I awoke before my alarm and laid in bed for a while. Just watching Guy sleep away. Lucky for him…..he didn’t have to ride 276km’s today!! But at the same time, that brought a smile to my face! Day 2 was here. In my mind this was the day that was going to take the longest in regards to time! I looked over to my organised pile on the floor, making sure everything was there (although I had checked at least 10 x before going to bed the night before!) It was then all about Food!!! My nutrition was going to be even more important today…..with such a long day in front of me and a double marathon tomorrow…it was crucial to stay on top of things! A big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and yoghurt was a great start and I continued to drink my GU and water as we made our way to the start line.
On arrival at the car park, everyone was there and you could feel the tension and excitement in the air. There were a little less nerves than day 1, but there was still that unknown hovering around. We were all to start together again, but had been seeded based on our overall times from day 1. So I was starting side by side next to Dustin. As soon as we were off that all changed, I was given instructions by coach Jeff to ease into the ride today. It was a long day and ideally I need to save something for the second half of the ride. The first 70 – 80km is relatively flat and fast and it’s easy to get caught up in feeling good and thinking “you’ve got this!”.However I held back. I held back enough that I wasn’t first rider. I let someone else set the pace, sat back and went with it. It didn’t take long for us to spread out and before long it was just Ross and I rolling along nicely. But then half way back to Okanagan Falls, bang….he broke his aero bars! They completely snapped! This was bad for him and bad for me! Here we go again…I was on my own! This is what it’s supposed to be like right? Through town and beginning the amazing climb to Green Lake and what they call “the wall”! I was enjoying this and having fun! The scenery was incredible. There was lots of positive self talk and motivation going on in my head. This was also a no feed zone so my support crew were not allowed to stop anywhere along this section of road. The plan was for them to meet me at the other end for a quick refresh and refuel. It took a little bit longer than expected for us to regroup but the end the timing was good. I took a quick stop, reloaded my bottles, more sun cream, more calories, Jeff checked my bike over and I was good to go again.
At this stage Dustin was cresting the last hill. Awesome, someone to ride again with! He was riding strong. It was heating up, I had ice down my cycle top and drinking constantly. We continued through Yellow Lake and began the gradual descent into Keremeos. Unfortunately just before that time Dustin got a flat and was waiting for his support crew.
Once in Keremeos I was 150km into the ride. It was a right hand turn into a head wind, slightly uphill for the next 60km! At this stage I just put my head down, stayed aero and kept pushing. But it was getting dark in my little world! Dustin has his flat fixed and came flying past! He was riding strong and looking great! I watched him fade into the distance. Just get to Princeton then you are nearly there! Keep peddling, keep peddling, keep eating, keep drinking. 5km at a time! What ever I could think of to keep me going!
At 214km I made the turn in Princeton to begin the out and back. Just over 60km to go! Come on you can do this, you just have to make it to the turn around then it is all down hill from there. But I was struggling! There was a nasty head wind, again it was slightly uphill and rolling. My crew could tell and were stopping more frequently, caffeine, gels, electrolyte and so much positive reinforcement! They were amazing! It had been a long day for them as well but they were still doing everything they could for me. I was passed again just after the turn around, but at that stage all I was thinking about was staying focused and getting to the finish.
I began the ride home, I could feel the tail wind and it was a nice change. As my speed increased I went to change into my big chain ring and nothing happened. Oh well…I will just try again….no luck! Oh no! It appeared that my Di2 and died!! Even though I was certain I had fully charged it just a week before, obviously I had done something wrong and now I was spinning out of control trying to take advantage of the downhills and tail wind! I rode past the mini van at the next stop and gave them the great news “My Di2 is flat, can’t change into the Big Chain ring!” and kept riding! I think I then created chaos as they tried to work out what they could do! If anything!
But I said before and will say it again….my crew were AMAZING! They stopped me up the road, Ruth had a Power source, my Di2 charger was in the mini van, they quickly charged it enough to change it into the Big Chain ring then sent me on the way with important instructions “don’t change gears!”
I took a deep breath, got in the aero position and rode. I was on my way! I didn’t hammer it and push hard to the end, I kept it steady, relaxed and reminded myself there was still another long day coming tomorrow. I kept drinking and eating, I yelled encouragement to athletes riding in the other direction. I reminded myself of where I was and what I was doing!
I crested the final hill and there was Mazzy, directing me to the finish line! Thank god! I was there! It was done! And so was I! Another athlete came flying by me in the last few metres, but I didn’t care. This was about 3 days of racing and now I was more than a little scared about what lay in front of me Day 3.
My incredible crew were all there waiting, they took my bike. I was straight into the Ice bath, GU Recovery drink in my hard. I closed my eyes and put my head back. Wow….that was a tough day!
From there it was a massage. Into the mini van, pick up Pizza and Icecream and on to the hotel. I lay in the front seat of the car and didn’t move! Once we had our rooms, I was instructed by Jeff to do nothing and eat! I was straight on the bed, in the recovery boots and eating pizza. I felt so bad as I watched Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff and Guy work away, emptying the mini van, wash bottles, refill bottles, repack car and get everything ready for day 3. Meanwhile I just lay there!!
Everyone was exhausted so an early night was welcome! By just after 8pm Guy and I were laying in bed and he could see the emotion and exhaustion in my eyes. We had a little chat and he reminded me of how hard I had trained and that this was something I had always wanted to do. To get out there and enjoy it, that he was proud no matter what happened. I went to sleep with a smile on my face, tomorrow was a new day and anything was possible!