On Tuesday the camp started in earnest. We got our first crack at parts of the course and the workouts got significantly longer.
Bike – OK Falls (marathon turn around) to Osyoos and back.
Ave Speed 28.69
Max Speed 53.87
We had a fantastic tailwind on the way down to Osoyoos, I didn't notice how strong it was and just thought I was riding like a god. Teresa and I mostly keep in sighting or talking distance and made sure to see Karen was doing okay. We got to the Oliver half bike course and I joked with Teresa that I wanted to stop and find the water bottle and bottle cage I lost on the race. At 1:20 Karen caught us up (after a mammoth sprint to catch up) to tell us that Andrew called her and that the headwind back was killer and we should turn back ASAP.
Due to the wind we decided to do a pace line back. Karen had never done one but after about 15 seconds of instructions (don't use your brakes, try to stay 6" off the person in front's back wheel, point to junk on the road, indicate when you want to drop back) we took off and she was doing it like a pro. About 20 minutes in I realized I'd told her not to use her brakes but hadn't told her the signals for slowing done and stopping – potentially a cause for concern! We fixed that at the roadworks.
Somewhere around Vassau Lake we lost Karen. She had a flat and had intelligently crossed to the shady side of the road to change the tube, meanwhile Teresa and I were looking for her on the other side of the road (we have how many years of post secondary education between the two of us??). Once we though to look 30' to thr right we found her! Karen told us she was okay and told us to go on. Teresa and I pacelined for a bit then decided to ride solo (I need the practice riding into a headwind). I saw a pile of glass too late to avoid it - just as I was about to swerve I heard the puncture and felt all the air run out of my tire. Teresa caught up with me and was eager to help, never having changed a tire, but I told her "Back off - it's my flat!" It was one of my fastest tire changes ever (still not very fast so I'm not telling you the time).
At the end of the ride we packed up the bikes then ran from the park along Eastside Road towards Penticton, our first crack at the run course. Karen was a great runner - turns out she's a coach for Team In Training so will have a HUGE cheering squad at IMC.
My HR was too high (171 ave), probably from trying to keep up with Karen, but it was a fun social run.
This was our first ice bath day – a shock for some of the club members who hadn’t done it before. We got some serious stares from some of the motel guests – apparently people standing in garbage cans full of ice water in a parking lot isn’t something they’re used to seeing. Later in the week we were asked if we were with the group in the garbage cans.
I was sneezing a lot and wondering if it was allergies or what? Figured too much lake water in my nose and didn’t think much of it.
On Wednesday the rain began.
We start with a short am swim. For some reason I adamantly didn't want to wear a wetsuit, can't remeber why now, but I relented.
After the swim I realized the sneezing wasn't because of allergies but due a sinus infection. I was hopefully some salt water up the nose would do the trick and I'd be over it.
While we were have breakfast and the rain started coming down harder and we went out for our tempo run into some fairly nasty weather.
After the run I decided to do the salt water up the sinuses trick to kill the infection and figured I could do up a solution myself, forgetting the results of the last times I’ve thrown table salt and tap water up my nose. There was less swearing than previous times I’ve done it but it hurt unbelievably and I decided I had to find a drugstore to get the sinus-ready saline solution.
We decided to move the bike repair session to the next day and go earlier for our ride. The law of group dynamics meant that we didn’t actually get away from the hotel that much earlier than planned but it felt like a victory anyway.
The plan was to ride from the top of Richter to the top of Yellow Lake but as it was so cold and wet and miserable we decided starting with a long descent would be a bad idea and we opted to start from the base of Richter (turned out to be the base of the second or so roller, but close enough). The ride out with Princess was initially a somber affair – this was our first crack at the Ironman course, our first real test of whether we were up for the challenge or not and we were a little tense. Luckily Teresa had the perfect remedy to hand – ACDC. We cranked Thunderstruck and headbanged, air guitared and howled our way through Keremeos and Cawston. As we kept going and going, and we ran out of tunes, the mood turned somber again. For me this was the part of the course I’d never seen (I’ve driven Yellow Lake tons of times, been to Oliver quite a few and to Osoyoos more than once) and boy did it seem like a long stretch of road. The weather didn’t help, it ocaissionally relented to only being driving rain but we drove through several hailstorms. We finally had to crank Thunderstruck again just to get us into the right headspace.
The rain let up a bit when we stopped and unloaded the bikes. The fast folk (Bronwyn, Chung & Stephanie) took off and disappeared pretty quick. Teresa, Karen and I followed at a more sedate pace. The rain quickly got back up to a fairly serious intensity. The three of us occasionally regrouped to make sure we were all okay (and once to redistribute cell phones) and on one of these times Teresa, with no thought whatsoever for karma or Murphy’s law, blithely said “Ladies, at least you know it can’t get any worse than this!” Thunder claps followed this statement and within minutes it was hailing. Thanks Teresa!
It weather was so ridiculous all I could do was laugh. While we were still in the rollers I saw a figure with a flowery umbrella standing at the side of the road and I wondered what kind of nut that could be. Wasn’t a nut, it was our coach! I gave him a thumbs up and kept going.
I got into a good rhythm and got lost in my thoughts so I almost missed the turn off at Becks Road. I waved at Andrew and kept going and had to do a quick stop to turn and keep going.
Teresa and I regrouped and rode to Yellow Lake together, Teresa insisting Olalla be pronounced “Ooh-La-La!” The climb to Yellow Lake was steep but not too bad. At what I had thought was about halfway – Yellow Lake – I saw Andrew and said I wanted to keep going to the top. Apparently Yellow Lake is at the top of Yellow Lake Hill. Who knew! Suddenly the second big climb of the race was a lot less than I’d expected – very cool!
Despite the insane weather it was a fantastic ride, on seeing me at the junction of 3A and 97 Andrew commented “You’re on a high!”. Strangely, riding in the pouring rain was when my sinuses felt their best all day.
We drove back to where we’d left the cars at the base of Richter and Teresa and I drove back the long way – backwards along the course route over Richter and up 97 through Osoyoos and Oliver. We decided Richter was a tough looking climb but not as bad as Cypress or Seymour and very doable.
I desperately needed French fries so we drove through A&W, at which point it seemed logical to get a burger at the same time (my 20% for the day - at his nutrition talk Andrew'd told us we should try for at least 80% healthy food). I realized, after I’d eaten it, that this was my first fast food hamburger since my pre-vegetarian days.
We hit a mall on the way back and while Teresa grabbed food I picked up saline solution for my sinuses, hoping that would clear out the infection.