Wednesday 24 April 2013

Biking around these days

I had to retire tank my beloved winter bike after last season. Tank is currently sitting sadly in my shed, a quiet ball of rust awaiting his next adventure (to the scrap metal yard...).  But lucky for me I acquired (mostly legally) a new winter bike. My new winter bike (named 'Blue'..because it's blue, i'm soooper creative). Blue is a bit of a lug, he hates going up hills and is not the smoothest ride in Canada but he's not going to fall apart so that's a plus. Blue was left at the farm, locked up outside, left all alone for months and months, so i "liberated" him. If you are reading this and Blue is your me and I'll give him back to you (he's got a new bottom bracket and front forks, very shiney). But me and blue are out having adventures in windstorms and rain. while my summer bike sits (not so) patiently in the back room awaiting it's spring tune up.

Also new adventures this year I'm gaining weight! purposefully (and all muscle...and belly). I've been a wee person for a long time and now I'm working towards getting that strong bearish body I've always dreamed of. I'm currently 25 lbs heavier than i was last year, and stronger than i have ever been in my life and i'm noticing a difference as I ride. So my challenge as I begin to train more will be to keep the weight on as i begin to ride more and more.

So there it is keep an eye out for me on the roads of guelph (i'll be in a very sexy reflective vest), wave as you go by.

Oh! in other awesome news the city of guelph has passed a really great looking cycling master plan. basically they are looking to create pathways and roadways in guelph that make cycling easier and safer. so more people will do it. i think it's awesome. thumbs up guelph. 


So remember all those years ago when i said i was bad at blogging....Ya i meant that.

Last years ride came and went and, in a nutshell, was again a giant ball of amazing (rainbows and kittens and awesome people everywhere!) You helped me raise close to $5000. And the ride as a while raised over 2 million dollars for PWA. Incredibleness. Totally.

And this year, this year is pretty awesome for a number of reasons. First it's the 15th anniversary of the ride. 15 years people like me some of who have hardly ridden a bike before. hop on, get their legs a moving and ride their butts from Toronto to Montreal (over 600km!) all for this amazing organization that helps thousands of people every year. Second riders are full! There will be 375 people on bikes this year. amazing. Third after this year I'm going to be taking a break from the ride, so this is your chance people! Donate today!

My goal this year is to reach that $5000. I was so close last year. I will need your help. So time to start digging through the couch cushions, turning in that pile of empties, cashing in your retirement savings (just kidding don't do that), and donating whatever amount you feel comfortable. And if you can tell your friends that's awesome too!

Also if you know of events that i can set up my bike and pedal for dollars at please drop me a line.

Thank you for your support and encouragement
don't text and bike! it's really dangerous. (yeps)

Tuesday 31 July 2012

1/2 way there!

Ah Kingston, 1/2 way to montreal. woot! we stay at queens univerity in dorms that have air conditioning, showers, comfy beds and flush toilets. it's pretty swanky.
The ride so far has been incredible. I told myself this year i would ride slow, not race through things and so far the ride has given me lots of oppertunity to do that.
recap (of what i can remember....)

day 1 (112km): riding out of queens park in toronto is always emotional and amazing. people standing on the street clapping and waving, wishing us well. AND the ride down younge street is beautifully downhill all the way, unlike most of the rest of the day. So riding out of toronto was great i was busting it a little, sometimes getting frustreated stuck behind someone going a little slower than my training rythm, but i got better at being ok going slow. i remembered from last year that the first day was pretty hilly. but shit. after lunch there are some awesome hills. and by after lunch the adreneline of the morning has worn off and lunch is kinda sitting like a rock in your belly. going up the hills then is challenging. but i still end up loving the hills!

day 2 (126km): our team was sweeps for the morning. so what this mean is that we have to be at the very end making sure that no one is left behind. basicly riding slower than the slowest rider. and it's a touhgj ride. 58km to lunch and hilly no as bad as the first day but still some good hills. so yes slower than the slowest rider. some of my team mates found it very challenging. i kinda enjoyed it. 9km/h was mentioned as the speed we were going on flats. if you're not a cyclist, this is quite slow. most people can jog at that rate. the medium riders on the rally are usually going 20-27kph. but we did alright. the one rider we were following eneded up breaking a spoke and the freind who was riding with them decidied they should both get rides to lunch (where the mechanics were) yay! now we can go fast untill be find the next slowest riders. all was going great unitll i hear a "sssssssssssssst" at first i was coulnt' figure out what the noise was and a flat tire didn't occur to me as i had recently purchased puncture resistant tires. but yes i had a flat front tire. so i pulled off, my tube stem (where you [put the air in) was basically hanging off) so i  changed it and got on the road again. not made it past the next two breaks and we're about 2km out from lunch and 1/2 way to camp (and at this point it's also 2:30 in the afternoon, the team members that didn't sweep  arrived at camp another 58km away at 3:30) so we're way behind and so busting it. then i hear another psssssssssst. yep another flat this time the back tire. puncure from the rim side. arg. and i'm out of tubes. so i find the hole patch it up, start inflating the tire and psssssssst oh great! another hole. and just as i get my tire off again to find the 2nd hole a van pulls up. they're going to take me to lunch the dears they are. so after lunch we didn't have to sweep but i had a tire to fix and my frint tire to inflate all the way, and ym darn back tire woudnt seat properly. so i was the last one to leave lunch before the afternoon sweeps.  but decided to bust and and ended up getting into camp around 5:30. 58km in about 2.5 hours. not to shabby. and we get to ride the ferry. that's always fun. the cold lake felt great that night i tell you 8+ hours on a bike. whoooo.

day 3: red ress day! so today the whole camp in encouraged to dress in red and for most that means wearing red dresses. it's our "short day" only 50km. so we dress up and scare the locals. imaging 250+ men in dresses biking thorugh your small town. we turn some heads, mostly becasue we look fabulous! over the top is encouraged, some folks even do it in heels. it's a great time. and i decided to try going slow again today. i decided i could only pass 10 people. so once i had done that i just hung behind a group and sang, enojyed the scenery (which was beautiful) and spun. what a great ride! and when we got to kingston one of the newest sponsors of the rally is a brewerey and they gave us beer with lunch. so we have the afternoon off. i'm showered and changed. and feeling great. so i might just go for a nap.

but remember what i was saying about all the little bits adding up to something amazing? two things, first, the ride is broken up into small chunks with breaks thoughout the day. so the most you ever have to ride is just over 20km. so it's great. small bits, bike for an hour get fed, bike for another hour, eat some more keep doing this and eventually you're at camp. it's awesome. and second. so far the rally has raised over 1100000 dollars. i don't have my glasses on but thats 1 million 1 hundred dollars. you see all the twonies and loonies and change that we all get when we are fundraising get all put together to riase an amazing amount of money.  I feel so blessed to be a part of this ride, it really is a life changing experience. if anyone is interested registration for next year is already open *hint hint*

alright. must go apply arnica oil. and stretch some more.
warm fuzzies to you all

Saturday 28 July 2012

Here we go!

Alright! Less than 17 hours before i'll hope on my little bike and pedla like crazy all the way to montreal. After packing all my gear into the support trucks, i'm taking some time at a friends place to relax and reflect. I'm not really in a reflective mood, I'm actually kinda sleepy and think i should go find more food but if i was not sleepy and had more food i think i would be reflective. Actually i fell like i have nervous belly, you know anticipation, fear, excitement, and fear all wrapped up in one adn manifesting in a wierd flip flop motion in yer insides. questions popping in and out of my head, will i sleep through my alarm tomorrow morning? will i pop a tire? get hit by a car? will people like me? Will I be able to do it? I joined this ride to challenge myself, to grow, to take chances, my discomfort and questions right now tell me i'm doing just that. I'm throwing myself into something that feels totally new (even though i did it last year). I'm not good with new, i like predictable, i like order, i like to stay at home and read and play with my cats or mess around in the garden. Jumping into a huge group (like say 400) of new people and trying to get over that "i need to fit in" feeling is a good challenge for me. I know it's hard to belive but i really am incredibally shy, and my discomfort with new stems out of that. But this is why i ride. to show myself that sometimes jumping in without testing the water can be an amazing expereicne. and every time i jump without testing my fear of jumping gets a little bit smaller. i find a little bit more comfort in the unknowns. So i guess i am getting reflective, a few years ago a friend of mine was killed while riding his bicycle, I got thinking of him today, how amazingly brilliant (and i mean shiny) he was. he was such an incredible loving light, how genuine and open he was. life is so complex and so unpredicatble, and that is what makes it beautiful. You really never know where life will take you, it's not gunna be rainbow and glitter unicorns all the time, sometimes it'll be downright shitty.  but i think it's ot really "what" you live though but 'how" you live through where life takes you. And i think it takes stepping outside where you are comfortable. step outside of what you think you are and have a look back at yourself. it's pretty awesome, and terrifying. But this is why i ride, this is me getting further away from what i think i am and getting closer to who i really am.

so thank you all for your incredible support. thank you for reading my (infrequient and badly spelled and grammered) rants and wanderings. thank you for giving me your change and helping me raise almost $4400 for an incredible organization. I'll be donating around 425 to the local AIDS committee in your honour. and to those who didn't have the change to spare, thank you for your warm thoughts and words of encouragement, they are every bit as important to me.

ok i'm signing off, i'll hope to post an update once we get to kingston, and i have acess to internet again.
many blessings.

Friday 6 July 2012

Riding a bike is about embrasing fear and discomfort

So i went on a great training ride the other morning (before it got stinkin hot thankfully). It has been a little bit since i've been on  a really decent ride. and i was biking around the city (around and around). i got to thinking. i was thinking about how cycling is like life. now i have been known to get all philosophical and stuff as i ride then write about it on this blog, so if you're so over reading about all that stuff i suggest you stop reading now. so yes cycling is like life. you see when you're on your bike you feel things, well at least i personally feel things. i feel more in touch with what i'm feeling and i think that comes from being hyper aware as to not get hit by cars or fall off the road or whatever, but yes i feel alot on a bike. and i think alot on my bike too. i get into a relaxed thinking state. so the other day i thought i would do a little experiment. i've recently come across a great saying that i've been trying to incorporate into my life more "when i focus on a problem, the problem increses. when i focus on finding a solution, the solution increases." great huh. i really like. so hills. i'm a wacko and really love hills.  love going up them. i see a huge hill coming up and i start to smile. it's odd i know. but that's what happens. and i usually have no problem going up the hills. so the experiment. when i saw a hill in the distance, i made myself worry, i made myself question, i made the hill seem so incredibly huge and insurmountable in my head. i don't have to tell you how it turned out. it was hard. it was agonizing to go up. so at next equally big hill i let myself get the usual excited that i get when i see a hill. easy as pie going up. coincidence? i think not. embrace the hills. embrace. the. hills.

on a semi related note, i thought about embracing the weee. i know this sounds strange but it's good. promise. so going down hills (there are alot of hills on my training routes). you can go really slow and brake the whole way, or you can go really fast. really fast can be terrifying or it can be really fun. if you are heading down a hill at 45kph+ and all you are thinking about is what a horrible mess you would make if you crashed going this fast, then you are not embracing the weee (and chances are you are also really tense making a wipeout way more likely). So relax embrace the weee, i find it helpful to actually say "weee" as you are going down the hill. kindof like on a roller coaster but without the awkward safety restraints cutting of circulation or thoughts of who sat in that seat before you did and what they did while they were there.

cycling is not really comfortable. it can be downright uncomforatble, (just look at the seat). but so is life. it has moments of compleate bliss, and then moments where you think you might just die. and if you get through those moments where you think you might die, you've grown a little.  and growing is good. and some of our best growing comes from places where we feel discomfort.  i've done alot of growing on my bike (and not just my leg muscles, although they are quite impressive). in my time on my bike i get challenged i get uncomfortable, i learn about myself and where i think my limits are. a few years ago i hadn't even been near a bike in 8 years or so. who woulda thunk i'd be totally fine biking 100+km/day. and then there's the new people and new experiences factor. so i'm a shy wee person. i like to be at home with my cats, usually laying on the floor with them in the sun, i'm fine being alone, lots of "new" stresses me out a little (ok a lot). but it's good. the more i expose myself to the "new" the more social i realise i really am. i can carry on inteligent conversation in a group of people. amazing!

alright that's enough rambling about life and cycling.
wear your helmets! brains are cool!

Saturday 16 June 2012

Minimum Surpassed!

This is amazing news! So i have fundraised over $2200 so far (and still have over a month of fundraising to go!) So what this means is for every $100 over that minimum i will take 20 bucks out of my pocket (where there are endless numbers of 20 dollar bills...) and donate it to the AIDS Committee of Guelph and Wellington County. To see the amazing things they do in my home community click here.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. and wear your helmets!

Going nowhere fast: Why i love fundraising on my trainer

Yep, I hear that line alot. It gets old pretty quick, like after once. But i'll hear that line over and over again and keep smiling because i love fundraising on my bike trainer. If you don't know what that is, i basically set up my bike on a stand that puts the back wheel off the ground so i can pedal and "go nowhere fast", i put a little sign on my bike that says "please donate," attach a little bucket to the front of my handlebars, hop on my bike and pedal away.  I've done alot of my fundraising this year like this, and raised over 1000 dollars. I really love it and this is blog about why.

So this morning i set up at 7am at the Guelph farmers Market, a place i visit each week. I'm an early market goer because the crowds overwhelm me, most days. So i go early, get my veggies and go home to my cats. Not that i don't love the market. I do, very much in fact. I just get people overload very quickly there. I do enjoy seeing people i know, and saying hi to the vendors, but i am quite shy by nature, and so home to my cats i go. But here i am once again set up on my trainer, having all kinds of strangers/partial strangers and freinds come up and talk to me. for hours I allow that little bit of extrovert in me shine. I talk to strangers. It feels good. I find it incredibally inpriring when i'm there cycling away looking at the birds flying overhead (chimney swifts this morning), and someone walks by, i say "good morning" they slow down, i tell them what i'm doing and who the money goes towards, and they pull out their wallet and drop in a few coins. They have no idea who i am. they probably don't know anyone with HIV/AIDS but they still open thier wallets and wish me a good ride. I had a few very moving moments this morning. A woman walked by me on her way into the market. I said "good morning," she ignored me. Fine. She came back out and we made eye contact. She walked over and dropped a twoonie in my bucket. I said thank you and she walked off. A few hours later, she comes by again and pulls out a twenty and puts it in my bucket and says "Thank you for doing this." Good lord i teared up. that's what gets me. these small interactions with strangers that mean so much. Or when i told a woman and hers kids what i was riding for she came by later got her kids to put a few coins in my bucket and thanked me for getting a disscussion going with her kids about what AIDS was. Amazing. Me riding my bike in a public place is getting people talking with thier kids about AIDS.

I also really love doing the trainer fundraising as it really reminds me how small actions can really add up to something amazing. a few quarters and loonies for you, added to everyone elses quarters and loonies can make a huge difference. Like how me spining my little legs along with all the other riders spinning thier little legs on our way to montreal can help raise over a million dollars  (random tidbit: over %40 of PWAs operating budget comes from this rally) for such an amazing organization and how all the seemingly small things, like a fresh cooked meal, or a much needed medication, that PWA does makes such a huge difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.

So thank you all, thank you for all the little things you do in your life. they do add up and can make a huge impact.