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Bikes, bikers, and bike lanes in Denmark

Bikes, bikers, and bike lanes in Denmark

I spent some time on a bike in Denmark during a recent vacation in November.  Yes in November in minus 2 degrees.  I noticed a few things that I tended to stumble on rather suddenly.  First, there are a lot of  bikes in Copenhagen – more than a few scattered  hither and yon, but best described as a plethora of bikes.  Second, the culture in Denmark is beyond seeing a bike more than just a nuisance like in Canada, and as a car driver, you must expect that biker is right around corner or that you look in your side mirror before you turn right.  Drivers are very respectful of bikers.   Third, bike lanes are so numerous and I originally had thought them to be large sidewalks; I caught myself walking a few times down the bike lane, not realizing that I was basically walking down the middle of the street.

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A typical danish bike lot
A typical danish bike lot

Most famously, I’ve been hunting for the famous danish chicks on bikes. These girls are famously known for riding to work with just their everyday attire – no helmets, spandex or riding shoes.  They’re actually everywhere and quite surprised how hardy these girls were by riding in this cold weather.  Really this speaks volumes to the Dane’s hardy culture in persevering  with the cold, sleet and rain while riding 2 wheels.

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—WAB1234—

Adding Epic in a ride

Adding Epic in a ride

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Cleaning up Stage 4 on BCBR

“…tagging a ride with ‘epic’ means that within yourself, you’ve established some intrinsic value to that ride and in a year’s time or even for decades, you can close your eyes and re-live that memory”

You always think about it after a big ride with friends and you hit the stop/finish button on Strava.  There, you need to name the ride – should I add ‘Epic’ to the ride then post to Facebook?  Just as my mind was settling down on a Coast MTB tangent blog entry, my friend Cooper Quinn rattles off a great post on “Defining Epic” http://nsmb.com/defining-epic/ . Go ahead and click the link, its worth the read and a good segue-way to my tangent.

I had a great ride with a group of friends the other day. I heard the words ‘that was Epic’. I was thinking ‘umm, no it wasn’t’, it was only 38km and 3 1/2 hours of riding.  Hell, I didn’t even think that the Test of Metal (68km, 5 hours of riding) was even close to being ‘Epic’, but I bet the ‘Epic’ word was being used more often than a empty beer cup after the first pint after the Test was over. So what defines ‘Epic’? Your fitness? Placing well in a race? Did you suffer to get there? I’m sure I would get full agreement that your physical and mental well-being must be tested. Perhaps bonking or really spending time in the basement, dwelling in a dark corner of the room and wishing for this f’in ride to end may be the threshold when to add ‘Epic’ to the ride name or not?  Or, maybe you were just floating along in riding in new area, new trails and just riding where ever the trails will take you.

What about the 7 day stage race of BC Bike Race? Is every day an ‘Epic’ or is it the journey of training for it over the last 6 months, travelling to BC and riding some of the best singletrack trails that the WORLD has to offer? After finishing BCBR, I think that ‘Epic’ could apply here to describe one’s journey after crossing that finish line on the last stage.   I’ve come to the conclusion that tagging a ride with ‘Epic’ means that within yourself, you’ve established some intrinsic value on that ride and in a year’s time or even for decades, you can close your eyes and re-live that memory.

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Will I remember that great ride with friends the other day? Probably not, as it was my day-in, day-out trails that I always ride and really I didn’t suffer too much.  In fact, I had a couple of more hours left of riding in me!  Will my friends from England remember the ride?  YOU BET! And they did add the ‘Epic’ word into their Strava ride.  The Sunshine Coast MTB trails will have that affect on people with its over 300km of singletrack trails that one could spend a good week here and never ride every trail.

Well, I’ve used the word ‘Epic’ 12 times in this article to prove a point (mostly in jest) that we misuse the term in ‘Epic’ proportions.  What you won’t find is the E-word in my Strava ride name unless it’s deservedly so, knowing that I’ve truly suffered, ridden trails that most the world’s MTB’ers would give their left nut to experience and I can re-live the moments anytime I want. Thanks Coop for getting this Epic conversation started!

—WAB1234—

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Isagenix and the 2016 Test of Metal

Isagenix and the 2016 Test of Metal

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4 hours and 52 minutes of slogging in the 2016 Test of Metal and on a hard tail too. Ask any person that has done the “Test” and if they would do it on a hard tail – then watch their facial expression!

Its been quite a journey to get me to this point.  A special shout out to Ian and Nicole Emery that introduced me to the Isagenix system. I was super sceptical at first when Ian sat me down in 2015 and explained the system.  Over the last year, I saw the amazing transformation that Ian and Nicole went through, but the talk of drinking shakes, adaptogens, and cleansing seemed way too far from my craft beer drinking, take-out eating lifestyle.  I politely said not now as I knew that my mindset was not there.  Then about April 2016, I just finished building a new mountain bike trail ‘Phareline’, and finished one other over the winter. I stepped on the scale and it read 187 lbs.  I knew that I was unhealthy – I was snoring (I’m not a snorer); I was riding and I was last up the hill (I’m usually first) and was always tired. 187 lbs was probably the most I gained ever and I decided it was time for change.

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January 2016 – Building Phareline – 187lbs

I called Ian and said lets do this.  A week later, I was taking products with names so foreign to me at the time when now is so familiar. Right from the start the system was easy to follow. I downloaded an Isagenix app to help remind me when to have snacks or shakes until I settled into a routine.  I also chatted with Ian who coached me along about the cleansing and how should I use the products for workouts.  I found the cleansing tough (still do) and although Ian encouraged me to do 2 days instead one to give maximum results, I could only manage one.  That’s okay, I still saw results! The first 10 days I dropped a pound a day.  After my second week cleanse I was down to 170lbs – I was nervous that was too much – Ian assured me that was typical and the weight loss would slow down.  It did slow down to about a 2 lbs a week.  Did I stick to diet?  No, I went on shift but the best part was that I brought my shake mix for breakfast and lunch and went out for dinner with my colleagues.  Plus being a craft beer connoisseur, makes it tough to stick strictly with the diet. So, 3 months later?  I tipped the scales at 154.7lb!  My goal weight!  Isagenix makes losing weight pretty easy, plus even if you deviate from the diet, you can usually get back on it and continue to lose the weight.  Did it make a difference to my biking?  You bet!!  I had tons of energy and now use Isagenix Power, Amp and Replenish products to help me power my rides.  As a testament to the program, I competed in the Test of Metal on June 18th this year with no training and was a last minute addition. This race is 68km & 1500+plus of elevation gain that 1000 riders would consider one of their tougher mountain bike rides of the year (Sunshine Coaster is tougher) and a testament to one’s perseverance. For the race, I decided to use the Isagenix products for hydration, fuel and pre-workout.  How did I do?  Great and way better than I thought!  I downed a bottle of Power pre-workout mix just before the race, and filled out a 1litre water bottle on my bike and 2.5 litres in my hydration pack of Replenish for electrolytes.  Plus I had 5 Amp Fuel gel packs for fuel during the race.  In the 4th hour mark, I started to cramp in one leg and decided to down a water bottle.  In about 5 minutes, the cramps went away and finished strong!   2016-06-18 15.59.38 2016-06-18 16.05.04-1Thank you Ian and Nicole for the Isagenix journey and the great results I’ve achieved in both my health and in my riding. If you are like me about 3 months ago and want to see a change in your health and your body, then give Isagenix a try!  It’ll be the kick in the butt you need to gain control of your health and your life! Let’s do this!

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Just finished the 2016 Test of Metal – No training riding a hardtail – nailed it!

—-WAB1234—-

 

Its not a competition out there on the trails!

Its not a competition out there on the trails!

2016-05-10 19.27.28Every now and then, my competition side of me comes out to play – Strava as ruined me!  Lately though I’ve been riding just to enjoy the trails and do a little exploring.  This week I had some work with a firm in Powell River and got out into the Penticton Maze trails.  Fairly flat riding with lots of twisty turns and old school loam building (aka rooty sections).  One of the main builders in the area is called the Wizard, but I just call him Ron. Ron has built up this maze right in his backyard and are of great quality.  I had to break out the GPS a couple of times but after a while, I just said Fuck it and end up turning right or left wherever the wind was taking me!  Exploring brought out the kid in me, where usually I would be hammering trying for KOM, I was looking for little kickers to get some airs and hip jumps.  I had a blast!!!  Thanks Ron for the fun!!!

 

 

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It’s Time for a Change – Blogspot to WordPress

It’s Time for a Change – Blogspot to WordPress

I’ve been struggling lately in deciding to keep updating my blog on a regular basis. It’s not the best blog and I only have one follower (my wife and I signed her up!). Originally it was a place to share my thoughts on where to ride a road bike on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Then, it starting documenting my trips and my thoughts as I rode the pavement endlessly spinning and almost completely bored. Sure, Strava increased my enthusiasm, but eventually my soul found center right on top of my ultimate passion of mountain biking and now trail building. This blog was the first step of the 1000 mile journey and it’s now come to its journey’s end. In the next while, I’ll be starting a new website on a WordPress.  Special features will be to document my trail building endevours and maybe to interview other trailbuilders on why they love trailbuilding. Of course, it will continue to help document my life journey, thoughts and goals from 2016 onward. Stay tuned as the new blog launches with whole bunch of redirects.

—WAB1234—

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Is it SAD’s or Just Winter Hibernation?

Is it SAD’s or Just Winter Hibernation?

So I’m in the middle of winter with no motivation to ride, getting fat, tired and…unmotivated. The weather in winter typically gets me down – too much rain to ride, too cold to ride, too snowy to ride, too dark to ride, feeling sick,  blah blah blah….

Is this a mild form of depression like Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Some can say that. I think that weather affects me more than most and its easy for me to blame the weather to not go out.  When I force myself to ride, afterwards I think why was it such a struggle to get going in the first place.    During the winter, motivation is fairly elusive for me, and is such a frame of mind for me to overcome.  I understand it may be easy for some people to ride – suns out, lets ride.  For me, thoughts like – you should ride cause your fat; if you don’t ride you’ll get dropped by your friends; if you don’t train, those Strava goals will remain elusive; and you’re not getting any younger.  But also on the other side, it raining and cold – thats enough for me to not ride.  Not only that, I end up buying junk food to make me feel better. See the pattern?  

Anyway, how do I overcome such a viscous cycle?  Ride with friends, try new trails, try a new bike and build/help trails  – I’m doing all four and I can’t wait to ride again. 

It’s a mind game with yourself and sometimes you’ll lose and buy a big bag of chips – but more often than not you will win and ride, ride ride!

—WAB1234—

Every Now Then Clarity Comes Around

Every Now Then Clarity Comes Around

Clarity – 

noun

1.

clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
2.

the state or quality of being clear or transparent to the eye; pellucidity: the clarity of pure water.

This state of mind as been my mantra for years now. As I work hard in my career in growing my skills and knowledge, I’ve also encounter alot of stress in my life.  Cycling seemed to be my stress reliever in my life and if done right, provides that clarity state of mind that I can think freely and enjoy the “moment” of just….riding a bike and enjoying the simpleness of it all. By throwing out the next Strava segment search and being not concerned whether my SRAM RED, Carbon fiber bike is the lightest and best tuned machine in the bike group, Clarity is suddenly simplified thinking.

The other day while riding, a thunderhead was building while the sun was setting, its red light reflecting off the clouds paint the mountains with iridescent pink glow.  The wind in my face was warm and my pedal strokes seemed effortless.  It was a moment of simple thinking and enjoying just being so alive and happy.  No stress, no thoughts about work, no thoughts on the next hard effort, just…Clarity.

My moment reminded me of the scene in Forest Gump where Forest had a profound clarity moments to see beautiful things around and described them to Jenny.

Jenny Curran: Were you scared in Vietnam? 
Forrest Gump: Yes. Well, I-I don’t know. Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out… and then it was nice. It was like just before the sun goes to bed down on the bayou. There was always a million sparkles on the water… like that mountain lake. It was so clear, Jenny, it looked like there were two skies one on top of the other. And then in the desert, when the sun comes up, I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It’s so beautiful. 
Jenny Curran: I wish I could’ve been there with you. 
Forrest Gump: You were. 

So put it all away, go ride a bike and enjoy the clarity of mind – pure and simple.

—WAB1234—

Okay a Trail Feature will define your day if you crash!!!

Okay a Trail Feature will define your day if you crash!!!

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about that not doing a trail feature doesn’t define your ride.  Well last night I did the drop and crashed hard.  Words to myself like “dumb-ass” came to mind as I was trying to catch my breath and getting up to walk it off.  Sore knee (yes no knee pads), bruised ribs and a left arm that I can barely raised above my shoulder.  Afterward, the crashed mellowed me out and decided to take it easy on the ride home.  I started laughing after the pain subsided that the feature that defined my ride previously because cause I didn’t do it; definitively defined my ride when I attempted it for the first time and crashed.  There’s irony  in there somewhere.  

My friend Gail wrote a poem of my experience:

Bicycle week is an endurance test
So man can prove he is at his best!
He mounts his bike with a polished flair
His bright yellow rain coat flapping in air
Shifting a gear he starts on his way
Picking up speed – wheeling through the spray
Ignoring the route of the normal man
He moves ahead with a riskier plan
A hop over bumps – a jog to the right
He sails off a ramp right out of sight
His landing unseats the man from his grip
And to the wet ground he’s let himself slip
A poke to the ribs – a bump to the knee
Not even his shoulder is painlessly free
He musters his strength bolstered with pride
Mounts up on the seat to finish the ride
Once in his office he’ll slouch in his chair
Check out his bruises and mutter a prayer
Bicycle week should be held in good weather

So when he spills he lands like a feather!

So true Gail and thanks for the “pick me up” of words

—-WAB1234—-
Strava – And what can I do with it?

Strava – And what can I do with it?

What is it?  Why should I bother?

Strava.com  is one of those brilliant web applications that brings GPS and the cycling training diary into harmony! That’s its basic use.  Log your rides and monitor your progress.

Whats this?  People want to follow me?- that’s too weird to show people where I ride…  but it would be nice to see where they ride so I might try that ride too. Okay, follow me and I’ll follow you.

Kudos?  Thanks but it was nothing and I felt like crap.

Hey, I just got a King of the Mountain on a hill segment!  Umm, maybe I can start to create segment and try to beat myself?  There’s this guy I know that is pretty fast up one of my favorite hills and has the KOM.  Maybe if I ride more like train and lose weight, I can beat his time?

And just like that I was hooked!  To date, I’ve put 314 rides  and 7400km into Strava and follow 43 people.  I’ve created 30 plus segments and have 70 KOM’s.   It provides me the competition I need without having to race in an event and provides metric feedback for me to analyse my training.

Here’s a link that shows my strava rides over the last 3 years.  Enjoy the ride!

My Strava Activity Heatmap http://x.raceshape.com/heatmap/view.html?id=0d7b3ebf093d33e164d7ba816948bf75569d345e via @raceshape

—-WAB1234—-