Tour de Tigerrabbit (Part 2)

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Bike, Motivation

I’m really beginning to enjoy these little blasts through my past during my workouts lately and I genuinely look forward to just getting out and reliving some old childhood memories, memorable locations, or simply the key highlights and locales from the area in which I train that I might otherwise have taken for granted.  Believe me, you see and experience a whole lot more passing through life on your own generated momentum, as opposed to the passenger seat of any single-sized family luxury sedan.  Total Brussel Sprout power.

Our family motto: “No rest for the weary”

This is my father, Barrie, who works as a ships chandler for Lockport Sales & Services which service the big Lakers that pass through the Welland Canal near my home.  I will stop here periodically for a water break during my rides and visit briefly with the old man before he’s off on another delivery to some undisclosed port or isolated dock somewhere.  My father is the most stubborn, and therefore hardest working man I know who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit’.  He often labors well into the night (or morning, if need be) and will stay long after he is even required.   Clearly he’s nuts, right?  Well, my father probably thinks that I have a screw loose somewhere too as he doesn’t always purport to understand my whole Ironman quest, or the long workouts I put myself through for that matter, but deep down inside, I think he may actually get it more than anybody else…hey, my stubbornness has to stem from somewhere and this apple, apparently, didn’t fall very fall from the tree.

Going up? The twin Flight Locks

These are the gates to the infamous twin ‘Flight Locks‘ in the City of Thorold that will raise (or lower as the case may be) enormous ocean and lake-going vessels more than the 141 ft (42.9m) over the Niagara Escarpment and thereby circumventing Niagara Falls.  Have you ever seen a ship climb a mountain?  Well, here, you literally can!  And, let me tell you, it’s infinitely more fun that riding or running up it.

“And you think I’m funny looking?”

Right around the corner from my father’s place of employment is Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary.  We have been going here for family picnics for years; now it’s a convenient location to do some relaxing stretches by the lake or in the park itself after one of my long rides before finishing the last (easy) 10k home through the city proper.  There is also a small petting farm, which includes chickens, pigs, horses, rabbits, sheep, goats, llamas, as well as a donkey named ‘Don Quixote’.  I love it here and I draw much tranquility and inner peace from this particular location – silly as it may sound.  I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but I feel revitalized when I come here as if my past has somehow reinvading my body reminding me exactly how far I’ve come since those times when I would get completely winded playing games of ‘Tag’ along the sanctuary’s multiple walking trails.  Besides, I think it’s pretty funny that I get eyeballed now by curious alpacas when I do my yoga.

Oasis turned Eye-sore

Here is the Merritton Lions Municipal Pool  where I first learned how to swim as a kid.  I have a zillion memories of this pool; swimming lessons, swim meets, more games of ‘Tag’, driving the lifeguards absolutely crazy, my first late night skinny-dipping experience, etc.  You can see, however, that the pool has obviously seen better days.

Not exactly the ‘Aid Station’ I had in mind…

Okay, this is the local strip joint Private Eyes.  I know, I know…wtf?  Why am I including this spot exactly?  Well, this just happens to be a convenient beginning and ending point for many of my long runs into the countryside.  In an odd way, I do find a little inspiration here as this is where I might have otherwise turned up at the end of my working days had it not been for triathlon.  The club is situated just outside the city limits at the corner gateway to a good portion of the Niagara Wine Region.  In one direction, lays the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake  and more wineries than you could shake a stick at and in the other, a nice, long, winding route through wine country along Queenston Road towards the historic Queenston Heights.  I can park here discretely and leave on my runs to return much, much later.  I have never actually been inside this establishment (in, like, 20 years at least anyway) but the girls who are often on break in the parking lot sure do find my changing into my running gear as rather odd…probably a reversal of roll kind of thing.  Sadly, none of them have ever tried to stick dollar bills into the waistband of my running shorts.

The beacon at the top of the escarpment climb. Almost there…

Here is the Brock Monument located at the very top of Queenston Heights; the location of the notorious first battle  in the War of 1812  when invading American troops attempted to capture the hill from Canadian militia lead by General Isaac Brock (who perished during the battle as the result of an exploding cannonball).  Aside from being an ideal resting spot on any one of my long rides, Queenston Heights lays at the absolute top of the escarpment as you come up from the Niagara Parkway.  It’s a hell of a climb, but the view from the top is amazing.  Plus, how can any living Canadian not draw strength from the very spot were we originally kicked ass and took names against all odds in the face of our aggressors?  It’s the very embodiment of the Ironman spirit in my opinion.

You can look forward to other similar posts detailing the world in which I live and train as the ‘Tour de Tigerrabbit’  continues on in high gear throughout the summer.

  1. Ellen Eastwood says:

    In the immortal words of Sir Issac: “Surgite”!

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