Quiet

I was just out for a walk and I realized I hadn’t written anything in a couple of weeks. I guess this is not a big deal. Does feel odd to me though. This lack of writing got me thinking about this space and what it is now. Initially, this website started as a way for me to share my cyclocross racing adventures with you. It became a place for me to let it all hang out – the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad and the awesome. It’s been quite a journey really. Now that I’m no longer racing cyclocross at the same level, my writing frequency has tapered off. I suppose this is because I really wasn’t sure what I could write about.

But really, I’m not sure that the rumblings in my head are really that interesting any more. Nonetheless, I’ll keep the website going and I expect you’ll see more frequent posts in the summer and fall when I’m out riding and racing agin. Yes, racing again – I’m training again with my old coach Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. I’ve just completed my second week of real structured training and it has gone really well. It’s so refreshing to have daily bike goals again and to have longer term goals that extend into the summer and fall. I’ve got a couple of big goals that I’d like to accomplish. They’re far-reaching but I’ve been down this road before so I know what I have to do. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to share these goals with you yet. In fact, I don’t know if I will. A few people know what these goals are, but I guess because they seem pretty huge to me, I’m not ready to toss them out into the Internet. Suffice it to say, I want to win bike races again.

Alright, so what else is happening? Well, Marc is back home (hip hip hooray)! He had a pretty darn awesome time Belgium. I can’t thank his hosts Nick and Romina enough, they made his time there very easy and enjoyable. While it is very hard to be apart for four weeks, it is so worth it when I get to hear about Marc’s cyclocross races, the friends he had reconnected with, the rides he has gone on, the adventures he’s had with day-to-day living in Belgium, and just hearing how happy he is.

Hmm, what else? Well, here’s a very succinct snapshot of what has got my attention these days:

Watching: Making a Murderer and Dicte
Reading: The World of Cycling According to G (thanks Treena for the loan) and just finished 21 Cardinals (incredible novel) up next Birdie by Tracy Lindberg
Riding: Zwift, Zwift, and more Zwift
Following: too many pro cyclists to name, but a few who stand out: Mike Woods, Nikki Harris, Helen Wyman, Lizzie Armitstead, Karol Ann Canuel
Colouring: I’ve got three colouring books on the go (yes, I know): Lost Oceans, The Secret Garden, and Fantastic Cities
Listening: so many podcasts, highlights being: Back Story, Fresh Air, The Last Chapter, CXhairs, All Songs Considered and music, including: Adele, The Watchmen, Mumford & Sons, O.A.R, City and Color, INXS, CBC Radio 2
Going: Toronto to see The Watchmen at the Danforth, Albany, NY to see O.A.R, England with my mom to visit my aunt and uncle, France to ride bikes with Marc, Montreal to see Adele (yes, I got Adele tickets!!!)
Eating: been 98% vegan for over two months now, so far so good – feeling good and I’ve been gluten-free for six days now – easier than I thought it would be (though I miss eating at Cosmo’s and Shaan)
Doing: physio – I’ve got what we think is a compressed nerve in my right quad… but now both my physio and I think the pins/needles and full-on numbness in my right leg could be caused by my ulcerative colitis medication
Drinking: Crio Bru – made from cacao beans, this is my go-to drink morning, noon and night – so delicious
Chasing: Calvin the cat, this cat has more energy than any other cat I know!
Missing: Murphy, this is a tough month for us

And that’s it! Hmm, 706 words – guess I did have something to say after all.

It’s A New Year!

Woohoo, it’s a New Year!! Yay, everyone is so excited (insert sarcasm here)…

As you can likely guess, I’m not one to get worked up about New Year’s resolutions. Frankly I think these end up putting most everyone on a path to failure and self-loathing. So here are my thoughts on it all:

Don’t try to invent yourself into a super-duper fantastic version of you for 2016. Just be you. Be happy with who you are. This is enough. By accepting yourself and being yourself, good things will happen for you and those around you. Happiness and self-acceptance does wonders.

Merry Christmas

I hope you’re having a super time this holiday season. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, smile and take it all in.

Thinking of Marc who is in Belgium racing cyclocross. I’m so very happy he has this opportunity. Listening to him telling me about his races, training rides and other adventures and hearing the excitement in his voice is the best gift. I’m proud of him, it’s not easy to be away from family and friends at this time of the year. A big thank you to Nick and Romina who have welcomed Marc into their home. 

  
Merry Christmas favourite guy. 

It’s About the People

Visiting Prague between a World Cup trip Photo by Gregg Germer

Visiting Prage During a Czech Republic World Cup Trip
Photo by Gregg Germer

I’ve said all along that one of the best things to come out of my years of racing cyclocross in Ottawa and in Belgium has been the people I’ve met. I’ve made some life long friends thanks to the pursuit of riding around and chasing the fun.

One of these friends is Gabby Durin. I can’t remember when I first met Gabby, I think it was likely 2008 at Overijse… I was there with Jos and I had just raced my first UCI elite women’s race. I remember the crazy intense course, the crowds, seeing Lars Boom slap his face, and the excitement of that first big race.

Over the years of racing, I got to know Gabby more and we spent some great time together in Czech Republic back in 2010 and 2011 racing the World Cups in Tabor and Plzen. A lot has changed in a few years and now Gabby is living in the United States and I’ve seen her at races in New England and in Winnipeg a few times. Through out this time, I’ve always followed her on social media and kept in touch.

On Wednesday, Gabby posted a blog post that I know was a cathartic but challenging post to write. She put herself out there and told us honestly what the last few years have been like for her. Not many people can do this. It’s easier to hide behind excuses rather than say it like it is.

I asked Gabby if I could link to her blog post because I think it is one that people should be reading and thinking about. Thank you Gabby for the honesty and for putting yourself out there – not many can – hopefully this will encourage others to do it.

Read this: Closing A Chapter And Starting A New

Gabby also gave a very good interview with CX Magazine: Exclusive: Gabby Durrin Talks Retirement, Battling Depression And New Chapters

Thanks Gabby for the awesome times on and off the bike. Keep smiling and living life to the max.

Soapbox Time

I think that around this time every year I wonder to myself, wow that year went fast. 2015 is no exception. This has been a year filled with more than I could have imagined.

Admittedly, when I planned ahead in early January 2015, I didn’t a year like I’ve just had. But, this is the spice of life – if everything went according to plan, life would be a bit boring. And if there is one thing I strongly dislike it’s routine. So while, the bike stuff didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned, so many other fantastic things happened over this past year that it’s a real challenge to feel sorry for myself.

This is particularly the case when I open the newspaper or turn on the radio and learn more about the terrible things happening around the world and right here in Canada. Learning about the challenges and extremely hard times others are dealing with, really does give me a dose of perspective. This is why I’m going to plug to groups to you: the Parkdale Food Centre – I’ve been volunteering here since January and this food bank is doing amazing things for its community (donate via the Reverse Food Truck and sponsor a family or buy some bananas) and Feedfive – this is a group of friends who have been gathering together every month to cook and serve meals in their local homeless shelter, the Ray of Hope community centre in downtown Kitchener, ON (buy a t-shirt from feedfive, buying a t-shirt feeds five people).

So yeah, maybe I didn’t get to race the race I wanted and maybe there have been days when I’ve felt pretty rotten. But geez, I’ve got a nice house, a fridge full of food, and a good job… kind of hard to feel badly about this.

I’m looking forward to 2016, a year that will surely be filled with lots of great stuff, and most importantly, I hope to continue to get some good doses of perspective.

Finding Myself

Admittedly, I’ve had some tough days and weeks. I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me offering kind words, sturdy shoulders and for just simply being there. It means so very much to both Marc and myself.

I’m steadily getting back to being me. Working hard on being positive and looking forward. Taking the time to look around and recognize how fortunate I am. To not take for granted the health that I do have. To remind myself that I have a body that despite the cranky colon, is fitter and healthier than the average person. I’ve stopped dwelling on the things I can’d and I am enjoying everything I can do now.

Rollercoaster

On Wednesday ulcerative colitis won. I was crying in the car. I was crying in the hallway at work. I was crying in the car on the way home from my doctor’s visit. I was crying on Marc’s shoulder. On Wednesday it all just became too much. Too much of feeling rotten and not feeling like myself. Too much of not knowing. Too many unanswered questions. Too many bad days and not enough good days.

Today is a little bit better. I still feel rotten physically, emotionally and mentally. I feel like ulcerative colitis has become an unstoppable train and no one knows how to slow it down. I can’t get off this train but I’d like to get back to where I was five months ago.

Now, I just wait. The new drug, Entyvio, has knocked down the ulcerative colitis symptoms but the side effects of this drug are not any better. There is nothing really to be done about these side effects – apparently less than 10% of the people in a two-year trial of Entyvio reported the side effects I’m getting.

My doctor has agreed to arrange a surgery consult for me. It will likely be a year-long wait until I can talk to a surgeon. Until then, I keep taking Entyvio and deal with constant nausea, fatigue, headaches, stomach pains, chest pains and a general feeling of unwellness.

So that’s that. I don’t have much else to say. I really don’t have anything positive or uplifting to say. I’m going to continue going to work, riding my bike, and doing everything else I enjoy. Because after all, life is for the living.