Saturday, June 21, 2008

Setbacks but determined to carry on

I've been away for quite some time. Most of my absence was due to a lovely holiday in England. However, I've suffered a major setback. Whilst walking in the lovely English countryside, I fell and sprained my ankle. Since then I've been working on healing and slowly getting back to the training. However, now I seem to have acquired a killer leg cramp that won't go away. I was going to attempt the training ride today but my leg just won't allow for long stints of riding. I'm quite determined to carry on and really hope that I don't get totally sidelined by injuries (if I can't ride, I'll join the crew so I'll still be going to Montreal with the bike rally)

I hope to have a more upbeat update soon. Stay tuned and keep those pledges coming.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A long awaited update

Apologies for the length of time since my last posting. A lot has happened, training rides, knitting and a new addition to the bike family.

To back up, since the Kennedy Zoo loop, I've been out to Meadowvale, around Pickering and up to Lake Wilcox.

The Medowvale ride is easily the ugliest training ride that we do. Most of the ride is spent in the industrial wilderness of Mississauga. I didn't take any photos of that ride but I do have a photo of me sporting a pair of knitted arm warmers I made. They had their debut on the Meadowvale ride. They're made of sock yarn and are very effective for keeping off the morning chill.
Speaking of debuts, the Meadowvale ride was also the maiden voyage for my new bicycle. It doesn't have a name yet but it's a red and black Devinci which is a Canadian bicycle company.

I realize that the whole blog thing is called Life with Bryn but she's not in the least bit jealous and is quite thrilled with the new sibling. While the new bike's first ride was lovely and warm, last week was threatening rain and as I'm not entirely confident on the slim tires of the road bike, I took Bryn out for the ride around Pickering. So you see she's not forgotten. I'll still use Bryn for getting around Toronto as she's great on potholes and can carry loads with panniers and the trailer.

The new bike is a lot lighter than Bryn and generally takes less effort to move (a good thing when riding 100km or more!).

The new bike was out again this weekend for the ride up to Lake Wilcox. It was 50 km in total and the day was lovely. There was a good headwind in places but it didn't slow me down too much. The worst part of the Lake Wilcox ride is a long and grueling climb up Bayview near Richmond Hill. I had doubts about my ability to make it as I'm still getting used to the gearing on the new bike and was unsure if I could find an easy enough gear to get up the hill. I managed it, it was slow but I puttered along humming a peppy tune. I learned last year that a peppy tune really helps take the mind off of long slow climbs when you just need to move your legs and not think too much. I also find that looking up into the distance doesn't help because all you see is more hill. I'm usually someone who looks well ahead for potential hazards but thankfully the hill was pretty quiet (of car traffic).

There certainly were a lot of us out for this Saturday's training ride. I do occasionally feel sorry for motorists who are anywhere near the beginning of our training rides. I would guess that there were about 60 or 70 (maybe more) of us setting off at about 9am on Saturday. Here are some of us milling around at the start. The break was at Grandma's Bakery and it was certainly a popular spot for cyclists. Our group wasn't the only group stopping for a break. I suspect that the folk who run the bakery are used to hoards of spandex clad customers.

Well I'm off on holiday for a while so I won't have an update again until June. Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kennedy Zoo Loop - 42 km

Last week I totally wimped out. It was cold and rainy and I just couldn't bring myself to go out. I figure I'm allowed one wimp out, that was it... no more. On Sunday I threw a fundraising kick-off party which was good fun. I made some thematic treats.


This week we gathered at Kennedy subway station and there were a lot of us.
Gathering at Kennedy

We started off fairly well staggered but I think that most of the motorists out on Eglinton weren't very happy to see us. I've often thought that motorists don't know what to do with a cyclist (give space, signal your turn...). Then again, there are a number of cyclists who do our cause no favours by ignoring traffic rules. Most of us behaved ourselves and we got on fairly well. I tried to take picture of the pack of us slower folk moving along Eglinton but I don't know if you can see very well.
Look, cyclists in the distance

It's amazing how last week was so cold and this week was so warm. I took my jacket but decided to leave it in the car. I didn't need it at all. I was smart in that I remembered to apply sunscreen. I'm glad I did. I'm certainly more freckled but at least I'm not sunburnt. The route itself was fairly unspectacular and urban. The bit around the Rouge Valley had pretty potential but spring really hasn't progressed very far and everything is still quite brown. I was amazed by how much garbage and litter was hanging around, the Rouge could have done with some community clean up efforts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

First Training Ride - 34 km

Finally a nice spring day! It was a beautiful day for the first training ride. I made it to Finch in good time and was able to tinker with Bryn a bit before setting out. I took her to Cycle Therapy (a fine bike shop) for a pre-ride tune-up. All is well with her but I did have them trim the bar ends so that my hands are now more in line with my shoulders. It was a small change but seems to have made a big difference to my comfort on the bike.

The ride was great, I didn't get lost, made it up most of the hills and am generally encouraged that I'm not in terrible shape. Although my time of just over two hours is nothing to be particularly proud of. My only complaint would be the enormous potholes. This winter was not kind to the roads.

Now I'm going to have some lunch, shower and perhaps take a nap before I dash off to Kingston and Ottawa to visit friends and their new baby.

Some photos...
Getting ready to go

Posing at lovely Finch subway station...what scenery!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snow and biking

The first training ride is rapidly approaching. I've been trying to get myself ready but it is somewhat discouraging to be greeted by scenes such as these.

While the snow has melted somewhat from those snaps I'm still doing all my riding inside on the trainer. Its a great gadget but it's not the same as riding outside. I'm using one of my bike packs to hold the remotes (gotta do something whilst riding) and the phone (because you know it's going to ring the second you're doing something where it's inconvenient to get to the phone).

The first training ride is April 5, so let's hope that it doesn't snow any more.

Monday, February 18, 2008

At it Again!

I'm doing it again!

Last year's experience of training and the ride was amazing but I feel like I need to do it again. I doubt I'll improve my speed or anything very athletic like that but I have this niggling feeling that I'll just be better this time round. If nothing else I'll know how to pack my bins and what to do first at the various camp sites (go for a swim!). That being said, this isn't going to become an annual event for me. Once more and that is it.

I attended the rally's launch party last Wednesday. It was so much fun to see bike rally people again. Granted I didn't stay too long. I'm an introvert and it was kind of intense to be in such a large crowd. I think the excitement and response to the launch party bodes well for the bike rally this year. It's the 10th anniversary, I expect there will be a lot of riders this year.

Well I'd best my training going again, I've been a bit of a sloth this winter, with the exception of far too much shoveling.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One week later...

I've been home a week now. I've ploughed through all my bike rally laundry, gone back to work and life is slowly returning to normal. It has been lovely to catch up with friends who weren't involved in the bike rally and do activities that I had to put off in favour of cycling (like getting a haircut). I do miss the camaraderie of the rally and am starting to itch to get back on Bryn.

On Saturday morning we went out on one of my favourite outings. I hooked up my trailer (no, it doesn't have a name) and we went down to the St. Lawrence Market. On the way, I met two women from the bike rally out for a ride to Port Credit. It was a brief reminder of last week. I'm certainly not the only one missing some good long rides.

A note on the trailer: No, there isn't a child in there. It just looks like there is, which is great because cars give me a lot of space. In fact its completely empty (no seats, or straps). I got it from a company out of Guelph called Wike.

I think I may give this blog a rest, it ended up being a good way to document the bike rally and I don't think I'll mess it up with my more mundane thoughts and experiences. I'll come back to it next year if I decide to do the rally again... next year... humm... enticing thought.