I debated whether I should write this up this evening since I am absolutely pooped...but here goes regardless!
April is here, and this is my most prolific racing month of the year. Three races in four weeks. Not nearly as good as my five races in four weeks from last year, but oh well... This weekend was the Glencoe Icebreaker 10K. I haven't run this race before and I didn't really know anything about it. One day Angie sent an e-mail around asking who was going to sign up because she would be collecting the entry forms at our next class. Sure...I'll sign up! There is no online sign up for this race. You fill out your entry form and drop it off at the Glencoe Club. Don't even bother mailing it in because it fills far too quickly.
I picked up my race packet on Friday after work. We got a nice long sleeve tech tee, a water bottle and some kind of air puffed chips. The race started at 9 am this morning, and despite it being somewhat chilly (-5C) the sky was clear and the sun was out. I got there about half an hour before the race, went for a quick warm up, then hit the bathroom and headed out towards the start line. We had quite a large contingent of Team Tri Life folks there and it was great chatting with them before we got going.
As soon as 9:00 hit we were off. No chip timing on this one. There was a big shmozzle of people for the first 1K or so, but then we started to space out a bit. I could see my teammates Pam and James up ahead and I wanted to do my best to keep them in my sight. When I said I didn't know anything about this race I meant it. I had no clue where we were running, or whether the run would be flat or hilly. When we hit our first hill I caught up with Pam. She was taking it pretty easy since she hadn't been running too much lately, plus she had another run to do later in the day too. From there I could see James and I was catching up to him. We ran together for a bit and then I pulled away. I hit the 5K mark around 28:29 or so. Hmm, time to see if I could keep this up. From there we turned into a neighborhood to run an out and back. It was great to wave at my teammates that I saw running towards me. At the turnaround for the out and back there was a water stop. I grabbed a cup and walked to down it, and at that point James passed me and took off. He expected me to catch back up to him, but maybe with the short walk break I somehow lost a bit of momentum. My legs were starting to feel a bit sluggish and catching up seemed like it would take too much effort. I kept James in my sights though a continued on. He was great motivation!
The second half of the race was definitely flatter, but I slowed down just a touch. Since I didn't know exactly where the finish line was I wasn't quite sure where to kick it in for the finish line. Finally I could see it, but there wasn't a lot of time for that last push. Within the last few feet my teammate Nola came out of nowhere and blew past me. I sprinted over the line and stopped the Garmin - 57:25. Exactly the same finishing time as for the St. Patrick's Day 10K. Afterwards Nola congratulated me on my race and exclaimed that she couldn't let someone younger than her beat her!
If there was one thing I heard about this race, it was that the post-race breakfast and draw prizes were amazing. And they were right! The post race spread included muffins, danishes, muesli, fruit salad, scrambled eggs, potatoes, ham, waffles (with your choice of syrup or whipped cream and fruit syrup), yogurt, milk, and coffee. I loaded my plate up and reconnected with my teammates. It was great to hang out with them - my teammates are all such fantastic people! The draw prizes were great too...a couple of mountain bikes, a Garmin, $100 gift certificates for Ridley's cycle, $100 gift certificates for a local wine shop, a trip to Vancouver... and TTL were having no luck! Finally on the last prize of the morning - a stay at the Fairmont in Banff with a gift certificate to the spa - my teammate John won. Nice! I had a blast doing this race, and I would definitely do this one again for sure!! Maybe I'll have better luck on the draw prizes next year..!
After that I headed home. I had a 60-90 minute recovery spin on the schedule. The thought of riding indoors was not thrilling at all. James had driven Horse Creek in Cochrane the day before and had mentioned that the road was clear of ice and gravel. By now the temperature was up to 6C so I figured that the temperature wouldn't be too bad. So I figured a trip out to Cochrane was in order! I loaded the bike up in the car and headed out. As I pulled out of my garage I looked down at my left index finger. I must have caught my finger while loading up the bike somehow because I had a small blood blister on the tip.
By way of background...I wanted to go into medicine and become a doctor. But I have zero stomach for blood and guts. The blood blister? Oy... Just thinking about it or looking at it was grossing me out and making me a little lightheaded. Good thing I didn't go into medicine, eh?
There must have been a ton of folks with cabin fever that were just waiting for a nice day to take advantage of. Plenty of cyclists on the road out to Cochrane! I parked just off of Horse Creek (pictures here) and there was another guy unloading a bike too. As soon as I got out of the car I discovered that it was a bit windy out. Yikes! We chatted about the weather and whether it was going to make our ride a bit rough or not. I took off and headed north on Horse Creek. I wasn't sure how far I'd go, but it felt so good to be riding outside! My legs were a bit tired from the running this weekend and I wasn't feeling nearly as strong on the hills as much as I would have liked. When I first turned west I got my first inkling that the wind was pretty strong. The wind was coming from the south... The jaunt west was pretty short, then it was back north. I rode about 12 miles to the stop sign and turned around. In hindsight I wish I would have hit the lap button to know how long it took me to ride out. As soon as I turned around...there was a huge smack... That wind was ridiculous!! Normally the out is a a bit tougher since it has more uphills, but even the slight downhill trend on the way back didn't help. I was stuck pedalling in my granny gears unless I had a steep downhill. As soon as the downhill would start to flatten out I'd have to get back to my granny gear. I probably averaged 18 mph on the way out, but now I was averaging about 10 mph. I'm pretty sure that this was not the easy recovery ride that Angie had in mind! It was a tough slog and I was so happy when I finally saw my car. I threw my bike in the back, chatted with the fellow who was also parked off of Horse Creek and finished up a few minutes behind me, then took off to Starbucks to grab a hot chocolate. I came home and contemplated going to bed pretty soon after arriving home...at 6:30..!!! I was wiped!
Anyhow, in case you are in the Calgary area and looking for a good clean road to ride on, then Horse Creek is in great shape!