Despite a last minute date change there was an impressive turn out of tri club kits and a few notable extras hoping to prove that multidiscipline athletes have too much extra muscle to properly climb a mountain.
After waiting around for the stragglers the peleton quickly maintained speed allowing the riders to converse in brash tones about the challenge that lay ahead. It soon became apparent which of the riders where along for only the first section of the climb up Cypress as they pushed the pace lengthening the pack out. A mere 5km in as Kory discussed the frequency of flats in Vancouver Elliot Holtham decided to punctuate this thought by allowing the road to tear appart his tire. In a show of testosterone / chivalry several of the group volunteered to stay behind and help pull Elliot back up to the group when the flat had been fixed.
An hour and a half down and the lead group arrived at the the horse shoe bay community centre puzzling over the location of the location of the chase pack. It was not long however before they emerged brimming with excuses and tales of 'hammering it to catch up.' Determined to postpone the days trials for as long as possible the great attention was paid to cliff bar bandoliers and several new markings on Nathaniel's kit. However this lollygagging did not please the giant and boisterous calls soon lured the rest of the group begrudgingly back into the saddle.
The first climb was a mixed affair with several of the athlete's out only to test their legs against the first climb they hammered up the hill leaving those with less guts and more forethought in their wake. It soon became apparent that survival was going to be the theme of the day with temperatures in the mid to high 20's and barely a headwind to facilitate evaporative cooling. Employing the classic survival strategy of finding strength in numbers the girls collated and made swift work of the days first climb. With one mountain already conquered spirits where high, and the growing pain was suppressed with Winstorm's supply of gummie treats. Soon it was time to bid farewell to the first summit as well as a few fellow riders as the days adventures continued.
Grouse proved to be little challenge to the remaining summit hardened warriors and in spite of a few muttered complaints about grade the stop over was only long enough to top up a few water bottles. One thing though weighed heavily on the minds of all those present, the final climb! This imminent threat was greatly accentuated by the already 4 hours ~100km of riding that each of the days participants had already endured to get to where they were. Talk prior to the event had revolved around treating the final climb up Seymour as a race; a quick around the milling riders was enough to realize that the days millage had already broken much of the competitive spirit of the event.
Making swift work of the flat leading up to Seymour the peleton regrouped for the final ascent of the day. While many of the men sat around comparing thigh diameter Kim and Triple Tpartner Victoria Gilbert took off up the mountain. Fearing for the sake of their man cards the remaining riders stuffed down the last of their pre-climb nutrition and waddled bow legs back to their bikes. Lactic saturated thigh groaned under the induced strain as the group soon shredded apart riders struggling to find an ever lower chain ring. Patrick and Elliot soon caught up and passed the pair ferociously battling their way towards the summit. Shortly behind them Eric Suess pushed himself to keep up, his TT bike proving to be less advantageous on a 13% incline. Midway up the mountain athlete's nearing the end of the Knee Knackering -NSTRafforded the riders a chance to slow down and cheer. Perhaps this would be a good run segment to add on to next years triple crown? Behind the leaders Kory Seder charged past Scott and Jared humming the 'we will be champions' tune under his breath. Unfortunately this burst of enthusiasm would cost him dearly as his might body succumbed to the elements ever so slowly Scott began to reel him in snatching Kory's man card as he passed.
Shortly behind Celeste Pakstas demonstrated why she had won UBC TC's most improved cyclist award by catching up to her erstwhile companions Kim and Victoria. Recognizing once again the safety in numbers strategy the remaining riders where happy to suck wheel together pausing only for a brief rest period to offer a tube and group moral support for Matt Reeve and his 2nd flat tire. In the end all those who had started the climb managed to reach the summit, a special commendation to Kim Seder for back tracking to pull Winstorm up the last stretch using switchbacks to make up ground. Also a big shout out to the entrepreneur who had opened a hotdog stand in the parking lot and was soon inundated with refueling requests.
The ride home was a blur as riders gradually peeled away towards their respective origins; sore perhaps, but elated by what they had accomplished over the preceding hours. I think it's fair to tack in an Inaugural to UBC TC Triple Crown because next years going to be even bigger and better!
Congratulations to the 2010 UBC Triathlon club Triple Crown Finishers:
9 flat tires (3 courtesy of Matt Reeve)
~3400m of elevation gain
8 Hotdogs consumed