Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It looks like I didn't receive my 40th Bday wish after all.  Yet another thing this year that I will just have to do myself.  GAWD!!!


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Power of Spandex

Ah, the joys of spandex.  Their powers are pretty amazing really.  When you think about it, only in spandex would you:

1.  change down to your underwear or even less in public places.  Especially provincial park parking lots.

2.  adjust yourself with pride instead of trying to remain somewhat inconspicuous.

3.  think it was totally natural to blow your nose with your finger in a group setting.

4.  suck in your gut everytime you stand up straight.

5.  think you were better than you really are, only because you look so damned good. 

6.  show off your ridiculous tan lines with pride

any others??

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's gotta be fun.

As a regular participant in Ottawa's Inline Speedskating events, and a former member of the Ottawa Inline Speedskating Club, I often hear "how can we grow the sport" and "how to we attract more skaters" and most recently "how to we retain our membership".  It seems these are important questions as the number of people participating in this sport is not only not growing, but it seems to be decreasing. 

In my years of life, I learned some valuable lessons.  This particular one I learned very early in life.  "When you remove emotional ties attached to a problem, what is left, regardless of how you feel about it or your opinions on it, tends to be the truth.  It is very Sherlock Holmes. 

Thus, here are my thoughts as to why this problem is hitting Inline Speedskating.  It is pretty simple.  Prepare yourself. 

Training is not fun.

Now before you go clicking on that comment button, hear me out.  80% of the skaters in Ottawa are what I would call recreational skaters.  Sure they have speedskates but they are non-competitive skaters who average around 20-30 kph.  They do a few marathons a year just for the fun of it.  The other 20% are those who are natually talented and have learned early on that they have an ability not shared by the others.  I call them Elite.  There aren't too many.

So what does this mean?  Here is my point.... You can't bunch 80% of a group into the training habits of a 20% minority and expect them to a) benefit the same way, b) keep a healthy level of confidence, c) have fun  and d) come back.  In reality, some of these people just come out to see the other skaters.  The idea of skating 100 laps around a parking lot is enough to have them question every returning.  Sure they are putting in the hours and learning better techique blah blah blah.  But are they having fun?  Do they leave wanting to come back.

In "year one" and two of skating, I found myself wanting to come back.  The little technique I learned made me a much better overall skater than when I began.  Not "speedskater", just skater.  But once the little victories stopped coming and it all became out training and honing the technique just to go faster....the want diminished.  It wasn't about seeing everyone anymore and comparing development stories.  It became about speed and being able to crossover properly and climb hills...etc.  Why in hell is that fun?  It's not.  Not for many in that 80% group.  There is no end game.  They train just for the sake of training.  There are some that welcome that concept but for most, it is a foreign way of thinking.

So why isn't the sport growing?  Because we have no fun grassroots programing.  You either ARE a speedskater or your not.  Sure we have the odd rollerblader who comes out to one of our practices but they quickly learn that this is a "speedskating" session and not a "how to skate" session even though we supposedly welcome everyone.  Really?  Seriously?  Think about it.  We don't!  We promote "inline skating" and they we force feed you "speedskating".  No wonder people don't come back.  It would be like signing up for a squash lesson and then finding yourself on a tennis court. 

So you want to learn how to grow the sport?  You have to take a step backwards.  Promote skating in it's natural form.  And most of all, make it fun again.  Not only that, but advertise the SHIT out of the fun aspect.  Kids and young adults want to have fun.  They don't want to train for a sport that they will only ever be adequate at.  Why train so hard to go nowhere, when having fun will take you anywhere!  Eventually, there will be cross over skaters who make the transition.  But don't force it.  And don't false advertise.  Take a good look in the mirror and accept your club for what it is not what it wishes it was.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fear - Cycling 101

So let me cut right to the chase.  When does the fear subside? 

Last night, I headed out to the Gats again for a 43k hill session with Catherine, Alicia, Doris, Marcel and Mel.  All of them accomplished cyclists, moreso Doris, Mel and Marcel who pull in some major km's per week and compete regularily.

Although I bitch and complain the entire time, I really do enjoy the hard climbs.  It is where I excel in fact.  My tennis legs let me hunker down and power through the hill climbs better than anyone other than maybe Marcel.  My problem however, is the downhills.  They scare the shit out of me.

The pro packs and elite riders are whipping by me at top speeds of well over 70kph.  I on the other hand am braking the entire time only reaching the mid 50's and being scared even at that pace.  I am sooooo out of my comfort zone but feel like a wuss the whole time.  I watch my friends scorch past me with huge smiles of enjoyment while I am paniced and look pale.  lol 

Does the fear of speed ever go away?

Photo by:  OregonVelo (Flickr)

Monday, June 21, 2010

To good not to post.

Read this gem on some of my friends facebook pages.  Oddly enough it was from all the married with kids friends.  So this shout out is for all the gays out there.  Don't worry, I have already cc'ed my brother.  Fear not.

A mutual friend of ours threw a big party for her 30th birthday, tons of people were there and it was a lot of fun. Somewhere along the line you and I ended up on the balcony for some fresh air at the same time. We started chatting; we talked about sports, books, tv – discovered we both are about to start our masters degrees and spent some time debating the pro’s and con’s of the educational system. We talked about hanging out sometime, and you wanted to meet my girlfriend.

I understand how upsetting it was for you when I blinked mildly in surprise and said I was here with my husband. I know it was a shock to your system, if your face had turned any paler I might have called 911. You made a good recovery though – that hurried mutter of “I’m not like that” was very polite and you only knocked over two drinks and one vase in your hurry to rush to anywhere other than near me. I can’t blame you – I forgot how delicate you straight boys are. So I wanted to give you a few helpful hints about where you went wrong last night.

1) As a general rule we don’t walk around with big signs around our neck proclaiming our sexuality. No scarlet letters, no scent of hellfire and brimstone… sorry about that.

2) We do not generally assume that everyone within 5 feet of us must also be homosexual – it was nice of you to immediately reassure me that you are hetero, but it was really unnecessary.

3) Homosexuality is not infectious. While I am sure you meant no disrespect with your hasty departure; in the future you can rest assured that taking a few extra seconds in your mad dash for safety will not result in you being turned gay. It will however keep you from destroying expensive vases and knocking over senior citizens.

4) This next one may come as a surprise; but you are not, in fact, irresistible. The fact that you have a dick does not instantly turn me into a bundle of uncontrolled lust. Contrary to popular opinion, being in the same room with a straight man does not cause a gay man to instantly lose all common sense and basic common courtesy. Though I am not so sure about the reverse.

5) Homosexuals in general get a little irked when people treat us like some sort of leper. Rushing to another mutual friend of ours and advising him of my sexuality, so he could be “forewarned” was really uncalled for.

6) Upon being told (by said mutual friend) to stop being an idiot and that you were not my type anyway… it generally confuses the issue when you then proceed to become upset that I DON’T find you attractive. Three seconds ago you were running through a crowd of people with your hands cupped protectively over your junk as if I might attack you at any moment with a blowjob. See hint number 4.

7) We homosexuals have an odd sense of humor – I can’t help that. Something about watching you freak out as if all the demons of hell were after you just struck me as vastly amusing.

8) While being pissed at me for dissolving into uncontrollable laughter might be understandable… gathering a couple guys together to “teach the fag a lesson” is not.

9) You might also want to drink a little less and be a little more careful about the guys you approach for your little proto-hate-mob.

10) Assuming the two tall muscle-bound bruisers must be uber-hetero and just as appalled by my presence as you was your first mistake. It was an understandable one though. How were you to know that pflag tshirt the first guy was wearing wasn’t a sports team? Also the rainbow ring the second guy was wearing could have meant anything I am sure.

11) In retrospect I suppose that upon hearing your not very subtle hate-talk and seeing who you were heading for; I could have said something instead of just laughing harder. I apologize for that. I should have just introduced you to my husband instead of letting you walk up to him and ask him if he wanted to help you teach “that fag over there” a lesson. I hope that broken nose heals up cleanly.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


What a whirlwind weekend.  Tennis, skating, biking and more skating and then more biking.  Egads.  Add two BBQ's and house cleaning and I am ready for a nap. 

Skating today was tough.  Knee is still bugging me but I was able to push through it.  Max speed came out at 38.3kph. which for me is ridiculously fast.  I couldn't maintain it and ended up bailing at our decrease speed of 33.  We finally settled into a 28-30 pace and although it was better, the damage had been done and my back and knee were totally suffering.  Oh well.  3000 Calories burned.  Can't complain about that.

Here is a pic of Kim, Me, Mike and Doris after our 30ks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just wonderin'

Do women play the "I'd hit that" game as much as men do?  I wonder how our numbers would compare.  Just wonderin'.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Injuries never seem to stop

After a good start to the week full of tennis, skating and cycling, the past few days have been rain filled and gloomy.  I guess I should consider myself lucky as I am suffering from yet another injury.  This time I am not sure when or where I got it.  It is a sharp accute pain under my kneecap.  Everytime I take a step it is a hot poker of pain.  Where did that come from?  So another forced "time off" period.  I hate being old.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mind the Gap

Since I moved to the Quebec side of the city, I am finding that I am missing the convenience of the gym.  My "old" gym used to be about a 2 minute drive from my front door and was often my destination when I found myself with time to burn.  Better than in front of the TV right? 

But now that I am no where near a gym, I find there is a gap forming.  I find myself with extra time that has yet to be filled with another activity.  I am not a "train alone" kind of person so when I don't have a gym around the corner, I fear my new found time will turn into a new found love handle.  Eeek.

P.S.  This is not me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sore all over.

Since I fell moving into my new place, I have taken a few weeks off of skating any serious amount.  However, this past Sunday marked my return to full out skating.  Of course, logging in over 40K in one session was not the best of ideas.  My hips and groin were on full notice afterwards.  Not to mention the restless leg syndrome while trying to fall asleep. 

Yesterday I participated in a fun orienteering race here and ended up skating 30k around the city gathering clues.  Needless to say, I am dead on my feet.  Especially since I played tennis for just under two hours prior to the race.  Dumb.  But at least it was an awesome calorie burn.  Stay postitive right?  ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010


With this past week full of rain, the training has been little to none.  Well at least not at the level I am used to.  Problem being, I haven't adjusted my eating.  Thus a 4 pound weight gain.  Didn't help that at Dana's I pigged out on shit food and at the staff BBQ today I ate a whole tube of pringles by myself.  I need to get back in the game.  40 is just around the corner and this year it marks the official beginning of the new life.  Need the new body to match. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wishful thinking

If you find yourself cycling up in the Gats, you will eventually be passed, if not looped by a large group of racers.  They look awesome, they are all dressed in team gear and there is about 50 of them.  Did I mention they are incredibly intimidating?  As they whip by me, they give me these looks that say "dude, why aren't you with us"?  But once they realize I am maxing out at 40 kph while they are over 60k, they kind of shake their heads in understanding.  It doesn't mean I don't wish I was packing on with them...but that remains a wish that maybe in a few years can be realized.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Wheels

So here is my latest toy.  In case you were wondering....I rode my bike to the dealership.  I don't normally walk around in spandex.  ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Presents and Sales.

I bought myself a Kobo E-reader on the weekend and so far so good.  It is pretty low tech and has no touch screen or anything like that but for the most part, it is just fine.  For the price, it is meeting my needs.  It is saving me tons of shelf space on my bookshelf and the ebook prices are only a fraction of the real costs.  I suggest all you avid readers to check them out.

Now for the Sales portion.  I have one more Bionic Jersey left from the 24h race.  It is a size XL which is what size I would wear.  180 pound guy, under 6 feet.  Going for 40$ if anyone wants it before I Ebay it.  Here's how it looks....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not Dead

First off, I have to say thanks to the fates.  At the beginning of 2010 I asked for 4 things and each has been delivered with lots of hard work and dedication.  However, I totally respect the universe and know that it has had a part to play. 

So as of today I start anew.  Totally new job, new home in a new province and a brand new car that was delivered today.  Now I need to work harder on the physical and all should come to a nice balance.

This is what I wanted so I better step up to the plate and deliver.

Hope you will all join me in my journey.

Friday, June 4, 2010

40th Bday wish

 I saw this the other day on a cycling blog and fell instantly in love.  I am always attracted to the red, white and blue even though I am a proud Canadian.  Therefore, someone international has to buy this for me.  Maybe for my 40th Bday in a month.  Pretty please.....  I'll do anything!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One of the Hardest Things

For those of you who have never been to Canada's capital city (not Toronto!!), the one thing that brings athletes flocking to the area all year round is the attraction to the racing routes and teams who train daily in what we locals like to call "The Gats".  Otherwise known as the Gatineau Hills. 

What makes this place so special is its design.  The many roads that wind their way into the Gats do not follow a traditional "up" direction.  There is never more than 1.5 kilometer uphill before you reach a crest of a downhill.  Sometimes of equal length...sometimes longer.  This makes for a perfect training area for runners, cyclists, inline speedskaters, longboarders, skate skiers...etc. 

Last night I decided to break the virginity cycle and join the hundreds of people training in the Gats.  With the mercury peaking at 35 degrees (95F) and the blackflies and dragonflies in full force, I donned my white cycling suit and headed up.  What followed was the hardest workout on a bike I have ever done.  By far. 

Although only 27kms in total, it took me 1.5 hours to finish what has been nicknamed "the loop" by the veterans.  A treacherous loop of climbs for 75% of the way followed by fast and short downhill reprieves.  I wanted to stop after kilometer 2.  Instead of the uphills being short and sweet, they are loooonnggg 4% inclines that literally have most people off their bikes walking.  At the lowest gear, you are moving about a foot for every 4 pedal strokes.  It is that steep.  Conversely, the downhills are anything but a "wheeee" moment.  Peaking at speeds of 60kph (37mph), I found myself braking most of the time.  Not being familiar with the area and especially not having the experience of the other riders, I was not comfortable with traveling at that speed with nothing more than a thin layer of spandex to protect me.  Plus when my bike started to shimmy, I got way to scared.

If you can believe it, I was lapped by the pro peloton at least once.  That means that there were about 40 racers who were able to cycle over 50kms up and down hills in less than 45 minutes.  I don't know how they do it.  Seems impossible.  I have a totally new respect for those pro guys.  Yet again, there is a reason they look like they do and I look like I do. 

By the time I finished the loop I was in a miserable mood.  I was beyond tired, cranky but somewhat reluctantly proud of myself.  I had never done anything like that before.  I am in no rush to go back but I know that in order to improve I really should.  Other racers suggested I do that loop 3 times a week.  I don't see how that is physically possible right now as I can barely walk today.  ;)

Here are some pics.