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    Calgary to Penticton for Ironman or Bust!

    Fri, 12 Sep 2008 17:58:55 -0800

    Heather Fuhr, Roch Frey and Homer put in 480 miles – in 4 days of riding from Calgary, AB to Penticton, BC
    Back sides of Roch and Homer as they enter Banff National Park at the end of the first day, 125 mile ride day one.

    Heather and Homer cooling off in one of the many rivers just outside of Banff.

    Roch and Homer cooling off at fish pond nextd to Heather lodge, a small heli skiing Lodge at the base of Rogers Pass in northern BC.

    Heather climbing up Rogers pass on day three, about to ride through one of the 7 snow/avalanch shelters on the climb.

    Another beautiful background just outside of Banff National Park.

    Homer showing off his guns...which way to the beach?

    Snow still hanging around in August at the top of Rogers pass.

    Heather at the top of Rogers pass, looking forward to the 30km descent!

    Early in the year, Roch suggested that we complete the ride that he did last year from Calgary to Penticton. Last year I was not able to do the ride as I was competing in Ironman Canada, and for Roch it was the jump start to his Ironman Hawaii training. This year, I was not doing IM Canada, and no Hawaii for Roch, so it seemed like a good idea – we both needed to be in Penticton to work at the event anyway.

    Because misery loves company, we rallied our good friend Homer to join us on the trip. We knew he would be in for the adventure and it would make for a very fun time. He of course obliged and came from Toronto to meet us in Calgary to start our adventure. When the reality of the 4 days ahead set in, I was a little concerned to say the least. The 500 or so miles that we would cover was more than I had done in the last 6 months combined – it was not going to be pretty.

    On Thursday, August 14th we jumped on our bikes leaving Calgary for the start of our 4 day journey. Day 1 would take us on the outskirts of Calgary and into BANFF – 125 miles. This was certainly a shock to the system (and the rear end). I had not ridden past 3 hours in many months, and the 3 hour rides were few and far between. I was hoping that the 18+ years of base would provide some sort of muscle memory. Not sure whether or not this was the case, but we survived the first day. 7 ½ hours of riding later, and we arrived in Banff. We immediately found the first river we could to soak our legs – aahh!! Then it was a good dinner and off to bed. One thing about not being in great shape – you can do it, but the mass quantity of food that it takes to keep the system going is amazing – thank goodness for Tim Hortons!!

    Day 2 arrived with a cool clear morning in the mountains of Banff. We were on our way after a good breakfast, and we made our way through Lake Louise on HWY 1a – this is one of the most beautiful rides around. I think that sometimes ignorance is bliss. Homer and I had no idea what the terrain had in store for us or how far we would be going each day. Roch would give us a rough estimate, but until we made it to our destination each night, we were just following the Roch train. 7hours and 15 minutes and we finished the 128 miles of DAY 2 at the HEATHER Lodge which is about 6 miles from the base of Rogers Pass. This was a beautiful Heli-skiing lodge that had just recently opened during the summer months. Again, we ate a great meal, watched some OLYMPICS and were in bed getting ourselves ready for Day 3.

    Everyone was a little somber when the alarm went off on Saturday morning to start our 3rd day of riding. More than anything, the thought of sitting on the bike seat was just not all that inviting. I think it probably took about 6 miles before we were able to get comfortable on our seats – just in time for the 6 mile climb up Roger’s pass. We stopped for breakfast at the top of the climb. As I mentioned we certainly did not go hungry. The great thing about doing a ride like this is that we had all day to complete the distance, so there was no rush. We could stop whenever we wanted to, we could go whatever pace we wanted to – no HR to follow, no Wattage to hit – just a nice enjoyable pace. 130 miles later we ended up in Enderby, BC- we finally cracked the 7 hour mark – 6:55 of riding time. This was the longest day of the trip and by far the hottest. At one of our stops, we saw a thermometer that showed 38 degrees C in the shade – for those of you that have no idea what I am talking about – that is about 100 degrees F. Needless to say we were a little tired, sun burnt and dehydrated when we arrived at the destination.

    The final day came and we would have a much shorter day on our hands – we were looking at a short 95 miles to finish off the 4 day trip. In order to beat the heat, we left Enderby fairly early. From Enderby we would go through Vernon, Kelowna and finally reach our final destination of Penticton. Roch continued his position at the front of the pack for most of the day. When he would get tired we would alternate through – 1 mile for Homer and me – 2 miles for Roch (seems fair to me). Of course along the entire ride, I made sure that I took advantage of all the sprint points I could get – sitting on all day, and then sprinting past Roch whenever I saw a city limits sign. Most of the time he had no idea that Homer and I were scheming behind him, until I would go by to nab the points. So all in all, I think that I won the Green Jersey (with Homer’s help), but Roch definitely won the YELLOW and the Polka Dot Jersey.

    It was an amazing trip – one which I would suggest to anyone that wants to do a fun bike trip. The great thing was not only the company or the scenery, but the fact that we had no set time or pace that we were trying to ride – when we were tired we went slower, when we were feeling good, the pace picked up a bit.