Royal Victoria Marathon 2008, around kilometre 16
Photo by ASI
This year actually didn't contain a single triathlon, but I did get out and do the Seattle to Portland ride and Royal Victoria Marathon so I felt as though I accomplished something.
Nothing remarkable happend this year: great weather, good race, nice shirt. Started running with Grant, saw JoAnn doing the half, talked to Bill from the Tri club, saw some fast friends before the turnaround.
I took the Clipper over the day before, which was really convenient as it drops you off right downtown. I met up with Taralyn and we stayed at the Washington University dorms. It was funny arriving at the dorms because I think I stayed in the same building when I was 14 and I was there with my parents for a conference that my father was going to. I just barely recognized it.
The starting line for the ride opens at something like 4:30 (brr), but we elected to start a little later. Because people start at different times and take various breaks along the way, the pack never really sorts itself out and there's constant passing. At one point, after I called out “on your left” for about the 500th time, I remember hearing a woman comment, “I'm going to be hearing that in my sleep tonight!” The route for the ride was very nice: hardly any highway, markings on the road, should you run out of other cyclists to follow, and on the second day, a nice section of trail.
We camped halfway at the Centralia college campus. We were allowed to camp in any green space in the area, which meant that people were pitching their tents on the college lawns and even on the boulevards of the streets. There were all kinds of tents with cheap lasagna dinners. After dinner we relaxed in the beer garden and watched some Tour de France on television before crashing for the night. It was so hot the whole weekend that even at ten o'clock at night I was just wearing a t-shirt and I would have left the fly off my tent except that there was an all-night light shining next to me. Everyone was pretty much up at dawn the next day, eating a pancake breakfast at the college cafeteria and then rolling out of town for the second hundred miles.
I was a little sore on day two. The legs were ok, but I'm not quite happy with the seat I was riding on. I had bought a big cushy mountain bike seat for the trip and then packed the Serfas road bike seat I'd been riding on earlier in my bag just in case I wanted to switch back for the second day. I'd also forgotten my gloves, which could have been pretty serious, but I was able to buy a new pair at the lunch stop on the first day. We were lucky with a tailwind and rolled along at a pretty good pace. The last 20k into Portland I was pretty ready for it to be over, and then finally we came into the finish in a park. We joined the little kids in the water park to take a clothes-on shower after we dropped off our bikes and then changed discreetly into clean clothes. The last part of the trip was the surprisingly long bus ride back to Seattle.
Overall it was a great event. Extremely well organized, with everything you need from food and drink to bike mechanics at the rest stops to organizing your ride back. The only thing was that you have to either start with the very first group, or just be relaxed and prepared to take your time because there are so many people that you have to line up for bathrooms, water, everything. It was a very fun atmosphere, though.
The weather was hot, so everyone needed fresh water and ice whenever possible. The group also spread out hugely with some slower cyclists bringing up the back and some really fast ones riding off the front, so it was challenging to get everyone seen to at reasonable intervals. The emergency fallback device was the cell phone, so that a rider in need could call me for help, but we discovered that there was no coverage on the whole Yellow Lake plateau, which made things more complicated. Nevertheless, there were no mechanical failures, not even a single flat tire for any of the ten riders over the 180 km. So I didn't get to display my flat-changing expertise.
Susan and Taralyn and I managed to get in a wine tasting on Sunday after we'd finished the run and had a nap. This is the first time in at least five trips to Penticton that I've finally gotten around to some wine tasting. We managed to fit in three wineries in about an hour. At the last place we walked in at five minutes to closing. Our wine tasing host splashed generous portions for us, which we were tossing back pretty briskly while gave us some unvarnished opinions on his wines. There was one wine that he didn't even bother to pour for us, since he claimed that this grape was “shit” in the whole Okanagan and the only reason they made it was because people insisted on buying it. (Do you think I remember which wine that was? No.)
On the way back we were in a hurry, but we still stopped at the Bear fruit stand for a peach milkshake (Bob said, “they're worth a ferry”) and I got some amazing cherries and fresh peas.
I'd like to still be up there, hanging out in a great house by the lake, just running and riding and eating and sleeping. Lying on the grass in the sun and doing a little swimming on the beach.
In honour of the training camp I leave you this link to the epic training camp.
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