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Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan - Cycle

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Penticton, British Columbia
22C / 72F
Total Time = 5h 34m 15s
Overall Rank = 538/1343
Age Group = F40-49
Age Group Rank = 24/93
Pre-race routine:

Got the bike ready and laid out my clothes last night.

I was up way earlier than my alarm - nerves, I guess. Read a little, and tried to rest. Got up, had a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt. Took a banana for the start line.

I left the hotel by 6:20.
Event warmup:

Rode to the race start (about 8 minutes). Soaked in the atmosphere. It was nice having Steve King bantering on the speakers - made this feel a little more like "home".
  • 5h 30m 55s
  • 158 kms
  • 28.65 km/hr

They started the "Classe Speciale" group first, then the rest of us got to go. So it took me over 3 minutes to get across the starting mats (hence the discrepancy in the time). I had positioned myself reasonably well.

There is a hill almost right off the bat, so that helped to spread out the field a little. Being a flatlander, I was pleased with how well I was able to climb. I felt comfortable. The descent was fun too. We rode back by the lake and got onto highway 97, going north to Summerland.

We were going into a bit of a crosswind along this section. There were still quite big groups here. I pushed a little harder than I originally planned, just to get in with some of the groups and stay in their draft.

The next big climb was leading into Summerland. Again, I worked hard, kept climbing and smiling. This hill helped spread out the field some more. I skipped the first aid station at the top of Summerland, and then flew down the twists and turns.

For the ride back from Summerland to Penticton, I couldn't quite catch the big group, so I battled most of the way back to town on my own. There was a guy who wanted to work with me to catch the group, but we couldn't get quite enough, and I lost him at one point. Eventually a group caught me, and I rode into town with them.

I stopped at the aid station in Penticton to top off my bottle. Then back on the road. There were two or three guys I was able to hang with for most of the way to Okanagan Falls. I skipped the aid station here. I hung with another few to McLean Creek Road. Then the next big climb. I was starting to feel my legs a little at this point, but it was still good. The road here was very rough, and my arms and hands felt the vibration. Again, another great descent.

There were a few people around me on the way towards Tuc-El-Nuit Road/Black Sage road. The little climb leading towards the lunch stop at Le Vieux Pin was tough, and I was happy for the break.

I refilled my water bottles, took a bathroom break, enjoyed listening to the live band, and had a banana.

I took the next little bit nice and easy, just enjoying the view and the experience. Just on the turn back towards Oliver, I was caught by a passing group, and I caught on with them, and rode back with this group most of the way to Oliver. I stopped at the second-last aid station, just before the big climb up the Fairview/Whitelake road.

Ugh - this was tough! I was tired; I was hot; I was going so slow. I tried to keep positive. I didn't pre-ride or even drive this section, so this was all new. I had no idea what to expect, or when it would ever end.

I stopped again at the aid station at the "top" of the section. The volunteer there assured me there were no more climbs - but of course there were, just not steep, long ones like what we had endured. There were lots of fun descents!

I had a small group to hang with on the way back. There was a head wind too. I was so happy to be almost done!

Then the finish line. Steve King may have called my name, but I didn't hear it - I was just happy to be done. I got my cold towel at the finish and wobbled to the finish area.
What would you do differently?:

Ease up on the first part - there is lots of riding to do. Pay more attention to hydration and nutrition. Find something more interesting to eat - my snacks got pretty boring and I wasn't interested in eating them. Check out the whole course to know what to expect. Go with a group.
Post race
Warm down:

Parked my bike, walked through the finish area, munched on cookies and popsicles (yum). Listened to the live band a little. Got back on my bike and rode back to the hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Hills. Not enough long rides. Hydration/nutrition. Lack of familiarity with the back part of the course.

Event comments:

This was an amazing event - you would never know it was the first run! Super volunteers, lots of support - Penticton knows how to support athletes. Lots of fun.

Last updated: 2011-07-11 12:00 AM
05:30:55 | 158 kms | 28.65 km/hr
Age Group: 0/93
Overall: 0/1343
Performance: Good
45km 1:26:52 80km 2:22:34
Wind: Some
Course: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 82
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-07-11 12:11 PM

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Subject: Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan
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