My friend Shannon and her husband have a beautiful cabin just across the border in Eureka, MT. She’s been telling us that we need to take a weekend to come out and train there, particularly at this time of year when the weather in Calgary can be sunny one day, snowy the next. We could make it like a mini girl’s weekend/training camp! We all checked our schedules and agreed that the Victoria Day long weekend in May worked for all of us.
Luckily I was able to catch a ride down to Eureka with Kelly and her husband Mitch after work on Friday. Kelly played tour guide as we drove through the Crowsnest Pass, pointing out Frank Slide and stopping for a photo op in front of the world’s larget truck in Sparwood, BC.
We arrived in Montana fairly late that night, so when I woke up Saturday morning I was finally able to see why Shannon loves to spend so much time at the cabin.
They have a beautiful view of a lake and it is so quiet and serene. We puttered around, eating breakfast and drinking coffee, but then it was time to finally get in to gear and head out for a bike ride.
I hadn’t done a ton of outdoor riding up until this point, but we had a four hour ride on tap. Ironman Boulder is coming up quickly so we have to really start building volume on the bike now! We made our way out to Highway 37 and travelled south along Lake Koocanusa. It was so beautiful!!
We kept the pace fairly easy and stopped for plenty of photo opportunities. Our coach had designated me as principal photographer for the weekend so I was trying to do my best to document the experience.
I had never been so happy to see a bathroom on the side of the road in my life…
My big goal for my long rides this year is to be really mindful of my nutrition. I make sure to take plenty of calories with me on the bike and I’ve got a timer set to beep on my Garmin every 15 minutes reminding me to take something in. In the past I’ve used a custom blend of Infinit but on race day my tummy has not felt that great. I decided to try something new this year and give First Endurance products a try. I figure if it is good enough for Heather and Trevor Wurtele then why not? I’ve been drinking EFS Electrolyte Powder at double strength and supplementing with EFS Liquid Shot for some extra calories. So far I’ve tried the Mild Grape and Orange drink flavours and the Vanilla Liquid Shot. The taste of the drink is okay and the Liquid Shot is pretty sweet. I suspect if you like to lick frosting off of a spoon then you might like the Vanilla Liquid Shot. I don’t expect sports nutrition products to taste amazing (and I do think EFS tastes better than Infinit), but most importantly I’m finding it really easy to get my calories in and my stomach is tolerating it really well.
The ride had its challenging moments. A few times it looked like we “should” be riding downhill yet pedaling was really hard! I don’t know if there were a bunch of false flats out there?
Along the route we saw a ton of cars parked on the side of the road. We had hit a popular spot for rock climbing! We made it back to Shannon’s cabin about 2:45 into our ride to drop off Mitch, then continued on our way to finish off our 4 hour ride. We rode along some country roads with minimal traffic through the Montana country side.
I felt like I was gawking at everything…it was just so pretty and there was so much neat stuff to see!
Unfortunately some dark clouds rolled in and we started to get rained on. I wanted to pout by Shannon just looked at me and said, “Come on, we aren’t made of sugar!” Okay, time to get riding I guess! We wound up riding for a little more than 4 hours and covered 100 km. We then swapped bikes for running shoes and went out on a crazy hilly 30 min brick run. A testament to how good my nutrition had been on the bike was just how strong I felt on the brick run!
We got back to the cabin and Shannon quickly had a spread of healthy food laid out for us so we could start fuelling our recovery. She was such an amazing hostess!
Later that night Kelly whipped up a delicious dinner of gluten free pasta, chicken, chorizo sausage, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.
It was the perfect meal to help fuel our bodies for Sunday’s workouts – a 70 min hilly run and a 2 hour ride. My legs were definitely feeling the long ride the day before on all of the hills I ran, but some of the scenery was spectacular.
Check out how low Lake Koocanusa is!
For our 2 hour ride we followed the same route we had the day before along Lake Koocanusa. Unfortunately I must have run over something because I got my first flat of the season.
Luckily I had friends to help me change my tire!
That night to give everyone a break from cooking we headed out for dinner at Trappers Saloon in Eureka. They had the most delicious Caesars and I had chicken fried steak…something I haven’t really had since I moved away from Texas almost 8 years ago now. It was delicious!!
We had one workout left to do on Monday before heading home – bike/run repeats! My legs were ready for a break but I pushed hard to cap off a big week of training. I managed to hit over 15 hours of good quality training that week!
Before we headed back to Calgary we went off in search of supplies to carry over the border with us. I wanted to bring back some beers that we can’t get here in Calgary. I can’t believe the price differences between here and there…this same six pack costs almost $20 here!
With important beverages purchased it was time to hit the road so I could get home to see Neil and Peat. I had such an amazing weekend in Montana. It was great to spend time with the girls, to train somewhere new and to get some really great quality workouts in. Thank you to Shannon and her husband for hosting us in their lovely cabin! Until next time!