Goodbye for now, my Dear…

Goodbye for now, my Dear…

I made it a point this summer to be as free as I can and one way to achieve freedom was to ride the crap out of my bike… and that I did.

This week marks the unofficial “end” of my cycling season for 2014 because I’m leaving for Asia next Saturday, until mid-November, where, to my dismay, I will have to use my legs for the entirety of the time (instead of my two wheels). I’m sure I’ll be back on the saddle for the remainder of the year for short and hard rides, commutes and chasing the sun whenever I can but I don’t foresee time for anymore “epic” rides. The sun rises too late, sets too early and since I’ll be crunching at work and the holidays will be upon us when I get back, I’ll have no time to ride long distances during the week. Time to start being a responsible adult again.

Time spent on a bicycle is priceless.

Ever since I got back from my seven week escape in Europe, all I’ve been doing is having the time of my life, out dancing with my friends, drinking lots of coffee, eating lots of cake and of course, riding my bike. I rode 4500 kilometers this past summer with tons of long, epic and fun rides— just the way I like it. Every week, as I progressed on my bike and learned more about my body and proper nutrition (for endurance cycling), I fell in love with the sport even more.

Can I say this summer was perfection?

Cypress Lookout | West Vancouver, BC

Dark rain clouds were hovering over West & North Vancouver where we were riding but the sun was shining gracefully on downtown Vancouver and beyond. Yesterday’s ride was my last time up at the Cypress Mountain lookout in West Vancouver this year. Fall is here, snow will cover the mountains soon and although climbing this mountain is always heavenly [painful], the freezing descents still cannot be justified… unless someone will volunteer to drive me and my bike down!

After 65,000 meters of climbing mountains this summer, my arch-nemesis: my IT-Band, finally caught up with me. As we were doing a slow recovery ride to Deep Cove for lunch yesterday, my left knee started hurting again, but I must say, I did really well taking care of my body this summer. The discomfort showed up at the right time— right as I am about to take 3 weeks off the bike and gym. This year, I cut down my lifting sessions, did almost zero full-body high intensity interval training, stopped doing the my weekly Grouse Grinds that I’ve been doing every summer the past three years …and spent the majority of the time on two wheels. The past couple of weeks, I started incorporating more heavy lifting and leg days because I’ve been doing less riding due to the weather and random festivities and I suspect that’s the main culprit. And the fact that I have not been stretching and rolling as much as I should. And I totally ignored the RMT’s recommendation of getting work done for my super tight quads and hip-flexors. Uh, no thanks. I am annoyingly ticklish and I may end up kicking them in the face if they touch my legs! I swear I will get my stretching game back on…
Recent Cycling Adventures | I Fucking Love Fitness

Recent adventures in and around Vancouver // Notice the cloudy skies? Fortunately, the sun did occasionally grace us with its presence. It’s amazing how you can be at one end of your city where the autumn storm clouds are threatening the peace … then you ride your bike 50 kilometers to the other end of the city, while enjoying all the benefits of good health, fitness, freedom and FUN, where it feels like summer all over again. That is pure bliss…

I feel quite sad about leaving my bikes at home while I go seek adventures on the other side of the world but I know I will live in the moment and have the time of my life while I’m there.

Goodbye for now, my dear…

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    Reasons to Cycle in the Fall

    Reasons to Cycle in the Fall

    It is officially fall in Vancouver and despite the unpredictable skies and me obsessively checking the weather so I can squeeze in more epic bike rides before the end of this month, I still think it’s the best time to ride your bike. We’ve been experiencing our typical wet and gloomy Vancouver Octobers but us, Vancouverites, seem to complain too much and often forget to appreciate the little things that makes our city so wonderful— like our typical phases of sunny-splendor that we experience randomly throughout the year. Like today. And yesterday. And the day before that. It is supposed to rain this weekend but let’s soak in the rays Mr. Sun has been generously radiating down on us, shall we? I know I’ll be out for another early morning ride tomorrow morning. What about you?

    I Fucking Love Fitness

    Unfortunately, cycling in the fall means getting caught out in the rain as well… which means more roadside problems. But the pros outweigh the cons!

    Here are some reasons to cycle in the fall:

    1. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold.

    I get by with my bike shorts, a long-sleeved base layer, vest and gloves. Gloves!! Keeping my fingers warm is the key (and full-fingered gloves means no tan lines on my fingers). Proper gear can make any ride enjoyable.

    2. The crisp autumn air.

    Cycling in the winter is tough, especially when your lungs starts to feel like a block of ice and you’re gasping for air while climbing the first big hill on the way to work (and not to mention your face mask which is partly suffocating you). And when you think about all those hot, humid summer bike rides where tan lines are being hideously burnt into your vain skin (ugh), the crisp and cool autumn air makes you appreciate fall cycling a lot more.

    3. The sunshine.

    Because you know it’s not summer anymore, sunshine during the fall or winter in Vancouver feels extra special. It’s so beautiful. Why would you want to spend it in the car or on a bus?

    4. You can get to work and not be a disgusting, sweaty mess.

    Unless your workplace is at the top of a hill like mine and for some reason, you always end up killing yourself up the hill even when you plan to ride “leisurely” — like today for example, when I was “racing” Fixie Dude and Old Mountain Bike Man. Old Mountain Bike Man ended up kicking both our asses but to justify it, I had just finished a “big ring only” 60km hilly ride the day after leg day (do not ask me why but this stupidity probably won’t ever happen again) and Fixie Dude had the most ginormous backpack ever… and he was killing it earlier trying to not let me pass him. Okay, maybe Old Mountain Bike Man was just really fucking fit. That is all.

    5. You can waste your energy riding instead of worrying about tan lines.

    Well, I kind of lied because I went out for a wet and gloomy 80km last weekend and I got tan lines!! It was worse than the ones I got all summer long… but at least I wasn’t worrying about it during the ride because I didn’t think such tragedy could happen on that murky day. Which maybe even worse because my assumption threw me off and I forgot to move the seams of my bike shorts around like I do in the summer (tan line prevention 101). LE SIGH.

    6. Take advantage of the weather before winter settles in.

    Sleeping in under my warm, snugly blanket sure is a lot more exciting than waking up and enduring the cold in the winter. It wasn’t as easy as summer time when the sun was up at 5am, but during the fall, I can still fortunately muster up plenty of motivation to get up before sun rise to squeeze a long ride in before work.

    Are you still riding your bike?

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      Whistler: There & Back Again

      Whistler: There & Back Again

      Last weekend, I wanted to do an epic ride since my birthday was around the corner and I would be a year closer to granny-status. I rounded up a couple of friends who are always down for some suffering since misery loves company, and we decided to do a last-minute ride from Vancouver to Whistler and back due to the sunny weather that was forecasted after a wet and gloomy week in Vancouver. Hey, we must ride the crap out of our bikes before the cold weather really settles in, right?

      The other day, I was unfortunate enough to wait for the bus to work, with a long line of kids attending the college down the street, feeling extremely old and granny-like. Quarter-life crisis? I think not but it put into perspective how my time is limited before I must attend to womenly duties (so fucking unfair, by the way). And just for the record, I didn’t commute with my bike that day because I was having tight-muscle-cyclist-probz and a lot of stuff to bring to work. And I also had my hair done and didn’t want to ruin it with a helmet. And I wanted to wear my new shoes.

      One of the benefits of being young, other than infinite energy, is the freedom to do full day rides…

      … and coming home whenever you want, being able to crumple on the floor and passing out on the foam-roller with a glass of red wine tipped over and seeping into your white carpet (which got you tipsy after a single sip due to exhaustion)— and in the absence of screaming kids and nagging spouses. Ah, the joys of youth and little responsibility. Yes, I am taking none of my freedom for granted! Especially after spending the previous night at a pub with colleagues who were were so kind as to tell me stories of their off-springs defecating all over the place and me repeating, “FML, I’m getting old and that’s going to be me one day...”

      Anyway, this was the second time I’ve ridden from Vancouver to Whistler and back this summer and it wasn’t anything short of a glorious 4700m climb and a stunning 250km sufferfest along the Sea to Sky Highway, one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives. Now if you think driving along the Sea to Sky is beautiful, imagine experiencing it on a humble human-powered machine: the bicycle— the suffering aside of course, unless you are masochist like most fit-peeps I know. I cannot find words to describe the experience so it maybe time to quote Ernest Hemingway:

      It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

      Trying to soak in the immense beauty while avoiding roadside debris and watching out for traffic can become a sticky problem but I’ve always felt so blessed to be able to enjoy this long stretch of road on my beloved bicycle.

      If you are fit enough to take on this challenge of cycling along the Sea-to-Sky to Whistler and brave enough for the return journey home, and if you love pain, unexpected headwinds, challenging climbs, exhilarating descents, tremendous beauty all around, gratifying feelings of achievement and just plain happiness, I urge you to just do it!

      But if you think a ride like this will be hard, imagine trying to eat back the 6000+ calories you would burn… now that’s a hard life.

      But a wonderful life.

      Whistler: There & Back Again

      If it’s safety that is holding you back from riding the Sea to Sky and you can’t afford an entry to the Whistler Gran Fondo, where they close off the entire highway for you, it can be safe as long as you stay alert and know what you are doing. I’ve never felt in danger while riding on the highway where cars tend to race by at frightening speeds. Perhaps I am just lucky but there never seemed to be a lot of traffic… just a lot of random debris on the shoulders you need to watch out for. The shoulders are mostly wide but may get pretty narrow at some points. Nothing to fear! However, you should always be cautious, but being confident on the road really helps as well.

      Of course, it will also help to not grace the Sea to Sky on your bicycle during winter when it’s snowing or in the pouring rain at night-time but I will assume you are smarter than that and value your life as much as I do. Save it for a sunny day and you will have the time of your life.

      Have you ridden the Sea to Sky Highway on a bicycle?

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