I went in to the tent and a volunteer poured all my stuff on the ground and started handing me what I needed. I put my bike jersey and socks on, then helmet and gloves and shoes, and then stuffed all my food in my back pockets and my volunteer sprayed me down with SPF 50 and I was ready to go. I walked out of the tent and saw all the bikes, like all my triathlons there were tons of bikes still in transition when I got out of the water...and they would all be back there by the time I got back as well. :)
As I was walking my bike to mount it, I heard Team Embo cheering me on from the side lines...my parents and my cousins Loretta and Lynda, and their husbands Steve and Jerry, and Steve's daughter Brittnay and her boyfriend Elliot were all wearing bright green shirts that said Go Iron Team and TEAM EMBO. They were very easy to spot!
So I got on my bike and started riding down Main Street. There were tons of people lining the streets:
The first 40 miles of this race are pretty flat and slightly down hill during most parts. I knew this and originally my plan was to work this hard to get a faster overall time. I figured the hills would be slow no matter what, so if I wanted to make up time, I should do it at the beginning when it was easy. The only problem with this was that as soon as I was on the bike my lower back began to hurt...a lot. Since my foot had been hurting all month I hadn't biked that often and I guess my back had forgotten how to be bent over my handle bars and not tighten up. When I was at about 10 miles into the bike ride I began to think: "wow, this is going to be a very long and painful ride." A little after 10 miles when we were going up a short hill, I realized that I needed to do something about it, so I took one of my vicodine that I had for my foot. I made sure to also drink my electrolyte/calorie drink at the same time, so I wouldn't have an empty stomach.
The vicodine helped some, and the ride became more bearable...I was going downhill and was able to do between 18 and 22 miles per hour. I knew I could push myself more, since everyone else was pushing themselves and passing me, but I decided that I wanted to make sure I finished the race, and finishing quickly was no longer that important to me. As I rode along the beautiful route over 1600 other athletes passed me. And although I am hoping by next year to be a better biker, so maybe only 1200 athletes pass me on the bike, being a fast swimmer and a slow biker has its perks. See, I got to see so many of my friends out there as they went by. Bill passed me and patted my butt. Kaori (my new friend from Japan) passed me and I sang the only Japanese song I knew to her. Then Dave passed me and I told him how my feet were feeling really numb, and he suggested I loosen my shoes. Wow, that helped A LOT! I guess I should have thought of that myself. The other good thing about getting out of the water early and then being slow on the bike is that every one passing me was so much faster than me, I didn't have to worry at all about getting a drafting penalty. :)
Even though I didn't have a penalty, I stopped by the penalty box right before Richter Pass at around mile 40 to eat my GU and take a little break. Then it was time to start up the first big hill. On the elevation map it says it is a 6 mile 2,000 feet climb. I started up it, and this was the first time on the bike that I was actually passing some people. I guess all those hills Coach Mike had us do during training paid off! I was at the top before I realized it, and thought, wow, that wasn't too bad. Kristie, Helen, and Dana were at the top too cheering me on and someone had really cool loud music.
Then it was fun downhill and into what they call the Seven Bitches, which I was also told there were 10 of...I tried counting them, but I kept forgetting how many I had done. People kept passing me, but by this point I was riding with people who were about my pace, so it was fun to talk to some people. Then I got to a flat area before the out and back and Team Embo was there waiting for me!
It was so great to see them! Right after that at the beginning of the out and back Aki caught up to me, and we rode together to special needs, where she lent me some sunblock, since I had forgotten to include some. After special needs at mile 72 was when they ran out of water for me...I was told that for people behind me, they ran out at Richter pass and even before. I started to get a little scared, but at one stop they had a hose, so I filled up there, and started trying to conserve a little. By the time I got to the bottom of Yellow Lake at around mile 90 it was super hot (95 degrees), and I was tired, and I didn't have much water....but there was Team Embo again! They had written motivational signs on the road and had even done some body spelling before I got there!
I yelled out at them that I needed water, and they ran across the street to their car and brought me some. Then apparently they got all the water out of their car and started handing it to other participants. Aki was a little behind me at this point and she said they gave her water too. I am really proud and thankful for my family for doing this, but I really think that Ironman Canada owes all of the athletes a huge apology for having run out of water!
So Yellow Lake probably would have been easier than Richter Pass except that it was at mile 90 and it was 95 degrees, and everyone at this point going up it had been without water for longer than they should have been...so it was kind of a challenge...but again Team Embo was there to help me up it. They were at the bottom, and then once I passed they would drive by me and park farther up and wait to cheer me on some more. They went all the way up the hill with me like this, and then once I was at the top, drove back into town and were there when I started my run.
After Yellow Lake I was kind of done with the bike, I had passed mile 100 so I knew that there were less than 12 miles to go, but then I saw I sign that said 14 miles to Penticton. I was super upset...but there was nothing I could do about it...I think it wasn't until I was on Main Street again that I realized I was in Canada and the sign had probably meant that I was 14 Kilometers from Penticton.
So I got into transition after 9 hours and 23 minutes. My official bike time was 8 hours 4 minutes and 43 seconds. I knew absolutely at this time I was not going to be making it in under 14 and a half hours...which had been a very ambitious goal I had had before I hurt my foot at the beginning of the month and hadn't run on it. But I was thinking that I was maybe on schedule to beat IronPhil's time of 15 hours and 27 minutes...but then I got on the run course...and well...that will be the next part.