Posts Tagged ‘bike ride


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!!)



Today, I got to ride!

Last night, around 5pm. Mont-Tremblant, Canada

Pat says to me:

– Since I changed the cassette (cog) on your old Felt, I could also put my wheels on it, in case you’d like to go for a ride tomorrow.

– What, are you serious? Yoohoo, please do it. Now!!

(We are still waiting for those 2 Italians; Izoard and CentoUno).

From that instant, I wanted the evening to just pass by, disappear. Let it be Wednesday, please, maintenant! First ride of the season is always very exciting! The end of winter, a genuine relieve. 4 months of cold weather can be really hard on you. Really.

Surprisingly, slept ok. And, in the early morning, I had a dream about a girl, riding a black bicycle…

6:05  Hello morning!

10:oo  27°F. Ouch, too cold. Frost on my car. Waited a while.

11:30 Nearly up to 40°F, in the sun. Ok, let’s do it Mari-jo!

Deciding on what to wear and mostly, how many layers to put on was tricky.

Can you tell that I’ve got 3 layers underneath my jacket, including a thermal jacket? As long as I can breathe and move well, it’s all good! It can get cool when there are still snow banks on the roads.

Took forever to get ready, running around, trying to find my stuff… and Pat’s warm shoe cover. (Let’s keep that to ourselves, deal?)

12:10 All dressed (I sound like a  pizza), ready to go.

12:12 Red Tercel cuts me off. Got nothing against Toyota (some of you might though!), but give me a chance here.

12:20 Lower back and right hip are starting to hurt. Nothing new, just same old pain.

12:21  On the 323 towards Brébeuf, cars are passing me by, going fast, giving me that angry look, like I’m in their way. You know, the usual for us, cyclists!

Today, I couldn’t care less about those reckless drivers.

Couldn’t care less about  that lower back or hip pain. Or that tough headwind.

I wasn’t looking for a fight. Wasn’t up for a struggle. Didn’t expect to be powerful and pain free.

I was way over all that. I just kept on turning my legs. In and out of the saddle. Felt like I was just flying away.

I even smiled at a guy that looked like a serial killer, driving one of those huge pick-ups at 100 miles an hour, in a 90km speed limit zone.

Today, I was just happy to be riding my bicycle again.

Nothing, nobody would get me annoyed, irritated or angry.  

On a Wednesday afternoon, it was sunny outside and even though it was a bit chilly, I got to ride my bike again. That says it all!

(By the way, totally in love with Pat’s wheels! Want them. Need them.)

I had to stop and chat with the horses on my way back. Such good listeners!

À bientôt,




 I’ve been away from riding my bike since last December. Yeah, the joy of living in Quebec! You just can’t ride your bike here from December to late April. Well, unless you have one that you don’t really care for; a “mullet” as we say in French. The roads are covered with sand and not swept away until May…. Cycling is obviously not a priority around here, our national sport being ice hockey.

Anyway, my Felt has been stripped down from a few major parts.

As you can see, now would not be a bright idea to go for a ride! Note that the wheels you see in the background are not mine. I wish! Pat is actually building himself a second bike with my ex-Felt. For fun. He’ll use either for the rollers, the trainer and maybe for those cruel rainy days. Oh, and yes it is my massage table. Multi-purpose is ok, right?

What about my new bike?  I can assure you that the first thing I will do when I’ll get my Italian beauty (my Izoard from Wilier, known by all of my Twitter friends as Izzy), won’t be to destroy her striking figure with all that vicious road dirt! (By the way, for those who are wondering, she will get here; we do have a date on the 16th of April).

So, every spring, as soon as Pat ( @coachpatwells ) finishes his ski season, we pack our stuff and head south for a few weeks. Virginia or North Carolina.  Clean roads, roller terrain, hills and some serious climbs. Sometimes with a group, sometimes just the two of us, oups, I mean the three of us. Easy drive and we can bring the dog.

Hmm, nothing easy about driving 12 to 20 hours thought, don’t know why I used the word easy, should have written long drive instead. And I’m just Pat’s co-pilot! He doesn’t mind; he loves to drive. Does he really? Maybe he just can’t stand my driving?  I-81 is definitely not the place to test my driving skills. Truck drivers dictate the pace out there. They own the highway! Surreal, especially on rainy nights. You just have to take their wheel and let them pull you safely for a few hours. After all, it is their office. They must know what they’re doing. Crossing my fingers now!

Anyhow, it always freaks me out to start the season elsewhere. Not that I don’t like the sensation of new smooth paved roads, but at that exact same time, I’m usually adjusting to  new bike parts, new gear  and dealing with some kind of injury (I avoid the term condition). Oh, and not on top of my form, like everyone else coming from a long and what seems to be a never-ending winter season.

So, not being on my own roads doesn’t help the lack of confidence I experience during those first rides. I don’t feel as safe on my bike, testing it all at the same time! Of course, I always worry too much. After a few hours, I’m back in my comfort zone, appreciating the delight of just riding a bike!

What’s new this year for me?

  1. A brand new bike
  2. New pedals
  3. New shoes
  4. A new bike fit, eventually. As soon as I can get Izzy home!
  5. Lots of new gear

New is good but boy, do I feel nervous about the sound of it now! Overwhelmed not only by my new ride but more specifically by the new fit. My human frame is very picky… So let’s hope that my spine likes Izzy!

Now, I still have 1 month to hear about all your rides and wait patiently for my first one of the season! I know « jealousy will get me nowhere », like Pat often says…

 To all my cycling friends I say enjoy it and I wish you a happy and healthy 2010 cycling season!

Even Quick is getting ready: Eukanuba gave him a backpack for his vacation!




Mamma Mia!

From Felt to Wilier. American-German to Italian.

Kind of like switching families. As much as I enjoyed my ride with my Felt, I’m ready to try something new. Makes me nervous though. Big time nerve wracking!  Like the beginning of any new relationship, I’m questioning my move:

 Will I be fond of it? I mean fall head over hills in love with it? Will it fit my kind of riding? How aggressive will it be? Comfortable? Will I be good enough for it? Do I deserve it? How long will our passion last? Can I afford it? And finally, will my back hurt as much while riding?

Even if I know it’s for the best, I still feel insecurities taking over the excitement.

I’ve always been that way. For me, it’s actually a positive state of mind! I like to process information in a very structural way:

  • 1- I’m always sceptical at first (Didn’t say pessimist). Unless you win my heart, I’m a no!
  • 2- Give me the facts, I need to gather the information and analyse the pros and cons. And don’t rush me…
  • 3- After, I let my feelings come into play. By then, I know what’s right for me.
  • 4- At last, decision time: once I made up my mind and there is no way back. No doubt. No regrets.

So now, I still have one day to analyse the Izoard (not the Mortirolo anymore). The order will take place on Thursday. Until then, I’ll be juggling through the 4 steps.

Good news, I’m already done with the first three so it’s all up to my guts…

Good vibes, Izzy belongs to me! Yep, already got a nickname!

PS1: If you want to check it out: 

PS2: Thanks to @coachpatwells for making this huge upgrade possible and giving me all the info I need, merci!




B) No rush Bob!

Inside a massage therapist’s head.

My clients have expectations.

Statistics: 1 out of 2 says he doesn’t mind if it hurts. Let’s call that one client Bob.

I’ve know Bob for 2 minutes now. Already can’t stand him!

“I’m tough. I can deal with pain. Don’t be afraid, just go as hard as you can”.

Nice thinking Bob! What he really means is that he expects the massage not only to be painful but he wishes to feel that discomfort as early as possible during the massage.

When he comes to me, somehow, Bob thinks the experience has to be painful. Otherwise I’m no good. Again, nice!

I can read his mind: “Hurt me, I’ll then trust you and then will be able to relax”.  Hmm. Where does that come from? Oh yes, “no pain, no gain” that we’ve been hearing forever…

In my mind, it makes no sense. It’s also a very frustrating aspect of my job. Very disappointing in fact. Unfortunately, it’s the usual… Hey, what about subtlety?

What Bob is certainly not aware of is that a massage is like a bike ride.

Let’s say your coach is giving you a specific strength workout

  1. steep hills ( 8% or steeper)
  2. that take less than 3 minutes to climb
  3. in and out of the saddle
  4. maintaining at least 50 rpm.

You will obviously make sure to warm-up thoroughly, unless you really crave for injuries!

Same with the massage.

Even before applying oil :

  1. I need to consider the entire body
  2. palpate different muscle groups
  3. grab the skin to evaluate its elasticity and the restrictions
  4. rock the body at the waist to study the connection between lower back and hips

Only then I can decide what I’m going to focus on during our session.

Gradually, with different strokes, I’ll go from working general group muscles to more specific muscles, going deeper, entering different layers.

If I don’t follow such a logistic approach, Bob’s muscles will tighten instead of loosen. The opposite of what I’m trying to achieve. They’re the real judges. The muscles are. By their reaction, they’re telling how much they can take and when they have enough. When they become red and very warm, it’s time for me to move on.

At that point, I don’t care about how hard Bob wants me to go ’cause by now, the endorphins, Bob’s natural pain killers, have already kicked in.

If I continue on working, I can cause more damage, like micro tears for example. Bob doesn’t know that.

Instead of being ready for an intensive interval workout the next day, Bob will have to skip it and settle for a very mellow recovery ride. And, guess what, Bob doesn’t enjoy mellow rides!

I really wish he could understand that warming up the skin and the multiple layers of muscles is not a waste of time but rather a safe way to get a deeper massage.

See ya Bob!



Flickr Photos

mars 2019
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