This, That, and The Other Thing

It’s been a while. To be honest, I’ve written a lot of blog posts in my head while out riding or just puttering around the house – but none of these made it to the big screen. Sometimes, the words sound so much better and make so much more sense in my head and when I get ready to write, well, I lose my nerve or decide to keep things to myself.

This is normal I suppose for any creative person. Yes, I consider myself to be a creative person. I don’t create anything that you can hold, wear, or put on your mantel (well, there is the odd pottery project – new class starting next week). However, I do take the 26 letters of the alphabet and spend my days putting them together in unique formats.


It’s interesting to think about what I do all day and how this is or isn’t attached to my identity. I’m pretty lucky to revolve in circles where what I do all day doesn’t really impact how people judge me. I’m one of the lucky ones. Most of you don’t have it so easy. When people do ask me what I do, I say “I’m a writer“. This is a vague answer that let’s people make whatever judgement they want about my professional life.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. I guess this is what happens with age or simply just fatigue. I realized that most people are so self-consumed that they really don’t care what I do or don’t do all day. As for me, sure, your career is interesting but I know that for most of you – you’d rather be doing something else – so why bother spending much time weighing the value or not of your profession. (And for the record, every profession, job, career is valuable.)

Instead, I care about you as a person. What you do before and after work. What you’re thinking about when you’re at work. How you kick back and live life.


August is over. This doesn’t mean the end of summer. Just because Starbucks has rolled out it’s dreadful Pumpkin Spice Latte much too early, the Halloween stuff is in the stores, and the shops are peddling sweaters and mittens – doesn’t mean that summer is over.

The last time I checked, we’re living in a progressively warmer climate. I try not to worry about climate change too much – but frankly it’s impossible to recognize that we humans are making some big errors right now – today – that are having huge ramifications.

I urge you to read this incredible article from the NY Times about climate change. You can also listen to a podcast about climate change – if you don’t have time to read (gosh, I do hope you have time to read…). Hopefully it will make you stop and think about your world and how you live in it.

Sorry, I went off-course here with the climate change thing. So yeah, summer isn’t over. Keep doing the fun summer stuff as long as possible. In the summer, people are happier – we smile more, we’re outside more, we’re just generally a little bit closer to being our best selves. So why not keep these good people vibes going for as long as possible?

The Other Thing

So, it’s been around four months since my surgery. Somewhere along the way, I stopped counting the weeks since April 30. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day I realized I had no idea where I was in my post-op calendar.

This past month has probably been the first time since I’ve felt pretty normal and healed. There are still lots of lingering internal issues from the surgery. But I’m working with an osteopath and with Sarah Zahab at Continuum Fitness to fix all the tightness, muscle loss, and internal scarring.

I’ve been doing a lot of riding. I’m still not back to formal structured training. Instead I’m just riding at whatever pace on whichever bike for however long I want. This has been a real change for me. For so long I’ve been in a structured training program. There are times when I miss the structure but I also relish the freedom of being able to do what I want on the bike.

The big trade-off with this approach is fitness. I’m not about to go out and do intervals on my own. I’ve noticed that I lack the ability to recover from hard efforts or to go really deep. This is okay. 2018 is about getting back to feeling whole again. Then in 2019 I can decide what I want to do.

I’ve been spending much more time on my mountain bike than in previous years. I’m so loving it. I think I’m addicted to riding at Larose Forest. It’s the place I go when I need to clear my head, get back to nature, and just feel like a bike rider again. I’m riding my ‘cross bike on the road and I think riding the ‘cross gearing (42/38) has been useful in making it easier for me to do long rides.

The ‘cross season starts next week. I am going to race. I don’t know how it’s going to go. Well, I do know how it will go. I’ve got experience with racing a season after surgery. It’s going to be hard (but isn’t it always?) and it’s going to be fun. I have zero expectations or self-imposed pressure. I won’t do many double race weekends – just Rochester and the Camp Fortune races. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll race at the Canadian Cyclocross Nationals in Peterborough or at the Pan Am Masters Championships in Milton. These will be week of and even day of decisions. It all depends on how I’m feeling.

I’ve noticed that I get fatigued really quickly lately. Gone are the days of back-to-back long steady rides. If I want to do a long ride on Saturday and a moderate length ride on Sunday, I have to take it really easy on the Friday and Thursday before. It also takes me a solid day to recover from a good hard MTB ride. This is new for me. I used to be able to ride 6/7 of days and really not want to do a recovery ride on the seventh day.

It will come. I just have to give myself time. After all, like you, I’m only human. There is only so much I or you can do.

I stumbled on this quote today thanks to Austin Kleon’s newsletter and I think it’s a good way to end this post and get ready for the days ahead:

Finish every day and be done with it… You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.  Rapha Waldo Emerson

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