Then it went downhill. After an easy transition and a good ride to McLean Creek Rd -the first hill- I dropped my gels and had to return to pick them up. Then, after passing the large group that swept by, I suddenly was stopped by the referee who chewed me out for riding on the yellow line. I got a yellow card and a long lecture. At first I had thought the referees had come for the guys in front of me, who had been drafting all along the lake and were riding the hill in a group, but no sir, it was me they wanted. And what for? Just because I had to go wide to avoid traffic on the climb?
Next, coming into Oliver, a guy passed me just as the guy in front swerved on a slight uphill section. This resulted in a spectacular crash that almost took me out too. I actually thought I was going down, but at the last second I managed to avoid the wheel by turning onto the shoulder. Those two guys did not do so well. One flew over the handlebars and the other slid across the roadway for a healthy dose of road rash. I had to stop a few miles further down to report to the penalty tent.
All I had to do at the penalty tent was sign a form and I was free to go. Still, it left an impression. I carefully ascended Richter and did well on the rollers until I hit Cawston, where the extra loop is located. Then my speed started dropping and there wasn't much I could do. On top of it all, I lost one of my elbow pads and so the aero-position was out too. Some said it got really hot for the first time when we hit Cawston. Maybe that is one reason?
I came down Yellow Lake after five and a half hours and there was still a long way to go. 5:29 is my best time for the whole ride. That was three years ago. Now I was 12 miles from T2. Riding through Penticton felt like torture, I had no speed left. It took over 5:51 to finish. Just 5 minutes ahead of Placid.
Unlike Lake Placid, I had no pain in my foot, or no cramps, but I still could not run. My stomach was pretty upset and I felt drained. I had no power. Maybe the heat, or the dehydration, but ultimately just the same: not enough training. I managed to run 3 miles more or less without stopping. After that I "ran" very slowly, stopping often and walking a lot. The first half took nearly 2:30 and the second was only slightly better. I needed several potty breaks as my stomach was quite upset. I also felt like throwing up the whole time. I could not eat and did not want to drink much other than Pepsi with plenty of ice.
The total ordeal lasted 12:22:41, my slowest race ever. But, perhaps even worse, I did not feel good about it. There was no real desire to finish, no drive. In Lake Placid at least I enjoyed my run in some odd way. I felt good about completing it. Here I wanted to stop and on a multi-lap course I probably would have stopped. But I was out by OK Falls and there was no other option.
I knew my time was bad and I did not really care. Call it Ironman overload, but for the first time, I thought about just stopping and going home. This wasn't any fun. It was hot, the air was polluted with smoke that burned my throat, and I knew this was not going to be a performance worth remembering.
All in all, it was perhaps too optimistic to think that I could recover from Placid and make up my training deficit in just four weeks. In the eight weeks prior to this event (and prior to Placid) I exercised about 87 hours. For previous races, I routinely went over 110 hours. The difference is quite significant. Even more so when you look at the types of rides and runs I did. Not enough, and not enough distance either. Maybe better next time ;)