The drafter became the draftee

You know how I feel about the bike: I love to ride my bicycle and love most training rides but it’s my weakest link in triathlon and nearly seven hours on my beautiful machine can be torture!

My confidence was down after a long Coeur d’Alene bike and then a tough training ride last weekend. This weekend I put myself to the test by riding185km/115 miles.

Earlier in the week we signed up for the Tour de l’Alberta. (We rode it last year when it was 175km.) It was a great ride last year and is an awesome way to get in a supported long ride.

Kelly decided last minute not to do it and instead took Harold to Jasper for a day of hiking! They did the gorgeous Whistlers Mountain hike, which has incredible views from the top. There is also a tram that goes up there so anybody can enjoy the scenery!


Back to the ride…

The 185km tour started at 7am, so I was there by 6am to sign in. My parents (who assure me they love to watch our events!) made it before the start to cheer for me. I also saw them numerous times throughout the day!

It started without a hitch and I tried to settle into a pace. By 30km I was riding by myself, which I actually really enjoy. I always say that an Ironman is completely a solo effort with zero drafting allowed so it’s good to ride by myself. (However if I’m riding with Kelly and it’s windy out, I definitely try to draft off him!)

They had police or volunteers at busy crossings, which is the best part of the supported ride! They also had awesome rest stops. I stopped at one about 50km in to fuel up before a long stretch of highway riding into a slight headwind.


I ate a few delicious cookies then hopped on my bike and started pedaling away. After a while I heard some noise and looked behind me to see a man tucked right in so I was blocking all his wind!

After a while, another guy (guy #2) came up and said thanks for pulling him. I kind of laughed to myself since I’m always desperate to draft off Kelly! I was there to ride my own ride, so we kept going like that. Guy #2 took the lead for a couple kilometres before I took over again.

I stopped prior to the next rest stop because I had some fans to talk to! My grandma lives in the town the lunch rest stop was situated, so my mom picked her up and they were cheering on a corner! I chatted with them for a few minutes before getting food from the lunch stop. They had so much there! I grabbed a bag of Doritos (so delicious and salty!), Gatorade, and some candy then hit the bathroom and started pedaling again.

Guy #2 was leaving at the same time so we rode together chatting away. He tucked in behind again and we rode like that for some time, chatting and then me leading.


I felt strong and was just so grateful to have someone to talk to for a bit! The next time I turned around, he wasn’t with me anymore. I only had about 40km to go and was feeling pretty good about the ride.

I tried to push it a little and ended up finishing around 6:43 (moving time, as I stopped my watch at the longer stops).

Tour d'Alberta 2013 032

I am so happy I did the ride, as it gave me some of my confidence back. I know I won’t be fast in Whistler, but at least I know my legs and mind can do it.

The Tour d’Alberta is a fantastic ride. The rest stops are well-manned and there is a nice variety of food and beverages. There are enough bathrooms that you don’t have to try and find somewhere discreet to pull off like on most of our long rides! They have many distances to choose from, which is great to see so many people of different abilities out there. Most importantly, I feel safe when I’m riding with so many other people and support vehicles and motorcycles patrolling the route.

Have you ever participated in a supported ride?

What would you prefer: bathrooms, food, or people around you?


53 responses to “The drafter became the draftee

  1. Oh awesome race! That sounds like a great time! And how fun to have someone to talk to during the race. I’ve never done a long bike ride, but I would imagine I would very much appreciate all 3 of those options- bathrooms, food & people- so hard to choose! 🙂

  2. Runner Girl Eats

    I will always choose bathrooms! I love food and people but nothing beats a bathroom when you need one<—tmi? oops.

  3. Wow – great job – that is a long time to ride!!!
    So cool that you had a fan club – especially made up of your parents and grandma.
    Nice that the guy traded off with you on the drafting!
    I’ve never biked (other than for fun) – you make it sound really awesome!!!

  4. Way to pull the guys on your ride! Sounds like an amazing ride and a great confidence boost going into Whistler. Bathrooms are nice, but after years of long runs, backpacking trips, and hiking, I have no fear of going in the woods. I love to do long rides with a group; chatting just helps the time fly by!

  5. That’s awesome! Sounds like the perfect ride. Congrats! I love that your parents (or someone) is always there to cheer you guys on, it always helps no matter what race it is. So I would definitely choose people around me, whether that’s cheering me on or racing with me. I think it’s pretty neat that you were able to share part of your ride with that guy, sounds like it makes things a little less lonely and probably makes time go by a bit faster too! I honestly cannot wait for your Whistler race, unfortunately I wont be able to come cheer you guys on as I hoped (I have a reunion in Van) but I’ll be thinking about you all day!

  6. I have always wanted to get into biking – it’s posts like these that make me want to think about it more seriously. Glad you had an awesome ride 🙂

  7. I can’t imagine being on a bike for that long. My boyfriend is a cyclist and every Sunday morning I can count on him not being home for breakfast…or lunch. Would you ever ride in a multiday bike racing event?

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jenn! So true- riding really eats up your day compared to running!
      I’d love to do a multi-day bike event! Even just a few days of self-supported touring would be amazing!

  8. Glad to hear you had a training win! It’s so impressive that you are racing two ironmans so close together.

  9. Sounds like a great ride with great family spectators for you! I’m looking forward to the MS Bike Ride in August. I’m pretty slow on the bike but hope to be a little faster than last year.

  10. I did a ride like that once–it was kind of fun! Glad you not only had a man who needed to draft off you but one you DROPPED. Awesome!!

  11. I am always oddly flattered when people (esp. guys) draft off me!

  12. Oooh good question regarding bathrooms, food or people…. I would have to say people if its a long trek! Glad your ride went well!

  13. I’m not a biker so this is really interesting for me to read and learn about! It sounds like a lot of fun, and that you had a great ride! I think I’d prefer the company, as long as it’s a ride or run in the country where you can find bushes to go behind!

  14. Well done, and glad you’re feeling strong again – we never doubted you! How neat that you stopped in your grandma’s town and got to chat! (PS, you are really making me want to go buy a bike…)

  15. Good job Abby! A boost of confidence is always good right before a race! Shame on those men for using you! I need bathrooms around me. After having a baby I go like I’m still pregnant! But I like to be solo when I’m getting in a hard workout! No one needs to see my grunting face!

  16. Go, Abby, GO!! I would have needed a whole pack of cookies.

    You are such a motivator. What a beautiful ride:)

  17. I am all about the bathrooms! Haha they are my first stop. Then people and then comes the food. I am never dying for food when I finish. Probably because I’ve never done a race longer than 10km – we’ll see if that changes after my half!

  18. One day soon I want to do one of these supported rides. I’ve sort of missed out on the big summer ones, like London to Brighton or London to Cambridge. But I’ll get there, eventually. So I’m not sure what I’d want the most? Toilets? Cause sans it can get awkward and food is something you can carry along (a portaloo, despite its name, you can’t!). 😉 And congrats on another successful ride!

  19. Awesome job!! This sounds like so much fun, what a ride. I would like to have people around me I think, just for the atmosphere! I don’t usually need or want food when I am working out (although I might on a long bike ride!) and I can always use a bush to go to the bathroom…haha.

  20. So great!!! I am so glad you had a good ride!! I am glad you decided to do it even though Kelly did not!! 🙂
    I love supported rides. They are nice to do when you are training for an IM. I have been wanting to do the Portland century for years but it is always the same weekend as IMC & HTC.
    Tough question: I guess I would ride with food around. Cause I can ride no matter what as long as I have energy!!

  21. That sounds like so much fun!!! So glad you did it 🙂 I have never ridden that long, but would love to work up to it one day! Way to go!

  22. Good. For. You. That HAS to raise your confidence! 🙂 What a great experience! I’m glad your parents were there (grandma, too). When I played what I call “mom soccer” my parents used to come to the games quite regularly. They were sometimes the only spectators (besides one other mom who was ALWAYS there). My dad couldn’t believe nobody else was there! 🙂 Aren’t parents the best?

  23. runnerbydefault

    Good job on the ride!! Pretty cool that you and your fellow riders could help each other out! I would definitely have to say bathrooms. It seems to be my weakness, at least, during the start of races.

  24. I’m the same way. When I did the Lazyman triathlon last year, the running and swimming were a breeze, but the biking about killed me!

  25. so glad you did this! it truly does help with the bike, just focusing on riding. Not swimming or running, ya know?! way to go!

  26. Sounds like a really great ride. Congrats on finishing and on your time…pretty awesome!

  27. Pingback: Unplanned unplug and training update | Change of Pace

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