Since I’m in Canada at present, Google Maps calculated my total travel distance in kilometers, so there ya go. That’s roughly how far I’ve traveled since leaving Charlotte a mere 18 days ago – not how much I’ve spent on the way – don’t worry Mom!! Blessedly I’ve actually been in Whistler for a couple nights and haven’t been behind the wheel much. Good thing because my right hip was starting to really hurt and my shoulder pain on the bike may have been from driving funny too. As though training on the road hasn’t been tricky enough, add in being cramped up in a car for 7-9 hours a day, access to my favorite sports chiros and massage therapists, and it’s really a miracle I’m still holding up as well as I am.
But just because my body seems to be hanging on, doesn’t mean my head isn’t fighting some serious battles. Today was a bit of a crisis mentally.
Whistler is gorgeous. Crystal blue lakes, rushing rivers, pine forests, mountains, chalets, 5 star resorts… and so active – mountain bikers literally everywhere, not just all the triathletes in town for Ironman Canada. The trail system is incredible, both paved and unpaved. Yesterday morning I explored the Riverside trail out past the suspension bridge and was just in absolute heaven running thru the forest on the rolling path next to the river rapids (after I accidentally spent the first 15 minutes scaling a mountain on what was clearly the wrong path meant only for cracked out mountain bikers willing to risk life and limb plummeting down >45 degree inclines on 2 wheels). Alas I could not join all the racers swimming in the lake (bc I only have core shorts and not a full wetsuit) but I thoroughly enjoyed relaxing on the dock while the pros got a feel for the water. This morning Kel and I scouted out the run course on our bikes and I cannot WAIT to run a loop tomorrow bc it is so scenic (and doesn’t scale a mountain). But then I headed out for another 2 hours on my own and was smacked upside the head with a stark dose of reality about my cycling abilities, or rather lack thereof. I wasn’t in a rush by any means but when the racers zipped by me like I was standing still – not even while climbing! – I started seriously questioning how in the world I’ll be ready for my own race in just 8 weeks. The weather was playing tricks on me and I hadn’t fueled at all during the first hour and basically when I followed the course as it turned onto the road heading out to the cross country skiing venue, I just hit a wall. But I kept climbing. And climbing. And climbing. And when those racers that had sped past me passed me going back from whence we came, I decided it was about time to turn around. There was a woman on some fancy cross country ski type roller blades with poles and a helmet and everything going faster up the incline than I was. I was humiliated. The descent was scary as crap. The 500ft of climbing in 2.2 miles was excruciating and the 500ft of descending in 2.2 miles was frightening. And of course it left me at the bottom of the “hill” again so getting back on the highway and climbing 400ft in the next 2.5 miles with trucks, motor homes, and cocky sports car drivers whizzing by me at 70mph had me considering somersaulting over the concrete barriers into rocky ravines as a more pleasant alternative. But the real low point was pulling off and texting SOS messages to Kelly while trying to hold back tears of frustration. Eventually I made it back to my airbnb and after I fixed my blood sugar problem and peeled off my muddy kit, my host drove me back to where I’d left my car since my legs were too shaky to ride there myself. Any confidence I gained from riding 112 miles at 18mph with the Iron Cowboy was shot to hell today when I averaged just over 13mph for a mere 32 miles.
It’s just one day. One really hard bad ugly make you want to throw in the towel day. There have been some great days though. And I can only imagine that on race day I’ll have plenty of time to draw on the joy of the amazing trail runs and the pain of suffering through mountain climbs. And I get to go to bed tonight knowing that I am not one of the crazies waking up and racing that ridiculous bike course tomorrow.