Vineman Aquabike Race Report

I love this event.  It's long enough to make you have to work, but with no run to pound the sh*t out of me.  Just as last year, I finished 4th in my category (W45-49, except last year I was in W40-44).  Which kind of sucks as top 3 win wine.  But what doesn't suck is that I PR'd the swim and bike, was 12 minutes faster than last year, and would have won the 40-44 if I was still a spring chicken.  Man, these 45+ women are fast!

Betty's Pre-race: me, Nicole, and Pim
(who wasn't racing but was a great cheerleader!)

Highlights: the swim is so non-eventful there.  Women-only wave start in a narrow river, so sighting is easy (my sighting was flawless).  I swam 31:51 (almost 2 min faster than last year).  I owe it to my new wetsuit: a ROKA Maverick Pro.  This is the first wetsuit I've ever had that I don't feel any shoulder restriction.  It's awesome.

Heading out onto the bike course.
Thanks Pim for the photo!

Sean gave me a power goal: to ride 85% FTP for the race.  He knew it would be hard for me to push that hard for 90km.  I ended up riding 80%, so I know there's still room for improvement.  Some of the hills didn't feel as hard, although Chalk Hill I still know I can do better!  I rode 2:53 (10 min faster than last year).  Yeah, how could I not be stoked?!

So I didn't podium... now I have a goal for next year!

To finish off my road trip, it took me a long time to get home as I had training to do along the way.  No more racing now until Ironman, but it's time to really hit the mileage.

Pier Pool - a cute neighbourhood pool in Portland.

Solo Road Trip

I'm in Windsor, California, home of my favourite race: Vineman.  While I love the 70.3, this year I'm again doing the "Half Aquabike" - 2km swim, 90km bike, done. :)  It's such a great race, a beautiful area, and the event will be terrific prep for Ironman Louisville without getting beat up by a run.

I headed down by car, solo (as it turned out), and I love road trips, even by myself.  So far I've done some driving, singing, cycling, swimming, relaxing, reading, sleeping... a perfect summer vacation.

Step one is getting off this island - this trip
it's the Coho Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles.
Essential road trip snacks.

Singing - also an essential road trip activity.

Bike is ready to race.  I had a bit of an issue with a clogged
valve extender (I race on latex tubes with sealant) when I arrived.
Jason had to talk me through the repair over the phone - I'm
not a fan of doing my own wrenching and usually depend on him for that.

Sometimes I feel like racing here is an elaborate plot to go to wine country...

I hit Johnson's Beach early this morning for a practice swim.
There weren't many people there yet.  The water is pretty warm, it's
not a non-wetsuit swim but if it was at home it would be (USAT has
higher temperature cutoffs than Triathlon Canada).  So I'll be
wearing my ROKA Maverick Pro for it's inaugural race!

Post-swim selfie.  My phone sucks at the front-facing camera
ever since I got a Lifeproof case.  Any one else have this issue?

One of my Betty Designs teammates, Nicole, is here doing
Barb's Race (a women's only 70.3 on the same course).  This
is her handiwork in T2.

My "T2" doesn't usually look like this - just a pair of flip flops.
Swim, bike, done!

And just to make the afternoon interesting, I got to spend some
time at a tire repair shop.

Tomorrow is the race, and I'll let you know how it went!

As Seen on My Bike

It's rides like today that reinforce how much I love riding my bike.  An easy spin for a couple of hours, just a girl and her dusty 'cross bike.  No TT bike, no %FTP intervals, no power zones... while all those things are great - sometimes it's nice to just get out and ride like I did when I was a kid.

Here are some of the things I saw from today's ride.

Happy riding!

Vancouver Day

Wednesday was my first "official" day of summer holidays (Well, I had to go into work today for a bit but was only there for about half an hour, so that doesn't count.  And emails continue to come in and I'm answering some of them, but again I'm not counting that as work either).  I had some errands to do in Vancouver, so decided to take the opportunity to swim at one of the world's best pools while I was over there.  

Step 1 - getting off the island.  Went as a foot passenger on the
ferry instead of bringing my car over, so it was a "planes trains and
automobiles" kind of day: car, ferry, bus, skytrain and walking.

Coincidence that one of my bus stops was right next to
a Whole Foods?  And just in time for lunch!

Kits Pool - 137.5 m so kind of like swimming
open water.  Also right on the beach! 

Looking across English Bay from Kitsilano Beach to downtown,
still very smoky from the fires.  Normally the north shore
mountains are visible.

"The Sky Is Broken"

Sunday I woke up early, as the forecasted high temperatures were 38 degrees Celcius (100 F), and I wanted to get my long run done before it got too hot.  All the windows were open but the curtains closed, and I wandered around the house trying to figure out what smelled so weird.  It wasn't until I let the dog out and saw the orange, hazy sky that I figured it out.  We were being blanketed with smoke from forest fires all around the province.  The windowsills were covered in ash (guess I have some dusting to do) and the air was so still, it seemed weird (usually here on the island we have a nice breeze).

Satellite image of Vancouver Island, southern BC, and Washington.
I live right under that big cloud of smoke!

My throat burned through my whole run, and I stopped for water a few times along the way (it never got too hot though as the smoke was blocking the sun, later in the afternoon I think it topped out at 32 C).  Then Jason and I went to Fuller Lake for a swim; there was a layer of ash on the water, and when I took my suit off I was covered in ash where my suit was.

At work the next day, my colleague said their son woke up Sunday morning and said: "The clouds are orange and the sun is red; the sky is broken!" - cute!  But kind of sad when you think there are over 180 fires in BC right now, and some of them are huge.  We don't often get big fires here on the island as we're a rainforest, but it's been a really dry year so far, and we have a couple of big ones with some communities evacuated.  Definitely makes me grateful that all we're dealing with right here is some smoke and ash.

A picture of Vancouver (from the National Post)
showing the "broken" sky.

Today is day three of training through a smoky haze; the wind is supposed to pick up here on the coast in another day or two, so we'll be back to normal soon.  Thanks to all the hard work of forest fire fighters, not only here in BC but all over the PNW and western North America - you have your work cut out for you this year.