I realize the ride was last year, but the horror of it has burned into my very soul and some serious therapy is only now allowing me to talk about it. Kidding! (…or am I??)
It was epic in so many ways. The start was amazing with 7000 riders. The sky was crystal blue and cloudless (little did I know that this would be not all that appealing 3-ish hours into the race). The people were on a cycle-delic high and all was good. I have never been apart of something so energized. My partner in crime, Susan, and I got off to a great start (aside from Sue being taken out by a WALKING cyclist… really?! seriously?! And me losing my water bottle and almost taking out a few of my competition…oops…I mean fellow riders). We chugged up Taylor Way (not doing my usual “come on! let’s do it in the big ring”) without incident and onto the Highway. We gathered in a pack and off we went. Tra-la-la…
All was going smoothly…I’ll spare you all the details of how everyone was chatting and spreading wheelie love and get to the part where I hit the Wall of Hell. Apparently, if you did the ride in less than 4 hours you avoided “Satan’s Oven” as I like to call it. All was fantastic until I departed from Squamish, where I delved into the pit of fiery hell. Someone cranked Mother Nature’s oven to 500 degrees and then walked away. I don’t think I have ever been so hot in my life. My tires were sticking to the road and my spandex was melting into my thighs (I dare you to grab a mental picture of that one). Funny thing is, somewhere along my training journey, I avoided the fact that from Squamish to Whistler is ALL uphill. Somehow, I had banned this little interesting tidbit from my mind. Maybe it was cockiness (“train- schmain” was my motto and I preferred to look at my training as having an extra long taper period) or we could call it what it really was, flat out denial and stupidity.
Either way, as I headed out of Squamish, I realized that I was at sea level and I needed to get to 2200-ish feet. 2 words: NOT HAPPY! Add an F-bomb to that if you wish because I was sure using it as my mantra to get up those hills. By the way…anyone who coined the term “false flats” (looks flat but is actually a 2%ish grade) should be shot. Let’s just call it what it is… a G-D@&m HILL!!! 2% or not…it’s still uphill!! Cover your ears and take your children away because there were no lady-like manners during this adventure. I was hot…my back decided to do a “twitch” thing and let’s just say I didn’t apply enough butt butter. Now, on a positive note: My legs were strong…My lungs were EPIC…And would you take a look at me…I’M FREAKIN’ CYCLING TO WHISTLER WITH 7000 PEOPLE! YEAH ME!
The last 20 km were…ummm… Challenging? Epically hard? Slightly torturous? Heat. Headwinds. Hills…a fabulous trio. I had a brief moment where I had stepped (aka collapsed) off my bike and stood on the side of the highway. I picked up my bike and was about to chuck it off the side of the road down into the rocky abyss. As I was about to hurl (bike and stomach contents), a wave of clarity washed over me and I realized the only way to stop this carnage was to get back on my steed and get to the finish line. So I hopped (aka: ever so carefully placed) myself back on my bike and took it in little chunks. Little by little, we all pulled ourselves through the 3-H’s of the satanic oven. I put my head down and thought that with each stroke of the pedal I was that much closer to never having to wear lycra, or ride a bike, for the rest of my life. NIRVANA!
Function Junction appeared and I thought “Hell Yeah! HOME FREE”. Little did I know that to get to the finish line was another 10 km with hills! You’ve got to be kidding me!! When did Whistler become so hilly?!! I found the biggest dude on a bike and tucked in behind him. Thank you whoever you are. You will be forever etched in my mind as a knight in shining armour (aka black sweaty lycra).
I rounded the corner into the Village and gunned it towards the finish line. Minutes away from selling my bike and burning all my Lycra. I could taste it!…oh wait… that could be vomit…wait…nope…it’s victory! Pat on the back! Well done you!! Good girl, you did it! I stopped my bike, posed for my postmortem photo, and this is when the trees started to wave at me and the birds started to sing …(Barry Manolo songs). My thought was “How bad would it be to just sit down here for a little rest? People can ride over me, I won’t mind.” Before I could explore the possibility of becoming a speed bump, my lovely, adoring, beautiful, husband PJ scooped me up, grabbed my bike, and sent me off to get food and water. God, I love that man! Needless to say, I did a little swing by the medical tent and got myself topped up with an IV (you betcha…I ain’t too proud to beg).
So here I am…I conquered…I survived…and I never have to do the race again. Well…maybe until this year. 🙂