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!
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).
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?