Great Friday

29 03 2013

Suddenly, it’s spring.

A week after riding through sleet and snow, today was the first ride with knickers. FRFuggitivi convened for a special Good Friday ride and with the sun beating down spirits were high. And so was the pace.

It's so early in the season, Guy has the day's directions taped to his stem!

It’s so early in the season, Guy has the day’s directions taped to his stem!

No longer did we have to prove our mettle as hard men, defying the elements and common sense to stretch our legs.

Today we basked.

Blossoms!

Blossoms!

By July we will take the sun for granted. We’ll complain it’s too hot. We’ll begrudge the sun screen, the salty sweat dripping into our eyes.

Mid-ride reward, at Café Faubourg.

Mid-ride reward, at Café Faubourg.

But at the end of March the big bright sun is glorious. A beacon for the season of rides and camaraderie to come.

Allez, allez.

Little Ring is excited for the cycling season as well!

Little Ring is excited for the cycling season as well!

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Come fly with me

23 03 2013

Every year there are milestone rides. The earliest. The longest. The hardest. The most climbing. The fastest. Crossing various mileage thresholds.

Already this young season I’ve managed a few.

Earliest climb up and over Burnaby Mountain, on March 8.

Yesterday’s adventure in the cold, rain, snow and sleet also turned out to be a milestone, as I crossed 40,000 total kilometres since I first started logging my rides nine years ago. While that may not seem so much compared to some cyclists, it is about 16,000 kms more than my mom has accumulated on her car since she bought it nine years ago!

Today the sun we were promised Friday finally emerged. So to right the wrong that had been so cruelly inflicted upon us by the weather gods, I managed to squeeze in a quick (well, not as quick as it will be in July) spin out to the airport and back.

Blues skies mean another ride!

Blues skies mean another ride!

And achieve another milestone; first back-to-back riding days of the season.





Milan-SanRemo redux

22 03 2013

I love watching the pros suffer.

Whether it’s a gruelling climb or wild weather, seeing the faces in the pro peloton twisted and contorted in anguish, their eyes focused forward in steely resolve is one of the great appeals of the sport. Their pain is something i can relate to, even if it’s just on an early-season ascent of Burnaby Mountain. Their courage to overcome is motivational.

During the spring’s races in Belgium, France and Italy, it’s often the variable weather that introduces that extra dose of drama to the Classics, or Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico.

But for the past several years the weather has always seemed almost too nice. Instead of cold and mud at Paris-Roubaix, the cyclists have had to cope with heat and dust. Even the earliest races, in Flanders, seemed to be run in the sun, on dry roads.

Not this year.

Spring in Europe has been anything but. Snow canceled one race. Rain and cold dogged many others. The already long Milan-SanRemo turned into a test of fortitude with all three. By the end, in gloomy dusk, the riders’ fingers were frozen, their faces caked in mud and road grit.

It was epic!

Today’s special FRF Friday ride turned into a mini Milan-SanRemo. The weather forecast promised sunshine. But over the course of our 45 km route we never saw it. Instead rain slicked the road, sending Guy to the pavement on one perilous, greasy decent. On Burnaby Mountain, it snowed, then sleet pelted our cheeks. At the finish, thunder clapped.

The calm before the snowstorm. Curtis, a new recruit on his inaugral FRF ride, and Guy suit up after our midway snack break.

The calm before the snowstorm. Curtis, a new recruit on his inaugral FRF ride, and Guy suit up after our midway snack break.

We were cold, wet. Our bikes were muddy. We were smiling.

It was epic!

A well-earned second hot chocolate of the day to warm up!

A well-earned second hot chocolate of the day to warm up!





The next generation

11 03 2013

Is Little Ring doomed destined to become a cyclist?

Well it does run in the Ring bloodlines. In his short life so far he’s watched bits and pieces of the Vuelta, the World Cycling and Cyclocross championships, the Tour Down Under, Tour of Oman and the Omloop. He’s yet to cry through any of them.

Whenever he’s upstairs, his eyes widen when he sees the bikes hanging from their rack on the den wall. Last week, his little head was spinning at the Vancouver Bike Show, where we took refuge on a rainy, cold Saturday. He was particularly enthralled with Ryder Hesjedal’s maglia rosa and pink-trimmed Cervelo upon which he rode to victory in last year’s Giro d’Italia. He was agog at the pump track.

Little Ring checks out Ryder Hesjedal's maglia rosa...

Little Ring checks out Ryder Hesjedal’s maglia rosa…

... and his Giro d'Italia winning bike.

… and his Giro d’Italia winning bike.

The pump track at the Vancouver Bike Show really got his attention.

The pump track at the Vancouver Bike Show really got his attention.

We’ve started incorporating solid foods into his diet, and already he’s eating like a future champ; healthy stuff like broccoli, quinoa, zucchini, butternut squash, carrot, bananas, pears, beets. All of it prepared at home, full of nutritional goodness.

Beets, the dinner of future cycling champions!

Beets, the dinner of future cycling champions!

Not that we’re going to force him into anything. But with a run bike already on his Christmas wish list, will he really have any choice?