Whistler 70.3

Jason and I were up in Whistler a couple of weeks ago to race the 70.3.  What a fantastic event - incredibly scenic, well-run, super challenging course... highly recommended!

The swim was a bit of a cluster, as about 45 minutes before the 70.3 start, the wind really picked up and the lake became a choppy mess of whitecaps.  Made a couple of the legs across the lake particularly gnarly, but pretty fun!  I ended up swimming a bit slower than I thought I would (but Jason and some other friends were also 2 minutes slower than expected) in 33:16,  However, I came out of the water in 2nd place in my age group (W45-49) so still pretty good!

The bike has lots of climbs and lots of wind.  Nothing like a long 25km climb into a headwind at the end of a 90km ride!  I rode steady, just tried to stay aero and positive.  I rehearsed all the mental and physical cues Mel and I have been working towards for my upcoming Ironman.  I am not a great climber, so it's not a course that suits me at all, but it was still fun!  I came off the bike in 11th place, and didn't go under 3 hours like I hoped (3:06) - but in the tough conditions of the day that's not a surprise!

On the bike course, next to Green Lake.
So pretty but I didn't really notice it on race day.

The first 10km of the run went by pretty quickly and was fun.  A couple of my Betty Designs teammates passed me (as I knew they would), and thanks to Amy for the walk & chat break!  The next 6km were me digging deep mentally.  The final 5km were pretty much torture... I haven't really trained past 15km and it showed, and the effort on the bike into the wind took it's toll with some pretty significant cramping.  Didn't help that I spilled my container of salt, not like you can stop and pick that up!  The "run" to the finish was all mental, telling myself I really needed the training day for Maryland.  If Mel hadn't been my coach I probably would have given up!  She has been fantastic at giving me some ways to really dig in.

Some teammates and I at the finish.

Jason was first across the line, but the staggered start meant he was second in his age group (and 2nd overall as well - not too shabby for a 48-year old!).  The best part of the race was having so many teammates in the half and full, there were 15 of us in total!  Betty Designs represent!

Jason at the awards ceremony.

We did get to spend a couple of days in Whistler
post-race, and got in lots of playing around!

Next up: Aquabike World Championships in Penticton (August 27), Cultus Lake Sprint (Sept 17) and then Ironman Maryland (Oct 7).  


I am always hearing from others about how motivated I am.  Truth is, I don't think I'm particularly motivated.  I wish I was - it would be easy!  Yes, I get up at 5:30 a.m. most days to swim before work.  Yes, Jason and I sit down for dinner past 8 p.m. most days because we train after work as well.  Yes, our weekends disappear through long rides, long runs, long swims...  But believe me, it's not motivation that gets me out the door.  I am more motivated to hit snooze on my alarm, or hang out on the couch, or join friends for happy hour... but most of the time I don't.  

I choose to get up when my alarm goes off.  Some days I actually have to force myself to get out the door again with cycling or running gear after I'm home from work (a lot of days, actually).  If it was motivation, then I wouldn't have to work so hard at just simply getting out there; I'd be skipping out the door.  It's hard work, plain and simple.  I have never regretted getting a workout done, but I've sure regretted skipping them.

I wish I was motivated.  Instead, I'm actively choosing my destiny.  Everyone has a choice.  Choices are worth it. #doepicshit

Belgian Waffle Ride, Wafer Edition

I'm still riding on a high from the Belgian Waffle Ride last weekend.  It was probably the most fun I've had on a bike in a single-day event before.  It's a road race outside of San Diego, but a road race that includes pretty much everything and more: long road climbs, fun sweeping descents, fast flats... but then this "road race" also throws in gravel climbs, washboard dirt descents, sand pits, single track, rocky steep pitches, dirt switchback descents, water crossings, bridges... like I said - everything and more!

There are two distances: the 136-mile "waffle" and the 68-mile "wafer".  Jason entered the waffle (of course), while Corinne, Catherine and I signed up for the wafer.  My Betty teammate Amy was also doing the wafer, her boyfriend Rob was doing the waffle, and Kristin and her husband were doing the waffle as well.  So we had a great crew to roll out with!

Some of our group at the start - Betty Designs represent!

Pre-race waffles
Me and Kristin - "Mama Betty" and designer
of the fabulous gear! Legend!

The tag-line for the event is "Don't let the fun name fool you"!  Yes, you start the day with waffles, and end it with waffles and beer (it starts and finishes at the Lost Abbey Brewery in San Marcos), but there's a whole lot of hard riding in between!  This is not an event for novices, and not really an event for people with no dirt skills - cyclocross or mountain bike skills were important!  It was cool to be racing on the same course as real pro cyclists.  The winner was Jesse Anthony from the Rally Cycling team, just coming off the Tour of California (along with some Herbalife and Jelly Belly riders), and there were stars in the crowd like Ted King and Phil Gaimon... sharing a course with pros is common in triathlon, but pretty much unheard of in cycling.

To give you an idea of how hard a day it is, only 429 riders finished the waffle out of 756 registrants, and 353 finished the wafer out of 503.  There were only 87 women finishers in both events total - and there were a lot of women on the start line.  I finished 27th, never dreaming I'd be in the top 30 there. Next goal - top 20!

Part of the difficulty was the elevation. The waffle had 13,000 feet of climbing, and the wafer managed to pack in almost 5,000 in the "short" 110km.  Part of the difficulty was the dirt - you needed some off-road skills to ride everything - and yes I cleaned everything pretty much (everything that was actually rideable, as there were some intentional dismounts), and you needed the right equipment to balance the road & dirt.  Jason and I went with Hutchison Sector 28 road tubeless tires, loaded up with sealant, and they were perfect!  And then part of the difficulty was the heat.  The event moved from mid-April to late-May this year.  It was 34 degrees C in spots where we rode, and even hotter up in the Julian area ("The Hinterlands") where Jason went in the waffle.  

Waffle route and elevation profile (below).  I had ridden
a lot of the roads in the area before, so even though
I wasn't sure what I was in for with the BWR, at
least I knew where I was :).

The full meal deal

Much of the fun was in the organization.  OK, it's always fun to start with waffles... but in the weeks leading up to the race we received email updates with descriptions of each part of the course - the climbs and dirt sections had all been given Belgian-style names (in the spirit of the spring classic races in Europe).  The single track section around Lake Hodges was named Hodgesmeergate for example, a fun dirt descent that ended with a road climb up Del Dios Highway was called Lemontwistenberg Omgekeerde, the final climb of the day up Doublepeak was called the Muur Van Dubbleberg, and it's twisty switchback dirt descent was the Dubbleberg Twistenweg.  And those were only some of the sections!

Corinne in Sandy Bandy - a super-fun dirt section
with a lot of (you guessed it) sand.

Corinne selfie riding up the Bandyweg
(Bandy Canyon).

Me on some random dirt section, somewhere
in San Diego's North County.
Catherine and I riding through Hodgesmeergate.
It was actually much steeper and rockier
than the picture shows.

Selfie of Corinne and I at the top of Doublepeak.
It was all (mostly) downhill from there, and the dirt
trail down was a riot of twists and switchbacks!

Jason summiting the 23% (yes you read that correctly) grade
at the top of Doublepeak.  Oops, I mean Muur Van Dubbleberg.

We all finished with smiles and laughter (mostly), and would all come back.  In fact, I am already hoping it works out to go back next year, and this time I'll chase a faster time now that I know what I'm in for.  

Post-race food with Amy, Corinne and me, while
we waited for the rest of our crew to finish.  They
gave you towels soaked in ice water when you
crossed the finish line, which is what is on Corrine's head.
The post-race waffle with ice cream was AMAZING!

Cleaned up and watching the waffle riders finish.

Jason finished - check out the salt on him!

Souvenir beers (each racer got 2) to take home
from Lost Abbey Brewing.  That was in addition to
the 3 beer tickets you got there.

Swimming in Kona

#tbt to vacationing in Kona.  We spent a lot of time in the water!  We love to swim the Ironman course in the mornings from the pier, and it's not uncommon for dolphins to come into the bay and join us for a while.  There's really nothing more incredible than a pod of wild dolphins hanging out with you!

We made sure to spend some time on top of the water too.

Kohala Climb

One of my favourite rides in Kona is the climb from Kawaihae, up to Waimea and then over the top of Kohala then down to Hawi, and looping back to Kawaihae.  We try to ride it every time we're on the (other) big island.  Since we're here on vacation, we got to do that ride the other day!

Sunrise as we drove out to Kawaihae

Starting point - the harbour

Snack break about halfway up the climb!

We ascend the dry side - not a lot of vegetation!


Almost at the summit - the little white dots behind
Jason are near the harbour where we started.

We descend on the wet side, so there are trees!

We took a detour to see the birthplace of
King Kamehameha I
Tailwind back to Kawaihae!