HOT! HOT!! HOT!!!
That was basically the only words muttered the entire weekend!! Congrats to PMC athletes Ian, Kim, and Sommer that gave their blood, sweat, and tears in the heat, in the heart of the #IMCanada race course!! The heat this past weekend was unbelievable! Camp started with a 50km ride up to Callaghan and then a much needed dip in the cool waters of Alta Lake Friday afternoon. Saturday morning was a 5:15am wake up call and we were out on the road to start riding the full IMC bike course. Temps were beautiful to start… Perfect actually (20’C).. Climbing Callaghan seemed like a breeze, and within no time we were already heading back up to Whistler. The cooler was full to the brim of everything a hot and thirsty triathlete may desire along their journey.
While I was waiting for Kim and Ian to pass through into Whistler, an athlete training from Vancouver, stopped and asked “do you have any salt, I’m cramping bad”.. “ABSOLUTELY!” I said as I pulled out my trusty bag of tricks from the car. She called me “her guardian angel” and I gave her a little push, and she was on her way again.
Down into Pemby Kim and Ian descended. Kim proclaimed that she did not remember there being so much “down” and was thrilled to already see the Pemby Petrocan. We were now ready to tackle the Pemberton Meadows out and back. Ian yelled out “I HATE the Meadows!” and I yelled back, “NEVER say that word again!!” Ian laughed and swore he would never say it again! There is something about that out and back in the meadows that some people cannot wrap their heads around. I absolutely love it out there! The meadows is the 50kms of the course (out and back) that has the false flat going out, and if the winds are in your favour coming back, you are guaranteed a negative split! And did I mention the view! With the amazing smells of farms fields, blue bird skies, and Mt Curry in the backdrop, spectacular!
I parked at the turnaround, and temps were now hitting 35’C (95’F for my american friends). There were a handful of cyclists that I had been keeping my eye on as everyone looked as though the heat was starting to take its toll. Kim and Ian kept a steady pace, knowing the 35km climb back to Whistler was yet to come.
Back at the Petrocan, Kim and Ian drank, ate, iced their heads, and as quickly as they could, jumped back on their bikes to tackle the last 35km climb back to Whistler. My car thermometer now read 38’C (100’F).. Just before we were about to leave Kim asked, “So, about this Coke thing, does it really give you a boost?” I said, “No time like the present to try it!!” We filled Kim’s bottle with ice and a can of Coke, and we were off!
The climb back up to Whistler is definitely a tricky one.. There really isn’t anything anyone cannot climb, but it is everything else that is thrown at the cyclists that have them digging deep into the pain cave. As you start to make the first climb, the winds go silent, the heat turns up a few degrees, and the grade is just steep enough to make it difficult to take in the extra calories and hydration to compensate for the extra calories lost.
The athletes that I had my eye on were really starting to show signs of the debilitating heat and I was offering everyone that rode by cold water, sport drinks, Coke, and salt.. One of the cyclist declined the offer but said, “Just knowing you are here on the course, if I run into trouble, is keeping me going, thank you!” He was an athlete from Langley, BC and this was going to be his first Ironman Canada. I hope I get to see him again! So inspiring to see all the athletes out testing their limits.
Sunday morning we were back out on Alta Lake, and this time, Sommer joined in on the swimming fun. Ian loved having a carrot to chase on Kim’s draft. We had a quick change from the swim and headed over to the IMCanada run course to start a 2hour run, post swim. Temps were a little cooler in the morning, and there was a bit of a breeze that kept everyone’s spirits up to keep the pace steady. Sommer made her way up to Callaghan on her bike while we were running and I met her back in Whistler to tackle the rest of the ride to Pemberton, the Meadows, and back.
The weekend was full of high fives, big smiles, and I think, a massive weight lifted off the shoulders of these athletes. There is no doubt in my mind that if they can push through the heat of that weekend they will definitely cross that finish line in three weeks!! Now the taper begins!!