There has been one theme this week it seems. Hills, hills and more hills! I rode hills on Tuesday, ran a hilly run on Wednesday…then had more hills in store for the weekend. Originally I had an 80K ride on my schedule but I had an invite out for a ride on Saturday that would be more like 110km. I double checked with Angie that she was okay with me doing the longer ride, and so long as it wouldn’t affect the quality of my workouts later in the week I was good to go! Four of us met out in Cochrane, Pam, Kevin and Susi. Susi was the only one who had ridden this route before so it was going to be a surprise!
We have really lucked out with the weather this week and Saturday was no exception. It was low to mid 20s (low to mid 70s) and amazing sunshine out. Where we didn’t really luck out was with the wind. It was crazy out! We made our way out of Cochrane and on to Horse Creek and I thought there were times that I might get blown over. Kevin and I wound up riding out Horse Creek together and he was trying to give me tips on drafting. Obviously you can’t do it in a race, but he was encouraging me to try and find the sweet spot behind his wheel where you don’t have to work as hard. Which is easier said than done when you have a wind trying to blow you sideways! Horse Creek has some good hills and I was powering up them. In hindsight…maybe a little too hard for the beginning of a long ride…oops! As we neared the spot on Horse Creek that I dread there was a welcome surprise in sight. There is a portion of the road that is just brutal with pot holes and it is so rough to ride. Not to mention that there are a couple of big hills around here… Well, they are in the process of paving it! As this is part of the Calgary 70.3 course that will no doubt make the racers happy!
Kevin and I continued north on Horse Creek until the turn off for Bottrel. We debated between waiting for Pam and Susi here, or continuing on the general store in Bottrel. Just then a pick up truck pulled up to the stop sign. We asked him how far the general store was, and it wasn’t too far…only about 3K or so. Um…he was a pretty congenial fellow…he advised us to find the girl working at the liquor store in Bottrel because she sold great ice cream apparently. The Tiger Tail is supposed to be fantastic. (Tiger Tail is orange with black liquorice swirled through it and I absolutely love it!!) But it was a little early in the ride for ice cream. :( About then Susi and Pam pulled up, so on to the general store for our first opportunity to refill our water bottles and to hit the bathrooms. By this point in time you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and the General Store is a total hoot. There is a super friendly dog and cat there waiting to greet you. The store’s motto is that if “We ain’t got it…you don’t need it!”
We took a quick break and then we were back on the road. We did a short stint along highway 22, but we quickly turned off and from there on out it was beautiful…quiet…and so rural. Amazing. There were a ton of horses, cows…you name it. And there were some itty bitty baby cows! The hills just kept rolling though…up, down, up down. We hit our second water stop at the Beaver Dam golf course, then turned around and headed back to Lochend Road to make our way back to Cochrane. Lochend Road…Susi said it perfectly when she said that the hills just kept coming. You’d see a hill, climb it and crest it, then see another one just a short distance away. This continued on the entire way down Lochend…about 19 miles! I didn’t really have a lot of oomph to power through the hills, but I was certainly climbing them steadily and that felt really good. I was pretty happy when we hit Highway 1A to head back to Cochrane. That meant the climbing was over and it was just a straight shot back to the finish. I took off down 1A, eager to get back because I had dinner reservations that I was a worried that I was going to be late for. When I hit Cochrane I chickened out on going down Cochrane hill and took the more gentle (but longer) way down into town by Gleneagles Golf Course. Then it was back to the car to load up the bike and hurry up for home and dinner! But first, check out the elevation profile of our ride. 2320 feet of climbing, somewhere around 67.5 miles for the ride.
I rushed home, took the fastest shower ever…and booted it out to southeast Calgary for dinner at Bolero. My sister-in-law and I have birthdays that are just over a week apart, so this was our chance to celebrate together. I’ve mentioned Bolero before – it is a Brazilian Churascurria that is amazing. Guys with different cuts of beef, chicken pork and lamb on swords come by your table to serve you. And one of the highlights is there grilled pineapple… So yummy! I may have had a one night stand with beef last night…but it was so worth it!
As for today, I had a 2650m swim and a 90 minute hilly run on the schedule. I wanted to hit the pool up early before it got busy, but I also wanted a bit of a chance to sleep in too! I got into a lane at 10 am and it was actually pretty quiet. I ran through my 2650m endurance ladder workout and it felt so good. I wasn’t fast, but I felt consistent the whole time. I like having these extra swim workouts on the weekend. If I time it properly at the right pool then it is nice and quiet and I enjoy the chance for quiet reflection in the water. It makes a nice change from my Tuesday/Thursday swim class where I am crazily trying to hang on to the swimmers in front of me all the time.
As for the 90 minute hilly run, I wanted to wait until the afternoon to get that done. I figured I’d give my legs as much time off as possible between yesterday’s bike and today’s run. I headed back out to Baker Park again since I knew I’d hit some good hills. My legs were definitely hurting on the uphills, but I felt strong on the flats and the downhills so I knew the legs were in good shape. I ran out 45 minutes…stopped, had a drink and realized I was almost out of water. It was hot out and there was no way I was going to make it back on just the couple of sips left in my bottle. I detoured slightly to the Shouldice Pool and found a water fountain I could fill up at. Then it was back to the car! All said and done I ran for 8.62 miles. It wasn’t fast, but I ran those hills strong and got the workout done!
As for refuelling…I decided to make good use of my barbeque today. I grilled up some fresh sockeye salmon marinated in a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, horseradish, brown sugar and rice vinegar. I also grilled up some Brussels sprouts and garlic in a foil pouch (maybe for a bit too long, but this was my first attempt), along with some asparagus, eggplant and zucchini. I served it up with some arugula, tomato and balsamic vinegar…so good! Alright, time to get ready for tomorrow… Hope everyone had a great weekend!