Rollercoaster of a day today. Before coming out here I was pretty sure if I embraced the full Epic experience and pushed myself I’d get the full gamut of emotions for my money. Today was proof of that. My mojo was up and down like a tart’s drawers. I felt a lot better than yesterday – which to be honest isn’t really saying much. Again after being toast I had a full night’s sleep. Most intense 9days of my life and 2 decent sleeps – this is from someone who until now NEVER has a problem nodding off.
The day started with a ride to the lake. A little cold as it was early, we were at altitude and the weather isn’t quite so great as it had been – we had a storm overnight. FFS, no we didn’t – it rained. I seriously need to de-Amercanise my vocabulary before I fly back to London, England! Anyhow this didn’t augur well for the likely temperature of the lake. There wasn’t a whole bunch of enthusiasm as we suited up and in something that I’m sure wasn’t a coincidence the first two in the water were the girls. Being girls they just got on with it and didn’t make a fuss, unlike the bunch of ‘girls’ about to get in. When Lord Molina said it was ‘a little fresh’ I knew what to expect. I wasn’t disappointed – well I was actually, cos I hate the cold. Even the vista (see above) didn’t really hold any comfort today. I never caught the pack and just swum around on my own getting colder and thinking it was probably just me. Not fun. Was mighty relieved when the pack got to the pontoon and got out. I was cold. Really cold. Teeth-chatteringly cold. It took an age to get back in my bike gear and I knew that the descent back to the hotel wouldn’t make me a lot warmer. Gary and I happened across Louis as we mounted our bikes. We mockingly (well we are from the UK) enquired as to how it was ‘rocking the sleeveless’ as he has a wettie with no sleeves. His response had us laughing uncontrollably just from the deadpan delivery and lack of eye contact that made it quite clear he hadn’t had a great time: ‘You try cutting the fckn arms off your suit and see how you go’.
Got back and it was time for a shorter ride with a KOM. It was supposed to be two KOM’s but one of the passes was closed. It was only 10k in and I was still unsure how I’d recovered from hitting the buffers yesterday. I certainly felt better but, as above, that wasn’t a big ask. Then the funniest thing I’ve seen this camp unfolded before my eyes. The Terminator was in rolling back the years mode so he jumps off the front on the lower slopes. He’s got about 30-40m on Zac and Adam the Younger, Petro, Shannon and myself… when he shoots straight past the clearly signed turn to the top. Not even on the climb proper and he’s heading to Sunwapta to get first dibs on the rooms. Funny as. It all happened so quick and he was rocking the phones so there was no chance of calling him back. Gold. Onto the climb and it seemed a little more pedestrian at the bottom. A lot of people had run a long way yesterday – it showed. So when Zac made his move I just carried on doing my thing a couple of notches down from full retard. The climb was 13k or so, so it was going to be the best part of an hour. No prizes for getting to halfway first. I wasn’t looking back and just crunching away. Shannon came through a few times for a turn but I wasn’t sure if anyone else was there. No Adam the Younger or Petro? I think I probably annoyed the heck out of Shannon as every time she went to the front I re-passed her pretty soon. I was just doing my thing, working hard when I could and setting my own tempo. Three quarters of the way up and she says ‘We’ve got a massive gap’ – so there really was no Adam the Younger or Petro. Cool. Got a little tired towards the end and the last bit had probably the steepest pitch of all. Judging by this photo I took at the top I’d worked pretty hard to come in second behind the Polka Dot Jersey.
As I rounded the last corner I was thinking to myself ‘So this is Epic Camp where there are a lot of quality athletes and you’re gonna take second in a KOM?’ – still doesn’t seem right typing it. Anyway that’s what happened – although maybe Shannon was being polite. Then I turned to see who was next and bugger me sideways with a fishknife if it wasn’t 2013 IMUK AG Champion David ‘GoPro’ Rowe. Where the fck did that come from? He’s been quite open and consistent about his complete-only ambitions out here and then he lights it up on the climb this far in. Awesome. As if that wasn’t enough then Gary storms in in 7th just behind the Freight Train after not showing a lot of form on the climbs out here. Wow. 3 of the first 7 all Buccaneers. I’m expecting a call from Jackoatbars some time soon… they better have a pretty big chequebook if they want a slice of the action. Top swashbuckling team – esp as that’s 3/5s of the entire squad! I think most people were pretty happy that the second KOM was flagged as it was only a few km away from the first and that would have been a pretty big start to the day this late in the camp.
The call was made by Zac Attack and Petro that they would ride the other climb (easy) anyway and Gary and I jumped at the chance to hang out with a couple of Epic stalwarts and two very nice guys to spend some time with. We rolled (or cycled when I get home) pretty easy and it was a lovely climb. Beautiful tarmac and possibly the single most amazing view of the camp so far – and that IS saying something. When Petro’s in the hood then you’re stopping. The guy is all over the social media side. Instasnap and Chatgram – all that crazy shit. He told us the other day he has a lot of 16 year old female followers but I think it’s legit as he claims it’s to do with his daughter. Given I was still in yellow, Zac has the polka pretty much sewn up and King Petro is in red (for the more mature gentlemen) then it was great to have Gary along as a photographer for the day. In all seriousness it’s a shame Gary’s not in the photo below as it’s really one I’ll cherish for a very long time. Not quite as good as KFC in a car park but still pretty close to living the dream.
The ride was short before the 2nd KOM was cut so as we didn’t have a lot else to do we decided to tack on. First things first and we headed back to Jasper (straight past the Colonel’s place) and into a cafe for a spot of lunch. Then Gary and I spent an afternoon doing a lot more blowing out of arses than we did pulling on the front. When the Silky Smooth Express and the Freight Train are up front it’s head down, arse up and try and hold the wheel. I wasn’t feeling too flash after lunch and then the heavens opened to make me even happier. It was pretty bleak for a while and I was wetter than an otter’s pocket. Pretty low but with the sacrifices others (at home) have made and Shopping Cart Guy (remember him?) on my mind I decided it could have been a whole lot worse. It didn’t last that long and I’ve certainly endured a lot worse in a lot worse surroundings for a lot longer at home. Then the recce twins saw the turn for the lake we’re swimming in tomorrow and decided to go do what their name suggests. Gary and I meandered to the accommodation commenting on what a thoroughly awesome afternoon’s entertainment it had been – compared to a lot of the rides where we’ve inevitably been on the highway or hammering it along in a pace line, it was nice to get in a little social riding when the Yanks weren’t driving the train. All in 60km tacked on and by the end I was feeling pretty good again…
…until we had to go for a run just as it started raining. It wasn’t the worst run I’ve had but it was a country mile from the top 10. Trail run needing quite a lot of concentration to avoid the roots and the stones. Gary was feeling his bullish best and declared ‘You know what I might just run 10k out and 10k back.’ and with that he proved how shit men are at multitasking, hit a root and did a full on faceplant. That put paid to the plans for the extra tack on we jogged back slowly just in time for dinner where Scott was on fine form telling stories and generally hamming up the fact he missed the turn for the KOM – which of course in MolinaWorld he would’ve won with quite a bit to spare. The more time you spend with him the more time you want to spend with him. Pretty much the exact opposite of me ;o)
So another day in paradise and I’m still not thinking about the end. If a week is a long time in politics three days is an awful long time in lycra!
EPIC MOMENT OF THE DAY – nothing too Epic-esque today in terms of swim, bike or run (although honourable mentions to Gary and David as per the above) but after dinner I lucked out big time. Molina and Mr Mark Pietrofesa holding court and little old me lapping it up. Stories of past camps (many featuring legends such as Bjorn Anderson, the Baylisses, KP, Gordo and Monica), past races, past camp controversies. It was awesome. If it hadn’t been for my public calling me (well the 4 people that read this blog) I’d happily still be sat there but Molina needs to go put a bag back in overnight ready for tomorrow’s 2 KOMS, although I reckon he’d be better off investing in a Garmin after today!! No good pushing 500watts for an hour up the wrong climb!