Adulting is hard sometimes

Adulting is hard even for me. And I’m the most adulty adult that ever adulted. I’m good at hard things. I’m the adult other adults ask for advice. I’m an expert level adult.

Here I am. In a car. Not riding my bike. Not paddling a canoe. Not taking part in the Triadventure. Despite best laid summer plans. I’m sick.

Of course the physical activity isn’t what it’s all about. It’s a fundraiser for an important charity. I’ve done that bit. I’m happy about that. You can still give if you want to cheer me up. Donate here

Things went off the rails Friday when my knee surgeon’s appointment got moved. It now conflicted with the bus to the start. Luckily friends (thanks Val!) came to the rescue but then the cold took hold full force. Cough. Sore throat. You know the summer cold drill.

It would have felt right to leave the knee surgeons with a plan for total knee replacement and go straight to the Triadventure. That would have felt like me. Even though I know, I know it’s about community and fundraising and connection I wanted the physical activity. My identity needed it even if my body didn’t.

I thought about struggling through. But friends and family all around me were giving me the look that said, you should just go back to bed. And I did. I’m still sick but I made the right choice.

Sarah and I got hair cuts instead. And now we’re driving up to the bon fire part of the Triadventure experience. We don’t have our bikes but we do have love and respect for the Triadventure team.

I have a three day work retreat starting Monday. I’ll be there well rested and freshly shorn and not exhausted. So adulty. I’m even writing this at a vegan diner eating a plate full of healthy vegetables while I wait for Sarah’s haircut to be done.

cycling · fitness

Making Strava Segment Goals for Guelph

“Uh oh,” says Strava. “You just lost your QOM.” I’m not driving back to London, or in the case of this afternoon’s “uh oh” email to Kincardine, to keep them. You can’t expect to keep QOMs forever but still it’s been bugging me. I don’t like to have an empty Strava trophy cabinet! Pout.

Time to start focusing on some Guelph Strava segments I think!

(Oh, are you reading this and wondering what I’m talking about? What’s Strava? What’s a QOM? Look here and here.)

Back to my search for a Guelph QOM.

Here’s a likely candidate Vic to Ring. That’s the 1.1 km stretch of Stone between Victoria and the entrance to university parking. It’s part of my usual “long way to work” ride.

I noticed the other day that I’ve been getting faster on it. I’ve been getting PRs on the segment for awhile. Look below and you can see my times range from 3:18 to 1:54 this summer. I often ride with people a bit slower than me and that’s the last stretch of possible speed before getting to work. I like to get it out of my system. I tell people I’m riding with that I’ll meet them at the turn into campus parking, and whee zoom ahead.

On the upside, it’s flat. It’s also in a bike lane. There are no obstacles other than occasional gravel in the bike lane. There are some Strava segments on routes I regularly ride that I’ll never get because of things like train tracks. I don’t like to cross those at speed. On the downside, it’s after a traffic light and I’m starting from a stand still. Oh and it ends at a traffic light and if it’s red I tend to slow in advance.

My personal best is 1:54. The holder of the QOM currently did it in 1:39. I’m 9th of 158 women to record a time on the segment. I’m 126th of 874 people on the segment. The fastest time is held by a man at 1:29.

Other than waiting for a good tailwind, what’s my strategy?

My average speed is about 36 km/hr. The QOM holder is doing it at about 41 km/hr. That’s a big gap. I get up to 42 or 43 pretty quickly but I can’t maintain it. A few hundred meters from the turn I start slowing. So the thing I’m going to work on is maintaining the higher speed for longer. A kilometer is a tough distance that way. It’s too long to be an all out sprint effort.

Oh, I’m also going to time the light so I’m not starting from a standstill. That’ll make a difference too.

At the other end I’m going to try not to slow for the red. Instead I’ll turn right on red while going quickly if I have to.

(Having Chris Helwig in front me would also help, of course. A couple of my London QOMs were achieved riding fast on Chris’s wheel. And I don’t know if that is how the current QOM holder did it. Lots of QOMs are achieved on group rides and you’re not going to go in later and take off the crown. Fair enough.)

I’ve also been thinking it’s a good workout after reading that the fitness benefits of one minute sprinting on the bike equals 45 minutes of easy running.

Will I get it? I don’t know. I’ll try really hard. I’ll get fitter as a result of trying. Given a certain amount of luck–tailwinds and traffic lights–I’ve got a good shot at it. Wish me luck! And Kim Solga, stick to Hamilton QOMs please ..


Not too hot, not sweeping: A perfect day’s ride from Toronto to Port Hope with the #f4lbr

The beginning. All the riders gather at a park on Church Street in Toronto besides the 519 community centre.

I’m writing this blog post in a bus to Toronto on the way home from Port Hope. I’m here with David and Sarah and all the other one day riders taking part in the one day version of the bike rally.

A three person selfie at the Port Hope sign.

We had a terrific ride. It was all things perfect. Sunny but not hot. A really cool wind off the lake. A tailwind! We made it in record time. Lots and lots of personal bests. I’ve done the bike rally six times total and this was by far my fastest and easiest day 1. At least one year, though it feels like more, I was a sweep on Day 1 which is really tough. But not today.

I teared up several times today though during Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s words to the bike rally. I teared up again on the way home reading her blog post about hard things. Please go read it.

Here’s Steph at the opening ceremony.

We’re living in really tough times and the intentional community that is the bike rally is warm and welcoming and generous and caring. It’s not really about riding bikes to Montreal. There a lot of people involved who aren’t riders at all. Together–rustlers, road safety, riders and more–create this beautiful thing. For a day, I felt weight lift off my shoulders. The world has pockets of good and strength. Bike rally, I’ll be back. I need you in my life.

The most important thing? All the riders, one day, three day, and six day, and the crew, have collectively raised more the 1.5 million dollars for the Toronto PWA Foundation.

You can still sponsor me here. Please sponsor Sarah here. Thks blog readers who’ve already contributed. It’s really appreciated.

Me. A post ride no filter selfie. Phew!