Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

“Fabia’s Big Ride” 2018

Posted: October 6, 2018 in Bike
Tags: ,

(Note:  I feel it important to mention that she’s not really “Fabia” anymore (click HERE).  Fabia has grown up now and, while I still don’t refer to her by name, prefers to be referred to now (just as in other blogs) simply as “HRH“.)

In every riding season, I suspect there are but one, two, maybe three big rides that you might look forward to more than any other.  Maybe it’s a specific race or a particularly challenging ride, or perhaps a planned leisurely destination tour ride, whatever.  It’s something that you begin to anticipate the moment you start to take your training indoors again come November or when the weather begins to turn crappy; it becomes your motivation to get back in the saddle again and again.

This year, I had two such rides (not discounting The Big Move, of which, will always remain on my event calendar), and one of which was completed back on July 8th (click HERE).

Today was that other ride …

The 3rd Annual Daddy-Daughter Ride.

Truthfully, this year’s route was a bit difficult to plan.  The first year is was about the ultimate distance for her, who was then only 11 years old (click HERE), and the second year it was more about the fun and exploring an entirely new area spanning northern shores of Lake Erie (click HERE).  This year, however, seeing as how Hailey has two extra years of savvy road riding under her helmet, I decided to take a bit of a gamble and take a busier and challenging, but no less fun or scenic, route beginning in Chippawa along the much traveled Niagara Parkway to the historic towns of Queenston, Niagara-on-the-Lake and, ultimately, end up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house at Lock 3 in St. Catharines, just as we did in on our first ride two years ago.

Ambitious?

Maybe.

But I have grown to trust my step-daughter immensely while we’re out riding together, as she has matured into quite a tough, skilled and competent rider.

Especially when there is the promise of “treats” afterwards.

Anyway, we started this year’s journey in Kingsbridge Park in Chippawa just above Niagara Falls.

It was a chilly 14° outside and, for once, I was glad I brought arm warmers.  Needless to say there wasn’t a lot chit-chat and “pussy-footing” around in getting ready to ride and with only a quick prep, we gave Kelly a kiss goodbye and were clipping in pedaling away before you could say “moderate hypothermia”.

Okay, we did pause for this:

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Anyhow, the village of Chippawa is located just above the Falls themselves, so we didn’t have very long to go at all before we were going to begin encountered some of the cool stuff along our way.

The decent down the Parkway past Dufferin Islands and the Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is fun but the tourist pedestrian traffic can be stupid even at the best of times (yes, even in the middle of the road) but if you’re going to ride through Niagara Falls well, you have to ride by the actual Falls themselves, right?

Of course you do!

Plus, it’s fun.

Here’s our obligatory selfie at the brink of Falls:

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It was pretty cold on the brink of heavy mist that cascades over from the 3,160 tons of angry water that flows over Niagara Falls every second.

Believe me however when I say that there was no mist this day, my friends, it was a full on deluge from the sky.  A hard, cold rain was a-falling for the next 400-500m which, true, doesn’t sound like far, but when you’re already cold and shivering and then you get doused with an even colder rain …

Yeah, not necessarily fun.

Except, we’re cycling (at one point) a mere 100m meters away from the brink of new EIGHTH “Natural Wonder of the World”*, so you suck that shit up and you enjoy it.

And we did.

In fact, I even heard from behind me at one point:

“That was awesome!”

So there you have it.

And, remember, this was all in the first 2-3 kilometers of the ride.

For the next few kilometers though, we had to navigate through tourist traffic, underneath the bridges that span the Niagara Gorge between the US and Canada, as well as up and over the rolling “hills” and climbs that weave along the Niagara Parkway.  This is a particularly fun stretch of road for cyclists as you can play with momentum as the road steadily rolls upward before pitching down again on the other side and pitches and HRH  was enjoying every second of it hanging onto my back wheel.

I have to say that I am very proud at her ability to apply the gas to the pedals when she wants to.

(Not that we were in any hurry of course)

The other fun part of this stretch of road is that it follows the Niagara River past all the popular tourist attraction like the Spanish Aero-Car, the Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara Helicopter, the Niagara Glen Natural Reserve and, well, all these:

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Here’s a few more from the Spanish Aero-Car and the Floral Clock:

Our first scheduled rest stop was at the very top of Queenston Heights, the grounds for the first major battle in the War of 1812 (resulting in a British victory).  From this vantage point, you have an amazing view of the Niagara River at it bends away towards Lake Ontario at Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Here’s the view (and the obligatory bike lean photo):

The other fun thing about this rest stop is that we could enjoy our lunch of Subway turkey wraps and grape Soda at the feet of Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who fell at the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13th, 1812 … a mere eight days short of being exactly 206 years ago to the day.

That’s some cool ass shit, right?

Total ‘Yay me!’  for even being able to drop some pertinent historical brain nuggets on the child in the process!

Am I “Step-Dad of the Year”, or what?

Cheers to that!

Anyway, with the last words of sir General Brock himself ringing in our ear, “Push on, don’t mind me”**, we did just that and set out towards our second intended destination for the day, the small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, another 20k or so down the Niagara Parkway through primo wine country.

Of course, to get there, we still had to immediately descend the infamous Queenston Heights; a curvy, 1.16 kilometers span of pavement straight down into the village of Queenston proper and often regarded as one of Niagara’s “Top Ten Must-Ride Cycling Climbs” (click HERE).

Fortunately, we only had to go down it today.

I’ve taken Kelly down this hill before years ago and, well, she didn’t like it so much (i.e. the speed) and proceeded to grasp onto to her handlebars like a frightened koala bear clinging to a tree branch.  That was the last time we ever attempted that with Kelly so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that she knew I was taking HRH down this same hill today and (there were many, many “please be careful’s” issued at the beginning of the ride earlier).

Apparently though, HRH does not share the same anxiety about descending as her mother does and as soon as we had slingshot-ed our way around the traffic circle at the top and pointed ourselves directly downhill, it was on.  She followed my line all the way down and around the curves and managed her brakes well in order to control her decent and around the halfway point I just make out a “THIS IS AWESOME!!” from just behind me above the rushing air.

For the record, we had approached speeds of 64km/h by the bottom of and she managed to hang onto my back wheel easily like a pro and then again at the bottom, cruising at 44km/h along the Parkway behind the “People Movers”, until we veered  off at Line 8 to take lesser traveled roads into Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We more or less used Concession Rd. 1 all the way to the East-West Line.  This entire area is practically vineyards, fruit farms and wineries so, essentially, it all smells amazing right about now as overripe apples, pears and peaches fall and rot on the ground and the overburdened grapevines await the inevitable harvest over the next few days.  This is just about the best time to cycle in Niagara in my opinion, and it was definitely a nice relaxing pedal through God’s country towards our second rest stop.

It’s also worthy to note here that it was around along this stretch of road that we both developed a strong craving for ripe Concord grapes, and that we began to hatch a clever and devious plan to sneak a small roadside sample from some poor unsuspecting farmer’s field.

What can I say?

We’re awful people.

Oh, and we and also found the location our next possible future family home:

Shortly afterwards, we met Kelly in town and had our photo snapped at this iconic location:

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No?

What about this:

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Yup.

This is the very same picturesque gazebo at Royal Queen’s Park featured in The Dead Zone, a 1983 David Cronenberg film that starred Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen.  Now, it stands as a magnet for thousands of visitors each year.  With a crystal clear view of the Niagara River, it’s a hot spot for romantic couples and tourists with cameras.  Not that the visitors are aware that their beloved gazebo was the scene of a brutal (and fictional) rape and murder 35 years ago.

Yessir!

I have this “Step-Dad of the Year” thing locked up for sure!

We all stopped together briefly at the Balzac’s (*giggle*) coffee shop z block away on King Str. with Kelly for some hot apple cider and a few assorted baked treats.

We do ride for the treats after all.

From this point on, I didn’t have any real expectations to go further with HRH  but she said she felt good and was confident that she could continue on to our potential final destination at Grandma and Grandpa’s at Lock 3 in St. Catharines, another 30-ought kilometers or so away, so we saddled up when the cider was gone and we were off again.

Personally, I think it the ‘as-of-yet’ unfulfilled promise of fresh grapes off the vine.

We made a quick tour of the town to see the Shaw’s Festival Theatre, the Pillar & Post and Queens Landing hotels, the infamous “Witch House” and all the beautiful lakeside cottages along Niagara Blvd, and Shakespeare Ave.

After that it was a bit more single-file down the Parkway until we could hang a sharp left on the gorgeous Four Mile Creek Rd. so that we could head inland back out into wine country and finally put our devious plot into action.

“Operation: Purple Fingers” was getting the green light … and we were officially a GO!

It was actually along Church Rd. where we decided to make our illicit rest stop.

After making sure there were no rogue “Big Brother”-esque cameras, we stealthily laid our bikes by the side of the road and tippy-toed ninja-style into the field towards the most fruit-laden vine we could find.

Against my attorney’s advice, of course, I am posting here publicly the evidence of our nefarious felony:

Shocking, I know.

It’s hard to bare witness to.

Forgive her.

I, of course, had nothing to do with it.

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From here it was only a hop, skip and a jump away to the Welland Canal path, across the bridge at Lock 2 and onward along the paved pathway towards the Welland Canals Center and our final destination.

For anyone who might not be already familiar with the Niagara area, it is also one of the few places in the world where you will ever see something like this:

The Welland Canal one of the amazing man-made wonders of the world, which was originally constructed in 1829 to link Lake Erie with Lake Ontario and offer ships a safe detour around Niagara Falls.

The Welland canal is simply amazing.

The first impression of a modern lake-faring freighter is of it’s overwhelming size. It doesn’t seem possible that something of such immense proportions could even be built, much less be able to dock, load, and sail the lakes … and then you ride up alongside one as it passes underneath the Garden city Skyway.

Breath-taking.

And yet, having lived in the area our entire lives, we take things like this for granted.

Already in less than three hours of bicycle riding we had passed two wonders of the world and visited three historic villages.  We rode past numerous battlefields, historical monuments, and old forts.  We navigated our way along some of the most scenic roadways on the planet, past some of the lushest orchards and vineyards on the planet where we just simply helped ourselves.  We posed in the exact spot where Christopher Walken …

Never mind.

Eventually, we safely ended up at the Lock 3 complex once again, from all the way up there:

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… just as the Federal Caribou was pulling out of Lock 3.

Honestly, how often will you ever be able to get a victory shot like this:

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Remember now, that this particular vessel is nearly 225m long by 26m wide.

That’s over two football fields long!

That’s some cool shit, knowhatImsayin?

Anyway, we took this picture as well to commemorate our having been here again two years later after our inaugural “Daddy-Daughter” bike adventure:

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Of course, we took a much more challenging and lengthier this route this year – a whopping 60k in total – but that’s a prime testament to the cyclist that HRH  is turning into and has become; one that I can trust riding with and alongside through this remarkable area and share together in the sights, sounds and, yes, even flavors (illicit and ill-gotten as they may be), of our beautiful Niagara Region.

*Yes, it’s true (click HERE).

**It was also reported his final words were, “Push on, brave York Volunteers” … but that doesn’t work contextually in my story.  Sorry.

“Fabia’s Big Ride” 2017

Posted: October 7, 2017 in Bike
Tags: ,

It’s become something of a tradition between HRH  and I to plan a few Adventures together over the course of the summer and this year we were fortunate enough to have four such adventures: participating in the Across the Lake Swim in Kelowna, British Columbia, snorkeling out to see the Sherkston Shipwrecks in Lake Erie (click HERE), HRH‘s first 50k Big Move Ride (click HERE) and this, our 2nd annual Daddy-Daughter Ride (click HERE for last years ride).

The original plan was to cycle from our home here in Ridgeway out to Dunnville (70k) for lunch but seeing as how we haven’t been out cycling together as much as we did last year what with my not being able to ride most of the summer n’ all, we decided to forgo the distance and settle for something fun and scenic instead.

I first discovered the Lakeshore Rd. route back in June while exploring the greater Dunnville area on my long Ironman rides and then again with a fun little ride with the wife last month.  I was sold on the relaxed route through the remote Haldimand County cottage country which skirts along the shores of Lake Erie: scenic, smooth paved road, and zero traffic to contend with.

Perfect for relaxed afternoon of cycling with the kiddo.

All aboard!

We departed from Selkirk Provincial Park around 1:00pm after the rain showers had passed over for the day.

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From there it was a straight shot along Lakeshore Rd. straight back to Dunnville.

Easy peasy.

With little to zero traffic to contend with, we more or less had the entire road to ourselves meaning that we could take out time and ride together, enjoying the autumn color, the interesting cottages, old barns and vasts spans of farmland, the infinite number of crazy ass squirrels, more statuettes and garden gnomes than you could shake a stick at and, oh yes, mermaids.

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Thought I was kidding, did you?

There was lots of other cool things to see as well.

Eventually we stopped at about the half way point for a quick lunch of Subway and gummy worms on a cute little pagoda overlooking the lake.

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Over the course of the next 20k, we more or less just enjoyed each others company, the scenery, a stupid amount of windmills, and the fact that there was zero wind blowing off the lake.

Oh, and we even had a little lie down with some pigs.

Here’s some other shots of the journey.

Of course, there was also the “almost there” treat as well:

Appropriate, right?

So after a little more than 2 hours worth of cycling (give or take another hour or so for stopping, picture taking and whatnot), we arrived safely in Dunnville to hook up with mommy again who had spend the afternoon Thrift store shopping.

Mission accomplished.

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Sure there was the whole snafu of arriving back to a dead battery in the car and the whole drama that ensued getting it charged in order to get home but, hey, that’s fodder for an entirely different blog post.

Now the planning begins for next years trip.

“Fabia’s Big Ride”

Posted: October 11, 2016 in Bike
Tags: , ,

So this past holiday weekend (yesterday) I got to do something very special of which I am immensely proud.  And not necessarily for myself either.  No, yesterday marked HRH‘s epic bike ride from our home here in Ridgeway to Lock 3 in St. Catharines and onward to the grandparents’ house.  This is what the last 3-4 weeks of cycling with the kiddo have all been leading up to…her own Ironman journey, so to speak.

I don’t have a lot to say that I haven’t already posted HERE so, instead, here’s a record of the trip in pictures:

We left at 10:15am after a big breakfast, a coffee and a poop.  Well, I did anyway.

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We first rode along the Friendship Trail from here in Ridgeway for approximately 14 kilometers passing through Sherkston to Port Colborne.

We arrived just in time to make it across the Lock 7 bridge before a boat passed through on it’s way to Lake Erie.

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We then joined up with the Canal Trail beginning at the Robin Hood plant and, from there, we simply pedaled northbound towards St. Catharines stopping briefly at the Flatwater Center in Dain City for a picture in the grandstand.

The autumn colors were in full bloom along the entire pathway. This is one of the reasons why I consider myself so lucky to live and ride where I do.

Absolutely gorgeous.

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As we had planned, we stopped for a brief lunch of peanut butter and jelly and a few apple slices at the Flatwater Center in Welland before continuing on again.

It wasn’t long afterwards that HRH  learned another valuable lesson about riding:  always spit out and to the side…not directly ahead into the wind.  Hey, some lessons you just have to learn the hard way.

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We continued pedaling on through Allanburg towards Thorold for another 20k or so.  Fortunately at this point, the majority of the ride was on a gradual downhill as we were heading north down the Niagara Escarpment but there was still the odd small hill every so often to conquer just to remind her that this was meant to be something of a challenge.

After all, anything that matters take a little work right?

After another hour or so we popped out at the tippy-top of the Flight Locks in Thorold to begin our big decent down to our finish destination at the Lock 3 Viewing Complex.

Oh, we stopped for these candid shots with the amazing murals in Thorold as well.

It was only another 10-15 minutes from there before we arrived at our intended “finish line” after 53 kilometers of cycling.  Of course, we had to take the obligatory victory photos.

I had even brought along my dad for the ride seeing as how I was using his bike (click HERE) and I like to think he was looking down on us from somewhere smiling.

This one however I think is the real winner on the day:

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Of course, it took her a moment to get it up there in the first place.

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So a celebratory hot chocolate was definitely in order.

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Lastly, we tackled the final 2 kilometers to grandma and grandpa’s house and a well-deserved treat.

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So what does an 11-year-old cyclist do to warm down after a long, chilly, autumn ride?

Why, this little ensemble of course:

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I’m sure all the greats had one:  Eddy Merckz, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Induráin, Greg LeMonde…shit, I hear Chris Froome even warms down in a fuzzy Kermit the Frog suit.

Me?

I’ll stick to the essentials.

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Anyway, this was just about the best way to begin winding down the riding season if you ask me.  I know I’m currently getting in the mindset to renew my Ironman training so I figure having a little fun before that hammer drops would be a good idea.

Besides, if you can’t enjoy your passions with the ones you love…what’s the point?

Family Cycle

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Bike, Lifestyle
Tags: ,

I have recently taken on another challenge as the next stage in my on-going triathlon-slash-athletic evolution.  A challenge so daunting and arduous that it baffles the melon just to imagine it; a challenge so fierce and grandiose in execution that it makes all my other successes and endurance tests to date seem like a mere walk in the park.  What is this challenge you ask?  Well, get this: I have now agreed to lead a weekly 30 minute Family Cycle class for parents and kids, ages 8-13 years of age.

Is that some scary shit or what?

You’re probably thinking, “So what’s so scary about a spinning class for kids”, right? That was exactly my thought process when I suggested and then agreed to take this on as a weekly commitment. The idea occurred to me as the result of HRH  becoming a bit more reluctant recently to tag along with me to the gym to participate in the kids’ activities as I do my own thing; be it teaching or participating in a spin class, lifting weights, swimming or whatever.  Before, she enjoyed sitting in the  corner of the spin studio after her “Kids Club” had let out and watch me have my ass handed to me on a silver platter.  She was content to sit quietly and observe for 30 minutes until my class had finished.  A year later, however, well, not so much. I guess seeing me tsunami out in a huge tidal wave of sweat and agony grows old eventually – go figure.

Furthermore, the other kids in her “Kids Club” are now significantly younger so she doesn’t quite have the same connection she once did to be completely engaged yet, unfortunately, she’s also not old enough to participate in any of the adult classes like spinning, water aerobics, etc., so she’s bored.  Who could blame her?  So providing opportunities for kids and families to try this whole spinning thing seemed to be a good idea; something for her to get excited about as well as other kids for whom their parents also have the same challenges.  It something the family can do together to provide a fun and safe introduction into a new possibility as an interest in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.  Sounds great, huh? And seeing as coaching and supporting kids programs has become a bit of a passion for me after becoming a step-dad (click HERE) this opportunity seemed to be tailor made for me.  How could I go wrong?

But as the date grew nearer, I became more and more stressed about it.  Making matters worse, I was worried that the kids might sense my nervousness too; like the way a king cobra senses the panicked heartbeat in a nervous kangaroo rat.

I mean, seriously, what do you do with kids exactly?  For all intensive purposes, what do I even know  about kids?  At best, I’m just fudging my way through this whole step-dad thing and hoping, at best, to not seriously scar HRH in her later adult life.  On any given day I’m the kind of boob you might otherwise see spinning (no pun intended) a sign outside a Verizon store.  I know as much about spinning and children as Lucrezia Borgia knows about gourmet cooking.  I knew I wanted it to be fun while still providing them with an opportunity to get familiarized with spinning and, hey, if they get a decent workout as well, awesome!  In short, I wanted it to be the kind of thing that Ron Howard would eventually make a movie about.  But what I have learned, however, is that coaching a kid’s orientated spin class is very, very different than coaching adults…like, apples and oranges different.

For example, you can’t too be too tough.  Unlike the adult participants in my Monday night Masters Spin Class, I can’t exactly stomp them into the ground like a late season gewürztraminer.  No, it’s not that easy; it has to be a real hoopty-doo if you know what I mean.  It has to be “fun” and kids’ do not immediately associate “suffering” with “fun” the way my adult spin masochists do.  Nor, is there any pleasure in it for me. I mean, I admit to being totally into my ‘schadenfreude’, but watching kids pummel the pedals until they’re ready to puke is not really what I would call a good time.  Nor should it be.  I want them to enjoy themselves and come back, not ultimately give them another reason to hate going to the gym.  So I had to invent ways to keep their fragile eggshell-like minds off the “activity” itself, and more on something that was deemed as “entertaining”.  And believe me, given that typical kids has the attention span of a grapefruit, this is harder to do than one might think.

So, to accomplish this, I had the brainwave to – after giving them a brief instruction on how to use the spin bike features properly, of course – lead them through a game of “tag” just as they might play on the schoolyard at lunchtime.  What kid doesn’t like “tag”, I ask you.  The difference here being that when the person was tagged as “it”, they had to then either stand up into a light climb, or spin faster with a higher (yet controlled) cadence, or “sprint”, until the next person was deemed as “it” until we had worked our way around the room.  They seemed to enjoy this.  In future classes, I aim to incorporate other such schoolyard games such as “Eye Spy” and “Simon Says”, but geared towards spinning of course.

The second major difference is that in keeping things “fun”, that also means using and playing music that they like; and as it happens, the kind of stuff that might also get me laughed at and ridiculed if any of my training peers should happen to find them on my iPod.  Now, let’s get one thing straight, I prefer to keep my iPod “pure” (click HERE), in that all the music contained within is the kind of manly stuff that I might also listen to while hammering out swords shirtless in my medieval iron forge and, you know, Taylor Swift is not part of that formula. Now I know that “haters gonna hate, hate, hate” and that inevitably I just “gotta shake, shake, shake, shake it off” but, still, it’s not cool and I feel slightly less of a man for it being there.

The good news is though, that HRH, seeing as she’s into records and developing her own taste in music these days (click HERE), helped me put together a decent playlist, which along with the popular kids music on the radio, also included tracks by the Cars, Michael Jackson and the Bee Gee’s (click HERE) so that at least the parents brains didn’t 100% melt out their ears as I’m sure they tend to get enough of the radio pop pabulum shoveled at them throughout the day as well.  God knows I do.  So I tried to find the happy middle ground.

All in all things seemed to go well, even if it was the longest yet probably the most rewarding 30 minutes I think I’ve ever spent coaching on a spin bike. Afterwards, we even had some favorable comments from the participants (kids and parents alike) and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and left with a smile on their face.  Maybe this won’t be such a bad thing after all.  The best part is that HRH  dropped almost immediately into bed upon getting home without so much as a fuss.  Who knew that having so much fun would be so exhausting?  That alone made the whole stress worth it and I’m looking forward to future classes and working with these amazing kids as they discover the – hopefully – exciting world of spinning.

Peachbud 1k

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Races
Tags: , , ,

Nearly two weeks ago, the kid and I took to the mean streets (and sidewalks) of Grimsby for the annual kid’s 1k event.   I have to be truthful, I didn’t like our chances.  We haven’t trained the way we had in previous years but, she seemed eager to go and cruisin’ for a bruisin’ which, in fact, we did.  She killed it, shaving almost 2 minutes off her previous years effort with a finishing time of 7:34.2  (not that any of this matters, like, at all).  Most importantly, she embraced the whole good natured happy runner philosophy we talked about just prior to the start.  So what was this profound philosophy you ask?  Well, besides the obvious ‘if you don’t win don’t come home’  thing, she opted to go with something a bit more, well, unconventional: “Eat Hot Death”.

*Sigh* 

“From the mouths of babes…”  they say.  Anyway, it’s a long story.  ‘Eat Hot Death’ it was.

Afterwards, I attempted to run out 10k worth of pent-up anxiety and frustration during the 10k event and ended up totally shitting the bed, err, not doing so well.  But that’s also a long story.

So without further adieu, I present you this latest video diary from this years epic Peachbud 1k Fun Run.

Word.

Big thanks to my buddy at ‘Waving Cat Media’:  http://wavingcatmedia.com/

Now that my triathlon season has effectively come to an end, I’m refocusing a bit while I continue with my foot rehab to spending more time volunteering at events that have become near and dear to me, namely, the SunRype Tri Kids series.  This is my second year volunteering with this event series as working with kids and promoting kid’s triathlon has become a bit of a passion for me, particularly this year.

T1 for the 3-5 year-old's

T1 for the 3-5 year-old’s

Now, I have volunteered at adult events before but, well, let’s just say that being grunted at all day by exhausted athletes doesn’t exactly provide me with all those warm n’ fuzzies.  I realize it’s an important role come race day and its very appreciated despite the lack of direct ‘thank you’s’ from the competitor’s, but working with kids is just so, so…awesome.  I feel like my experience as a developing triathlete at this point is both welcome and appreciated at the bike mount line where I prefer to be positioned; reminding kids to breathe, smile, have fun, not to mention fixing any skipped chains, untied shoelaces, etc.  I genuinely love the absolutely shell-shocked expressions on their face and then reminding them – despite the pressures often being placed on them by their over-excited parents – that it’s okay to relax and just have fun.

I think they appreciate that.

Now, having said all that, if there is one thing that I have learned through this experience is that every parent likes to think that their child is special.  And while I agree, every child is special; some parents will take that to the absolute extreme.   I could go on and on about some of the crazy things I saw and heard parents do and say during the course of the day but, well, let’s just say it’s often crazy:  “Don’t drink unless you absolutely after to!”, “Ride hard!”, “Push! Push! Push!”, “Catch that kid in front of you!”, “Can’t you go faster?!” 

I only wish I was joking here.

Hey, whatever happened to “just have fun?”

Just sayin’…

T1 for 3-5 year-old's

T1 for 3-5 year-old’s

Anyway, the added bonus for me this year was that HRH  was also able to participate in this year’s event (being the idiot I am, I forgot to actually register her for it last year) and, as such, we’ve been preparing her both physically and mentally to do her best since April.  We’ve done a few run workouts on the track at the Fort Erie YMCA, and we’ve biked together along the Friendship Trail, and we’ve worked on her swim skills in the open water at the Welland International Flatwater Center.  Of course, these “workouts” were more like play but, hey, who’s keeping track?  I figured she didn’t have to necessary know that she was also participating in interval workouts just as long as she was having fun.  All she really cared about was getting a finisher’s medal – just as it should be.

So the evening before, we organized out last preparation “workout” to familiarize her with the transition process.  We laid out her clothes, towel, bike, helmet, etc. on our front lawn to mimic her transition set up and proceeded to make a game of getting dressed and one the bike, and then off the bike and running.  I had her get into her swim suit and after being spun around a few times (to simulate the feeling of getting out of the water), I had her get into her bike stuff and ride to the end of the street and back, before hopping off and running to the corner and back.  She absolutely loved it.  I figured she was as ready as she was ever going to be.

HRH's transition set up.

HRH’s transition set up.

Come the next morning (race day), she was more than excited to get going.  Once she and Kelly arrived (I was already on site and working at the bike mount line with the 3 year olds), she proceeded to get her body markings, got her clothes set up in transition the way we practiced (which, I must say, was nothing like we adults set our stuff up) and, before she knew it, she was lined up and getting ready to hit the pool.

From then on, she had a ball.  She swam the 75m well even if she didn’t kick a whole lot (a chip off the ‘ol block I guess), and by the time she got changed and ended up at my mount line she was all smiles and giggles…exactly how I had hoped she would be.  In fact, when I asked her if she was having fun, instead of the blank stare or unsure grunt I typically got from a lot of kids I asked the same question to, she responded with a very enthusiastic “YEAH!!”

Awesome.

So I sent her off with a gentle push and watched her ride out onto the bike course pedaling like a demon possessed; if only she pedaled like that when we ride.

When she dismounted a few moments later after a 3k lap around Ridley campus on her bike, she casually walked her bike into T2 and – low and behold – started running!  I mean, like, really running.  I was shocked.  I know she doesn’t really like running and I fully expected her to walk the run course (which is fine, of course), so when she actually started running I almost passed out from sheer amazement.  Clearly, she was really getting into the spirit of the thing.

T1 for the 3-5 year-old's

T1 for the 3-5 year-old’s

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see anything more after she had passed through T2 onto the 1.5k run course.  However, I heard that she walked some of it and ran some of it.  Not bad really.  A really funny I learned later is that each time she passed through the water aid station (which was conveniently manned by my coach) she both drank a cup of water as well as dousing herself with another.  Where she learned this little maneuver, I’m not sure but, yup, a chip off the ‘ol block for sure.  Whatever she was doing, she also remained true to her intention (as well as our track workouts) of finishing strong and saving a bit for that final sprint to the line to earn her coveted finisher’s medal.

Here’s the big moment captured for all posterity (complete with motivational music and everything:

In in all, HRH’s first triathlon went very well indeed.  You can read that as:  she had a lot of fun while maintaining a smile on her face the whole time, and that she is definitely looking forward to participating in the next one next year.  She now has a better idea of what it takes to not only complete a triathlon, but what it takes to prepare for one should she choose to go down that path in the future.

Did she have a finished time?  Sure.  But who cares?  Did she ‘place’ in her age group?  Probably…but, again, who cares?  I’m very proud of her regardless of what any numbers might tell me about her performance.  The most important thing is that she enjoyed herself and that definitely seemed to be the case, so I’m chalking this up as a total victory.

All we can say now is, “Bring on the 2014 season!”

Jerry’s Peachbud 1k

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Races
Tags: , , ,

Where this past weekend was all about me, Tuesday evening was about ‘us’ as HRH  and I returned to participate in the annual Jerry’s Peachbud 1k kid’s ‘Fun Run’.

Oh yeah.

All year we’ve been doing our Fartleks on the indoor track at the YMCA.  Why?  Because we’ve been planning our big return to the Jerry’s Peachbud 1k (click HERE for last years race video) in order to defend our titles; that’s why.  Except this year, I also had the 5k  race to contend with afterwards as well as Kelly withdrew last minute with a bum knee.  So, yeah, first I tackle the kid’s ‘Fun Run’ then I would proceed to kick ass in the Women’s 40-45 age group.  That’s right – ‘women’.  Am I a total hero or what?

But first things first, here is how the kid’s race panned out:

All in all, we improved our time by nearly 10whole seconds (chip time) with a time of 8:57.4  while also moving up in the overall rankings to finish 55th out of 81.  Shazam!  We rock.  And as per usual, we looked awesome doing it too.

My 5k race, which I just used a tempo workout opportunity, went well enough as well with me placing 6th out of 40 other ‘women’ runners in a time of 24:38.2.

Oh yeah.  I crushed it.  Take that, bitches!