charity · fitness · monthly check in

Checking in for April 2022: It’s spring! Really spring!

Let’s see. April began with a big sad post about my knees and waiting for surgery. But some good things happened too.

Update

So many of you reached out, on and off the blog and the Facebook page and encouraged me to push a bit. That’s so not me. I’ll happily wait quietly in lines normally. But I began to worry I’d been forgotten. Did I give them the wrong address and phone number? Had they lost my file?

So I listened to your advice, friends of the blog. I called the surgeon’s office. I heard the voicemail message that says if you are waiting for an appt date don’t leave a message, we’ll call you when we have a date. I cried.

I listened to more of your advice and wrote a quick note to the hospital ombudsperson, telling them about the message that made me cry, and could someone please check that my file isn’t lost?

The surgeon’s office called back. It’s all sad. There’s a pandemic going on. I was prepared for sadness. They haven’t taken vacation since the pandemic began. They are still not at 100% surgical capacity. They are still cancelling surgeries everyday because of staff shortages due to COVID-19..

They are now calling people who saw the surgeon in January 2019 to make appointments. My visit was in August 2019. So, best guess, another 8 months before they call to set a date.

Have to make one phone call–stress about it everyday and don’t get around to it for a week

But on the bright side, I have their phone number. They said to call if I have any more questions. And I’ve got a rough time line. They didn’t lose my file. It will happen.

Bike rally

More on the bright side, we’re doing the bike rally again. Whee! We’re riding to Montreal with people again to raise money for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.



Please help us out and make this feel real. Help us make a difference in the lives of people living with AIDS.

You can sponsor David, you can sponsor Sarah, or you can sponsor me. We’re all on the same team.

100 days to go!

Our team even had its first in person social. Look at our smiling faces. We’re the Rally’s Angels.

Rally’s Angels!

Riding outside in Vancouver

Also in April I attended my first in person academic conference since the pandemic began. In March 2020 I cancelled my plans to attend the American Philosophical Association’s Pacific Division meeting in San Francisco after the world started shutting down and falling apart. And this April, April 2022 I attended the Pacific Division meeting in Vancouver. Even as I was getting on the plane, my first flight in more than two years, it didn’t feel real.

Sarah made plans to come with me and with from Vancouver. I told myself that even if the conference got moved online we’d fly to Vancouver and work from our hotel room. It wasn’t moved online. It happened! It was so wonderful seeing people again, hearing about people’s books (and new babies) and I loved every minute of it. Tracy organized a wonderful feminist philosophers’ dinner.

While there we also walked a lot and borrowed hotel bikes and rode around Vancouver. Wow. It felt wonderful to be outside.

Here’s some photos we took riding bikes in Vancouver and walking around the city:

Vancouver photos of boats and trees and water

And at home

It’s also spring now in Ontario, despite some occasional cold days, and we’re riding outside training for the Friends For Life Bike Rally. David, Sarah, and I did our first training ride last week, London to Strathroy for lunch, 70 km all told.

David, Sam and Sarah stopped for lunch midway

Checking in with some monthly numbers

Total km ridden in April: 400 km, making for 1791 km so far this year.

Total activities: 35 making for 152 so far this year, my goal is 220 workouts in 2022 and looks like I’ll shoot past that goal easily.

Total books this month: 3 making for 9 so far this year. Wish me luck making my goal of 25 books this year.

Books I finished this month
charity · cycling

Riding to Montreal with people again!

The Friends for Life Bike Rally is a thing we do around here.

Indeed, going way back, doing the rally was part of my half of the fittest by fifty challenge that got the whole blog rolling.

And in 2019, the last prepandemic year, it was year 6.

But like everyone else I don’t know how to think about 2020 and 2021, years of virtual riding with just a little bit of fundraising. They’re the hazy years. They happened. I’ll give them that. Were they year 7 and 8? I don’t think so. Maybe? I don’t know.

So this year is either year 7 or year 9. Depending.

I’ve even been putting off writing this post because everything still feels so tentative.

I’m just back from my first in person Philosophy conference and I felt the same way about that. I booked a ticket, I paid my registration, I got a room at the hotel but part of me was convinced that it wasn’t going to happen. I told myself that even if the conference got moved online, I’d still fly to Vancouver and take part virtually from my room at the Westin Bayshore.

But people, it happened. It really did. And it was amazing to see friends and research collaborators after more than two years apart. The energy at the Pacific APA was so good. We all kept smiling, hugging, talking and then looking around shocked that this was happening.

I’ve come home inspired by my discipline, by the work that we do as feminist philosophers. I was working on a paper on the flight home! Well, an abstract for a paper, but still.

So likewise I was been reluctant to start training, to start fundraising, because who knows maybe the bike rally won’t really happen?

Gradually though it’s starting to dawn on me that it will happen. This academic conference I’m just back from inspired me. The energy from that in person event has me excited about the other events I’m looking forward to, including the bike rally.

We will be riding to Montreal again with a community of cyclists to raise money for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. We will!

Please help us out and make this feel real. Help us make a difference in the lives of people living with AIDS.

You can sponsor David, you can sponsor Sarah, or you can sponsor me. We’re all on the same team.

“The Bike Rally will take place August 7-12th 2022. Get involved as a 6-Day Rider or Crew (Toronto to Montreal), 3-Day Rider (Kingston to Montreal), or 1-Day Rider (Toronto to Port Hope). The Friends for Life Bike Rally is the only volunteer-led ride that brings people together for an inclusive, supportive, and life-changing challenge that inspires much-needed help for people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, Kingston and Montréal. The Friends For Life Bike Rally raises funds for three AIDS Service Organizations located along the cycling route, with the founding organization and primary beneficiary being PWA (Toronto People With AIDS Foundation). Participants from the Kingston area support HIV/AIDS Regional Services, while proceeds from Québec participants support AIDS Community Care Montréal. The money raised by the Bike Rally funds programs provided by each agency and include financial assistance, therapeutic care, access to affordable medications, harm reduction, food programs, and much more.”

Proudly riding to make a positive difference….

charity · cycling · fitness

Ride for Mind, Join Us?

For the third year in a row the Michael Garron Hospital is organizing a charity bike ride in partnership with the Toronto Hustle. Ride for Mind is taking place March 4 to 5 and we’re fielding a team. I hope you’ll join us or sponsor us! We’re the Fit Feminists and Friends.

See posts on our last year’s ride:

Ride for Mind
charity · cycling · fitness

New Bike for Christmas?

Gift wrapped bike

But not for me. Or for you.

It’s the best bike you’ll likely never ride.

A Buffalo Bike

“This year, instead of selecting a Trek for their Bike of the Year, Trek chose World Bicycle Relief’s hardworking Buffalo Bicycle. It’s heavy, slow, and costs only $165. You can’t buy it for yourself. But it’s going to change the world.

World Bicycle Relief provides Buffalo Bicycles to people in developing countries to help them conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence, and thrive. These bikes help kids get to school, health care workers to patients, farmers to market, and more.

Donate to World Bicycle Relief today and you could help more people gain access to life-changing mobility. Even better? Trek will match your donation now through December 31 to help get even more bikes into the field.*

A donation of $165 will cover the cost of one whole Buffalo Bicycle (or two, including Trek’s match), but any amount helps. Donate today and help make a world of difference.”

But one and donate it here.

Find out more here.

My bike team is also fundraising for them. Our page is here.

TFC fundraising for World Bicycle Relief
charity · cycling · fitness

Riding with friends again! Tour de Guelph 2021

We’re getting back to normal riding! And I know there’s a lot of worry about ‘normal’ and what getting back to it means but this is one case where I liked what we had an awful lot and I want it back.

It’s true that this year we’re not riding in a big group. There aren’t hundreds of participants at on etime but it’s better than last year when a full summer of charity bike rides all turned solo or virtual. This year started off virtually, see “Crushing covid” on a virtual bike ride. but the Tour de Guelph is being held in person.

You can ride with small groups and Sarah and I rode with our friend Ellen, who is a nurse here in Guelph. We saw lots of other cyclists out there but I don’t know if they were riding in the Tour de Guelph.

You can choose your own route and we chose the 50 km route, leaving from U of G, heading north past Guelph Lake to Barrie Hill and back through Edon Mills and Arkell, stopping for iced coffee and baked goods at Cavan on the way home. All told, counting getting to and from campus and coffee, it was more like 54 km but who’s counting! (Here’s our activity on Strava.)

Sarah spotted the selfie station just past Guelph Lake so we stopped and got a group photo.

We’re smiling in these photos but honestly I think we grinned for most of the ride. Whee! A great ride for a great cause.

You can still sponsor me here.

Tour de Guelph – Tour de Guelph
charity · cycling · Guest Post · illness

I live with Parkinson’s. For me, raising funds for health charities is personal (Guest post)

By Susan F

I joined the military reserves when I was 18 to play the French horn in the Changing of the Guard band on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In 2011, I flew to Maputo, Mozambique by myself to join strangers on a Habitat for Humanity build. I’ve even hiked to Annapurna base camp and para-glided off a mountainside in Pokhara, Nepal.

But my biggest challenge, and maybe my greatest accomplishment, is facing Parkinson’s disease head-on. I hope I do so with courage, fortitude, and occasionally even a little humour.

I am writing to share my experience with PD and Parkinson Canada, one of the 21 health charities supported by Federated Health .

I was diagnosed with Gaucher’s disease, a rare metabolic disorder, about six months before my PD diagnosis. At the time, I was told this meant I was at high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.  When I subsequently developed a tremor in my right leg, I was not really surprised when PD was confirmed. In fact, immediately after the diagnosis, I texted my family, had a very brief period of feeling sorry for myself, and headed back to work from the hospital.  I subsequently learned how lucky I was to be so quickly diagnosed, as many people suffer for years before diagnosis.

In terms of how PD affects me, the most obvious symptom I have is tremors affecting my right side, which are made worse by stress. For me, the weirdest thing about Parkinson’s is that your body doesn’t do what it used to do automatically, so I have to try to tell it to do things. I have trouble with manual dexterity, things like typing, buttoning buttons and cutting bread. I also have to be careful walking so I don’t trip and fall. Lately, it’s been difficult to roll over in bed.

I am fairly lucky though that so far, my Parkinson’s disease is quite manageable. And my friends, family and colleagues have been incredibly supportive, especially over the past several months.

I was honoured earlier this year to be able to participate in a world-first clinical study which used an MRI-guided ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) on the left side of my brain. While my BBB was open, I was infused with a drug commonly used to treat Gaucher’s disease. The purpose of the phase one study was to determine whether this could be done safely. There were only four participants, and I was patient four.

 

Susan taking part in the clinical trial

Although there was no promise of any benefit to me, I was pleasantly surprised to notice a fairly significant difference in my symptoms. The most obvious change was that I regained a sense of smell. Many people don’t know that some Parkinson’s disease patients start to lose their sense of smell long before they are diagnosed. That had happened to me.  I can’t say that regaining smell is all positive given that the first thing I smelled was my cat’s litter box

Seriously though I have noticed positive changes: less tremors, less rigidity of my leg, and better manual dexterity. As the study has been a success so far, they are looking at the possibility of a phase two trial.  If it goes ahead, it will include a larger group of people with the focus on effectiveness of the procedure. I am very hopeful that this could lead to significant benefits in the prevention and/or treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

In closing, I want to mention Parkinson Canada as I really appreciate the work they do through their support groups, research and advocacy. I belong to two support groups including a “young onset” women’s group (“the Parkie girls”), and occasionally attend a Sunday afternoon drop-in discussion group, all of which are sponsored by Parkinson Canada.

I’m also part of a bike group called the Rigid Riders, whose focus is to encourage Parkinson’s disease patients to cycle. The Rigid Riders take part in an annual charity event, Pedaling for Parkinson’s, where 100 per cent of the funds raised goes to Parkinson Canada research.

Most recently, Parkinson Canada created an advisory group to their board made up of people with Parkinson’s disease. To me, this clearly reinforces their commitment to hearing patients’ voices and making their very best efforts to provide the support that we need. 

That’s why I am excited that Parkinson Canada is part of the Federated Health campaign.

To donate to my Pedaling for Parkinson’s Ride – https://donate.parkinson.ca/site/TR/Pedaling/CNO_pedaling_4_parkinsons?px=1153847&pg=personal&fr_id=2511

Parkinson Canada – https://www.parkinson.ca/getinvolved/waystogive/

Federated Health – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/30863

Susan is a ‘Parkie girl’ who works as a lawyer. She tries to regularly practice random acts of kindness and is looking forward to days of hugs and travel.

charity · cycling · fitness · Zwift

Make Your Own Route Badge!

Red Dress Day Route

I love it!

Someone designed a tool to make your own Zwift route badges.

I made one for the Bike Rally’s Red Dress Day. What’s the Bike Rally? It’s a charity ride, normally from Toornto to Montreal, to raise money for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.

We don’t ride the whole thing in red dresses but on one special day, the short ride into Kingston, we do.

And yes, I’m registered for this year though I am not sure what form the ride will take. You can sponsor me here.

charity · fitness · racing · Zwift

A challenge every Saturday in March for the women of Zwift

Celebrating women’s month with a challenge every Saturday in March

On the one hand, exciting.

But on the other hand, it might just be too much for me.

Here’s why:

First, there are five Saturdays in March so that’s more challenge than I might have bargained for.

Second, I had just settled on Saturday as rest day.

Third, there are hills in these races.

Fourth, I’m trying to make sure I don’t race all the time and that I get enough rest.

Fifth, my winter Zwift challenge which ends March 19 is getting my Tron bike.

Oh and sixth, we’ve already committed to Zwift charity gift in March. Find out more and join us here.

Still though it sounds very good. I love race series that have divided categories for women rather than divided categories for men and lumping all the women together. It’s no fun racing against super fast, younger women while your male cyclist friends in their 50s and 60s get to race against peers (in terms of watts, if not always age.)

I’m still thinking about juggling some things to make this fit.

“The Warrior Games, would like to celebrate Women’s month in March by presenting to you “The Iceni Women’s Series” fun challenging races, on every Saturday for all powerhouses from A+ to D. After the success in The Tour de Boudicca A+ women’s category, we will be adding PEN E for ladies with an average of 4.2 w/kg +.

Women’s Categories shown in Zwift companion :
(Pen E) A+: 4.2 w/kg +
(Pen A) A: 3.7 w/kg – 4.19 w/kg
(Pen B) B: 3.2 w/kg – 3.69 w/kg
(Pen C) C: 2.5 w/kg – 3.19 w/kg
(Pen D) D: <2.49 w/kg

The Iceni tribe was ‘peacefully annexed’ by the Roman Empire at some point before 47 AD, though it was allowed some autonomy. When the king died and Boudicca I became High Queen of Iceni, the Roman Empire saw her unfit to rule and invaded the region. Iceni led a revolt against the Roman Empire in c.60 AD and regained its independence, along with the independence of several other tribes. This led to the subsequent formation of the Comhairle, an alliance of the British tribes. Iceni had a major say in Comhairle affairs and became an important center of trade, military, and leadership.

Celebrate Women’s month in the best way possible! Drop mad watts and show them all what you are made of!”

charity · cycling · fitness · Zwift

Toronto Hustle is Crushing Covid, Round Two: Join our team or sponsor us!

Toronto Hustle presents Crush Covid

#CRUSHCOVID – Ride for MindFriday, March 13 2020. The day Toronto went into lockdown. In response, we launched CRUSH COVID – a 24hr virtual cycling marathon to raise money to support COVID-19 relief efforts. Together, we raised a quarter million dollars and united communities and cyclists from around the world. For 2021, exactly one year to the day of our first lockdown, CRUSH COVID – Ride for Mind, is responding to the pandemic’s growing mental health impact. Join us, MGH Foundation and cyclists across the globe for all, or a part of the 24 hour cycling marathon. Donate and spread the word. Let’s finish this off together.www.crushcovid.ca

I’ve started a blog team. Register here and select “FitFeminists” as your team name. SamJBFitFeminist is the Team Captain.

My plan is to divide up the 24 hours between team members. And if’s just me, well it’ll be a lot of riding. Lol.

You can also just sponsor us here.

Q: What is CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind?

A: CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind event is a virtual 24-hour cycling event open to all cyclists and gives them the opportunity to raise funds to support our community through the mental health crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual ride will take place on the Zwift app.

Q: Where and when is the CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind event taking place?

camping · canoe · charity · covid19 · cycling · fitness · fun

Plans? Do we even get to have plans? Sam nervously makes some anyway

A friend posted asking about 2021 plans and then said, “Joking. It’s 2021. Do we even get to make plans?”

To do list: Nothing

And I agree plans feel a lot more tentative this year. In the third week of January last year and the year before that, I was riding my bike in the Clermont area of Florida. This January there’ll be no travel.

It’s been a long blurry year of cancelled travel plans starting with, for me, the cancelled Pacific APA in San Francisco and attached vacation. Followed by a big trip to Melbourne cancelled. All of my summer bike holidays and charity rides were likewise cancelled. I did four charity rides, all either solo, with Sarah, or on Zwift. Two weddings, cancelled. You get the idea.

And in light of all the illness, unemployment, loneliness, overwhelmed hospitals, and death it feels a bit off to complain about not being able to make 2021 cycling plans.

I’m grateful for Zwift, don’t get me wrong. But still, I’m making some plans. They’re just more local and much more tentative. What makes them plans and not mere hopes? They involve things like registration forms and reservations, time booked off work.

We know there are vaccines, and that’s good, even if the timeline for things like races, group bike rides, and travel are still uncertain.

In January in addition to TFC team time trials and our Monday and Friday races I’ve agreed to take part in series hosted, on Zwift, by Team Vegan. You don’t need to be a vegan to take part. They’re hosting the series in the same way that TFC hosts a series. They’re the organizers.

Team Vegan racing

I’m also committed to Yoga With Adriene’s 30 day yoga journey Breath.

In February, Sarah and I have booked yurts in a provincial park to go cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and fat biking. Some adult kids might come along and winter camp. We’ll see. I’ve committed to taking vacation even if I can’t travel very far away.

In March and April, in early spring, before it gets busy, I’d like to finish the Guelph to Goderich rail trail.

In later spring, we’ll be back out Snipe racing on Guelph Lake. Whee!

Come summer we’ve also committed to spending more time at Sarah’s farm in Prince Edward County. What’s perfect is that there are two houses on the property, loads of lovely biking nearby, and a swimming pool. Even if close up visits with friends are still restricted we can host people in the other house and socialize outside. BBQ time!

We’ll also book some Algonquin canoe camping trips. Again, they’ll likely go ahead even if travel in general isn’t recommended. We do back country camping and there aren’t too many other people around.

I’m really hoping that the Friends for Life bike rally goes ahead in person this year. You can sponsor me here.

Jeff is also heading east on his new boat Escapade to Nova Scotia and there’s some talk of visiting there once he’s settled with the boat. That crosses the line from “plan” to “hope” for me since it relies on not having to self isolate after traveling east, assuming we’re even allowed into Atlantic Canada’s bubble. You can follow his boating adventures here.

Oh and for added uncertainty that’s not pandemic related, all of this is dependent on the date for my knee surgery. I’ll need recovery time after. I was hoping for December 2020 but that didn’t happen. With the hospital it was to take place in cutting back on non-essential surgeries due to covid, it might be awhile.

I’m trying to be flexible and not too nervous.

Wish me luck!

He he he he he

How about you? Are you making any fitness related plans for 2021? Plans in general still on hold?