I am used to only writing a race report for an event that lasts 1 day!! But there is so much to say about my amazing experience in Canada that I am going to have to do this day by day!
So here is Day One: 10km Swim / 150km Bike
Surprisingly I was able to sleep fine the night before. I think knowing that I was going to be doing this for 3 days in a strange way made me feel relaxed! I was wide awake and up at 5am and ready to begin the adventure ahead.
Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff, Guy and I all crammed into the minivan and we were on our way to Skaha Lake. It was quite surreal! It had been nearly 5 years of talking to my close friends and family about wanting to do an Ultraman. I could not believe the day had arrived! This was it! The time was now. It bought a smile to my face and also a tear to my eye. The lake looked amazing! So flat, like glass and clear as far as the eye could see. Lucky Guy had his binoculars with him because the first buoy was about 8km away!!
I had a bit of time before the start to give everyone a hug, take a deep breath and make my way into the water. Chatting and smiling with the other athletes I didn’t even realise the gun had gone! We were off!
Very rarely during the entire swim did I think to myself…I have to swim 10km! In the beginning all I was thinking about was 2km! At that point Guy was going to stop me for a drink of my GU Roctane. It was going to be a long 3 days! Getting behind in my nutrition on day 1 would not be ideal! He continued to stop me every 2km alternating with GU Electrolyte and a GU Gel. Guy was paddling to the right of me and providing plenty of entertainment with singing or funny faces. To the left of me the sun was slowly rising over the mountains and it was gorgeous! Every now and then I had a giggle to myself wondering if anything weird was going on knowing that Guy was wearing the infamous Nappy!!
With a few km’s to go I stopped a little more frequently just quickly for a drink as it was starting to heat up and there was still 150km on the bike to go! I needed to stay well hydrated!
I can see the shore…and Ruth, Mazzy and Jeff were getting closer! I was excited! It was a fun swim and Guy had been AWESOME!! 2.37 hrs was a new female course record. I won’t lie I was hoping to go a little faster than that, but felt better when Guy told me his Garmin read 10.5km.
Into the change tent, Ruth had my clothes ready to go, sun cream on, food in the back pocket, out the door to Mazzy who was waiting with my bike and I was off!
The Day 1 Bike course was 150km including most of the Ironman Canada course. Relatively flat and fast to begin with. Then rolling and windy for the remainder of the ride….before a nice 5 – 6km descent back into Okanagan Falls.
My crew were amazing and I would see them every 10km or less. I am used to being self sufficient during an Ironman so had plenty of nutrition with me to begin with. But soon found out with the temperatures rising into the high 90’s (36 – 37 degrees celsius) it was a much better option to be able to grab cold bottles of GU from them rather than drinking warm ones.
There was A LOT of climbing which I enjoyed….most of the time! But didn’t get to see anyone else until over 100km into the ride. There was a long out and back section and it was the first chance I had to see what was going on behind me. Dustin had been riding extremely well and was closing fast. There was some more rolling hills to come and it was getting hotter and and hotter. My crew continued to place themselves at the top of each climb so I could refuel and encourage me for the next effort. And then there it was….the sign for home and the 5km descent. YAH!!
I was able to hold onto my lead after the swim, just! And finish day 1 in the lead! How exciting! It was straight to medical for testing, ice bath, massage, GU Recovery Drink then back to the apartment. The recovery continued with more food, recovery boots, another rub down and stretch from Super Ruth while the crew was unpacking and repacking the mini van for the next 2 days!! We were riding from point to point tomorrow so needed everything for Day 2 and 3! Mazzy had the incredible task of calculating all the calories I had consumed and expended during the day and worked out the deficit. My goal at minimum was to replace what I had used. Which was a lot more difficult than I had realised. Ideally it would be nice to load up again in preparation for what was coming the next day. But I learnt that was a lot easier said than done! I still went to bed with a full stomach after chicken, pesto pasta and a massive bowl of ice cream! I was ready for a long day in the saddle!!
Thanks Rick Kent for the incredible photo’s!