Yesterday afternoon my friend Pam and I hit the road to Stony Plain. Stony Plain is about 20 minutes west of Edmonton (which is about 3 hours north of Calgary). Having company on the drive was great and it went by really quickly. The lake we are racing in tomorrow wasn’t open for swimming yet, so we met up with a few teammates for a swim at the Spring Lake RV park. As we were checking in at the front office this sign greeted us:
Swimmer’s itch? I’ve never heard of it, but you can bet it is something I probably don’t want, especially right before a race! Four of us suited up and braved the water anyway. It wasn’t a super swim…there were some big weeds right near the water edge that had me freaking out a bit as I was trying to swim. I looked at it as a chance to get my open water spaz out of the way. I then spent a very worthwhile $2 to take a shower at the campground to lessen my chance of swimmer’s itch.
With a short swim out of the way Pam and I took off to grab our race packets and show up for the carbo load dinner and pre-race meeting. The carbo-load dinner is included in your race registration at it was one amazing feast! PLUS…there was even beer available! Since the race wasn’t until Sunday Pam and I figured that it would be perfectly acceptable to have a beer with dinner:
For dinner there were salads (greens with raspberry vinaigrette, coleslaw and pasta salad), pickles, baked beans, baked potato and your choice of steak or grilled chicken. There were also pies, fruit crisp and fresh melon available for dessert.
The cola beverage was also going flat in preparation for Sunday’s race:
After dinner I headed off to West Edmonton to check in and get a good night’s rest in preparation for Saturday.
I was up way before my alarm and after I could ignore the stomach rumbling no longer I headed out in search of a Starbucks or Tim Hortons. The streets around my hotel are crazy and non-intuitive one way streets so this exercise took a lot longer than it should have. And a total shocker…Starbucks was not open at 7 am!! Luckily the Tim’s I found is a 24 hour drive through so I’ll be able to stop by for some caffeine early tomorrow morning.
I took off to Stony Plain to pick up Pam, then we were off to Hubbles Lake (where we will be swimming tomorrow) for a little pre-race workout with our team. We all struggled and helped each other into our wetsuits:
We swam out to the first buoy and back (about 400m each way). I had a terrific swim. My sighting was great but I felt so comfortable in the water. If I can replicate that feeling tomorrow in the race I’ll be a happy camper! After one out and back we lined up on the beach for our own little mass start. We had at least 20 athletes out there, so we were able to have a really good sized pack take off. It really helped to work a few nerves out and solidify my race day strategy.
Since we are lucky enough to have wetsuit strippers at the race Angie even set up a little stripping zone so we can roll through that efficiently. After that it was time to practice mounting the bike and climbing the hill out of transition. Angie and Richelle taught us how to steer our bike by holding the seat instead of the handlebars. If you run with your bike holding the handlebars you run the risk of tripping over your pedals on your way out of transition. It took a bit of practice to get the hang of pushing my bike in a straight line, but it worked out pretty well.
After that it was time for a super short run and that was it! A great way to spend the day before the race to help go over little details and calm some nerves. I discussed race plan and nutrition strategies with Angie and that was it! I then took off to drive a portion of the bike course.
The bike course is pretty flat…
…and there is really only one point that I was interested in seeing ahead of time…”Heartbreak Hill” just before the bike turnaround:
After my tour it was back to Edmonton! It was a pretty relaxing afternoon of lunch at Olive Garden, then staying off my feet by taking in an afternoon screening of The Proposal. It was a definite chick flick, but it was so funny, and it helped take my mind off of what is happening tomorrow! I was hoping for some sushi for dinner but the restaurant I had sussed out didn’t seem to exist anymore. It was getting kind of late so I stopped in at Wok Box to give it a try. I picked up a Mongolian chicken stir fry with loads of veggies and rice that was really tasty.
Now the gear is packed and sorted (especially key since T1 and T2 are in two different places) and I am pretty well ready to go. Thanks so much for all of your well wishes for my race. I will be thinking about all of you and your encouraging statements on my race tomorrow!!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Great White North – Pre-Race Activities