Wednesday, October 10, 2012

AN EXCESS IN ALL THINGS

King David had to set aside one third of his army to guard his stuff. His stuff, booty and treasures became a burden to him. His stuff cause him a lot of pain, yet he could not get rid of it. He was addicted you could say.

I wonder about my addiction to stuff. Why do I buy anything? Why do I have so many fountain pens (in the guise of a collection), what is it with my golf balls? Why do I have three pair of white running shoes? Why do I need four pair of cycling glasses....and on it goes.

I am starting to realize that stuff is a burden and an addiction. Our cities are designed around stuff but I am slowly, like an addict who admits to a problem, starting to see the light.

The light began to turn on when I was on a bike trip and passed through one of those shops that sells pottery, dolls, rugs...you know the type. My friends were ooing and ahhing..but I was immune to the charms of that shop. I did buy a soap.

I have more bars of handmade and handcrafted soap than anyone I know, barring the soapmakers. I am not sure why.

I now do a lot of cycling. I have enough cycling clothing to last a lifetime...it was on sale...but why? To my credit, I have stopped buying cycling kits for some months now as I realized it was excessive.

But why do we, why do I do things to excess? I have always done so. Like a junkie looking for that one great high...trying to repeat it. With soap..as a teen I liked Rogers and Galette soap..the great smell. So now...well never can get that 'high'

So I am drowning in stuff. Occasionally I will purge and give away piles of materials, magazines, books, clothing...but the basement is still full...camping gear...from my canoe tripping days...sleeping bags for summer and winter...antique snow shoes..wooden skis...why?

When you have stuff to this extent you are never really free.  I am starting to realize that food for me is like stuff. I eat well...but I eat too much. Like having so many bars of soap. It is as if I am looking for a thrill ..but cant get it.

Addicts I know are people who live to excess in all things. Hallowe'en decorations in August, Santas on the roof...largess in all things. They are looking for a high, for a measure of satisfaction in things. It is easy to see this but perhaps harder in my case. In my case, my motto has appeared to be excess in all things.

Time to moderate. I will wean my addiction by avoiding shops...and vowing not to purchase any more soap until the last flake of my considerable collection has been used. I will also apply this understanding to food and not use it as a medicine to satiate my appetite for the impossible, for the excessive, or for the thrill.

I am getting off the roller coaster..the ride is over.




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bike Groups

I have ridden a bike as a commuter, sport cyclist and enthusiast. I frequent different kinds of bike shops and it seems to me that each type of bike has its own culture.

The Commuter
These bikes are heavy, hybrid types that the rider does not mind getting muddy or dirty. They have large panniers for a change of clothing and hauling work materials. The commuter rarely wears spandex, preferring instead to tuck pants into socks and wear street clothing. Commuters have a huge advantage in Ottawa and that is, they don't pay for parking. We are becoming numerous enough so that the city has bike lanes created just for us. These bikes are noted for their black oily chains and members of the commuter class often sport greasy chain marks on their pants or calves. Bikes are usually make of aluminum but also can be made of steel. Canadian tire, Wallmart or MEC are where they hang out.

The language
Commuters like to boast about the distance they ride to work. They will make a point of this when they are in the elevator or in the lunchroom. "Yeah well I did my 20k today,,,brutal in that snow" It is a point of pride to them that they are saving the planet and being responsible.

Lunches
Commuters like to save money so will likely pack their own lunches in responsible packaging. They will bring a thermos full of their own coffee or they will go for a jog!

The Hipster
There is a fascination with fixie bikes and there is a culture around this. The fixie rides for fashion. The fixie rider wears a cap, rolled jeans and a trendy jacket. They frequent starbucks and the rim wheels generally match the chain. The idea is simplicity but often these bikes have unusual handlebars. Fixie riders frequent organic markets, Bridgehead coffee shops and the Westboro part of town. They can also be found downtown. They don't mount lights, or bells on their bike as it destroys the simple look. The bikes are steel. They congregate at Tall Trees

The language
The hipster is connected to their iphone so they will tweet and text rather than speak. "OMG your wheels match your chain and your shirt...that is SOOO cool!" "I want to get one of those you know wicker baskets in the front"

Lunches: Internet cafes so they can stay connected!

The retro
The retro rider is one who believes that bikes have not advanced much over the past 30 years and ride vintage road bikes with down tube shifters. A true retro rider will use rat trap pedals and leather straps. They generally keep their bikes immaculately clean and ride with a purpose as if making a statement. These folks will wear wool cycling jerseys and caps but never ever spandex. Brooks saddles. These bikes are steel..upgrading is admitting defeat! These folks shop on line or go to Tall Trees

The language
They will speak of the golden age of bicycles and how the old bikes were better made. They will speak about bands that have disappeared, of movies long forgotten, of fountain pens and how cell phones are a menace to the free world. If it is old, it has to be better!

Lunch
A classic pub

Hint: Brooks saddles are a dead give away!

The Roadie Type A
The type A roadie has the latest computer and the latest bike with electronic shifting. The bike will have a powermeter and they will tell you everything about their bike and the geometry. The bike is squeaky clean as they clean the chain every time they think about the bike. The saddle is almost always a Fiz Ik or whatever saddle Bradley Wiggins used. They often will buy tour de France team jerseys and wear them on club rides. The type A roadie never stops during a ride, preferring to have short breaks. They will bore you with details about their wheels, the carbon frame or titanium as the case may be and why Pinarello is better than Look. A new bike every year! I have seen them at Cycle power which has its windows full of magnificent bikes.

The type A roadie would never dream of venturing on a ride unless their kit matches. They will eat in fancy coffee shops or restaurants always within reach of their bike. They drink perrier water when they stop.

Language: These folks speak about power intervals, wattage used, geometry, average speed and statistics. Anything new and fast! If they are slow, they are having a 'recovery day'. They will tell you how wonderful a rider they are within a few minutes. "Yea I was slow my average speed was only 35km/hr going uphill..I usually go much faster"  " I could have gone pro...but it does not pay enough"

Lunch: Gluten free with perrier please!

The Roadie Type B
The Type B roadie is the opposite of the Type A and usually these two groups, although they sport road bikes will not associate with one another. Type B's are older riders who have ridden for many years. They have high quality bikes but are not impressed with the latest gadgetry, While not as fixed to the past as the retro rider, the type B roadie will wait at least a few years before upgrading. They wear spandex but would not be caught dead in a Tour de France kit. They will wear local team jerseys or charity jerseys but are less concerned about matching. They go for value and will be seen at local bike shops like Bertrands. These folks stop for lunch and enjoy a good beer.

The language
These folks will speak about the history of the bike clubs or rides that they would go on. They are usually a font of information but unlike the Roadie A, they do not boast and it is only after some time that you learn of their accomplishments.

Lunch
A good pub with a beer.

The messenger
These are the daring young men in their flying machines. They are usually tall and slim with beards and long hair. They  rarely wear bike helmets, preferring baseball caps or trendy wool caps. They ride single geared bikes and weave through traffic with the art of a ballet dancer. They wear shorts or knickers, are caked in mud and are the best cyclists of all. They congregate at Tim hortons for coffee and actually earn money with their bikes! Phat Moose cycles caters to these guys!

Language:
Like the hipster they are young, but because they ride for work and not for appearance or fashion, they are less connected to their iphone or ipad. They can be seen taking instruction and then with a few words ride off into the rain or snow. They don't congregate for periods of time because they have deadlines and packages to deliver



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bike Clubs in Ottawa

The Ottawa bicycle club, or OBC is Ottawa's largest bike club and the oldest in Canada. Among other clubs it has a reputation for being elitist or dropping slower riders.

I have ridden with them for this season and find it a wonderful bike club. I have met nothing but great and helpful people and had some terrific rides. The OBC does not live up to the bad press!

If you are like me, once  you start to ride with a club, boredom will quickly set in. There are clubs that do not ride as a peleton and sometimes form pacelines but mainly just strung out in a group at a sort of speed. This bores me to no end. The OBC has speed ranges but that does not mean that as a group you can't go faster or slower..it depends on the group. At times I have cut my pace and at other times asked that the pace be cut...it is a group effort. The joy is the fact that you can vary and the routes are always interesting. I also like the fact that we do not stop for long lunches. I don't mind a lunch if the food is exceptional, but often I find all a lunch does is  slow you down and  does nothing to enhance the ride. It is easier and more efficient to pack snacks and eat as you ride. The point of a ride for me is the fitness aspect and the technique. Unless I am on a multi day tour, I will almost never stop for a lunch. (Coffee is another matter!)

Today I did a shorter ride against a very heavy wind. Unfortunately for most of the ride the wind was against us. I 'pulled' the group, meaning I led the group as I am used to wind. At the end of the ride we had a picnic...again I met new and fascinating individuals all of whom share my love of cycling and bikes in general.

A club like this strives for excellence but there is really no room for arrogance. Trust me, you will always find a better cyclist than you, and certainly one with more experience. Today for instance, I learned that I had installed my seat bag upside down. It puzzled me why it was so awkward to access and  now I know.

If any of you are interested in cycling in Ottawa here are the clubs that I have tried and some I have not:

The CCTS..this is a great club made up of retirees. The problem is finding leaders for rides but overall a great experience. They ride Tuesdays and Thursdays

Kanata Nepean Bike Club:
 While there are speeds they don't ride in a peleton, and stop for long lunches. I have found safety to be an issue here as they do not know how to ride in a group and many don't like drafting which really makes the ride a lot easier. This is more of a social club. If  you are interested in improving yourself as a cyclist or trying a time trial, racing or reliability rides,  I would not recommend this club.

Arnprior Bicycle Club
A full service bike club with racing and very well run. A bit of a drive for us in Ottawa.

 The Ottawa Bicycle Club
Truly has something for everyone, socials, numerous rides and is fantastic. You will never be bored here folks.

Other clubs
Women on Wheels , Velo Plaisir and West Quebec Wheelers




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ottawa Bicycle Club

The Ottawa Bicycle club or OBC has been around for over 100 years, it is a full service bike club with racing, tours, socials and is a lot of fun. The OBC rides in a peleton or a pack, which means that you can do a ride with them, and arrive home at a reasonable time and not exhausted.

Today was an exceptional ride. Not only was it beautiful but it was heartwarming. I wanted to ride at my usual speed but saw that my friends were riding at a slower speed. I opted to join them. In our ride was a young student from Brazil he had a heavy mountain bike and was having difficulty keeping up. I rode with him sharing my energy gels and encouraging him. He had a wonderful ride but the ride became magical for him and for me, when the OBC tour director offered to give him his son's racing bike. This will enable our student to ride much faster with less effort.

Doug also rode with our friend, assisting him. The kindness shown to a foreign student who did not have the lightweight machines we have has forever cemented the OBC in my mind as the best bike club I have ever been involved with. Conrad as I called him could easily have been dropped, or dismissed as 'not ready'. There was none of that.

Bike on my friends


Thursday, September 6, 2012

In praise of classics

I have a 35 year old Cambio Rino bicycle. A steel 10 speed racer that was developed by an Italian and built in Canada. It was Canada's answer to the flood of imported racers. Unfortunately, it did not last.

Cambio Rino was ahead of its time and at the time was a state of the art bike. Now they are collectors items. I have a beautiful one, all original parts including the toe clips and leather straps. I wrapped the handlebars with  white cloth tape and applied shellac as it would have been done at that time. I am told this bike once raced in the Velodome of Montreal!

There is a lot of difference between my classic and my contemporary bikes. First off my newer bikes are much lighter and more comfortable. My other bikes are made of carbon and the other is chromealloy. My newer bikes have far more gears and I am more upright. I can ride great distances with them. They seem effortless.

The Cambio Rino is fast but also you are in a much lower or more aggressive position. Don't even think of applying the brakes if you are on the hoods. You have to break in the down position to avoid the pain.

At first I thought I would miss all the speeds but not really. I managed to get up a hill at a good speed all in the large ring. The friction shifters are also easier to maintain.

Of course, I can't ride this bike as a regular ride because I could never replace the parts but for an occasional ride like today, and for my charity ride on Saturday it is a bit of Canadian history. Granted 35 years hardly positions this bike as an antique but given the rapid changes in bike technology and technology in general, 35 years is an eternity.

One may very well ask, if the newer bikes are more comfortable, lighter and more responsive why would I even bother with this bike?  Perhaps for the same reason that people restore and drive old cars...because we can and because it takes us into the past.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

How primitive we were

When I was a child, my father told me stories of walking miles to school with frozen molasses sandwiches through deep snow. He would tell me this to contrast his hardship with the ease of my life as I would board the military blue bus to take me to school through the snow. I remember thinking how primitive were the times in which my father grew up. For example I never had frozen sandwiches, my lunchbox contained devilled eggs and mushroom soup but never frozen sandwiches. I had a sophisticated meal not primitive frozen sandwiches!!

 My lunches were the same..devilled eggs (it took me years to realize this was an appetizer), campbells mushroom soup and an apple. My breakfast consisted of puffed wheat or cream of wheat. (I dislike wheat to this day!) and suppers were beans, or corned beef hash or well cooked steak and potatoes with Dijon mustard. Sometimes our grocery store had coconuts, which were in my mind the most exotic of all!

My parents would shop and there would be a choice of two mustards, two types of cheese, yellow and orange, campbells soup, eggs, milk, bacon and probably a dozen types of breakfast cereal and two or three types of jam. It was easy, there were few choices.

Today's parent has to choose from an array of hundreds of mustards, jams from all over the world, a bewildering array of soups and cheeses from around the world and exotic fruit (not just coconut). There is a pantheon of juices, drinks, even yogurt has become a designer element.

Today if I told a child what I had for lunch they would no doubt give me the same bewildered stare that I gave my father when he would tell me his stories of his walks to school, which were longer with each telling of the story. What? No artichoke dressing? No raspberry coulis on organic fudge brownies? No horseradish with cranberries atop their ham sandwich, on organic bread? And how could we have survived without a fruit cup of a variety of fruits..not just a few bruised apples and the occasional squashed grapes.

How could we have endured long days of academic ardour without organic snacks or fortified juices..we drank water..how totally primitive

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guns and the US

I was coming back from a  camping trip and decided to take a break in Watertown New York. There was a farmers market, with the usual soaps, fruit...tons of junk food..including fried Oreo cookies..lemonade, music and a leather worker.

He was an older man who made belts, wallets bags and a holster for a handgun. He explained as I picked it up in disbelief that it stays close to your body. This was a craft market in Watertown New York, and here I could buy a holster worthy of Elliot Ness or Al Capone!

Of course this is America where people can carry guns. There are people who feel as if a gun protects them and others harken to the days of the wild west where you were in danger from an Indian ambush, or a wild gunslinger on the street..or wild animals. I saw none of these in Watertown. The saloon was quiet and Billy the Kid was no where to be seen.

The argument is that guns protect. Against what? Against other gunslingers? "it stays close to your body" he said his eyes shining with the prospect of a sale. No thanks!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road cycling and Cleats

After much research and discussion about SPD versus Road cleats I have learned that the only rationale for road cleats is that there is a larger contact area and hence you can get more power transfer,

That is the theory. But realistically, it is a false argument for 99 % of us. The power transfer is really a function of technique and how your foot contacts the cleat. You DO NOT WANT to pedal flat footed and good technique involves pointing your toes.

The small difference in platform sizes between a shimano SPD pedal and say a Look pedal is minute.

SPD cleats means you can wear mountain shoes with recessed cleats. This gives you the incomparable advantage of being able to walk.

I recently did a bike tour that involved going on ferries and over bridges. In the rain, my race footed friends were slipping and sliding dangerously. My mountain shoes had no issues.

Unless you are doing a time trial where you will go all out and not dismount, or are in cyclo dome for track racing, I fail to see ANY advantage to road shoes. In fact, I see downright disadvantages in not being able to walk.


The Camelback

I like to road bike and like all road bikers have the bottle on my bike. However I recently tried a camelback system. This is a slim little backpack in which I can fit all my road tools, spare tube, my wallet and holds almost 2 liters of water.

The water stays COLD during a hot ride and keeps my back cool. I find I drink more, which is a good thing and don't get dehydrated or tired. It is light and areo and I don't need a little saddle bag anymore, or even a water bottle. The weight is hardly oppressive.

The only drawback is keeping it clean and the fact that it hides the great graphics on some of my jerseys.

To keep it clean I have learned the following:

Clean after every use
Store in freezer
Only use NUNO tablets or similar electrolyte tablets..no endurance drinks
Buy a brush system for it and a spare mouthpiece

So far, I am very impressed. It is comfortable and because I don't have to reach down and lose some speed, I am more likely to drink during a ride.

Road cyclists however are prone to fashion...and therefore I wonder if this will ever catch on!

Bike clothing....

Today I did a bike ride and was joined by members of the TREK cycling team, a world champion, the Discovery team and numerous members of Lance Armstrongs old Tour de France team. I was cycling on a road near Ottawa.

None of these cyclists would have made the tour de France and yet here they are wearing team kits with all the advertisements. Why? I suppose for the same reason that recreational hockey players buy jerseys from their teams.

I have a kit that is full of advertisements but there were sponsors who paid to be on our jerseys and shorts.

There is too much advertising in our cities already. We are deluged by ads and billboards and wearing advertisements while on a bike, in my opinion is simply offensive to the senses.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Audio Recording on Sunday night

Audio Recording on Sunday night

This is my welcome to any and all who listen to my blogs!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kony 2012

Two days ago I got an excited phone call from a friend about the Kony 2012 video which I watched. Child soldiers...yes I knew of those years ago and Romeo Delaire wrote a book about them. The video went viral and now has people putting up posters and having id bracelets. I have to wonder why the excitement and interest.

Granted child soldiers are a horrible thing, but give me two minutes and I can mention many horrible things in the world.

Lake Victoria has a lot of oil, it is interesting to me that the US has sent 'advisors' there. Remember Vietnam? Congo is already solidly in the hands of the Chinese and perhaps the US is seeking to protect some interests or rather gain interests.

What a clever idea it would be if the US congress could point to the many people who post posters (and whose Ip address would be known by the way), have ID bracelets etc and say "look we have worldwide support..yes it is time for military intervention". It would be a grassroots military intervention. Unlike other cases when you actually have to make an argument before you send young soldiers into battle or invade a country..this would be "to save children AND it has international support" How brilliant is that?

Social media as my sister pointed out is as big as the invention of the press. It is a very quick way to spread information and indeed misinformation. What has taken me by surprise is the number of people who were blissfully unaware that there were child soldiers for many years. Do they not read?

The moral of this story is don't believe everything you read and if it comes from social media take it with a very large grain of salt, or in this case a dash of oil.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why Wagner operas don't work

I recently attended the final installment of the Ring Cycle by Wagner. His Twilight of the gods...complete with Valhalla burning, Siegfreid being murdered, the Rhine maidens etc. It was 6 hours long.. and at the end I felt like survivor. I was exhausted...and I felt let down. Lest people attack me for being a musical misfit, I was trained as an opera singer so I am well aware of the immense vocal demands in Wagnerian operas.

Wagner was famous for his motifs. Each character has a theme attached to them, but unlike Rhinegold, the first one, one has no sympathy for any of the characters. When Siegfreid is killed, there are no tears...just great symphonic music with that wonderful brass section. He is carried off. Even when Brunhilde joins him on his funeral pyre which sets the world alight, there are no tears. It is not like Queen Dido with her stirring...Remember me aria.

Wagner fails in his operas to touch our souls. His operas are a mix of mumbo jumbo and myths that are not well done because unlike a good story they fail to capture our imaginations. When Butterfly commits suicide, there is not a dry eye in the house and you can hear the sobs...that is opera! When Don Pasquale is tricked and his new bride makes a shambles of his home...we all laugh at the miserly Don. When Don Carlos's lover sings of his fate and hopes the angels will be kind...you can imagine the angels welcoming the unhappy Carlos with them....and everytime Mimi, the fated lover in La Boheme dies, I cry with Rudolpho and dare I say the entire audience.

There is none of this in Wagner. Wagners opera are as sterile as a new petrie dish. The villans stare at you as if trying to show how evil they are. Hagen in the recent Met production had a great voice but 0 acting skills. The music is sometimes thrilling but not memorable apart from the orchestral score.

Wagner holds his audience captive for 6 hours and throws motifs at us, tubas that he invented for his music, rich brass tones, some wonderful staging by the Met and yet in the end, there is nothing that we can hold on to. In a way, the audience as in the same fate as the gods of Valhalla. The gods we are told gloomily await their doom in the great hall. There is no laughter, there is no music there is no life. They await the end, trust me we too were awaiting the end.

Wagner realized he was not an opera composer. Opera is about grand passion, love, hate, devotion, sympathy and to be good it has to resonate with the souls and hearts of the audience. We have to love, or hate the characters. We too must cry when Thais ascends to heaven...we must see ourselves in the characters. Even if it is mythology, we have to care. If something that is called opera fails to do that, it is not opera. 

Wagners orchestration is second to none...but for opera....no.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Motivation

I am a member of Cyclo Core, it is an internet based cycling club and for me is a font of information. Today there was a great podcast that spoke about many of us not fully committed to change. In this case, the change was doing the work, the drills etc necessary to become a really good cyclist.

I thought about my obstacles, my excuses and realize that all of my excuses are just that..lame and perhaps the reason I have not seen dramatic progress in this and indeed other area of my life, is that I hesitate.

1) My weight. I know all it takes to fix it, and yet at times I still sabotage. I could lose 15 lbs which would improve my cycling. Why do I keep that extra weight? What purpose does it serve, other than to reinforce my feelings that I am not up to it?

2) My fear of cracking. When I am really pumping and pushing, I will sometimes stop just short of pushing myself beyond what I think I can do. Deadly for making improvements

Biking is a good metaphor for life. I believe we keep problems alive because they serve as an excuse. "I could ride faster if I was lighter" or " I never pushed myself". Likewise in job situations, I have found excuses and not seriously tackled them.

The question I must ask myself is DO I WANT TO LIVE? Do I want to cycle or play at it, do I want to continue my work as a psychotherapist or dabble and dream.

Dabbling, and dreaming, and half training does not satisfy me and leaves me feeling anxious and waiting for 'more'. It is like a drug craving, you always want more but cannot have it. I always desire and yet at the same time and starting to realize that my very fears and excuses are what is hampering my progress,


Friday, January 27, 2012

Sort of Housetrained

Three weeks ago I adopted a little dog from a puppy mill. She had been fostered and was housetrained..or so I was told.

Luna is sort of housetrained...if you live in a barn. I have read numerous books on the subject and now take her out every two hours. She is a dear little soul who truly believes that one should not stop the progress of the call of nature and when nature calls...do not delay. This unfortunately means the livingroom carpet.

Housetrained in my mind is a dog that asks to go outside. It is a dog that associates the great outdoors as a litter box. I have seen pee pads for sale. What is that all about? The idea is to get them to pee outside not on a pad in the house...still I suppose if I had one I would have been spared my pre breakfast cleaning chore!

Luna learned the "come" command in a matter of minutes and I suspect will be equally quick in all of her obedience training, she walks nicely..is polite, gentle and charming..but has no concept of inside versus outside. Patience..patience.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I train in the basement

This is my bike on my Tacx trainer. My bike is a 30 year old Cambio Rino bike, a beauty that was used in the Montreal Olympics. It has 10 speeds with the changer on the frame. For many years it was hanging on a wall. No bike should retire like that! I knew it had life in it and bought it as my training bike where I set up a training studio of sorts.

In this space, I regularly do Cyclo Core workouts...pretty amazing and high intensity stuff with weights and yoga. I have seen my fitness level rise and for the most part my motivation is high.

I sometimes wish I had a fancy training studio that I have seen with some of my friends. One that would have room for my weights and stability ball and one where I need not worry about the hot air blasting down at me from the dryer vent...and yet there is something interesting and challenging about working out in a dungeon. It calls for the creative in me. Did you know a full gallon paint can can make a pretty decent medicine ball? Did you know that a full tool box when held overhead while doing crunches also can add intensity?

One advantage of my training dungeon,  is that I have no distractions. I can't really see outside and I can't hear the telephone,...oh it rings but with the fan, the furnace, my trainer whirring I just can't hear it.

Getting older has meant that I am more realistic. Many of my friends sign up for fancy spin classes, in shiny gyms lead by people with perfect teeth and names like Scotty. They drive to them in some ungodly hours...rush in and listen to the loud music and instructions. They like having workout partners!

I did that, the gym spin thing and found that the music was too loud! I also  found it stressful having to be there at a certain time. The lockers were always full and you had to rush to get changed. There was never enough room and I always worried about the cleanliness of the showers. For the spin classes it seems that the best bikes were always taken, reserved as it were by people who threw towels over them. When I arrived I always had a bike where a clip did not work that squeaked for the duration of the session. I always was beside some woman in menopause who wanted the fans turned directly on her so I endured an icy blast. My workout partners, never had much to say except grunt and pant and honestly, I never liked the music. We did not speak about technique, it was just mash and bash away.

My internet workout protocol has spin videos, I can play my own music, but often I chose not to, or listen to Graeme Street explain techniques etc.  There are times when I do my own sessions, with my own music. Scotty is no where to be seen! I learn techniques, practice skills all in the comfort of my home. I never get a bad bike and there is no rush to get changed, there is always room in my shower.

The only workout partner I have is my dog Bubba. He dutifully sits at the entrance to the basement room where I am and watches me, his eyes shining. I know he thinks I am insane. He endures the whirring, the spinning, and my complaining.

My Cambio Rino has only 10 speeds and therefore I suspect I am working at harder gears. The bike is steel so can handle when I ride standing up for drills, I am not worried about it cracking. It was once a velodome bike and is now working again, this time in my training dungeon!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where aging Olympians go!

Yesterday I entered the 5k snowshoe race called the Mad Trapper series. I have never run that distance, never raced and have a passing acquaintance with snowshoes. Perfect! The Mad Trapper series is run out of Denholm near Wakefield Quebec on some 110 acres of paradise used for team building. The racers were all super fit and there were some former Olympians. This is what aging olympians do they race up mountains. Did I mention this was a hilly race? It was very inspiring to me to see people older than me with unbelievable fitness levels. All the racers were delightful people, relaxed, helpful and they were a joy to be with.
We all started wearing super little race snowshoes...up up up...my heart climbed as well as I sprinted up the hills...I found a man about my age who was having a hard time and I chatted and went with him for some distance. I wanted more of a challenge and sprinted and caught up with two young girls...paused took pictures and enjoyed the magnificent scenery. It was a race yes, but I was not competing...I was there to enjoy myself for 'comic relief' as I said. I have been doing high intensity bike training and my fitness level has never been higher. I had no problem climbing and running and while of course, the real runners and racers far outpaced me...I was very pleased that I came in at a respectable time! I had a wonderful time and loved it! This has really encouraged me to pursue my triathalon goals!

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