Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summary of a few pre-day rides

It was one of those crazy busy days last Friday. The kind of day that I try and avoid with all the might of a 5' tall woman with a crippling Napoleonic complex.  The day when I had client meetings in the late afternoon, Bike Rally errands to run in the pre-afternoon, work meetings in the late morning and a garden obligation first thing in the morning.

It was also the last day I was going to do a morning ride in more than 10, I wrote my plan for the day down and Steph kindly offered to have our morning date 30 min earlier - at 6:00 am, that 30 minutes at that point in the day is a true friendship gift.

This is what that ride looked like using pictures from the last 2 rides.

4:50 am: Wake up. Curse life choices but enjoy current alarm ring tone choice.

5:35 am: Drink half a pot of coffee and contemplate eating...reject the idea, even the sun is to tired to feel hungry that early in the morning.

6:00 am: Ride through The Meatgrinder and enjoy view of the waterfront. Maybe life is rich...

6:15 am: Connect with Steph at bottom of High Park.

6:30 am: Get lapped by cycling club on Ellis. Contemplate competing with them...realize that it was the hanger talking

6:45 am: Gget lapped again. Curse them.

7:00 am: Start back to the deep east. Take selfie next to giant Inukshuk.

7:15 am: Go through a significantly changed Meatgrinder.  Contemplate the impact of this construction on my netherregions. Make a mental note to never think of this again...also to eat before doing this again.

7:45 am: Arrive at my house say hello to my family gettng ready for their days. Drink ALL the coffee.

I think the real victims of our choices might be Jason and Joe here.

If you feel the urge PWA Toronto is a great organization to sponsor and we have a whole team of hard working cyclists on our team looking for support on this crazy ride. Check it out - we ride and post terrible pictures for coffee money.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Seven Day Whiplash

I have been traveling pretty extensively for my work and I have to confess. I love it, all of it.  I love that I can work without feeling like I'm compromising the immediate needs of my family and my relationship. I can put in a 14 hour day without even looking up and no one will feel rejected, hungry or lonely (that I can see.)

I love that I can drink a cup of coffee in complete silence in the morning, that I don't have to have any fruit, granola or whole foods as an example of healthy living. I can just sit there, drinking my coffee in silence. I love sleeping alone, surrounded by pillows as though to fool myself that there are three people in the bed with me but still alone.

All of this fills me with deep unrelenting guilt, don't get me wrong, but there it is. I love it.

Of course, the only reason I love any of this is because it is only for five days before I come home and get engulfed by my people. Anchored again. Since I don't believe in the myth of work/life balance, I work really hard at being in the moment no matter where I am.

The part I hate is the whiplash. Nothing demonstrates the extreme difference between my work and my local life like work travel.

Here is a 7 day photo journal that will accurately portray this difference:

Day 1: Arrive in Fort Lauderdale, go kayaking with a friend in the Everglades directly from the airport. It's so easy to get into a car with just another adult and drive off to adventure. We ate shitty road food. Stopped when we wanted to. Didn't have to amuse small terrorists in the back seat. Guys, I didn't even have diapers, water or snacks when we started this trip. Nothing but my own small carry on, bug dope, sports sandals and a camera.

It felt....light and almost obscene in it's easiness.

We went through Mangrove Tunnels and saw alligators, hatching storks/snowy egrets/white ibis/tri-coloured herons. After a four hour paddle we went to a little restaurant called the Camellia Street Grill in Everglade City. Sat on the deck next to the East River, ate fresh clams, crab and fish paired with the best Corona I've ever had.

It was perfection.

 Day 2-4: Partner Conference at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. This location was exactly why I spent the previous day engaged. It was fun, social work but it is a Casino and that shit ain't real.

In my line of  work it is so nice to get solid face time with colleagues and partners, we work geographically apart and I miss the face time. This will be a surprise to no one but I love social work time with coworkers. It was so much fun to go feral in a place designed for just that and by the end of it all I wanted was a raw vegetarian menu, 17 litres of water and a nap.

This casino is just about as far away from my community activist, gardening, Mothering world as you can get. Like candy, so much fun but too much of it can make you really ill.

Photo of me showing the guys how to light sambuca.Photo credit: Tim V

Days 5-7: Come back to my people and go North to open my cottage.  Freezing cold evenings. Mothers Day, an 80 km training ride (9 more weeks!) and some physical labour.  Here is where I am Mother, Sister, Daughter, Wife, Friend and ass kicking fire starter. Turned off laptop, muted the phone and lit the fire helped settle the sense of self.

The whiplash hits when I realized that I'd forgotten how much fun it is to take care of people and be taken care of them in the same breath.

How goddamned lucky am I?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Mother West Wind can Suck my D*ck

Today was the first of what will add up to close to 3000 km of summer cycling. Most of the cycling will be done specifically to train for the 16th Annual Friends For Life Bike Rally.  My non-sexual Partner In Crime and I are so smitten with the epic nature of this event that we committed to co-leading a merry team of Psyclopaths.

It is a satisfaction that stands out from the other adventures we go on in our respective lives. It is hard. Hard to find the time, hard to broker the compromise with our friends, families and jobs. Hard to fundraise the minimum amount. Hard on our bottoms.

But oh, so Epic in nature that we just can't quit it.

Today was our first official training ride, Kipling - Meadowvale. In terms of Southern Ontario geography, a small trip through Meadowvale township is the highlight - a respite from the industrial parks (oxymoron alert!) of Mississauga.  A civil 46 km until...THE WIND CHOSE TO BLOW DIRECTLY AT US IN EVERY DIRECTION.

and then...the subway stopped 5 minutes from Steph's home station...still across the city from where I live, in the deep East.

 this is when the TTC operator started to prepare us for the reality that the subway was not going to be our way home...(armwarmers made by me for rides like this one - WIND!) This is me, 5 seconds before losing my mind Elaine Benes style.
We had to get off in the deep West end. Steph had to march her chivalrous self up a steep hill with the wind in her face, while I got to head South to the Waterfront Trail.

The wind made it's appearance...on my face the second I turned East. At least the Waterfront Trail was as pretty as always. It always makes me feel like I could be on Bowen Island or Halifax...minus the mountains and rain...and salty smell...

Maybe I just miss the ocean.