Coming out of transition and getting on the bike was a completely surreal experience. You ride down Main Street and there are so many people out there! It sounds like they are all cheering just for you!! As soon as teammates and friends saw me ride by with my Team Tri Life top on they started screaming. It was awesome! I had a huge smile on my face, what a terrific feeling.
I had one moto on the bike – patience. I knew that the first 65 km of the ride would be fairly flat and I needed to keep my effort in check to ride the hilly part of the course strongly. I had my Garmin Edge on my bike and I had it set to watch my heart rate. Ideally I wanted to keep it around the 130s so long as I was riding the flats. I watched people pass me by, knowing that this was how I needed to play the game for me to have a successful day.
We reached the turn off for McLean Creek Road quickly. Time for the first hill on the course! There were clumps of riders together and it got a little hairy as we started to climb. I was amazed by the number of people in the aero bars as we rode up. I was concentrating on riding up when just head of me something happened and a guy fell over on the climb. I think the guy next to him swerved a bit, causing the other guy to fall over. People were asking if he was okay, he said he was and I kept on riding. Close to the top I saw a lady walking her bike. I tried to encourage her and tell her that she was almost at the top. I hope her day went okay.
I kept watching my heart rate along the road to Osoyoos, just smiling and checking out the scenery. Drinking my Infinit. I had packed some peanut butter wraps for this part of the ride but it turned out that I was happy just drinking my Infinit. As I approached Osoyoos I kept looking for the next aid station as I had to pee. It seemed like there was a pretty long stretch here between aid stations. Finally after we turned the corner at the Husky station in Osoyoos and there was a big aid station. I pulled off, took a look at the massive line up for the porta-potties and decided I did not want to wait in line. I could roll up Richter and wait for the next aid station.
I was elated climbing up Richter. I knew my parents and the Boyfriend would be watching out for me part of the way up. There they were! I was so happy! As I continued up Richter there was an aid station up maybe 2/3 of the way. I pulled over as there was a nice and minimal porta-potty line! The rest of the climb up Richter went really well. I was at the top before I knew it. Time to descend! The wind was so loud in my ears and it was fun flying down. I definitely took it far less cautious than the last couple of times I rode this route.
I flew through the rollers. The wind was picking up but it wasn’t nearly as bad as when I rode the course in camp. All seven of the rollers were over before I knew it. Through Cawston and on to the out and back. Two things left to get through, the out and back and Yellow Lake. I was excited for the out and back as I’d have a chance to see some of my friends. The wind had really picked up by now but I pedalled along, barely noticing it. I saw Tara and Kelly…they both looked fabulous and so happy!
Next thing I knew I was at special needs. I had packed a spare tube and CO2 cartridge, some chamois butter, a gel, another 4 hour bottle of Infinit, some wine gums and the Boyfriend had left a secret note in the bag for me. The note put a huge smile on my face. He knew exactly what to say to keep me motivated and moving forward, nothing sappy! I had lucked out and not had any flats up until here so I didn’t really have anywhere to store the tube and cartridge. I didn’t want to throw money out the window so I stuffed it in my back pocket. I reapplied some sunscreen and was on my way. Those wine gums were tasting yummy!
As we exited the out and back and turned towards Yellow Lake the weather started to turn a little nasty and rain started to fall. Oh well, just gotta keep riding through it right? I focused on the spray painted numbers on the side of the road. They count off every 0.1 km and when you hit 17 you are at the top. The crowds at around 14 km were awesome. I’ve heard that this stretch of road is likened to the Tour de France. Pedal, keep pedalling strong…up to the top of Yellow Lake. I made it! Truth be told I suspect the majority of the spectators had left since I was near the back of the pack on the bike. I wasn’t fighting the cut off at all, I just seemed to be near the back.
The descent off Yellow Lake was fun. I was so glad that we had practiced the descent here a few days earlier. And that was it, just a little bit left to get back to Penticton. With 5 km left to go I turned down Main Street, back towards the crowds and transition. And smack into the most ridiculous head wind EVER! I felt like I was going nowhere and this was probably my lowest point of the day. I just hated that the last little bit on the bike was taking forever. Finally…finally…there was transition just ahead. The bike was done!
And honestly, despite the last 5 km of the ride I had the best. Ride. Ever. It was the most comfortable ride I ever had – the seat was comfy and I had even forgotten to put on chamois butter all day!
180 km done in 7:45:16.