It has taken me awhile to get my thoughts down on Team Tri Life’s Ironman camp. I almost debated not publishing it, but having a record of my thoughts and feelings through camp has really helped me before. So on we go…
Back on June 19th I was out in Penticton for Team Tri Life’s Ironman training camp! With Ironman Canada on July 27th and Ironman Boulder on August 3rd this was perfect timing for all of us athletes prepping for our big races. I’m not going to lie…I was quite nervous about camp. This would be my third camp out in Penticton so I knew the routes we’d be riding and I had some demons out there that I was worried about… I was also still fighting the same cold that plagued me at the Chinook Olympic Triathlon the weekend before!
I drove out to Kelowna on the Wednesday. It was such a beautiful day to be driving through the Rocky Mountains. I couldn’t believe how stunning Rogers Pass looked!
Camp didn’t start until Thursday afternoon so by driving out on Wednesday it gave me a chance to spend a bit of time with my parents. The extra bit of downtime before camp was also really nice!
Thursday – shakeout ride and open water swim in Skaha Lake
I met up with the team at 5:00 for our first workout – an easy shakeout ride from Skaha along the old Ironman Canada/Challenge Penticton course, up McLean Creek Road and back. The pace was easy along the flats but when I started climbing the steep hill up McLean Creek Road I was not feeling my best. The cough that had been sitting my chest made the effort feel really hard. On the way back to the lake I could not stop coughing. I had a chat with Angie and we agreed that getting in the water to practice some open water swimming skills may not be the best idea. I headed back to start getting my stuff ready for tomorrow…the long ride!
Friday – ride the Challenge Penticton bike course, brick run, yoga
Friday it was time to tackle a few demons and revisit the old Ironman Canada bike course. When I raced Ironman Canada back in 2012 all I remember is suffering from stomach problems and wasting a bunch of time in the porta-potties. I also wasn’t the most diligent with my training that year so I was hoping I would see and feel some improvement riding the course again at camp.
To date my longest ride had been 127 km so I figured aiming for 150 – 160 km would be a good idea. I knew I just needed to keep on top of my nutrition and the jump in riding time would be doable.
A big bonus for me on Friday was that my dad had agreed to help out our team and offer car support for us on our long ride. It was so nice to have him out there! He had to get up super early but he always had a smile on his face and was ready to help all of the riders out there. It also gave me a nice mental boost knowing my dad was just up ahead.
I really love the ride from Penticton down to Osoyoos. The majority of the route is quite flat and you have vineyards and fruit orchards all around you. I kept an eye on my power through here and kept my effort really low knowing I would need to save my legs for later in the course. The ride through to the base of Richter just flew by. All of a sudden it was time to start the climb to Richter, which is about a good 10K of climbing. I just did my own thing, pedalling up and marvelling at the beautiful view of the vineyards below me as I climbed. Richter conquered!
The descent from Richter was really fun as there wasn’t much traffic. It was over before I knew it though and then it was time to tackle the rollers! This can be a tough part of the course as it feels like you don’t have a lot of momentum and I’ve also ridden through here with a wicked head wind that made that feeling even worse. I try to count them every time I ride through them and I’ve counted 7…9…10… depending on the day. Today once I reached 7 I stopped counting! Once we finished through the rollers and started on the flat road towards Cawston, Keremeos and the out and back the weather started to turn on us. The wind picked up and there were some nasty clouds heading our way. The headwind was awful. I just got down in to aero and pedalled but I was getting uncomfortable after awhile and had a hard time eating through this stretch. Needless to say when I spotted the support cars ahead at the turn off for the out and back I was not so happy! It was time to put my arm warmers back on, eat some food and try to get going. After fighting the wind the ladies I was riding with and I all felt like we weren’t that keen on riding very much of the out and back. When big, fat rain drops started to fall on us we figured we had best make our way up to Yellow Lake right away.
The rain was off and on as we started our climb up Yellow Lake. I knew that there were numbers painted on the shoulder of the road, counting off in 0.5 km increments until you reach 17 km and the top of Yellow Lake. It feels slow going until you have about 4.5 km left as it just a really gradual climb. I just focused on passing those kilometer markers by. My legs actually felt pretty good on my climb to Yellow Lake so I knew I had paced my ride really well.
Yay, we conquered the climb to Yellow Lake! The descent from Yellow Lake was a bit of white knuckler thanks to the wet roads. I have never been so happy to hit the bottom of the hill before! The fun was far from over as we made our way down in to Penticton with some really wicked cross winds. I was pretty happy to make it back to the car.
Again, big thanks to my dad for volunteering a big chunk of his day on Friday and supporting our team. His help made the day go smoothly for everyone out there and he was so supportive of everyone. All of Team Tri Life really appreciated his help!
My girlfriends and I grabbed dinner at Theo’s Restaurant in Penticton that night. They served up some delicious Greek food! We then wandered over to the beach for an ice cream cone…the perfect way to cap off the day!
Next up…the last half of camp!