Thursday, 19 March 2015

Warming up to race season... snow time for cold!

Hello from the Lower Mainland, where spring is well past sprung. The hallmarks of the season are all around, and ever so easily found.

Deep Cove
What about you? Are you watching the snow melt into blackened, polluted, dog poo infested piles of sludge somewhere east of the Rockies? Sorry bout yer luck. Here in Lotus Land, every mutt master carries a little blue bag to pick up after their defecating dogs. Not because of concern for their fellow citizens, but because the fine for ignoring the bylaw is rather hefty. But thawing doggy doo aside, it could be worse. You could be in Nova Scotia, where people are just digging out from under a decade's worth of snow which landed on them this week. No sign of springtime in sight.

Photo of Halifax's second blizzard in three days courtesy of the CBC
On the west coast, we've been practicing spring for you, and celerating the growing seasons for weeks now, whilst the rest of the continent catches up. Yup. You've gotta love this town. It's not just the sunshine and longer days, either. Spring is here in the green grass, the budding trees, the buzzing bees, and the blooming flowers - NOT the frozen and inert bulbs buried under the ginormous mounds of snow blanketing the opposite seaboard.

Heh heh. Yep. The cherry trees are out in all their glory, and it's actually warm under that growing-stronger-by-the-day sunshine.

But the most obvious sign that spring has arrived is the sheer volume of Freds you'll find spinning their way along the city streets everywhere you go.

And no-where is Fred more apparent and abundant than at the Spring Series racing events. Holy carp there are a lot of us!

First start of the season.
Last autumn, when I was looking for a club to join, I chose Escape Velocity for a number of reasons. Not only does the club host the Spring Series races, and the Tuesday Night World Championship criteriums in the summer, a service no other organisation in the Lower Mainland even comes close to matching, but - and in my mind this is significant - it is the club responsible for youth development in the sport in our part of the world. Escape Velocity is the home of DEVO, Vancouver's only jr racing team, and thus the future of our sport. EV has a great track record of seeing members off to bigger and better things. And of course I chose this club because Sluggo, the poet of the peloton.

The Spring Series are held in Aldergrove and Langley, so although the races are well within commuting distance of Vancouver, the roads are quieter than in the city itself, and the spectators furrier.

Got yer Goat!

Nothing boosts the spirits like having a good cheerleading squad on hand - what could be better at helping a girl moooooove it along?

The Human Salt Lick.
Actually, I can think of ONE thing. Two, in fact. Fast wheels make the world go round, and this past weekend, a dear, sweet kind, lovely and generous friend has given me use of the rear wheel to match the front which I used for the Team Time Trial on the first of January. Pretty, deep dish crabon things mooooooove you along, for sure!

My legs might not be a whole lot faster just yet, but that bike sure is... :) What a difference from last year!  Never mind the new paddle shifters post crash, the new drive train after all of the winter riding wear and tear, and the new brakes to protect whichever wheels I am using. The cranks are carbon, the seat post is titanium, the pedals are Ti Mag, and the wheels are carbon. It's like a body which regenerates every cell over a seven year period. My bike is almost completely revitalized, except for that everlasting, sweet Ti frame. Now all I need is a few weeks of concerted power intervals to tune the top end of those massive base miles built over that short and sweet Vancouver winter, and look out, world! 

And maybe the whole world will actually need to be on guard, too. See the sunshine coming through that doorway up there? That's an old-timey false-front of a western town movie set down on the shore by the northern end of the Ironworkers Memorial bridge. It has nothing whatsoever to do with road racing in Vancouver, but it IS symbolic of my hopes and aspirations for the upcoming year. You'll never guess what that involves!

  Wild Blue Media TV is planning to do a show featuring racing across the world in its various forms across divergent cultures, and I really hope they choose me to be a racing contestant in it. If I do end up participating, we will go to a different location every month for 13 months, and we will participate in the race that's most popular there. So... we will go to the Yak Track to race the great furry beasts in Mongolia, we'll race dogsleds on the Arctic Circle, and mopeds (?!) in Africa.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, mkay?

Prolo makes you stronger too.
After all, these legs could totally rock a yak race, power intervals or no... :D


  1. I believe I will say "You go girl" here's wishing you a speedy, safe and interesting season. I think you'd be a riot on a cross-planet racing show. Best of luck in all it's forms.
    Carbonio veloce bambina!!!

    1. Oh bless your heart... Grazie mille, Mr Beast! Kisses... XX :)

    2. Oh there's no Mister in beast :-) Just lots of Campy and Bianchi. E prego.

  2. Babble, the Canadian tourist board should be paying you, spring looks great. Down under in Sydney we don't really get 4 seasons, more like hot, hot and wet and then cool with occasional wet - we're transitioning now from hot and wet. Still it means we have no excuse but to pedal on. By the way your paypal how does that work?

    1. Thank you, David! I have lived in many, many places and just find that this one suits me best. Judging by the steep housing prices, I a drop in the ocean of peeps who love this place... one modest house in East Van just sold for 35% over its listing price, can you imagine? Two million dollars for a house fit for a young family.

      I love that you concede no excuse but to pedal on, because frankly people looking for an excuse will aways find one, and people looking to find a way to keep moving no matter what will find what they are looking for, too, and they will find health, wellness and happiness while they're at it, too.

      Re: Paypal- I put it in there when I first decided that I was going to peddle my ass. My intention was to spread the joy, and to help other people find fitness through a balanced, active (read active transportation) lifestyle. A girlfriend of mine is a marketing executive of the highest calibre in the UK... she did a little research for me and found that there is, in fact, a good market for people "of a certain age" looking for ways to stay healthy and fit longer, so as to enjoy their lives more. I was intending to set up a website with tips and tricks, and videos of my favourite recipes, as well as the variations on Kundalini yoga which I have modified to strengthen my core. But my family sat me down one day and said that this blog is too personal to ever be successful, and they warned me against setting off on a fools errand with the website. They took the air out of my balloon. I shelved my plans and focused instead on a standard career path, along with my personal training aspirations. And didn't even think about that paypal link again.

  3. Babble, your BLOG, so very nice! Everything that is good about cycling: interesting places; interaction with and appreciation of climate variety; great bikes; pretty velo-girls (you!). That photograph of you at that Western town movie-set…quite smashing! // Truth be told: if your selection for participation in that “Wild Blue Media” event means 13 months without your BLOG…mmm…not so much. Selfish of me, I know! Anyhow, thanks for posting. Great read! As always.


    1. Oh bless your heart! Thank you! Actually, one of the reasons I most want to do the show is that it will give me an interesting set of stories to write about. This blog is almost a journal of sorts, but that would give it a wider audience, and the ability to secure a contract writing for an established publication. I would love, for example, to write for the Huffington Post. Despite my family's warnings that it would never, ever succeed, and despte their urging that I really should give it up, I just can't. I love this forum, and I love that there is such a strong community over on Bike Snob's blog. I just need to find a way to grow the audience so that I am engaging more people, and actually making the world a healthier, fitter place.

  4. Unlike David in Sydney, us Melbournians can get all 4 seasons in one day. It's glove finding time of the year for me. Then in a month or so, ear and knee warmer time, and thankfully a short period of overshoe cover things. It takes me longer to get dressed and undressed than my commute.
    Ride often, ride hard, and ride safe !

    1. Thank you, Harry, and gidday! Huh. Well what do you know? You learn something new every day - I had no idea that Australians ever needed gloves! Mind you, it's a big place, Australia. Must be all sorts of different climates. Besides. Who knew that Texans might one day grow used to snow? Just goes to show that anything is possible.

      Judging from the conversation over on Bike Snob, you really are riding against the tide as a dedicated cyclist in Oz. Good on yeah! I hope your friends and neighbours are taking note of the world of good it does you, and by extension (hello One Less Car) them, too. :D