On my return drive from The Callahan after Thursday's skate ski, I could focus on but one thought, the road is completely clear of snow and ice! It's about 105-110km of riding from Squamish to The Callahan and back, and I decided that Saturday would be the perfect day to give it a go. I managed to grab another local rider and good buddy Dwayne Kress for the ride and at 9am we were off. The local weather forecast said there was a chance of flurries for the afternoon, but after deducing that it was too warm for that to occur, and that our local weatherman is on crack, sorry Russ, we departed in minimal rains. The rain seized shortly thereafter and we ended up with a perfect overcast day of about eight degrees or so. The elevation difference between Squamish and The Callahan is about 3,000 feet, but with numerous ascents and descents thrown in I'm sure total climbing on the day would exceed 5,000 feet.
Riding with Dwayne is great because his slowest speed is equal to most people's fastest...actually let me rephrase that, riding with Dwayne sucks because his slowest speed is equal to most people's fastest! By the time we had crested our first significant climb out of Squamish it felt like someone had punched me right in the I.T. Bands (glute area of butt). I knew I was in for a pretty intense ride and simply tried not to 'blow up' out there. We reached the turnoff for The Callahan in 1h45m and I believe our climb to the parking area was about another 25-30min. I was having difficulty with my shifter and ended up changing gears by simply hauling on the cable itself. Too much road gunk over the previous few days and not enough T.L.C. on my part. When we pulled into the parking area for the Nordic Venue we were greeted with some rather intriguing looks. As if timed we walked right into our buddy Munny and after a twenty minute chat and refuel we were off again.
(I find this pic hilarious because we all stuck out our tongues for some reason and I didn't even realize it until I downloaded it!)
As we were cresting the final climb of our ride the sun shot through the clouds and the temp quickly jumped up to 10-12 degrees! We quickly stopped for a photo at The Tantalus Range pullout and then bombed down the descent into town. After one final climb up into 'The Highlands' area of Squamish we stopped the clock at exactly 4hr of riding.
I remember just last year hearing some competitive riders talk about how many 100k days of riding they were logging in the month of March. It seemed insane to me to ride that far, that early in the season. In fact I vividly remember in the summer of 2005 that I commuted to Whistler for work on my bike a few times. The distance is 65km with about 4,000 feet of climbing and would take almost exactly 2hr. That 2hr ride used to absolutely destroy me! To even think about doing a 4hr ride was out of the question, my body could not handle it. So to sit here in Feb 08 having logged 2x 100k days in the last eight days alone, is to really put in perspective for me how far I have come in terms of training. Now if only I could run I might actually feel fit again...
I refueled again at home and stared out at what was now a flawless afternoon where the temp was up around 13 degrees. I had already rode 105km and was done with biking for the day, there was no way in hell I was going into a gym, and I could not run...or could I?
I figured it was time. I am potentially racing the Dirty Duo Duathlon on March 1st, a race consisting of a 25k trail run and a 30k mtn bike. I want to win it, period. Justin Mark has a three year win streak going, and Wendy Simms is always right on his heels. I managed to squeak out my first ever win in the 50k ultra run last year and there's no way in hell that I can pull of a 50 while still recovering from my injuries, so the Duo it is.
I asked Roxy if she wanted to go for a run, she had not done much of anything all day and after but ten seconds of excitement she simply rolled over and tried to go back to sleep! I asked a second time and again the same response. She had not had a big week, at least not in terms of what she normally covers, and I was wondering what was up? She answered my query immediately after I grabbed my running shoes,
"OH...YOU MEAN AN ACTUAL RUN, WITH YOU ON YOUR FEET! I thought you meant yet another sprint session of me chasing your bike for ninety minutes. A run, following you, that's easy, I'm totally down with that!"
I guess all the biking was taking it's toll on her! She was rearing to go and we were off. I told myself to not exceed thirty minutes. This was just a quick test to hopefully start getting back on my feet again.
Here were my thoughts as they happened:
-Oh God I miss this! Man I love running!
-Oh bit of foot pain, not too bad, seems to be gone.
-Huh, things are jiggling a bit more then I remember from a few weeks ago, that ain't good.
-This is nice, I'm loving this. I want to run for 3hr.
After thirty minutes I was feeling great and told myself that an hour should be alright. I'd need to be able to run at least an hour now to even contemplate racing 25k on my feet in a week! The afternoon was simply amazing, I brought my camera along and without any pressure of a pace, distance, or time, I stopped a few times to take it all in, snap some pics, and realize how much running really means to me. I would be lost without running, it's my first love in the endurance world. In fact when I first got into biking I wondered if I'd ever really 'love' biking at all! I was on the verge of selling my bike and focusing 100% on running at the end of the 2005 season. I had a string of bad races and realized that I either had to take the biking as seriously as the running, or simply give up on pursuing adventure racing competitively. Then came the Primal Quest phone call in mid September and the rest in history. Biking falls only minimally behind running as my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. It took some time to get there, but I could no longer imagine being a one sport guy.
After 1hr15min of an easy paced run, and absolutely no calf pain, I very reluctantly headed home. No need pushing things now, the day was already a success and to push now could do nothing but potentially set me back again, and besides Hockey Night In Canada, the couch and some beers had my name all over them!
Sunday, man are we totally getting spoiled with this weather, another perfect day, it's unbelievable! There must be some catastrophic weather system building out over the Pacific because the last ten days have been better than most of last summer. The forecast for tomorrow is 15 degrees, I might wear shorts to work! Anyways, I grabbed the bike and a reluctant dog and headed out for an easy paced 2.5hr ride. It was a mix of incredible riding on completely clear trails, and reviewing my knowledge of four letter words while hiking my bike through heavily snow covered routes. At least I now know where to and not to go for the next few weeks.
I managed to drag my ass to the gym, as the sun was setting, and put in a solid workout that will leave no doubt in my legs that tomorrow is indeed a rest day!
I have a friend visiting from Banff all week, should be fun. She asked me to repeat myself when I gave her the list of gear to bring along,
-Bathing suit...I threw that one in there for the hell of it! Who knows, my former racing partner and best bud Mark Fearman (now living in OZ) and I jumped into Alice Lake after a trail run in March of 05. We regretted it for about six hours, but we did it!
In all seriousness though, just one more reason why I love Squamish is that during my ride today I witnessed people partaking in the following sports,
-Returning from skiing
-Kite Boarding (look it up if you are not familiar, it involves water and wind!)
That's just what I witnessed, and I know there were snowshoers and x-country skiers out there as well today!
This place is like no other. Squamish Rocks!