Posts Tagged ‘bike


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!





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.



Spring Break

I’ve got a few friends along my spine: bone spurs. They’re having a party up there. Might be early spring break for them! “Inflammation” seems to be the theme of the week. And can’t have a party without inviting miss herniated disc C6-C7 …

 When it happens, it’s like having a needle stuck in my neck. More like a knife actually. A sharp one. If I try to look up, it cuts right through the bones. Even my head itself feels too heavy for my spine. Impossible for me to lift anything. Obviously, gotta forget snowshoeing for a few days. If you know me, you know how that must make me feel… Yep, exactly like that!

Can’t use my arms much either. Being a massage therapist, it complicates things a little. It’s like there’s no more protection layer around my nerves anymore. Sitting down at my computer, a sharp pain travels down my forearms and into my hands. Left side. Right side. Sometimes both. Like in the last 4 days.

This condition just doesn’t fit me:

  • I’m a massage therapist.
  • I’m a cyclist.
  • I like to climb steep hills on my bike or on my snowshoes. And I like to climb them fast, be the first one up there, like a little rabbit. Got a nickname out of that: Pat calls me “mon p’tit lapin”…
  • I also crave skate skiing. Yes, like the kind you see at the Olympics! Intense!
  • I love trail running and hiking with Quick, my beloved black Lab.

Like I said, it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. Doesn’t fit who I am. Doesn’t fit what I do. It never will.

But yet, somehow, I have to deal with it. Accept the set backs. So scared that it will, at some point, dictate my life.

Remember last week, when I got the results for my biopsy? I felt way “over” everything, as you can imagine… Hmm, I paid for that a few days later, when I went skate skiing: stunning winter day shared with my boyfriend doing what I love, heart beat up to 195, just the way I like it!But…

Every time I pretend I’m over it, it comes back at me. Right in my face. Reality check. Again!

  • Gotta use my brain when I ride my bike or go for a snowshoe now.
  • Can’t just go all out like I use to. Can’t listen to my guts.
  • Can’t show off my power  all the time. Gotta be wise. Wiser!
  • Gotta learn from the ice-anti-inflammatory-pain killer kinda days.

I feel  stuck. Stuck in a body that’s wants more than just average exercise.  Mostly because that’s not who I am. I’m just not average… I’m an intense, hard headed and  dedicated everyday athlete!

Gotta go now, 10 minute ice session!


P.S.  The more blogs I write, the more naked I feel!


Indoor trainer? Naaaa!

When I woke up, I knew that at some point today, I was going to meet the devil. Bad day? Important meetings? Hmm. Think again.  Blue sky, fresh snow. Stunning morning! After last week’s  set backs, I wasn’t going to miss another striking day stuck inside.

In need of a fine workout. Always good for the soul!

Got dressed, filled my water bottle, prepared my Atomic backpack, took my snowshoes and jumped in the car with my beloved dog in the back seat. 4 minutes later, I made a right into a private parking lot, Le Diable (gotcha!), an impressive golf course here in Tremblant, surrounded by challenging mountain bike trails that transform into outstanding snowshoe trails. All mine!

So, meet my playground. Oups, Quick is staring at me; our playground!


Don’t be jealous my Twitter friends. I’m just making the most out of that winter. Long winter should you read. December until late March. Don’t let me fool you: I’d rather have my feet in the sand, complaining about my sunburn or taking pics of my bike, with the ocean in the background. Again, just dealing with what I have: snow, cold temperature and sometimes, a bit of sunshine.

So today, I got a magical dose of vitamine D.

My indoor trainer sure is a lonely guy!

Thanks  Mr. Sunshine for showing up,

(View of Lac Ouimet and Gray Rocks)

See you soon,



Part 5 and 6 of « why I love cycling »

Two weeks ago, I started a list. The concept was pretty basic:

10 reasons why I love cycling.

I soon realized that it was insane to write down only 10! Ideas, images came bursting out of my mind! I guess that’s what happens when you’re passionate about something…

My” list even became “our” list (see Part 2: ).

A Twitter friend of mine, John Chappell ( @dauphin87 ), felt somehow so inspired by the concept that he decided to make up his own Top 10 , which I’m sharing here with you. Thanks again John for your contribution!

 So, on this marvellous rainy Monday morning, here we go:


  41.  Feeling the wind in my face.

 42.  Hearing the sounds of nature that a car shuts out.

 43.  It has helped me make friends outside of work!

 44.  It keeps me in better shape than most people half my age!

 45.  To see the looks of astonishment I get when I tell people I just                    rode 100 miles.

 46.  I makes me feel young!

 47.  It’s an excuse to wear bright colors!

 48.  It gives me self confidence.

 49.  I like gadgets! (gears, components…)

 50. It keeps my senses sharp.

 PART 6  (mine!)

 51. Being able to appreciate things that regular people take for granted such as: water,  paved roads, fresh air.

52. Passing into an old covered bridge.

53. After a long time off the bike due to an injury, enjoying a short 30 minute ride!

54. Calling sick at work and going for a ride, trying not to be seen by colleagues!

55. Getting reunited with my beloved bike after what feels like a never ending off-season.

56. New Easton wheels on the bed!

57. Spending quality time by myself.

58. Spending quality time with Pat (!!).

59. The smell of freshly cut grass.

60. Squeezing a ride in before having to sit in a car for a few boring hours.

Have a good Monday everyone!



Getting ready to ride

 Some people ask me (non-cyclists): « why do you  write about cycling in the middle of winter? » Simple answer: because I miss it! Try being apart from your bike for 4 months… I even miss getting ready for my rides.

Definitely a fun part for me. Kind of a ritual in fact. With music in the house to get me going. Everybody is different, has a different approach. Mine is based on a very careful preparation.

Let’s see my pre-ride ritual, just for fun!

My ideal time for a ride is between 10 and 11 am.

1) I get up at least 3 hours prior to my ride and eat breakfast 2 hours before.

On the MENU:

  • orange-grapefruit juice
  • 3 multi-grain toasts: 2 with apple-raspberry fruit snack and 1 covered with an indecent quantity of Nutella.
  • 1 banana
  • What’s missing? Coffee, of course! 2 cups of any wonderful blend does the trick, a little foam on top.

2) I make sure to verify the weather forecast (Accuweather) in case I need rain jacket, or an extra vest.

3) I also step outside to check the of the moment and the wind, which is always an important factor.

I then have to settle on how many layers to wear.

Decide on knee, leg or arm warmers.

Full booties or those cute Pearl Izumi toe covers that Pat got me…You see, I use to wear his. It’s usually my tactic to get some new gear, shuuuu, don’t tell him!

4) I even check the light outside to choose the right lenses.

5) WARM-UP : I go trailwalking  with Quick, my black Lab.

6) FUEL FOR THE RIDE : somekind of bar, as long as they’re a good amount of carbohydrates. No proteins, takes too long to digest.

I like Cliff Bars: Banana nut bread and black cherry almond. With more than 200 calories and over 40gr of carbohydrates, I’m sure to make it home.

I also enjoy Cliff Shot Bloks especially in the summer because of the electolytes. Soft and easy to chew. Black cherry is my fav with 50 mg of caffeine for an extra boost (only orange and cola contain caffeine).

For a short term boost, I totally trust either Jelly beans or Gummy Bears. Nothing fussy, just real sugar, with a very high glycemic index. Gives me an extra push on hard climbs. And yes, I steal all the red ones and never touch the black ones!

1 banana

1 bottle of H2O and 1 of Gatorade.

Oh, in summer, when it’s over 20°C, I try to avoid bars covered with chocolate: melted chocolate in your back pockets is never good! And when the weather is cold, the chocolate becomes hard to chew. Ouch! Breaking a tooth is not that great either.

 P.S. Last summer, Pat tried Garmin’s famous rice cakes (Allen Lim’s in fact; a genius btw). He even added his special touch: cranberries. Amazing!

You can watch Allen Lim himself showing you how to make them on this video:

Ok now, with all that said, 10 o’clock now. But being  January, I’m heading out for a snowshoe!

What’s your ritual like?



A plan, a fork, no coffee

I don’t know about you but when I think about my next blog post, I’m usually either lying in my bed, showering, riding my bike or walking in the forest. Ideas generously bursting out of my head. No paper in hand, obviously!

Thrilled by such imagination, I try to remain composed, somehow, structuring sentences, welcoming any type of creativity. But really, fully stressed out until I get it down and edit it!

The fear of forgetting or loosing my new brilliant concept keeps me on my toes all day long. Hectic mood sometimes: multi-tasking in the house, joggling in my mind. Obsessed with wanting to solve my new puzzle.

But then, it happens. As I start typing, another bright idea takes the lead. One phrase and, suddenly, out the window goes my plan.

You know, it’s like when you’re on your bike, in front of a fork, and you take a last minute decision, choosing to take a right instead of a left, just to add a fun and unexpected twist to your ride, knowing you have enough fuel to get home.

Different path, different story. It may be quicker or longer, easier or more challenging. Going with your guts, or my case, purely following the words, my true leaders, my “maillot jaune”!

Am I becoming a domestic in my own writing? Would not be such a bad thing after all. Domestics are well-known for their strong work ethic and after a few years of pulling and carrying water bottles for their teammates, they become strong leaders!

Anyway, wanna  know what I was going to write about this morning? Cycling and coffee, mixing two passions. “Today is the day”, I told myself.

So, I woke up, played outside, took a shower, brainstorming it all and then came the fork.

Guess what, yep, no coffee talk! Not just yet…

 What about you, always stick to your plans?




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