Archive for the ‘bike’ Category

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a brief history of me and bikes

July 4, 2011

My relationship with bikes started a long time ago. My childhood tricycle collection was the envy of all our neighbourhood friends long after we’d taken to bicycling. That may explain why my transition to 2 wheels came sort of late but it was done without training wheels.

In Junior High I finally got a “real” bike for my birthday (a black and pink Norco bush pilot ladies) and started making the 8.5 km uphill ride to school because it was so much more fun than riding the bus. There were also some pretty good dirt bike trails my guys friends and I used to ride on the other side of the tracks. By high school my Norco was too small but it took until university before I upgraded to my most used bike thus far – my Specialized Rockhopper A1 Comp FS.

It was the first bike I paid for myself and I bought it from the LBS where a high school friend worked. My parents couldn’t understand how I could part with $1500 for a bike or what the appeal of clipless pedals was but I’m so glad I followed M’s advice and bought the best bike I could afford. It has stood the test of time and has taken me beyond commuting to cycle camping, mountain bike racing, and more recently road riding with slick tires.


I should mention that I had a brief stint with another bike too – a Dahon folding bike that I mentioned here. It was good for it’s initial purpose (bike/bus commuting from the suburbs) but is utterly useless now that we live at the top of a hill.

Back in February I really started to get itchy about finding another bike. You see the Dahon had shown me how quickly and easily I could really move on pavement and my rockhopper just wasn’t up to the task. It was built for dirt after all. In addition to speed I was also looking for a more comfortable ride and an excuse to leave my knobbies on the rockhopper. Thus began my renewed search.

I scoped out bike shop after bike shop but I kept hearing the same thing… pick the bike you like and we’ll make it fit. That approach had been used to make the rockhopper suit me better as my body changed but with comfort in one place came annoying things like twitchy handling and aches and pains in new places. There was no way I was going to go that route again. I also knew that I wanted a mixte and the option to haul stuff. The choices are slim and not at all tailored to short in the arm/long in the leg me.

Just as I was about to give up my quest for yet another year I came across this: the Sweetpea JJ Fantastic. I was at my in-laws place and there was no getting me off their computer that night. I looked at the fully custom options and while the 3 year waiting list was a bit much I was seriously considering taking the leap. This woman understood just what I was looking for. Then I learned that the mixte Sweetpea A-Line was customizable and advertised the dual ability to haul stuff and haul ass. Plus my favourite cut of skirt had the same name. Could this be true?

Before I’d even spoken with Natalie, I’d found a Serotta bike fitter in the city and had my appointment. That was easily some of the best $250 I’ve ever spent. New bike or not, the tips and tricks my fitter gave me were the best cycle coaching I’d ever received. That, and after the appointment I was also equipped with new knowledge of what kind of bike geometry to look for. Sweet!

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Bikey, bikey

June 28, 2011

School is now over and my focus has shifted. This summer I’m all about cycling! Not that I won’t be doing prep or the usual hiking and climbing, but cycling is at the top of my list.

Back in my university days I loved to ride and even after breaking my wrist, it was hard to keep me off the trails. Back then, mountain biking was the only thing for me and I even raced for a season. It was such an adrenaline rush and so Much FUN!

As I got more serious about cycling I started thinking about getting a road bike so I could train more. I had such a hard time finding anything that would fit and then a whole bunch of other things changed. I moved around, was introduced to new sports and re-introduced to backpacking, climbing and hockey 5 nights per week. And I started breaking bones…

Mountain biking was still part of my regular routine (albeit at a lighter pace) until 6 years ago when my crunched up wrist stopped being able to handle my aggressive position on the mountain bike. It was a painful number of years before I could even handle a couple of km’s of riding. Thankfully those days are over and for the past 2 summers and this spring I’ve been steadily increasing my riding. I’ve also had some help to make my trusty old mountain bike fit better and equipped it with slicks.

It’s been so much fun to be able to get away from school stuff and ride with new friends nearly every week. Bring on summer!

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time. to. enjoy. life.

March 25, 2011

There’s been a lot to reflect on over these past few weeks but getting outside, spending time with Kevin and making progress on some of my projects has been so satisfying.

Kevin and I have spent our weekends together and sharing activities ranging from creating a Nanaimo Bar facsimile that’s free of eggs and dairy to living outside on the beach to bike shopping. Oh, and so many heartfelt conversations too. It’s been such good medicine for my soul!

Here are a few of the highlights in picture form.

doll homework

our attempt at dairy and gluten free Nanaimo Bars

First camping trip of the season.  'Twas beautiful!

Bunnies on the run!

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reflecting on 09 and pondering 2010

January 3, 2010

New Year’s resolutions have never been my thing but Heather and Granola Girl have captured me with their reflections on 2009 and their hopes for the year ahead. I always thought September was more my time of year but suddenly I’m in the mood to take a look backwards and forwards.  There were some significant changes in 2009 and so many yet to be defined in 2010.

sewing on the beach

In 2009 I took care of a few items on my bucket list:
– learned how to use the pottery wheel (it was so good to use my bowls when I was home for Christmas!)
– starting this blog
– training for triathlon
– trying dragon boating
– going to Glacier National Park in Montana
– dipping candles
– visiting New England
– going back to school for teacher training
– getting involved in the (Vancouver) Olympics – I dreamed of volunteering at the games but the logistics didn’t work out and carrying the torch was closer than I ever imagined I’d get

Olympic toch relay

Plans are already in place for a few more items to come off the list in 2010:
– attending the Olympics (I still regret that I didn’t go to Sidney where I knew 10 people who were participating!)
– finishing teacher training
– starting a new career
– taking a cross Canada road trip

tenting on Maui

There are some things I’m really proud of from last year but need to go a step further with this year so I can truly say I love this life!

Getting fit. Getting into a cycling and swimming routine last year was great but it took a lot of work for me to get to the point where I enjoyed it (and these were both sports I loved when I was in public school and university). Then I lost momentum when I spent half of the summer without my bike and away from a pool. I’m not sure that triathlon competition will fit into the plans this year but I need to get back on the fit routine so I can enjoy hiking, photography, and whatever 2010 has in store for us. I think the key here is to remind myself of why I want to get fit and starting my day with exercise.

Glacier NP - view from the E!

A decade or so ago I went so far as to run a few nights a week so I could develop the endurance to hike longer and higher. If I could handle that, surely I can handle a few pilates, swimming and yoga sessions a week now!

artful attempt at shore protection

Finding rhythm. I know that I need to get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and do more with my day but I can’t believe how hard it is to do when my days aren’t jam packed with activities outside of the house or something to proove in a competition. I’m hopeful that regular glimpes at this post will help keep me on my game but I’m also going to need to find a way to limit my time on-line. The rhythm I’m still struggling to find needs to squeeze my computer time out but make space for fitness, socializing, sleep and healthy eating so I can be ready for a summer of outdoor exploration.

silhouette at big rock

Doing what I love. Taking leave from the career I felt was destroying my soul was a big move last year but finishing my training and starting afresh are going to be big too. There are still a lot of questions about where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing seven months from now and beyond but the most critical thing for me is it to find what I love no matter what situation we end up in. That means being open to whatever our future holds and rediscovering the outdoor activities we enjoy but haven’t done much of lately. I also need to be open to enjoying new things and doing what it takes to love the work I’m doing.

Kev on the slackline

Having goals are a big help and so this year, I resolve to get outside, get to bed early, get fit and love life. Have a great 2010!

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hello and goodbye

August 17, 2009

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This past weekend Kevin and I made another trip to the mountains – our last one for the summer:(

Again we took a rather passive approach to planning for our weekend but we had one twist – we needed to transport my sister, a friend and their bikes between mountain towns on Saturday evening.  That limited our hiking options somewhat but with Kevin’s knee acting up on our last trip it was just fine.  We had looked at a few options for where to hike but when we drove by Bow Lake we decided to dismiss our other “plans” and hike up to the waterfall instead.  (We’d viewed the lake, falls and glacier while atop Cirque Peak a few years earlier and many folks recommended taking a walk up to the falls.)

k and falls

The hike was alright… not too exciting, but that is the way I usually feel about valley hikes in the mountains.  The views just aren’t as nice as from above.  Despite my slow pace, I still really enjoy the ups that come from working my way up to a ridge.  The terrain closer to the falls was certainly more enjoyable than the roots and puddles near the beginning but time in the mountains is time in the mountains so I’m not really complaining.

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Our timing was perfect to go meet up the cyclists at the appointed hour but only a few minutes into our drive we found them.  Silly me thought that pulling into the next pull out (in the bottom of a dip) would be mean so we drove a bit further to one that wasn’t immediately followed by an uphill.  Apparently the dip near where we saw them was nothing.  I can believe it!

We fed them and chatted and then we were all on our way.  The cyclists arrived shortly after.  There was much conversation on the drive back to Jasper and now I feel almost as though I’ve ridden that highway myself!

e and bikes

After dropping the girls off we headed out to find a place to camp and wound up at the overflow again.  There was much more room this time but sadly, there were generators running most of the night.  I just don’t get how people think that it’s alright to do that.

On Sunday morning we went into town to start our lazy morning and at the appointed hour met up with Granola Girl for the first time.  We had a wonderfully leisure afternoon at the lake where we learned we have even more in common than we had originally thought. Unfortunately we didn’t take any photos of our visit. We did have fun though and I look forward to spening more time with her and her family.

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tri training

June 29, 2009

Last week I did my first triathlon!  Nothing official but a good way to finish off the training program I was in  and it was so nice to get a gauge for what a real race is like without forking over nearly $100.  It was a good deal shorter than a real sprint triathlon (we did 750m swim/12 km bike / 3km run instead of 750/20/5).

I walked nearly the entire last leg since I haven’t trained for it at all and the swim took me by surprise.  I swam it rather than kicking like I do in most of our workouts and I had no idea how hard it would be to get out of the pool.  I was caught completely off guard by the wobbles and diziness and my transition was painfully slow.  It was a good bike ride (I used my mountain bike with slicks and it was still so much slower than my dahon would have been).  The “run” that I walked was okay.  I always missed our running sessions by being at play group and with my knee injury I never quite had the motivation (or the time) to run.  Since I haven’t been able to find a cheap enough luggage bag I’ve opted to just pack my running gear so I can work on it while out east.   If I’m lucky I’ll find a pool and do a bit of swimming too.  If all goes well I’ll be in shape for a real sprint tri soon after I get home.  I can’t believe I’m going to be away for nearly 4 weeks!

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nineteen days

June 12, 2009

… well now it’s only 18 days until I leave for my summer Waldorf intensive.   Yesterday a kindred spirit shared her countdown – she’s going to California for her training – and we both leave on the same day.  Nineteen is my favourite number  and I hadn’t even realized my departure was getting that close.

I like adventure, especially when it comes in the form of budget-wise, multi-modal, multi-destination travel.  As a result I’ll get a few days with my extended family out east, two airplane rides, a bus ride and a train ride.  If I can find a good and cheap luggage bag I’ll also take my foldy bike and use it and my feet to get around at my destination.  Have you seen my bike?  It’s so cool!

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Another reason for excitement is that the decision of where to go finally came to me yesterday.  Unless something goes utterly wrong between now and then I’ll be off to Ontario in the fall!

I’m running out of time so I really must get to work on that dress.  Have a great weekend!

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priorities

May 5, 2009

Wow, I’ve become quite the inactive blogger lately!  I hardly noticed how quickly the time had passed until I looked at the date of my last post.  Oops.  And I still have some Maui info to get to.  Today though I wanted to write a bit about what I’m focusing on these days – making time for the things that are important for me.  The net result has been less time on the computer but with the recent arrival of spring I hardly think it’s a bad thing!

Triathlon Training. For a few months now I’ve been dedicated to getting out for my triathlon training sessions (except when injury and work out of town have gotten in the way).  My biking and swimming are progressing well but running is a different story… I haven’t done one since right before I hurt my knees and I’m a little frightened of trying now since my knees still get ouchy when I walk for very long.  There’s no way I want to give up on this important piece to regaining my physical health so for the forseable future,  Tuesday and Thursday evenings will continue to be training.  I’m hoping to add some weekend rides outside too!

Getting Adequate Sleep. I don’t know why this is so darned hard to do!  I used to go to bed early and get up early but that seems like so long ago.  One thing that has really has helped is “putting my computer to bed” at 9pm.  It’s been a hard one to stick to but I feel so much better today after going to bed at 9:30 last night!

Preparing Healthy Food.  The last two days have been exceptions where we’ve eaten at other peoples houses but generally we’re taking more time to plan healthy meals, reduce the need for trips to the store and making our own nibblies.  This hasn’t been as big of a change as I thought it would be and I’m so much happier eating my own crackers and tortillas like in my starving student days.

I’m also planting another veggie garden and at lunch today I figured out what is going where.  Now to get some more compost and plant those seeds!

Learning More about Waldorf. I’ve been helping with a playgroup on the weekends since February and in March I started a distance course on the spiritual science of things.  I’m loving that I’m constantly learning but I’m still struggling to make time for all the readings I know I should be doing.   I’ve also started painting or drawing once per week.  My time in the classroom is making me feel more confident about the decision I need to make about school next year and the anthroposophy studies are helping me sweep out the cobwebs that collected during the 5+ years that I decided to stop paying attention to my gut.  Both are adding good doses of optimism for each day and the years ahead.

Maintaining Relationships. Sometimes life can seem so busy it’s hard to make time for getting together for friendship and shared interests.  This is the first thing I “dropped” when I started doing school things earlier this year but I’m making sure it’s a little higher up the pecking order now.  A good friend and her son came to visit this past weekend, K and I celebrated birthdays  with my sister yesterday and in 2 weeks we’re going to see my Sasquatch relatives.  And hopefully M and I will be able to get together this week or next for some crafting.  I find social interaction can really energize me so I need to make time for this… it helps me get some of the other things done too!  The healthy food and early to bed part are also working wonders for my relationship with Kevin;)

Finding Time for “Me”. This really overlaps with everything else but it also means making time for some of the things I love which I haven’t yet mentioned, especially textile crafts.  I’ve barely done any sewing in the past year but in this last month I’ve done two things, both which required binding.  I’m not sure why I would go for things like that since sew on binding is a pain in the arse!  Hiking and camping fit here too.

Getting organized.  With my sister-in-laws finally moving out on their own we’ve had the opportunity to downsize our collection of stuff a bit.  It’s always nice to be able to help others out with the stuff we don’t need and since we’re planning for a move and eventually a tiny house now seems like as good a time as ever to get rid of stuff we don’t need.  It’s been so nice to have such eager recepients and soon we’ll be making donations to the local Sally Ann and freecycle too.

So that in a nutshell is how I’m spending my time these days.   More and more of it is outside too.  Yay!

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fit fun

March 1, 2009

I’m finally getting back on track with my training.  It turns out that combo of overdoing it in workout and then walking 5+ km on concrete in studded boots resulted in ouched MCL’s.

My sister had the same kind of injury a decade or so ago and I remember it took her a long time to recover.  On the positive side, her determination to get better lead her to triathlon and she’s the most fit she’s ever been now.  I can handle that!

I’m doing my stretches and working at getting stronger on the bike.  Intensity doesn’t seem to be a problem but my knees aren’t quite stable enough for being out of the saddle but at least they don’t hurt all the time now.  And I’ve been doing pushups on the handlebars when everyone else is standing so at least I’m getting a variety.  I think it’s helping my breast stroke pull too actually.  I should probably hold off a while before adding the breast stroke kick but it’s all good.

Today was my first day back on the wall and while there’s no proof I thought I’d share this photo of me introducing a little man to the wall.  I’m sure M will post some of the true action shots later too.03-fun-fit