Every year for the past nine, a group of friends and I have done the Snow To Surf relay race in Comox, BC. Our team, Frontrunners Foxxy, consists of nine members: one downhill skier (who also has to run UP the mountain in the race!), one cross-country skier, two runners, one mountain biker, one kayaker, one road cyclist (me), and two canoe paddlers. Plus two "team support" who drive us around and organize race-day logistics. We have had a pretty consistent group over the years, with a few sub-ins when someone hasn't been able to make it. I've actually missed two years, one for a work conference and last year due to an injury. I'm talking injury, not just one of those "boohoo, my hamstring is sore..."; and I won't go into too much detail suffice to say I still have a cane tucked in the back of the closet from when I couldn't walk without it, and a lot of metal in one elbow to make it fully functional. But I digress, back to this year.
I was grumbling about doing the race earlier in the week, as in my head I saw this weekend as doing my training then sitting on the couch. For some reason it seemed terribly inconvenient to do a race, especially since my coach wasn't letting me off the hook from some big workouts. Friday my legs were still smarting (what a funny term) from my long run the day before and I continued to grumble as I packed my bag. Saturday I woke up early and went to my swim workout, then came home and headed out for a 3-hour ride where I spent some serious energy trying to stay on Jason's wheel until he (mercifully) headed in a different direction. More packing, and then some more grumbling in the car as Catherine drove us up to Mt. Washington.
The grumbling was quickly forgotten, however, as soon as we arrived up the mountain and got together with this fabulous group of girls. Some I see all the time, but others I only really see during this race weekend. We are a diverse group, the common theme is we're all well-educated and love the outdoors, but other than that, you name it, there is someone who does it. We spent the evening laughing, eating, drinking, and laughing some more (did I mention laughing), and then when it was way too late to be up for a race the next day, we headed to bed.
Race day dawned, and although we all have a game face, we only wear it for our specific leg so the morning was still pretty low key. We all split up to go to our respective start areas, where really it means waiting for a long, long time, especially when your leg is one of the later ones. Mine is the second-last leg, so the bonus is a get a big cheering squad, but the bummer is I spend a lot of time sitting around in a parking lot. Leigh dropped me off for my check-in, then I went for a long warm-up riding around the town of Cumberland. Too bad the race started later than scheduled, and while I was waiting it poured rain, so my warm-up was worn off by the time my start rolled around.
When Janet jumped out of her kayak and handed off to me, I hammered the false flat into town and pretty much thought I was going to puke. My goal was to give a hard effort for the entire 30k (I figured since it was short I better make it tough), and while I was pedaling strong, I was gasping for air for about the first 20 minutes until I settled into a rhythm. I never eased off, passed a couple of guys, and soon enough I was passing off to Sarah in the canoe. We all got to watch Sarah and Kate paddle into the finish, and turns out we finished in 8th place. Not a PR (we've been as high as 2nd, and have several 3rd place finishes to our name), but a good day overall and good times with good friends.
The fun weekend left me tired, but excited for next year when I promise less grumbling during the lead up!