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2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

On Doping: Last Thoughts on Sport, Play, and the Difference Between Them

November 12, 2012

I wrote this piece a few weeks ago, immediately after the USADA revelations came out in the mainstream press. It’s far from perfect, but it failed to gain traction in various media outlets. I wonder if it raises too many uncomfortable questions or speculations. 

There’s a lot of rhetoric flying around over the current state of professional cycling—a lot of it very problematic. Either doping is all in the past or it’s something (still) best not talked about. But it seems as though the cyclists themselves remain the lone guilty parties. Over the next few weeks, I want to try to unpackage a lot of this in a series of posts. The following piece serves as my entry into the discussion. Read more…

Commuting America

August 10, 2012

I’ve been woefully delinquent over the past few weeks, and need to get back on track, but wanted to post this visual data quickly. As a means of planning to come back to it shortly.

The article reporting on this at the Sustainable Cities Collective offers some really interesting analysis and links to further studies that do a nice job of tying bike lanes, safety, etc., into commuters’ decisions.

Wounded

July 25, 2012

Three weeks in Vancouver. Three weeks off the bike. And now behind again on the blog. The title for this entry takes on multiple meanings, which will require further explanation over the next couple of posts, but let me start with a brief overview of the multiple meanings.

First, three weeks off the bike was especially painful. I missed my bike. I missed riding. I missed the exercise. I’ll expound further, perhaps, in a post devoted exclusively to the experience of not riding, but there was something missing during the trip. Secondly, my last ride was the long Vermont ride. I still need to post that report (coming soon), but in short it was un jour sans, and I had to get off my bike after 219km. Very disappointing. Adding insult to injury, less than 48 hours later, I was on a plane to Vancouver, left to stew for three weeks without being able to turn a crank in anger. More pain. Finally, there is the return to the bike. Three rides so far this week, and the discovery that my form is nowhere near where it was when I left for Vermont. The heat on Monday (41 with the humidex) was, in fairness, strong, but even so, I felt I was bleeding gears much too quickly every time the road turned upwards and recovering them much too slowly once things levelled off. Pride, soul, and body: all wounded.

The week has improved. After a short ride on Sunday (20km), followed by dying a thousand deaths on the way out to Mississauga and back (80km—Lower Base Line), today’s ride out McNiven and back (73km) was pleasant, although I did intentionally take my foot off the gas in order to just get the distance in and not worry about the pace. I felt a bit more confident on the bike, even if I was still struggling…

Riding with Friends

June 26, 2012

(Sunday’s) Ride: 69km—Dundas, Kilbride, Dundas

Weather: Warm, overcast

This is a week of riding in good company. It started Sunday with a great ride with a local friend from Café Domestique. A good, hard pace, comfortable chat, and great route. Later in the week, I ride with one of my oldest friends (for the first time), and then on Thursday I take on Vermont with a large group of friends met over the internet, who, after 350+km together, will have developed a deep bond. Riding brings people together. That’s good.

Give Me Air!

June 23, 2012

Today’s Ride: 20km—Mineral Springs

Weather: Sunny, hot

I recently finished William Fotheringham’s biography of the great Fausto Coppi. A very moving read, which I recommend. Coppi died from malaria in 1960 (malaria = bad air). And reportedly called for air near the end. I’m not dying (well, we’re all dying, right?), but have spent the past couple of weeks miserable with a bout of sinusitis, which is just unpleasant, and made all the worse on the bike when you desperately want to take in more air and can’t. I’m working at about 75-80% capacity at the moment, which makes riding possible, but exertions difficult. Hopefully, I can remedy the situation by Thursday.

Summer is here. Taking in even a short ride like this one without any drinks on board is foolish. I didn’t take anything to drink with me, and was suffering at the top of Wilson. Not badly, but would have been quite happy to take a swig of water or energy drink at that point. The pace wasn’t heavy (see previous paragraph—not the malaria bit, but the sinusitis part), but with a number of riders climbing, it was hard not to want to hunt them down. I resisted, but my pace and bigger gear meant I was eating them up anyway. And with limited oxygen, was huffing and puffing more than I should have done. And thirsty. Espresso at Café Domestique was most welcome, post-ride.

Tell Me I’m Not Ready

June 20, 2012
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Today’s Ride: 91km—Onondaga, Harrisburg, Dundas

Weather: Hot, humid—40+ with humidex

Less than three hours. The best way to get through a hot and tough ride is to get it over with. Next week, I’ll be riding 200 on 100: 200 miles on Vermont’s scenic Highway 100. I’ve been looking forward to this for several months. Motivation for each ride has been, in part, a determination to prepare for next week. In this case, 200 miles translates to 358km in order to finish in North Adams, MA. For the past week or so I’ve been suffering badly from seasonal allergies. My sinuses have been inflamed and congested; I’ve been miserable. I’m not completely out of the woods, but today’s ride was an important one. I needed to put in a good ride, before taking on some shorter rides over the next week before Vermont.

Today started okay. I was breathing, which is always good. And only slightly limited in my oxygen intake. Out Fiddler’s Green and a nice breeze. Passing Lindley’s Farm, the waft of strawberries was lovely. And then into the zone. It was an unconscious ride, starting with what seemed like limited energy. But the rhythm came together, and I was turning a good and big gear. Through Harrisburg, I was finding my legs, and finally had the wind behind me. Confidence growing.

Back home, drenched in sweat. Feeling better for the ride, which was not always a good one. But stronger and more confident.

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