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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?



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!) 



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!!)





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.



Someone’s watching over me


I don’t know about you, but after watching this morning’s mountain stage (yes, finally, the mountains!), I was flying on my bike! A friendly tailwind, stunning sunshine, heat and a few fluffy clouds. Perfect summer day!

My legs were turning fast. Images of Chavanel kept coming back to me: digging deep into his soul and enjoying what may be the biggest day of his cycling career. Inspiring, to say the least!

I kept increasing my speed. A fast cadence. Big chain ring. And then, a weird sensation, like when you feel someone is watching you or looking over your shoulder. I turned my head for a second. No one. I was still by myself. But somehow, I didn’t feel like I was alone…

A long false flat. I could feel my heart rate slowly rising. First short hill. My legs seemed fresh and strong, thanks to Friday’s full recovery day! As a result, I did not even bother to change to the small chain ring; I just attacked. I was rocking those white bibs!


Suddenly, it hit me: I knew that after watching that mountain stage, thousands of cyclists around the world would head out for a ride. That’s what religiously watching the TdF will do to you, if you’re a roadie.

Although I was riding solo, I knew I wasn’t by myself; you guys were pedaling too. I thought of my dear friend @RaceG206 in Puerto Rico, @pmatalon in Jamaica, all of you in the States (@blueallez, @donaldjones, @13aspen, @dauphin87, @rgrissom, @RickieRainwater), @lovingthebike, (somewhere searching for your perfect tropical island), and  @GTinLA,  still recovering from your latest adventure!

Thousands of kilometres apart but yet, going through similar emotions, battling the same wind, approaching the same kind of climbs.

Thousands of miles away from one another but yet, sharing the same passion.

We may speak different languages at times (Spanish, English, French-Canadian), but thanks to our bikes, we speak exactly the same!

                                       Happy Girl on a bike!

                                       Oh, and GO ARGYLE! (Oops, weird flash on my leg, beurk!)

 Mari-jo (@marijolamarche)


Dusty cobblestones


5 am   A huge headache wakes me up. I get up, swallow an Advil liquid-gel and go back to  bed.

5:05   I know I won’t be able to go back to sleep. Quick, lying next to me, is not only snoozing, he’s snoring! Jealous right there! The hell with it; I get up!

5:15    My Bodum (French Press) is working its magic…

5:20   Got my Twitter page open, saying hello to the world, wishing good luck to a few Pro riders and a speedy recovery to the injured ones. Very difficult year for VdV. Sight.

6:50   My headache is history. Knowing that The TdF starts at 8:30, I decide to put on my Black Star kit and head out for an early morning rides.

Aaaaaah, peaceful country side roads, I love you!




Dust- Crashes- Wheels and bike changes- More dust- More crashes- More wheels and bike changes. What a stressful stage!


– My quick review:

* Cancellara and Jens V. pacemaking out in front: Fabian said he would ride those cobbles and that’s exactly what he did. He’s now back in yellow, in honor of Frank, now out with a broken shoulder. Bummer. (Oh, I’m secretly thinking of buying a Saxo Bank kit…)

* Simon Gerrans face covered in blood (black eye and stiches). Scary!

* Farrar did finish, although he doesn’t know how he made it!

* Armstrong managed, first with the help of Popo and then by himself, to cross the gap in the cobblestones.

* Unlucky day for Chavanel; too many bike changes!

– My PRO OF THE DAY:       Canadian Ryder Hesjedal

Riding the cobbles like there was no tomorrow. Gave it all he had. So bummed that he got caught 6.5 km from the end. My Garmin guys are still in the race…



4 words

 Monday July 5th


I’m ready to go: got my white Garmin kit on, shoes, helmet, phone and goodies in back pockets. Water bottles are still in the freezer. Sitting at the end of the couch, I just can’t leave now.  I need to see if Chavanel makes it.


I turn off the TV, grab my water bottles, give Quick a piece of apple and lock the door. Canicule! It’s 30°C and the sun is shining. Yep, after last week’s cold front, a heat wave takes the lead. Wow, it’s hot! Everybody is saying to stay out of the sun. But after watching today’s stage, nothing will stop me from riding my bike.

I usually start slow but right now, I’m just flying. Soooo many overwhelming images are controlling my mind that I kind of skip my warm-up. As I’m pedaling, I see Jens Voight, back in front, pulling like a machine, battling against the rain. I think of Andy Schleck, one second, holding his right arm, in despair, and the next, jumping on his teammate’s bike to eventually rejoin the front pack. I think of Chavanel, the Frenchman who only a few weeks ago broke his collarbone and who just won a TdF stage! I smile when I think of Cancellara(Aaah, Fabian! Sigh), controlling the lead group and I’m wondering for a moment if all my Garmin guys made it in one piece.

As I’m pedaling, the same 4 words keep bursting out of my head:

Determination. Dedication. Commitment. Perseverance.

Gotta love July!

Can’t wait for stage 3: the cobblestones.




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