Monday, May 30, 2011

Moving On

Back in March I broke up with my Kestrel.  It was my choice we parted ways and I have already moved on to a new bike. Just because I ended the relationship though doesn't mean I didn't have second thoughts. I would see him sitting there in the garage while I took my new love out for a ride and I would be guilt ridden. Really, was it necessary to cast him aside? Even though I knew that our relationship had run its full course and that it needed to end, it didn't make the memories go away. While he waited for a new relationship to take him out of darkness, I flaunted my new sleek butterfly inducing partnership in his wheels. I was giddy with new love and had no problem letting him witness the growing of my new affection. When was the last time he had been cleaned post every ride? Been shown off to friends? When was the last time we were decked out in matching outfits? Yes, I was rather cruel in my leaving him behind. This week he found a new rider who thinks the sun rises and sets on him. Like the beginning of any relationship they were both glowing and looking at each other fondly. I know that it was my choice that we parted ways, but seeing him move on and be happy was still like a dagger in my heart. Is it wrong that I expected him to spend years pining for me in the dark, reminiscing about the thousands of miles we rode together? Did he just cast aside all memory of the races where we were united as one, moving seamlessly through the terrain? Will he be in the middle of a race and yearn for me and the speed with which we would flow? I know that I will always recall our time together fondly but now that he too is happy, it should be easier for me to solidify my ties with my new bike. I mean, there is no longer anyone waiting in the wings to take me back. It is time for both of us to be moving on.

Our last time as a happy couple

'Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end'

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spa Girl

This week me hearty whisked me away for a couple of nights to a lovely resort and spa. How wonderful, a spa with an adult only tranquility pool, access to a gym, tons of delightful rejuvenating treatments. So, how did I spend my spa time?

The first luxury I partook in was a mud treatment. Now this seems to be a standard offering on any spa menu but my mud bath took place before I even reached the resort. Prior to arriving at our destination we had a quick stop where I did a 1 hour cross county mountain bike race. Nothing like redlining for just over an hour to feel you deserve a vacation! This mountain bike race had a surprise for us. The single track portion down along the lake was quite swampy and by the time the race started all the pre lap riding had made it into a mud pit. On my pre ride I was able to ride through the mud without any problem. By the time I got there on my first lap of three during the race I had to dismount and run a portion. Each lap I had to dismount earlier due to traffic and the depths of the mud. On the third lap I was sinking to my knees in parts! At first I couldn't figure out why there were guys with their bikes stashed in the bushes standing on the side of the course with big sticks. Turns out they were shoe fishing. The mud had sucked their shoes right off of their feet. I hope that they found them, it didn't look very promising. Anyways, after the race, my bike and I were mud packed. I hear that mud is very good for the skin, not sure how good it is for my bikes drive train. With one luxury treatment down, we made our way to our get away location. I am sure that I scored huge points with housekeeping when I dragged my mud dripping bike into our room! The rinse that I gave it at the hose after the race didn't seem to remove all the mud from the tire treads.

My second spa treatment was an exfoliation for my skin. The kind of thing that removes the rough old dead skin. Usually this is done with a nice massage and a salt scrub. Imagine, being in a cool dimly lit room with lovely relaxing music playing while your body gets rubbed down and the rough patches removed from your skin. Sound simply wonderful doesn't it. My treatment didn't quite go that way. Instead I chose to exfoliate my hands and knees on an hour and half run up and down a mountain with no shade and temperatures rising to 98 degrees when I took a nose dive and rolled down the hill of rocks and rough sand. Luckily, no one witnessed my nimble footed move but I did get some odd looks on my way back to the bottom. The worst looks came when I entered the resort property. I couldn't believe that they thought the little bit of blood on my knee was a big deal. They didn't. I saw when I got into my room that they were wondering what this savage who didn't bath was doing wondering around their pristine spa grounds!

Just a little dirty

I don't think you are suppose to take exfoliation quite that deep!

The last time that I ran this trail we saw a girl coming down while we were going up. She was in a tiny little sports bra and skirt and looked fresh as a daisy. We got fooled into thinking that maybe there was a spa at the top. This week I saw her again on the trail. This time she was going up while I was descending. Once again, she had a tiny top and little pair of shorts with perfectly done hair and makeup. She was dabbing her forehead with a white towel (how she keeps so clean I'll never know) while I was dripping sweat and blood, and looking like I had crawled out of the bushes. Spa Girl (as I have named her) probably doesn't drag a muddy bike into her room and return from a 90 minute treatment covered in dust and blood, she looked much too proper for that kind of behaviour. This spa girl felt that a float in the lazy river was well earned after her treatments were over!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Every once in a while in life we are faced with obstacles that block the path. Sometimes, these barriers are easy to knock down or hurdle over. Other times, they require a more inventive approaches to tackle them. Not too long ago while out on the mountain bike I was enjoying a new trail when low and behold the trail disappeared through a bramble of thick deep prickly thistles.

Can you see the trail?

I had a choice to make, how important was it to me that I get to the end of this trail? Did I want to attack the thistle and let it know that nothing was going to get in my way, and take the scars and battle wounds, or was today a day where it was okay to turn around. Of course if I had my scythe with me this wouldn't have even been a question, but it seems that a multi tool, isn't that multi! Visible physical blockages are one thing to deal with, but how many of us have invisible mental barriers that we are letting stop us in our progress. Sometimes, these brick walls seem insurmountable but I have found that by chipping away at them slowly they do eventually crumble and you come out the other side. Sometimes, you need someone to give you a boost to get up and over the wall instead of breaking through it. Why is it that the toughest obstacles to overcome are the ones that we have built ourselves? Is it that they have been given too strong of a foundation? If so, it is time to create an earthquake, take a risk and open up the road for passage. If you knock up against the wall enough times it will fall and the view on the other side will be worth the effort, even if it is another barrier. So get out your mental wrecking balls and join me in the demolition of the mental blockades, on the other side of the thistle patch there were lots of beautiful non prickly flowers!

'There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose'
Kin Hubbard 1868-1930

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sensory Ride

Today's ride was the perfect ride for my senses. All five of them were satiated and happy by the time I got home.

My sight was thrilled with the fantastic views and vistas that we came upon. Loved that everything is so green and colorful right now. Flowers in abundance and the beautiful bright sunshine made everything look picture perfect.

My hearing got to enjoy the chatter of good positive company. Oh and also a little bit of wind whistling as we descending at top speed from the great climbs we did.

My taste was thrilled with the dried banana that I packed with me for a mid ride snack. My taste buds were even more thrilled with the chocolate cookies fresh out of the dehydrator when I got home. Mostly, though I think that my taste buds were ecstatic that today, no bugs were consumed!

My touch loved the feel of warm sunshine on my bare arms and legs.

Mostly though today was day for smelling. Flowers were blooming everywhere. From the rose vines covering a fence to the lemon trees in bloom. The best of all was from the miles of honeysuckle that lined the road. It smelled heavenly, so much so in fact that we stopped and brought some with us for the rest of the ride. Olfactory heaven I tell you.

Picking some honeysuckle

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not so Traditional

Today is me hearty and my 20th wedding anniversary. Right from the start we have done things our own way. We got married young when we were still in school (university, not high school, young but not THAT young) without living together prior. No one did that at the time. We had our wedding on a Friday night with our ceremony and reception in the same location. And, gasp, wait for it, we did not serve a dinner. That's right, we had a cocktail reception, but don't worry no one went hungry we had hot and cold hors d'oeuvres(that I heard were wonderful even though I didn't get a chance to eat any). Doesn't sound too rebellious but 20 years ago it was quite different than all the other weddings that were occurring. Keeping with our theme of doing it our way we have done what works for us the whole time. So, it should come as no surprise that when it came time for 20th anniversary presents that we decided to go against the traditional gift of china or the modern gift of platinum and we went with carbon. Carbon fiber bikes, one for each of us. Granted, we gave them to each other a little early but luckily, we made it to the official date:) Pretty sure that at some point in our marriage me hearty thought that having a wife who doesn't really like jewelry was a great thing, until she developed a love of carbon fiber and bike bling. Perhaps, he is afraid that after 20 years my warranty is up and that I may start to fall apart so he got a bike too in order to make sure I keep riding hard. This morning he told me he doesn't think 20 years is that big of a deal, seems our nontraditional traditions work for us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

White Noise

White noise is defined as 'a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range that has been used to mask out unwanted noise'. Usually this white sound is used by people to help them sleep. I often use the sound of waves or even a fan to block out the neighbourhood nighttime noises so that I can sleep. When I had to sleep during the day because I worked at night, white noise was crucial to me getting a good days sleep. Recently, I made a revolutionary discovery, I learned that you can turn almost any constant noise into white noise. No longer do you have to pack around a fan or a wave machine (okay, bit of an exaggeration since today you can get a white noise app for your phone). My ground breaking realization came, appropriately enough,  at the Self Realization Meditation Gardens.

Now I don't know about the rest of you but when I hear mediation garden the image I conjure up involves a very peaceful, serene, quiet place. A place for reflection where talking is done minimally and in whispers. I guess not everyone has the same idea. Apparently, for some it is a good place to use your best outside voice and gossip non stop with your friends. I wish I could tell you more about these ladies but even though I was privy to their very private business for over 30 minutes, not once did I turn around to glance at them. Instead of letting them interfere with my quiet time I just turned their voices into white noise (a skill me hearty practices regularly with me I am sure!). I didn't hear what they were saying but let their voices carry through the air along with the crashing waves from the ocean below. Strangely enough, I really owe these chatty women because they taught me a very valuable lesson. A lesson I now apply in all my hard workouts. When the voices in my head start complaining, bitching and gossiping I just turn them into white noise that flows in and out with each breath.