24
nov
10

Nathalie

 

What do you say to a friend that just lost the love of his life?

I’m usually not bad with words, juggling from French to English with ease. But yesterday, at Nathalie’s funeral, I was speechless. After 14 years of dealing with cancer, she lost her battle. 14 YEARS. What a fighter!  Astonishing inner strength. Ups and downs. Fully living the good times.

A smile that stays with you forever. Eyes so vivid and full of life that you keep telling yourself that this cannot really be happening.  Not now. Not her. 46. She was only 46!!

Like some of you said; too young. Wayyyyyy too young.

So again, what do you say to a friend that just lost the love of his life? And to his two boys, who are quickly becoming strong young men?

 

During her last week at the hospital, Charles sent me an email:  “she must have completed 7 Tour de France in 7 days!” he wrote. It says it all.

What comforts me a tiny bit is that I know how “rock-solid” Charles is. That guy, on a windy nasty kinda day, could pull you for hours without showing any weakness. A big chainring, powerful  cycling machine. And of course, les boys, like Charles calls them, are just like their dad… and their mom.

 

Nathalie, our hero.

Mari-jo

05
nov
10

move it move it!

 



Up here, you just never really know when cycling season ends. Your last ride might be as late as November or as early as October. For that reason, instead of feeling sorry for myself and complain about the cold, the rain, the darkness of such depressing fall weather, I put on my running shoes, and head for the trails with my beloved Quick!

In my mind, they are my trails. Apart from a few deer, lots of squirrels, a very busy fox, I just never encounter any human being. Oh, just for the record, I know there are bears but luckily, I just never saw any… Touching wood as I’m typing!

Up and down, right and left
Switchbacks.
Everything but boring.
Jumping a creek, avoiding a rock, trying not to slip.
It’s all about making instant decisions. No time for indecision.
Always thinking about your next step.

Rocks, branches, mud, leaves.
Living in the moment.
Clearing your mind.
Feeling the oxygen steaming down your legs and feeding your brain
Looking up a sec to enjoy the view
Surrounded by trees, waterfalls and mountains
How can you feel anything but fresh and alive?

So, whatever the season, it’s all about being in motion.
Pedal, walk, run, swim, hike, jump, slide…just move!!

 

 

 

23
oct
10

Never stop exploring

 

When there’s movement
There’s life
Walking, running, pedaling
Road, paths, trails
Please don’t be scared
Just follow me
I’ll show you the way

 

Morning fog, sunshine, fresh air
Striking surroundings
Rain, snow and ice
Exploring the boundaries
Life in the fast lane
Fighting the elements
Please don’t be scared
Just take my hand
Let me be your leader
I’ll show you the way

 

But yet another day
Another challenging journey
Facing adversity
But this time, a total different ball game
No movement involved
Wounded
I could fake happiness
But I lost my spark
It’s all just a blur

 

Stuck in a body that isn’t mine
I can’t reach; I’m lost at sea
Even if I see the land
I fear I won’t make it
The unknown, you know…
Please give me your hand
And show me the way
Tell me I will heal, I promise I’ll never let go

Mari-jo

 

 

17
oct
10

what we see

Cyclists
A different breed
We consider food as fuel
Our muscles as powerful partners
Our body as a complex engine

We see an unknown territory
As a potential new loop
A recently paved road
As velvet under our wheels
A steep hill
As an intense short interval
A mountain
As a epic challenge

We see injuries
As time away from our passion
Health problems
As our worst enemy

Cyclists
We view the world in a different way
Because we are indeed
An exceptional breed!

Mari-jo

05
oct
10

Magical beans

 

 Every single morning

A few easy steps being followed

A plain routine?

Certainly not

More like a ritual

A moment of pure delight

 

 

Water whistling in the background

The grinder destroying the beans into tiny pieces

A few scoops gently delivered into the French Press

And may the magic begin

 

 

A transformation

A combination of aromas

A few minutes and then…

Time’s up!

The dark potion ready for consumption

 

 

The first sip

Aaaaah, the enjoyment of the mysterious brew

Such a delight!

Sleepy head coming back to life

Tons of new ideas jumping around

Armed to face another battle

Ready for another day.

 

Mari-jo

02
oct
10

Autumn

 

Yellows, oranges and reds

The colourful twist of Mother Nature

Rain, wind and chilly temperatures

Everyone gathers inside

Homemade soup, fireplaces and fluffy blankets

The soothing effect of a warm infusion

Tea, coffee, what is it gonna be?

 

Looking back at those summer days

 Struggling to stay in the moment

Overlooking what’s coming next

Knowing that with the power of nature

The leaves will for an instant be free

Until they land and peacefully wait for the end.

 

Mari-jo

23
sept
10

More like a 48hrs!

 

For some reason, I’ve been avoiding this post. I’ve tried several times in the past 2 weeks to sit down and write about  the 24h of Tremblant, but everything I wrote faded away as I hit the delete button each time. Mixed emotions. A weekend of ups and downs, highs and lows. Maybe a mirror of how I really feel and what I’m going through.

Everybody at work asked me how it went so I’ve been re-living those 24 hours like twenty times already. Wanna move forward now and turn the page. So this morning, I’m taking one final shot at it. I’ll see where it brings me. Too heavy a burden.

It all started on that Friday morning. After a terrible rainy and cold week, the sun finally found its way back. Phew! What a relief! Pat asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride with the wonderful Phil Liggett, the voice of cycling, Lance Armstrong’s guest for The Tour de Lance. I met Mr. Liggett at last year’s edition of the TdL and even if I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with LA, meeting Phil was without a doubt, the highlight of that day! A delightful gentleman, easy to talk to and ooooh, so funny to listen to!

So when Pat asked me if I wanted to ride with Phil, my first reaction was:

“Of course I want to, are you kidding?! Such a treat, such a privilege, wouldn’t miss that for the world!”

But then, my brain suddenly kicked in and reminded my guts that it wasn’t as simple as that: I’ve been saving my back and my sacro-iliac joint for the last month (no hills, no intervals, no pushing big gears, no sprints, no real fun on the bike) just to be able to ride a few hours, pain free, if possible(!), during our 24h. And now, silly me, I was ready to screw it all up for a ride with a sport commentator…

Ok, let me get some things straight here, just to keep you in the loop (thanks GT, I learned that expression from you, hihi!):

  1. Phil Liggett is not just any sport commentator; he’s the most colourful cyclist journalist, a real life legend!
  2. I can’t go on group rides anymore because of all my injuries (if I push too hard, then I end up paying for it for a few days).
  3. I use the word injuries but the truth is that I’m struggling with a wicked health issue. Still can’t talk openly about it, as you can see.
  4. And yes, that health issue is disturbing every aspect of my life and it’s preventing me from being the cyclist I once was. Very upsetting, as you can imagine.

 

Let’s go back to last Friday. I first declined Pat’s offer. But he wasn’t gonna take no for an answer…

-         Common, we’ll just go for 20kms with them and then come back. I really want to ask Phil for an interview for VéloPresse (Pat’s cycling magazine, first edition coming out next spring). I got way too much work to do anyway (finishing sales for SkiPresse magazine). (Yeah, Pat is a busy guy!)

-         20kms, that’s all I can do. So ok, I’m in!

Long story short:

Yes, I got to ride my bike with Phil. Lucky me, someone got a flat along the way which took for ever to change. So there I was, on the side of the road, chatting with Mr Liggett  about getting old and cycling, travelling, my dog Quick and his passion for birds. Felt surreal!

As soon as my back started aching, I swallowed my pride and told Pat I had to leave the group, turn and head back to the car.

Of course I was disappointed, upset, mad and even humiliated. But that negative state of mind wouldn’t ease the pain.  I knew that going back was the right thing to do. I still had a 24h to attend to the next morning! (Btw, Mr Liggett even wrote a Tweet about the ride: “Our short ride turned out to be over very quickly; we did 40kms at an average speed of 40.64kph. I didn’t do that when I was racing!” )

Phil told Pat that he would be delighted to meet us at his hotel, the Quintessence, for     an interview. We had a date set up for 4:30pm. We showed up at 4:30 sharp. We spent a little more than an hour in his luxurious Q room, listening to  this wonderful man, talking passionately, remembering when he was just a 15 year old kid discovering cycling and how he first got into journalism. Oh, and stories about birds, lions in Africa and pictures of kangaroos in NZ!!

Leaving the room, I felt honored and privileged. Quality time with Mr Liggett, wow!

After that, I finally got to meet and chat to Debbie, a friend of Pat’s, who’s been doing the TdL for the past 3 years. Another lovely encounter!

Next was the launching of the 24h at the resto-bar le Shack, where I met Lyne Bessette, another long time friend of Pat’s! We did not stick around too long (I really can’t stand shouting in people’s ears because of loud music!!), went home and prepared our bags for the next morning, setting up the alarm at 6:30 for the big day!

Aaah, the big day, remember?  The one I said was filled with mix emotions… Well instead of writing about it, I’m taking the easy way out: here’s the link to my Flickr album, specially made for the event (some of you have already seen it). They say that a picture says it all so enjoy!

Et voilà: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marijolamarche/sets/72157624832468989/ 

Mari-jo




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