Saturday, 11 July 2009

Seeking Joy...

I like setting intentions. I'm not sure where I got the habit from, but I think it's good to set an intention before embarking on a journey. Sometimes I'm specific about my intentions, and other times I have a loose idea in my mind and figure I'll define it more as I got about my journey.

Today was more of a loose intention. I set the intention that this ride would be joyful. In fact, I'd seek out joy. I decided to take my camera with me too. I often wish I have it with me because a) I love photography and 2) I think to myself, 'Oh, I'd love to share that photo!'

My buddy Darryl met me at my place. This boy is mega fast, but he felt he needed to say to someone 'I'll meet you at 8am' in order to get his butt in gear and get the ride done. I assured him he could ride his own ride and not worry about us.

We left my place at 8am and met up with Joz and Trish, then headed south on Hwy 22 where we'd meet up with Hope.
It was a gorgeous day for a ride! The first thing I noticed was the typcial gale force winds weren't present. I didn't say it too loud...didn't want to remind Mother Nature. We rode down to Springbank Road where we were going to meet up with Hope. We'd waited a bit when Joz called her...turns out she was stuck on the other side of a cattle run. Now folks, I'm not sure how many places in Canada this would happen, but it happened here today.

We decided to keep going, mostly because we figured Hope would catch up and also because it was getting a bit chilly standing there. So off we went to Bragg Creek - a very popular stop for cyclists as there is food, ice cream, coffee, water and the Shell station with bathrooms!

The ride to Bragg felt really quick for me. This was when I set my second intention for the day - I had seen a commercial with Lance Armstrong in it and what drew my attention was his cadence! Well, that and his phenomenal strength of course. I decided that even if I had to go in the smaller ring for a bit today I'd keep my cadence up.

I hit Bragg in 1:04 hours - my fastest time by about 10 minutes. Too cool. Darryl mentioned something about a tail wind, to which I replied, 'Dude, do not burst my bubble about being fast today!' We had a good laugh over that and he said it was more a cross wind really. Indeed!

Here's a photo of Trish and Darryl...who says Canadians aren't patriotic eh?

After a quick 'buy more water/pee break' we took off for Millarville, our turnaround desitination.
We took Hwy 762 south off Hwy 22 as it is a gorgeous ride. I felt a lot of joy as I rode through here. There isn't much of a shoulder, but there isn't a lot of traffic either. Mostly bicycles and motorbikes. I think the motorbikes love it because it's windy.
As I rode along I remembered that the last time I took this route was with Tigger and Leslie before Ironman Canada in 2007. It was Tiggers longest ride to date and it was only a few months after her last radiation treatment. She was amazing on that ride. I could help but smile as I thought about how we formed a pace line and kept Tigger right with us. Her strength wasn't 100% by then, but man did she ever ride.
Riding today I kept up the cadence intention and tried to keep a feeling of ease. I've been reading a lot lately on staying relaxed while exercising and how this also helps with the joy. If I was starting to feel my legs too much I'd just shift gears rather than grind through it as I normally would. I felt really good on the flats and my climbs were nice and relaxed.
This route has it all, climbs, descents, twists, turns, and narly flats. Along the way there is a ton of green space, many trees - which always brings me joy, lakes, and farm land. I had to snap a couple photos just to share the joy!
Okay so I had to get one Ansel Adams wannabe photo in there! The rest are in colour though to show the brilliance of the area.
Funny thing about this lake...As I looked at it I couldn't help thinking, 'Huh, wonder if you can swim in there?' Can you say triathlon geek??
Just before Hwy 549 there is a wicked descent. I love this one. I pedal like a madwoman then tuck right in. HOOOYAAAAAH!
When we got down to the intersection we waited for Hope who hadn't caught up to us, but was closing in. There was only 10 km left before Millarville, so we waited we had a nice girl chat. For a change, I wasn't worried about constantly riding and stopping very little. Today, again in the act of seeking joy, I decided it would be just fine stopping and it wasn't going to hurt my training. It was still the same ride time in the saddle!
A family rode up to us and stopped to chat for a bit. They headed off and we greeted Hope then set off as well. I could see the family up ahead and thought, hmm, maybe I could catch them. There was a good headwind hitting us now but I got some good speed. I was still focused on my cadence and feeling relaxed while I pedaled.
Slowly but surely I was making ground...if this was a movie the theme from Jaws would start playing I'm sure. Finally I caught up to them - they had good speed with their pace line! I silently snuck up and tucked neatly behind ever so stealthly.
Thanks to them I held 34 km/h as we zipped right along. They didn't notice I was there until the gal in the back shoulder checked so they could turn left. She was a little shocked I was there I think. I thanked her for an awesome draft!
Once in Millarville we stopped in for more water and pee breaks. They have a great little General Store there. I think there are like, oh I don't know, 100 people in all of Millarville?? It's your typical Wild West little town and it's super cute.

They also supply refreshments that could be very helpful for cyclists...Got Jack?

This was the turnaround point so we hopped back into the saddle and headed back west. As we did I mentally prepared myself for 'the hill'. Remember that wicked descent I mentioned, well, I had to get back up it. Not too intimidating...

Oh, and that's not the top of the hill you see over there in younder distance. Nope. That's just the first little blip. There's more after that! Definitely good Ironman training.

Once I got over that little hill I noticed a gal with her tire off her bike. I slowed down and asked if she had everything she needed. I got a not so convincing 'I think so....' Then I asked if she needed any assistance. I got an even less convincing 'Noooo'. So I asked if she was sure, another 'I think so...'. My gut feeling was that she didn't want to ask for help, but would have liked it so I mentioned that I'm really good at fixing flats and could help. Her tone perked up immediately and there was a very enthusiastic 'Okay!'

Of course it had to be the back tire. Do front tires ever flat out?? I rested my bike on a post then took over. I had it changed up in no time. Good thing too. Know what is really good motivation for fixing a flat in record time? MOSQUITOS! There were swarming us and as I fixed the tire I was swatting away the little beasts. I got a few bites, but I think I took out some of their tribe!

The really funny thing about this little situation was after we got the bike all back together I noticed she had Legend Coaching bottles. So I took a better look at her and realized it was Kelly who I met at the May training camp! Such is the triathlete easy to see a friend!

The ride back was awesome. Although I was starting to feel some nigglies in my back and legs, I felt really strong. I also wasn't cross eyed as I normally part way through the ride. I realized my prescription sunglasses weren't meant for looking out the top part and likely were making my eyes hurt. Typcially by the end of the ride I'm riding with one eye shut so I can see straight. Always good for safety! Today I wore normal sunglasses and all was well. Good thing my sight isn't that bad!

In what seemed like no time, I was back home. I noticed my computer said 139.23 km. Hmmm, okay, I'm going to have to zip around the block so I can at least roll over 140 km! I was totally stoked when I saw my average speed - 27.7 km/h. I don't think I've ever had that for an average - and this isn't an easy route.

I was wondering what it was that helped me to achieve that. This week hasn't been stellar for training - I missed a bike day due to work, then had a shorter bike day then scheduled because of the weather. The other thing I wondered about though was my plan of seeking joy. There have been a lot of articles recently that I've found stating that when you are happy and enjoying what you do, you do it better. I guess that's not a shockingly new theory, but I realized today that it's a valuable one.

I went for a 20 minute brick run through the paths.

Finally it was time for a soak in the river. This river starts on a glacier somewhere, then flows by here. So it's not super cold, but cold enough when you are trying to sit in it you mumble explitives as you ever so gently lower yourself in. I love this spot because it's so peaceful. Just you and the sounds of the river flowing by....

It truly was a great, great day for riding. I had awesome company, beautiful scenery, kept my intentions and in the end had a great time.

Yes, there is joy to be found - if you are willing to seek it out. And I am!

Peace out my glorious friends!


  1. good report, thanks for inviting me along.

  2. Glad you had a great ride! That's a beautiful route, though I don't really remember the lake and I was just down it last week. Maybe you did so well because you had a bit of an easier week with some rest?

  3. Are you totally averse to wearing contacts? I used to wear those same annoying prescription eyeglass insert sunglasses -- I spent $500 on the damn things. I SWEAR by contacts now though. No dicking around! :) :)

    Beautiful pics -- love the pic of the run through the trees. :) :)

  4. That red shale stuff looks so familiar!

  5. Sounds like an awesome day and a great ride!! Nice report :)

  6. I love this post... I always find that the best training comes when I'm enjoying myself, and the scenery sure helps!!

  7. Wow Susi, great ride!! That is a tough route and your nailed it. Sounds like you set a great intention for yourself. Nicely done!

  8. I know why you live in Canada-it's frickin beautiful there! Holy guacamole you live in a stunning place. But I could see how the weather mucks it up at times. Great ride, you are so nice for helping to fix that flat. And LOL at the mosquitos, but not really...So funny about the jaws theme. And I love your joy seeking motto-I'm officially adopting that one. Great workouts!