards over the course I would be tired and well not a perfect simulation of race day – I would not be fresh for Richter’s.
Going out to Osoyoos was tough – we did pace line for the start and I was holding my own for the most part but did get dropped with about 25 km left. The ride into Osoyoos was fun with the 11 km descent. It took us about 2 hours and then we got to have a nice break while we waited. The girls showed up about a ½ later and I am very envious of their kits – TFNB – Team Fun Nice Bum – in PINK!!!! From shoe covers to shorts, arm warmers, jerseys, and tri shirts they looked great. They all refilled their bottles, had a bite to eat and when the whole group had arrived (they had about 8 ladies) we started out again.
Riding up Richter’s, honestly, not bad – it is long but it was very anticlimactic when we got to the top and regrouped I was like really that is it? I am not trying to be a smarty pants but to hear others talk about it for years you get this picture in your head - it really is not that bad. As Cindy, Judith and the others said – riding up Cypress every week is way worse than Richter’s and they are right. The rollers are also not so bad – they are kind of fun because you get a run at them and way easier on the way back then out – that is for sure. We also did the out and back portion – only one way – but I am so happy I did. The ladies were all like you have to ride it – everyone thinks it is not a big deal but it is – it is uphill one way and if you are not prepared it will mess with your head. They were right – as usual. The run afterwards was not bad either but I was pretty warm so need to remember that. Total time 4 hours on bike – 25 min run.
Sunday I was kind of wondering how it would go because we had done such a long ride but it was pretty good after the ride on Saturday I went and stood in the ice –cold lake to help the legs recover and it did the trick. We did not do the OWS because it was far too cold. I wanted to look at the front half of the course – I heard about this Maclean’s hill and that it was a little nasty and wanted to see it so again my tour guides and I set off. Maclean’s even more anti-climatic than Richters – but important to ride. As the ladies pointed out do not hammer this hill – just get up it because it is early in the course and don’t waste your energy conserve it for the headwinds and Richters. Other point, the road is crap and coming down is not a comfortable ride so I am happy to be aware and as they pointed out there will still be bunching here and 2 types of riders, cautious and overly aggressive so I need to think of my game plan to get down safely and quickly. When we got to OK falls we rode back along the marathon course so I got a bird’s eye view of the back half of the marathon – there are a few hills – nothing big but nice to know about. Total time out 1:45 “ish” on the bike with a 15 min run follow up and a stand in the icy lake before the drive home.
I feel a lot better about the ride now. In just under 3 weeks I will be riding the Oliver course which is a portion of the course out to Osoyoos – I have ridden it before so it will be a refresher and then in July I am going out to ride the Yellow lake portion – the ladies say again nothing to complicated but just mentally nice to see and do so you can plan your race. I am so in debt to these gals – not only did they ride with me but all the tips and just their thoughts on their experiences are going to be totally invaluable. I am not sure how I am going to repay them. One way will be to rock the race but I just might have to throw in a bottle of wine for each….