Flanders redux

6 02 2011

It’s been a busy week.

I managed to hit pretty much all the exercise buttons; trainer ride on Monday, trail ride on Wednesday, run on Friday, and my first road ride of the season on Saturday.

With my bones still aching from the regret of not having taken advantage of Friday’s balmy temperatures, I hustled to finish my work in time to squeeze a 50 km ride in late Saturday afternoon. Squeeze being the operative word.

The morning had flirted with the sun, and the afternoon showed promise. It was weakly trying to crack through the cloud cover when I rolled the Orbea out the front door at 2:30 p.m.

But that was as good as it got.

As I chugged up the hills of New West, the clouds started to thicken. By the time I reached the Burnaby-Vancouver border, the sky looked distinctly wintery; I felt like I was in Flanders again.

In honor of the cool, grey skies, I wore this jersey from an amateur team in Flanders, gifted to me by our cousin Martin.

Riding through Burnaby is like driving through Ontario; it takes forever.

Once you hit Vancouver though, it’s a cruise. And with the sky darkening, the ride became a race against time.

It was also getting colder.

But my lungs were loving the cool, damp air. My legs were loving the burn. It was full-on dusk when I returned to the condo, an average speed of 24.38 kmh, not bad for the first ride of the new year.


I am Irony Man

4 02 2011

Oh cruel cruel irony.

I should have ridden today. The thought crossed my mind. The overnight rain stopped early this morning, and it was mild – apparently record mild. Heck, the sun was even trying to break through the carbon grey overcast.

But the roads were still wet. And the wind was picking up. So that’s how I justified a “city day” instead of a ride.

It’s been a while since I had a “city day,” likely before Christmas. They can be good for the soul, surrounded by people all hustling to and fro with purpose, plenty of shopping to bedazzle the eyes and tempt the wallet, lunch out, maybe a movie.

Those were my intentions when I set out this morning. I remained steadfast, even as the sun cracked through to shine guilt upon my shoulders.

When I reached downtown, I took care of a couple of errands, fueled my belly with a veggie burrito, then my mojo withered.

The roads were drying, the temperature balmy. I couldn’t decide on a movie. I didn’t want to spend any money, as that could eat into my New Bike Fund.

All the way home, I tried to justify my cycling neglect; I’d walked a lot, I climbed stairs instead of rode the escalators, I really did need new underwear.

But I still felt defeated.

What's wrong with this picture???

So it was with no small measure of irony this evening that as Katie climbed onto her bike for an hour-long session on the trainer, I laced up my sneakers for a 40 minute run. Wait a minute, who’s supposed to be the cyclist here????


Conquering the down-up

3 02 2011

The evening trail ride is a big commitment.

By the time I jockey the car parking and loading of the bike, drive out to UBC, then drive home again, it’s two hours of logistics to achieve one solid hour of riding. And that’s not even counting the post-ride clean up that’s inevitable this soggy, muddy time of year.

I could save gas, two hours of driving, catch up one episode of True Blood, and not worry about getting muddy and cold by pedaling an hour on the trainer. Or I could still get the exercise burn by pulling on my sneakers to go for a 30-minute run and still be home in time to catch Entertainment Tonight.

After a tentative rebuff earlier in the week from one of my riding buddies, I was resigned to one of the latter options Wednesday.

But when Dan had a change of heart and called to ask if I was in for an evening trail ride, I didn’t hesitate.

It was cold enough to put on the booties, but at least it was dry.

Dan and I met as riding buddies. One of his work colleagues had joined our little group of mountain bikers who rode the trails out at UBC and the occasional excursion up and down Burnaby Mountain. The colleague’s interest waned, but Dan kept coming out.

Embrace the up, don't fear it.

One fall, as the daylight and riding season faded, we all decided we’d get lights and keep riding through the dark winter season. Back then it was a big deal for us to descend down to the beach as that meant an arduous climb back up. The “dreaded down-up” we called it.

I’m not sure why we feared it; it’s only about a 100 meter climb after all.

Today, I can’t remember the last time we didn’t do the “dreaded” down-up. Sometimes, when the weather’s warmer, we do it multiple times.

On my own, I once did it five times. After all, I”m all about the “up.”