The only trick to signing up for Ironman Canada is that you have to do it in person in Penticton, BC…Doh. 364 days in advance…Double-Doh.
Ahh, fear not though – I am the master of finding excuses to travel. Because I used to live in Seattle, I’m always up for a trip back. Tying a trip to Seattle to visit family, while taking a brief international road trip sounded like the perfect scheme.
Because the hotels in Penticton fill up a year in advance, I decided to head up the morning of the race – thus limiting my car sleeping nights to one. I also had to get in my long workouts on Saturday anyways, so it all kinda worked out. I left little ole Mukilteo, WA around 1PM and wandered over the border at Sumas, WA and through some incredible mountains, ending up in Penticton around 6:30PM. I was concerned it would be raining when I got to Penticton as it rained pretty much up into the last mountain on the drive. But the skies over lake and surrounding area were clear.
I loitered around the finish line area for a while as the clock ticked past 12 hours, took a few token pictures (see above) and then set off working backwards along the run course. I knew that the further out I went the more useful me and my cowbell would be. Oh yeah, you heard that right – MORE COWBELL! And not any little finger sized cowbell, we’re talking a solidly built (from Europe no less, the home of cowbell ringing) noise emitting device.
I walked until I found a quiet portion of the course, thus stationing myself around 3 miles from the finish. At this point, it was about 8PM, so it was a mix of runners and walkers.
For about 2.5 hours I cheered on every single person that went by. I had rules of course. Not everyone could get the cowbell. Realistically – ringing a cowbell for four straight hours would likely make me deaf. The Rules of Cowbell were as follows:
- Thou must by running to receive Cowbell
- Thou must have just visibly stopped running, where Cowbell application could foster one to start running again
- Thou must specifically request “More Cowbell!”, in which case the full Cowbell experience would be awarded to the participant.
I was thrilled to be able to see one person I knew that was racing this year. I had written down a whole bunch of numbers and names, but it’s always difficult to know if they had passed or not. He got the Cowbell treatment too, as well as a short 100 yard run. Congrats on finishing!
Next up, tips for camping overnight in line to try and get an entry spot. Until then, More Cowbell!