Archive for the 'cycling' Category

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

04
Sep
10

Saturday morning

There’s something special about Saturday morning.

Although I don’t have to, I always get up before 7am. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene. The birds are signing,  the squirrels are running around the deck.

Daily worries put a side for 2 days, like a mini vacation! Perfect time for writing. Being productive while the rest of the world is sleeping. Very satisfying!

Saturday also  calls for sunshine.  It’s just the way it’s supposed to be. A reward for those who work all week long. Let them have some fun, pelezzzz!

And what would Saturday be without a bike ride? It’s an absolute must. A no brainer. Whether you’re training for your next century or your next race, riding solo, with friends or in a local club, you expect to putt in some serious miles.

You may be mentally drained from your job, you wouldn’t miss your Saturday morning ride in a million years. 8 am and ready to sweat, struggle, attack and  counter attack. You’re all there, sharp as a knife.

Seriously, what would your life be without your Saturday morning bike ride?

Mari-jo

18
Août
10

Brain VS guts

 

I get up this morning and all I can see is fog. Big thick fog. I know it’s usually followed by blue sky but I can’t see any blue just yet. I’ve completed day 3 off the bike. 3 long days. Feels like an eternity. Like when you first fall in love with someone and you don’t see your new love for 1 full day… Yep, an eternity. The only good thing about it is that by staying off the bike, I’ve got less laundry to do!

Repeating the key word in my mind: temporary.

The last few days have been pretty rough on me.  My sacro-iliac joint decided, again, that she’s had enough pedaling for the summer and has called for a break. I say again because she does that little trick of hers every 2 months or so. She had the decency to give me a few signs before quitting, but like any passionate cyclist, I pretended not to understand her words. You know what a good dose of endorphins do to you, right? Makes your brain dizzy. Makes the pain in your quads disappear. Makes you happy. And makes you crave for more!

So lately, I’ve added a few extra intervals on the big chain ring, preparing for my 24hour coming up in September. Well, it was one too many I guess. I was just having fun with my heart. I could hear my gluteus and back screaming but the fun I was having with my heart made me ignore the rest. And since my muscles, because of some other serious issue, can never fully recover, I’m now paying for that lack of self control.

My daily drill has been pretty boring: ice, rest, avoid walking, lay on back, no sitting at the computer for more than 30 minutes at a time, no lifting, and of course no biking. Repeat for 2 to 15 days (!!). That recommendation would make a couch potato joyful but makes me more on down side. Imagine:  no bike, no computer time. Makes any sane girl go nuts!

Now, after day 3, it’s time for me to get back on the bike and slowly turn the legs. No big chain ring. No resistance training. No intervals. No big fun. Just turn those legs. Easy spin. Gotta play smart if I want to come back strong. Pedaling with my brain, not with my guts. 30 to 45 minute spin, not more than that. Self control, for once.

Gotta stick by those rules for a couple of days. And in the best case scenario, at the end of this week, I’ll get to change those rather boring rules and have some fun again!

Mari-jo

03
Août
10

good stuff

Lake- Quick- bike ride- pancakes- coffee- Pat- sun- cookies-

Those 8 words are not just regular words to me. They suggest happiness, freedom and delight. Simple pleasures, good stuff, wouldn’t you say?

Last Sunday, Magog, 7:30am.

 Sipping my morning coffee by the lake, feet up, watching mother duck taking care of her little ones, I was definitely in a happy place. A few minutes later, breakfast was calling my name. Oh, breakfast of champions I should say.

First, 2 toasts covered with homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam, a real delight, followed by 2 pancakes (crêpes bretonnes) fully covered with maple syrup. And not just any kind of syrup but the best, made right here in Québec. We may have cold, long, horrible winters but we sure know how to make maple syrup!

Then it was time for Quick and Pido to go nuts over a tennis ball. For Quick, it was more like an hour and a half Time Trial! If the Montreal Expos were still on the map, I’d sent them his resume! At 9 years old, my doggy is still in excellent shape, thanks to me, hihi!

The icing on the cake came just before lunch time when Pat turned to me and said:

– Wanna go for a ride?

– Aaaaah, yesssssssss!

I ran downstairs and within 2 minutes I was ready to go. I was so excited that I took his cycling stuff out of his bag and carefully put it on the bed. Anything to save time! Since I packed his clothes, guess what he was wearing…

                                            ( I wanted to show you Orford in the background but I missed!)

A ride around Magog wouldn’t be complete without a coffee stop…and some chocolate cookies.

                               ( The Italian love affair continues)

                             ( Stuck in traffic on our way back on Main street!)

                                      ( Oh boy, I missed that pic too!)

What’s your good stuff?

Mari-jo

21
Juil
10

Let it rain…later!

 

If only I can get my ride in, then I’ll be able to get that boring stuff done”.

If you’re a cyclist, you understand what I’m saying. You know, when it rains two days in a row and you’re stuck inside on your day off, waiting for it to clear up. Anxious to see the sun again. Wondering how you’ll manage to live one more day, (well, make it one more hour!) without getting your training ride done…

Kind of like a lion jammed in a tiny cage. Going nuts. Turning in circle. Loosing it! Not only disappointment, but frustration, annoyance and sometimes, even anger. Everything gets on your nerves. You cannot think straight anymore!

Walking around, all grumpy, not focusing, checking the weather report over an over again, just in case it suddenly changes. Asking yourself: “But why today?”

Over the years, riding my bike has become part of my daily routine. Like eating, showering, working and sleeping. I don’t sit down and ask myself: “hmmm, do I feel like riding my bike today?” Of course not! Nearly everyday, 2 hours after breakfast, I just put one of my favourite kit on, fill my water bottles, grab some bar and Gummy bears, my phone, a few dollars, jump on my San Marco saddle and start pedaling.

Phew! Only at that moment, I can breathe again, turn off my brain and let the magic begin.

  • It’s a must.
  • It’s what I need.
  • It’s my way of dealing with my daily worries.

 

Of course I allow myself to have full recovery days, but I like to plan them ahead. It’s just horrible when the weather dictates when I can or cannot ride.

Rain, rain, go away now, you’re driving me crazy! I promise to do all my house chores after and make the house look Spic and spine!   

                                        (Oops! Rue Coupal on Monday morning)

                                             (Quick trying to destroy this bone. Oh, he succeeded!)

                                 (Me, making new friends yesterday.)

                                     (Pretty country side pic here at La Conception.)

                                          (Berry season is on…and early this year!) 

Mari-jo

17
Juil
10

Freedom on 2 wheels

 

It’s 5:40 on a Saturday morning. For no apparent reason, I can’t go back to sleep. Peaking through my bedroom window, I can see that the sky is spotless; not even one cloud. I see an opportunity. I decide to get up. Yes, at 5:42 on a day off, I’m actually excited to get up because I realize that I can go for an early ride. I’m not talking about an organized local club ride. Noooo, just a wonderful solo ride; me, myself and I!

Aaaah, the joy of having the country roads all to myself!

Feeling the cool morning breeze tickling my forearms.

Waving to that old man, sitting in his rocking chair on his front porch, sipping his first coffee. 

Admiring the morning light finding its way through the trees.

Saying hello to random horses, goats and cows being fed, giving me the “who are you and stop staring at me” kind of look!

10 years since I first started my love affair with cycling. And I can assure you that even after a decade, I always get little happy butterflies in my stomach before a ride, especially an early morning one. Pure joy of being able to do what I want, when I want

Oh, I believe there’s actually a word for that brilliant concept: freedom!

                                      (Tremblant resort from La Conception)

                                         (Corn is slowly growing!)

                                             (La ferme de Monsieur Émond)

                                                   (Great news: new Garmin jersey fits with my glasses!!)

Mari-jo

12
Juil
10

Dehydrated

 

The ideal summer combo: sun and heat. It’s never been that hot. By never, I mean it’s unusual for us, québécois, to get more than 2 days of warm weather in July. Of course I’m pushing it a bit, but you get the idea.

With both the sunshine and high temperature working over time, I’ve been a very happy camper, to say the least. Riding my bike, reading in the shade on our deck, walking around in shorts and t-shirts. It may sound silly but when you have to deal with cold weather for months, you are thankful for those simple pleasures. And you wish it would stick around forever.

Tanning wise, I’m getting there. Got my 2 different shades on, like any avid cyclist, which I like to compare to chocolate: half of me is dark chocolate and the other half is white! Oh well, I avoid public beaches and mirrors anyway, so no worries!

On the down side, heatwave also calls for a lack of rain. Riding along the Rivière Rouge in the countryside around Tremblant is where you can really notice the effect of our dry July. As stunning as the river can be, it shows a different picture now; a sandy, dehydrated river, craving for water. I can hear it calling out for help: “I’m thirsty! Please, let it rain!”

Here is the river before and after:

                                    (I’ve never seen that many rocks; they usually hide underneath the water)

In my perfect world, it would rain in the evening or at night time and the sun would shine from 7am to 8pm. That would make for a sparkly river. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge…

A perfect combo for some and a struggle for others.

Weird world.

Mari-jo




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