Just Be Awesome

I had planned to write about my sore hamstring today and how I’m finally listening to my body and not going for a fun and totally optional ride on the trails at South March Highlands… but now I’m not going to bore you with these mundane details. (Hmm, suppose in a way I still managed to write about what I wasn’t going to write about…)

Instead I just want you to watch this video. I’m not a big video watcher but I knew this one would be worth watching since Marc suggested I watch it. Anyway, watch it. Listen to the kid. Take the road less traveled. Do something awesome today, tomorrow and the next day.

Shaking up 2015

This past cyclocross season I rediscovered why I love racing my bike so much. I thought my racing days were well behind me… but thanks to the Eastern Ontario Cyclocross series and a pretty fantastic group of people who come out every weekend to setup, race, and tear-down the courses – I’m hooked again.

When Marc and I traveled to Winnipeg for the 2014 Canadian Cyclocross National Championships, I watched the masters women’s race – I wanted to be out there. I wished I had a bike with me so I could ride and race the course.

The seed was planted and it kept on growing. I spent many hours ruminating racing again. I realized I was looking forward to racing every Sunday and really hated missing out on a race. I was analyzing my races in the car rides home and finding myself spending more and more time on my bike.

I decided that I wanted to really race again. So I made a deal with Marc – if I committed to riding the trainer three times a week starting in November and through-out the winter – he would give me some cyclocross training guidance. This was just the deal I needed to help me find that extra motivation to get up at 5 a.m and pedal away to nowhere in the basement (thank goodness for Netflix).

Flash forward to late December and a rather snowy and frosty run in the woods… My mind wandered towards racing and training. I made a decision. A big and smart decision. I got home, talked to Marc and fired off an email to my old coach and mentor Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching…

A couple more emails, a Skype chat, a visit with my gastro doctor and guess what? I’m a Bell Lap Coaching client again! This week I’ll be starting on a real structured and focused training plan that will see me lining up for the 2015 season fit and ready. I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve got a few goals for the season that will help me stay focussed and determined when the rough days on the bike show up. I feel super lucky that Steve has agreed to take me on again. With his coaching, advice and encouragement he and I did some pretty fun stuff a few years ago. Looking forward to more fun stuff!

A Bit of This and a Bunch of That

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I guess it’s because I really haven’t been up to much that is post-worthy. But then again, who am I to judge…

So what has happened since the last time I posted? Really not too much. Life was pretty quiet. Quiet good. Marc as you likely know was in Belgium racing cyclo-cross for four weeks so it was just me and the old cat here hanging out. I may have had a few too many deep conversations with Murphy the cat but he seems to have weathered these interludes okay (being deaf helps…).

I’ve been riding the trainer. Yep, back on that trainer even though I swore I’d never ride it again… Well, guess what – I’m enjoying it. I find it relaxing and very satisfying. Plus I get to pedal my way through television shows and movies (thank you Netflix) that I wouldn’t otherwise watch. With an extra bonus of rediscovering my leg muscles and that deep feeling of satisfaction from deciding to do something and then actually doing it.

I’ve been running as well. Sticking to my three days-a-week routine. Just enough to keep the fitness level there and not too much that I’m going to end up on the slippery injury slope again. There just really isn’t anything quite like running in the woods.

I’ve also been yogaing (is this a word?). Really happy I’m back into my yoga practice again. The community at my area yoga studio (Mountaingoat Yoga) is very welcoming and is not caught-up in wearing the latest Lulus or being super bendy. I’m going on a yoga retreat in March with my mom so this dedicated practice now will be very helpful when we’re doing yoga two – three times a day for six days… Mexico in March will be a nice treat.

Away from the sweaty stuff I’ve also been writing, reading, chillaxing and making some plans and goals. Fingers crossed everything comes together. And that’s about it.

Marc is home so this is most excellent.

Lucky

Sometimes it’s super easy to take for granted what we have. But, last week my yoga teacher said some word similar to this that really hit home with me: “Remember we live in a safe country. Our country is not under attack. We have food in our grocery stores. It’s safe to walk the streets. We are living in peace.”. This is something that I think it is important to remember.

I just returned from a few days away. To sum up – I’m pretty lucky. Lucky to have had the childhood and adulthood that I have. It’s too easy to forget that not everyone has it this good.

Here’s some extra cute goodness for you to enjoy:

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at Gregory's.7568

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I certainly hope you’re feeling as lucky as I am.

Snow Riding

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So this has happened twice so far. Both times in completely different conditions.

Last week, I met up with a great gang of guys who let me tag along as they plowed through deep snow and powder while I bumbled along behind. Let’s just say, it was a lot of fun. I had a couple of spills – one off of a bridge that was less than awesome (there are still rocks under that snow…) – but nothing major. I rode for a little over two hours last week and was completely exhausted at the end. Did I mention how much fun it was?

I got out again today and the conditions were very different from last weekend. The trails are firmly packed now with some crazy patches of icy and all levels of slipperiness. But thanks to some great advice from Rob K. right before my ride today I managed the ice okayish. With a focus on not using the front brake, the ice wasn’t as crazy as it could have been. Admittedly I was likely much more cautious than your average rider but I’ll get braver as I get more rides in. Only one spill today on Pete’s Wicked Trail – no idea what caused it but all of a sudden I was doing the slo-mo fall off the bike and trail down a steepish bank and landing on either a larger rock or a sturdy branch. Apart from this, the ride was most excellent. Definitely not as much hard work as last week – I felt like the riding was very similar to riding on the road or on a hard packed dirt trail.

With two rides in, I’m enjoying this winter biking. I’m not sure if I’ll want to go out when it’s actually cold… But we’ll see. The 29er seems to be working fine for me. The fat bike is tempting, but it’s hard to justify when I have perfectly good mountain bike that I can ride. Now I need to experiment a bit with tire pressure – I’m sure I was running a bit too much today but I am concerned about flatting. I have tubeless rims but I’m not set up for tubeless – maybe this is the way to go?

All of my warm and durable cycling clothing that I bought in Belgium over the years is keeping me nice and warm. Thanks goodness for the Sealskin socks and gloves and my large assortment of booties.

Yep, so I’m liking this winter biking. Did I say that already? I also like that it’s close to my house – a 20 minute drive and I’m at the trails. I’m wondering what it would be like behind the Nepean Sportsplex – might check that out over the Christmas/New Year’s vacation.

Huge thanks to the Rob, Jay, David, and Andrew for encouraging me to get out.

If you’re looking for something fun to do this winter and you have a mountain bike – I suggest you give this a try. There really is nothing like being in the woods protected from the wind with sun shining down, riding along and just enjoying the moment.

So Long As It’s Fun

Getting ready for fun in NIel, Belgium

Getting ready for fun in NIel, Belgium

We’re in the last clutches of 2014 and for many cyclists, thoughts have already drifted to 2015. Goals are being set. Preliminary race calendars are being reviewed. The 2014 season is being analyzed (perhaps over-analyzed). Team rosters are coming together.

It’s easy to get caught up in the anticipation of a new racing season – even when it’s still December 2014. Heck, I’m caught up in it. I started mumbling to Marc in November about my plans for 2015… And yes, if you follow me on Strava you’ll see that I’m riding more now than I did all last spring and summer.

I’m riding the trainer in the basement because I enjoy it. There was a time when I said I would never ride the trainer again – this was at the end of my racing career and I was a bit burnt out from all things bikes. I swore I was done with the trainer and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be riding the trainer for hours in the basement.

Well, now I do. Because I enjoy it. Because I can see that it is getting me somewhere. I can feel my legs getting stronger. I can see that I’m slowly building up some fitness. I have a sense of accomplishment afterwards. But most of it all, I enjoy. I guess you could say that it is fun.

This is my new approach for 2015. So long as it’s fun – I’ll do it. I thought I was doing this the last couple years, but really I wasn’t. I was doing things because it seemed like this is what I did now that I wasn’t racing anymore. This is only sustainable for so long. Without fun there really isn’t much point. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing: riding, running, skiing, swimming, lifting weights, yoga – if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it to your best potential (whatever that potential is, it’s completely up to you) and you just might end up resenting it.

As for my mumbling about 2015… Well, yeah, I want to get back to my previous levels of fitness. I want that feeling back again. But I’m not doing it with an “at all costs” approach.

My fun for the next few days looks like this: hot power yoga, snowy trail run, trainer ride, and a snowy mountain bike ride. Think about your next few days and make sure you think fun when you think of what you’re doing. Fun is good.