I’m trying to make people jealous this week, posting pictures of my awesome bike commute. From the west end through the experimental farm to downtown, I can do my whole ride in about 40 minutes. It’s a bit longer coming back home since there’s a few more uphills. I usually get to work with sore cheeks from smiling the entire way in, the bike path is gorgeous on a bright sunny day. 🙂
I’ve been taking rest days (on the bus) to keep from over-doing things, but once I’ve had a taste of the bike it’s always so hard to ride the stinky bus. 🙂
My buddy Greg was looking for a partner to do the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour, a 100km bike ride along the Rideau River system to Kingston, so I signed myself up and we hit the road!
100km is the furthest I’ve ever cycled in one go, so it presented some interesting learning opportunities. I ended up buying my first pair of cycling shorts, I got some unusual sunburns (don’t wash your hands after applying sunscreen) and earned a pair of seriously tuckered out legs, but the ride was a blast and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Photo credit goes to Greg – thanks dude!
Greg and I biked from the west end of Ottawa to Pink Lake in the Gatineau hills, and then back! 42 kilometers, uphill both ways! (Okay – technically that’s impossible, but there were lots of hills in both directions.)
I’m really proud of myself! I’ve never biked into the Gatineau hills before, and I’ve never really biked this distance before, I don’t think. My legs were a bit rubbery towards the end, but I have a good feeling about the 100km ride I’m going to be making in a few weekends. 🙂
Natasha and I joined some friends for a workshop at Ottawa Swordplay over the weekend, and we had a blast! The group practice the late medieval Germanic “Liechtenauer” sword tradition, involving lots of longsword moves and counter-moves. Better yet – they practice it with real (but dulled) swords – it was pretty rad hearing the heavy clang of steel as we tried to take each other’s heads off. 🙂 The staff were excellent and took good care to prevent us from actually killing eachother – they teach kid versions of the class with foam swords and little helmets. It must be unbearably cute.
We’re only in our exercise outfits in this picture – our suits of armour were at the cleaners. 😉 (If ever there was an excuse for some medieval cosplay outfits…)
I’m pretty sure I’m going to go back again!
Natasha and I took a drive out to Sarsaparilla Trail, just off Hunt Club and Moodie, in an effort to explore more of the hiking paths around our own neighbourhood. The trail itself was pretty tiny (less than a kilometer of pathways) but it felt surprisingly isolated – as soon as we were around the first bend from the parking area the sound of street traffic disappeared and an abundance of wildlife appeared out of the brush to greet us.
The highlight of the short hike is a dock that juts out into a beaver pond – the whole area is really gorgeous and there’s lots of birds and turtles and fish that aren’t shy. (I think the animals are well fed by the visitors) Bring along some bug spray – at least in the evening there’s a good number of mosquitos lurking in the bushes. (But surprisingly few by the water!)
That section of the greenbelt is practically a zoo. On our way back to the car, after spotting more chipmunks, squirrels, finches, jays, ducks, and a hare, we heard heavy scratching noises in a tree and saw rustling leaves. This guy – a porcupine the size of a dog, came sliding down the tree trunk and wandered along the trail behind us. I know the pictures won’t win any awards, but I had to work quick to get him in frame – next time I’ll bring my zoom lens and try to get some proper portraits of all the locals.
My friend Madeleine and I have signed up for a mini-triathlon in May, and she’s encouraging me to blog about my training efforts. Just general details today, but I’ll do a few follow-ups with specifics as I go along.
I had a lazy winter so I’m trying to ramp up my exercise plan slowly. I’ve been running (jogging, really) on the treadmill downstairs while watching Netflix movies, alternating between 2k uphill and 5k flat runs every 3 or 4 days. I know some hardcore runners who run outside in the winter, but my neighbourhood doesn’t have sidewalks and I don’t want to risk a wipeout on the ice, so until spring I’ll be favouring endurance over speed in my training program.
I’ve been skipping the bike training for now – we have a stationary bike but I don’t like it much, and I figure it’s mostly the same muscle group as the running, so there will be time to train for that closer to May.
Swimming has been fun – I only agreed to do the triathlon because I’d already been doing some swimming over the winter with Natasha, and I really love it. I’m working hard on improving my sloppy technique. I’ve got my face down and I’m reaching better – less plowing and more gliding. Big improvements. (Natasha’s a great swimmer and a great teacher!)
I’m not really anxious about running out of steam during the race, but I’d like to put in a really good time, so that’s my biggest motivator. My biggest obstacle so far isn’t the training – it’s eating. As usual, I’m rapidly losing weight despite carb loading – that’s just my metabolism doing what it does. Trying to find a balance that maintains my body weight while sweating up a workout is slowing down my progress.