Saturday, August 30, 2014

Epic Camp Day 12: Lake Louise to Calgary - The Final Day

I conceded the yellow jersey this morning.  Actually, I conceded it sometime last night.  My legs hurt so much that I couldn't bend them to curl up into a ball, so I decided that enough was enough.  It wasn't worth risking my chances of doing well in Tahoe in three weeks.  I feel bad because Adam B got up at 4:30am to do the 7x1k run reps, another 10k run, and a 60k bike to pull ahead all before the official 200k bike.  That's HUGE.  I seriously can't touch that.  Adam B: You are a hardcore badass well-deserving of the yellow jersey.  Congrats.
So instead I got up at 6:15 to make the 6:45 van ride up to Lake Louise.  We stopped at the lake to take pictures just as we headed out on our tea house run.  It's hard to describe how beautiful it was.  I've been waiting FOREVER to take a picture standing in front of the lake.  You see pictures of it all over the internet, but today was my day.  I was happy that it was pretty calm and clear too, and it was definitely worth it.
After some solid photography, we headed up the trail towards the tea house.  The trail was much like the one yesterday with nice dirt and straight uphill.  And of course ridiculously beautiful.  Just like yesterday, it twas a mixture of running and walking (mostly walking) that is, unless your name is Lou.  I don't know how, but Lou somehow managed to run the entire way up.  It might not have been blazingly fast, but he did it.  The view from the tea house was worth it too.  Definitely one I will not forget for a while.  On the way down, I had some solid man-to-man-to-man time with Lou and Scott.  They gave me a ton of life and racing advice that I won't soon forget.  The rest of the descent was spent chasing after Zach and Petro.  We took the scenic route and ended up getting back way later than expected.
Breakfast was a bit rushed, but we go out on the bikes by 9:30.  My legs were thoroughly crushed into oblivion, so almost immediately the pace seemed difficult.  Newsom said the pace was going to be on from the start, and he wasn't kidding.  We took a side road which paralleled the main highway.  It was nice, but it wasn't as scenic as I was hoping.  The views I saw yesterday from the main highway were definitely better.  The first aid station was just outside Banff, and it was a welcome break.  But as soon as that was over, John promised that the pace would be even higher for the 30k out on the highway.  He wasn't kidding either.  As soon as we got out there, the front pack took off.  I tried to hang with them, but I didn't last long.  As soon as the main group got up to me, they flew past too!  Crap, I missed both groups!  Thankfully Molina was smart enough not to hammer, and he fell off too.  I got on his wheel and hung there until the turn.
I also hung onto his wheel until the aid station at 100k too.  We took another side road, and the shoulder was a death trap for tires.  Another day with plenty of punctures!  After the aid station, we were noticeably exiting the mountains.  The terrain was changing more and more to gently rolling hills, and the weather was getting sunnier and warmer.  Molina and I just kept on motoring along (he obviously leading) all the way to lunch at 150k.  I swear, Molina must be sick of towing me around the past two weeks.  He might as well of had a rope attached from his bike to mine pulling me along.  I spent more time with him than anyone else this entire camp.
Lunch was our typical road lunch, and naturally I tried to eat everything in sight.  The plan was to wait up for everyone and roll into Calgary together.  This worked well for a while, but we got split on the climb just before town.  Eventually we regrouped and made our way to the hotel.  I think we stopped at a thousand stoplights on the way, but we made it.  Once we got to the hotel, things were a little crazy.  People were packing bikes, showering, etc. all the way until dinner.
The Epic Camp closing dinner was great.  The food was good, and many good laughs were shared.  Epic support crew Dave Dwan had an excellent speech, and John Newsom handed out some fancy Epic Camp swag.  Slowly people started trickling out, but it was hard to leave all of the good stories from Molina.  I think the story of Gary's snickers bars will be told for many Epic Camps to come.
My flight is at 11:20 tomorrow, but I'll head down to the lobby much earlier to hang out with people.  Tomorrow I will type up my epilogue too, so stay tuned!

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