Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

FIT (ish): Semi-fit; Kinda-fit; Someone who likes the idea of fit, but equally likes food.

So it's a brilliance or disaster kinda post.  The brilliance literally, the disaster in a first-world problems kinda way ;). But hey, I'm telling you stories ;)

We'll start with some true disaster -- I was very disappointed to learn that while it's clearly summer outside, all the waterparks are currently closed.   This thoroughly ruined my brief plans for enjoying mini-summer with a random vacation day tomorrow.  Booo.   Like I said, first world problems :)

In far less disappointing news -- Kennedy and Callie took 2nd at Bronte HT today.   For a mare that last winter wouldn't go over a trotting pole at home without stopping first -- and when she *did* go, it was borderline dangerously out of control, this is pretty awesome improvement.   And, well, amazing summer weather made for an all-round lovely day :).  Seriously brilliant.   And so much fun to watch them galloping on XC -- under control and both horse and rider focused on what was coming up.   Also good to see that fences that were a challenge earlier in the year, were not today.  So overall, my inner coach is doing a happy dance.

My inner athlete however, is less happy.  This because not only did I fall off the wagon, I broke the axle and lit fire to the contents ;-P.  Some people miss a day here or there, or maybe cheat on the diet one meal...   But when do I ever do things the way most people do???  ;-P.  Lol I was so proud of finishing month two that I celebrated with an entire week of no exercise and ALL the junk food.  I'm not even slightly exaggerating -- there was one day that I deemed Cinnabon an appropriate dinner.  Dinner.  Not snack or desert.  The entire meal.   It was a rough week.  About the only thing I did right was sleep (arguably because I was in a food coma?)    I got like 8-10h every night.  I actually can't remember the last time that happened in real life.  Combination of amazing new comfy bed that means I wake up not sore (win! -- who knew this was a thing?) and husband who goes to bed insanely early because he also choses to get up when any reasonable person would look at the clock and be thrilled to still have a few hours left before morning.   So I joined him at bedtime and chose not to get up with him ;).  Thus, many many hours of sleeping....  Wonderful sleeping...  Unsurprisingly, absolutely nothing remotely productive was accomplished last week.   

So today starts a new week.   I *did* exercise today - so am officially back on track.  Woohoo!   And was pleased that neither my weight nor my strength seem to have deteriorated too much from my random detour.   And I got my steps in -- at least partially because I lost my phone when walking XC with Kennedy (see superstar note above) so got to go walk it a second time in search of said phone.  Disaster.  Ugh.  But then brilliance -- I found it.  It was angry because it was overheated and was definitely on the landing side of a jump which would've been disastrous, but as that jump had not yet been on course, it was still safe ;).   

Also, inspired by random youtube videos, I have stumbled upon adult trampolining course at a local gymnastics club.  Enquiries have been made ;). No idea if anything will come of it -- if nothing else, all fall sessions have already started.   But I imagine it could make for some amusing blog posts.  Or not.  I'm not sure how entertaining I can make "I jumped up....   and then I came down".   Stay tuned.

Happy Fri... Wait, it's Tuesday. Frig. Carry on.

Had an awesome customer service experience that made me laugh today.   Went do a local food court for lunch at a well known chain restaurant – sadly, I cannot give them the credit they’re due to protect the innocent lol.   Anyways – this chain sells Pepsi products; I know this, having eaten there many times before, but in the daze that was my day, I forgot and when they asked “would you like something to drink” I automatically responded with “Coke please”.   This of course resulted in the inevitable “Is Pepsi okay?” *sigh* “No, I’ll . . .” but before I could finish uttering my backup choice of beverage, she ducked into the back and returned with a can of coke that she very carefully wrapped two napkins around to disguise.  So credit to her – pushed the company line with trying for Pepsi first, but also had a backup plan to satisfy picky customers.   Honestly, it kinda made my day.  And I definitely bought extra product as a result ;)   It was the wrapping the napkin around the can to disguise it that really clued me in though.   Hahaha smuggling coke – in the most innocent sense of the word.

So I was also amused in my Spanish lesson the other day – two things I struggle with: tenses of verbs and remembering that words change depending on gender of person under discussion.    Lol so often whether I am doing something, will be doing something, or have already done it is, well, open to interpretation and can lead to confusing conversations, esp as they don’t all switch tenses the same way – tbh most days I’m happy that I picked the right verb at least ;-P    But way funnier was when I turned my brothers into sisters the other day.  Lol   Well I was amused anyways – suffice to say it’s a good thing my coach is patient!

How to make your writing concise...

Lots of people (myself included) struggle with making their writing concise.  All those words have meaning, clearly they're all critical to the perfect picture you're trying to paint.   Well I just learned the trick to editing to truly the essentials ;).    Translate it into a language you barely speak where you have to fight for every word.   Lol had to send a message to my Spanish teacher -- had it all nicely typed out and then thought well, should probably at least attempt to send in Spanish.   Lol yeah, it quickly became less than half the size.  Same point conveyed.   And since he's not super-fluent in English, would probably not have appreciated my longer version anyways!

Just finished month 2 of P90X3 -- I'm doing the classic version this time instead of the lean version.   Lots more weights, far less cardio.  I'm enjoying it a lot more, but not losing weight as fast -- no surprise.  Am definitely getting stronger (yeah records and quantifiable results!). Chris found us a rowing machine on kijiji so I figure I'll supplement month 3 with the rower and see what that does to the results.

Alright, off to the beast that is Home Depot.  Wish me luck.

#FridayFlash 69: Don't try this at home

This story was completely inspired by a YouTube video posted on my wall this week.   For your entertainment, it is included at the end.

As always, comments very welcome!

Enjoy :)

I followed the instructions so carefully.  I mixed all the powders together, then gently misted the liquid, before finally packing the whole thing around the dragon egg.   Toy dragon that is -- one of the little figurines I had bought five-for-a-dollar at the dollar store.  It would make for a great bath bomb; my nieces would love it.  And of course I had to test one.  After all, I couldn't risk giving them away and having them not work.   If only I'd known...   But how could I?   I still don't really believe it.

Sure enough the bomb fizzled and quickly turned my bath black.  I wasn't sure I liked that aspect -- would pick a friendlier colour next time.   I felt around the tub for the tiny plastic egg, but when I found it, it had already opened.

Disappointed, I started feeling in the black water to find the little plastic toy.  And let when my hand landed on something scaly!   I flew out of the tub and grabbed a towel -- glaring at the water that another inhabitant had ruined for me.

As though expecting something to attack, I carefully reached over, then yanked the plug out and jumped back!   The drama was unnecessary as the black water calmly receded.   I thought maybe a lizard of some type?   But those don't tend to live here.

When the bath drained, a little creature about the size of my hand stood and angrily shook the bath water off.   He was a deep purple colour with wings that glistened.  He cocked his gecko-like head, seeming to study me as I was him.  The moment only lasted a few seconds before I had a very clear picture in my head of me picking him up and getting him out of the tub.

Not at all sure that was a good idea, I nonetheless followed the suggestion.  The creature gave what I'm convinced was a nod of thanks before walking out of the room, his wings folded carefully behind him and tail raised just slightly off the ground.

Panicked barking jolted me out of my shock and I raced to my dog Casey in time to see the tiny creature spread his disproportionately large wings and hiss.   Casey, my fierce protector, backed down instantly.   He could've squashed this creature in a heartbeat, but no, he lay down with a whimper, flicking his eyes from me to the creature.   Sorry Casey, wish I could help...

I opened the door to the yard, pleased when the creature wandered outside.   Relieved I waited an hour for him to leave.   Then two.  But every time I looked outside, he was still there, sunning himself on a rock and growing at an observable rate.   After only a few hours, he was bigger than my German shepherd.

When it came time for dinner, I wondered if I should feed him.   What would he eat?   Google wasn't able to suggest anything, and some instinct stopped me from posting pictures online.   As I went to peer in the fridge and see what options there might be, I saw the other bath bombs.

No way.

But looking from them to my creature, now the size of a Shetland pony, I had to accept that some how my five-for-a-dollar toy and homemade egg, had hatched an actual dragon.   And I had no idea what to do with him.


What started it all:

Peter Gray Clinic with Argo

Those who've been reading this blog for some time will be aware that I have a history of riding somewhat dramatic horses.  They amuse me, what can I say?  Now I find myself with a bit of a dilemma in that I had a lovely weekend at a great clinic where absolutely nothing happened.   And that just doesn't lead to much of a story.  But I'm still being asked for said story ;)

For the non-horsey readers of this blog -- this one may be of limited interest.   Consider yourself forewarned :)

The smile pretty much sums up the weekend
The thirty second background -- after being grounded for two years thanks to the multiple eye surgeries, I started back riding on a part-time basis (3 days/week), two weeks ago.   In that time I've done one mini XC school which went really well, and two stadium jump schools -- both of which were moderately disastrous.   The horse I'm riding has a jumper background, with limited dressage or XC experience.  He is well past the young and stupid stage though and lovely to hack -- like a trail pony on a mission anyway.

So of course it'd be totally reasonable that I'd enter a two-day jumping clinic.   Why not? ;)

Day one started with an hour of dressage.   Our dressage still has a ways to go -- he definitely has the drunken gummy worm feel to him at times, our contact isn't as soft or as consistent as I'd like, and basics of suppleness and rhythm still need work.   But, he's super willing and coming along really fast (yeah hill work!) so I have hopes for us.   And fortunately what little we do have was sufficient for the requirements of this clinic :)

Then the jumping...   Our biggest issue jumping is that by about the third or forth fence in canter he grabs the bit and then we're out of control for the rest of the round.  Like audience watching with their hands covering their eyes kind of out of control.  We started with grids in the trot, and when the second fence went up he stopped on the first try.   Entirely too much work to get close to the base and push off -- much easier to throw himself at it with speed.   Lol.  Peter dropped it so we could get over it from the halt and life continued.   I honestly felt he was horribly behind the leg for most of the exercises, but Peter wanted me to leave him to it, so we did.  Jumps were all tiny sized so really no issue.   Grid ended up being a one stride to a couple bounces to a two stride and Argo had to work for it, but was behaving himself and landing reasonably under control.    Then we did a few different courses that all started with the grid, then would approach every line in trot but let them canter in-between.  He was awesome.  Calm and really rocked back (we stuck 7 strides in a 5 -- for which the comment was "you're really patient" lol).  

While we never addressed the charging issue because we trotted every other fence, the line we put 7 in was riding in 4 the other day, so huge improvement.   I also felt vindicated because one of the first things I said after the first time I jumped him was that he needs lots of trot fences *g*.  Charging will get you over little ones, but once they start to get big, I suspect he'll hit the breaks.  Unless we build the strength and confidence first.   Also, I rode in jump stirrups for 2h and could still walk when I dismounted.  We're calling this a win.

Day two is XC!!!   Woohoo!!!   And basically I was grinning like a kid all day.   Kennedy and I went for a lovely trot warmup around the field -- fun start to the morning.   We started with walking over the ditch.   Now "ditch" in this case is really more of a terrain change.  So much so that it didn't matter when Argo chose to walk *in* it instead of over it.   Sheesh.  Ah well, at least it was drama free.   Over it and out over a little vertical, no problem.   The reverse?  Still no problem.  Awesome.

Onto the bank which again failed to provide good blog fodder as, while he was somewhat confused about the idea of walking up it, once we were allowed to trot or canter it all went smoothly.   Jumped a few little things -- I was pleased that he was at least pretending to listen to me when I asked him to come back.   Went and played in the water, jumping in and out over a little stadium fence.   Complete pro - lots of splashing and smiles :)

Pats for jumping in on the first try!
Did some work over a single barrel which took a couple tries, but really -- it'll be a very long time before I have another horse who comes close to Lexi's reaction to a barrel so gonna give that a win as well.   Jumped a course which I interpreted somewhat differently than Peter intended but which he then adopted for the rest of the group :).  hahaha win :).  And Argo was awesome.   Getting in super close to everything and looking at them all, but we canter a whole course with only very minor discussion about pace -- and never (to the best of my knowledge) scary.  I was pretty thoroughly pleased.   Would've liked to have done a little more and jumped some bigger fences, but at least it was 100% positive experience and Argo jigged his way up the hill going home all proud of himself.

So yeah -- was great to see some friends I haven't seen since my abrupt departure from the horse world, had ALL the fun riding XC after entirely too long, and am still able to walk today.  Win :)

Welcome to XC :)

My superstar pony is going to be a XC machine!   OMG I had so much fun.   And no, I'm not lucky enough that he's actually my horse, but for simplicity's sake, we'll be referring to him as mine in the "horse that I'm currently riding" meaning for the foreseeable future :)

And yes, she who hasn't jumped in two years, took her jumper horse who's never done XC, and decided that would be the best way to start back ;-P.  You're not new here.

In his nice, new, loose ring snaffle (lol his "jumper" bit is way too strong for dressage) we warmed up, I decided he was much happier in that bit, and we went out back.  Note, we did not bother with a tack change here.  Worked for a bit on the flat just to ensure the brain didn't get lost when we left the ring.   All good.   Through the water, up and down the bank -- totally pro.  Then we did the baby ditch and the slightly bigger ditch -- baby ditch was no problem but he was a little confused and very awkward about the slightly bigger one.  By the second try he had the idea and by the third try was doing it well though!

Now, I've seen vid of his other pb'r jumping sticks and very out of control (both enjoying themselves and not at all dangerous, just not ideal) so I wasn't sure what we'd get on XC, but I knew he was new to it so figured meh, why not?   We have some very tiny jumps to play with.   So we trotted over a few and he was very confused, but oh so quickly the light went on.   And before too long he was landing and scanning for the next one -- awesome!  Except, of course, he has no interest in letting me have a say in which one is next ;).

I also had no steering and limited breaks.   If I could package him and hold a line though -- all the power and enthusiasm.   So I'm *really* looking forward to the rest of the summer.  But those basics need a lot of work first *sigh*.  I think we'll be trotting our XC fences for a while yet.   But he did all the PE and E course, so not bad for a first day :).  And trotted and cantered between fields with little more than a glance, so that was awesome.

His pilot, however, was a whole lot looser in the tack than I'd like.  Sheesh.  Jump school tomorrow...  Hopefully won't be too embarrassing!

All the fun though.  Still grinning like a kid.

This is how a summer Saturday is supposed to be :)

Earlier this week I hacked new pony (Squirrel! -- new pony's name is Argo, but mostly I call him Dude - what can I say, he's that kind of personality. He's actually the kindest horse, but a bit of a goofball. I don't think I've ridden anything like him since Rio... That being said, until Argo, Rio is the only gelding I've ever ridden. hmmmm) okay back to the originally scheduled story -- we hacked around the XC course. He has hacked before but not yet on this property and his history is entirely in the jumper ring (which is where his other rider wants to play). And of course I visited the water, which he wanted nothing to do with *sigh*. And fair - jumpers are taught that getting their feet wet is a Very Bad Idea. I had thought to hack up the bank and over the ditch too but abandoned that after the water fail. So I didn't pick a battle, just figured I'd come back w a horse who's good with water and try again.

Fast forward to me deciding it'd be a good life choice to ride at noon today. In 35 degree weather. Sure why not. Socialized a bit as my friend Sabrina - who I rode with 15 years ago?!?! That made me feel so old when I realized - anyways she was there helping her daughter prep for a show tomorrow so we chatted for a bit and eventually I got around to riding. Started in the dressage ring and he was so good. And it was hot. So after about 20 mins I decided we were going hacking :).

When I crested the hill to the XC field, I could hear a lesson going on and I recognized the voice... Lol it was Stephanie, my first real coach - who I rode w all through high school, schooling some of her current students. So I figured Argo, who had grown about a hand at this point, could go watch and learn to chill. We wandered down and he watched pretty fascinated as the other horses ran around and jumped stuff *g*. When they got to the water though, I asked Stephanie if I could borrow a lead and Argo promptly made a new friend. With just a bit of hesitation and a whole lot of pawing, we got him in the water! Woohoo! Splashed around a bit and went in and out a couple times :). Awesome.

So I kept watching as they had their lesson, wandered him up the bank and over the tiny ditch all with no problem :) Then Judith came down hacking her mare, so I joined them for a trip around the property and got to go in the water a few more times from different angles and once by himself :). Woohoo! A long quiet calm ride around xc - such a perfect day and I am firmly in my happy place :). Start jumping for real this week! Woohoo!

Ride to Conquer Cancer - Day 2

The blogging and Facebooking continued today -- as did the ride ;).  So I present, unedited for your amusement, Day 2:

6:18 - It begins again... Day 2 of ride to Conquer Cancer

6:20 - the sun is shining, and I'm awake. Barely. My body is not onside with playing this game -- I'm hoping it'll agree to join the game after 10 km or so... it's going to be a very long day; all the things hurt and I haven't started yet. But lots of people in this Ride have been through way worse. Wish me luck.

6:26 - To the ambitious people who ride to the ride each morning - I don't think we can be friends.

7:52 - the clacking of hundreds of cyclists clipping into their bikes at the same time is really quite the sound. Like a swarm of dinosaur sized cicadas.

8:01 - Whoever decided "it's all downhill from here" has negative connotations is an (insert your favourite word here) idiot. Those are my new favourite words.

At the top of the hill that will give me nightmares...
8:50 - Life motto for today: coast while you can. Lol so not my usual strategy but may be required for survival! Made it to pit stop 1 where they're advertising "all the fun". I question that but was definitely happy to stop anyways. We're just shy of 30 kms here. Roughly 80 to go. 2 hills so far that were brutal but it's looking like the biggest challenge will actually be wind...   Rest stop has a sunscreen booth for people to reapply along with the water, food, and medic booths.

9:45 - Mini break - Grimsby maybe? Long flat roads are lovely for lack of hills but horribly demotivating in that they never end...   Our country is gorgeous.   I don't often get to experience it at 20km/h ;)

9:47 - Lol so I randomly decided this ditch was a good place to stop - there are now about 20 other cyclists w me. Clearly not a bad idea ;)

9:48 - To the people commenting on and reacting to these updates - you're keeping me going! Thanks!  Back on the bike with me.

10:18 - The ride goes much faster when you're chatting with someone. If you're going to do this, bring a friend.

10:30 - made it to lunch, 46km. Lunch is tastier today too so happy about that. Rode part of the last set w another random RBC person, who turned out to be the mother of someone I rode w a decade ago. Small world eh? Still nearly perfect weather, which is awesome. Disappointed to not even get a tan out of this deal but the only sunscreen I could find was 60 so no tan for me... I'm slow now, about 20km/h, but the only things that are brutally sore at the moment are my neck and shoulders. Short break and then off again. Half way there! Or so I'm telling myself ;)

11:47 - To all you people flying past me - where are coming from? How was I ever ahead for you to pass? Did you all sleep in this morning?

12:06 - The wind is the devil; unless he's behind you where he's your best friend. But mostly he's the devil.

12: 07 - I tried to coast down the hill and failed because the wind was strong enough to counteract gravity.  Ugh.

12:42 - For the record, hills are no longer in my contract - I ride to the base, dismount, and walk up. This gives my poor shoulders a break and saves the pedalling for where it can be the most useful.

12:57 - 3rd rest stop! 70ish kms? 1 more stop at 90 and then to the falls!

1:00 - Not at all hungry at this stop. Forcing a banana and orange down cause I figure I prob need it. Ugh

1:05 - There is a sea of blue in the distance - large collection of Team RBC riders :). They have the right idea. I'm going to join them.

1:14 - A back stretch (that was beyond amazing - Team RBC for the win!),two bottles of ice water, a banana, and some Advil -- and now back on the road. 40km left to Niagara.

1:15 - Update: I can no longer get on from the right side of my bike. Thanks to decades of horseback riding, the left is no problem.

1:27 - slightly bitter that I just passed a sign that said 16km to Niagara.  Why does our route have almost 40???   Efficiency fail ;-P

Lesson learned: don't pedal hard, pedal fast (low gear).
When you can't pedal fast, take a break, drink some water, eat something, and post.
Then you'll be able to pedal fast again.
2:12 - Now that I know I get to start riding (ummm that'd be horseback) again this week, I'm enjoying the bike for the sake of the bike rather than being slightly depressed it's not a horse.  And I've seen several gorgeous farms over the last two days...

2:36 - 90km rest stop - 20 left! Ran out of ice 3 people before my turn. Fail. But they do still have oranges so all good.

So close, yet so far...
2:40 - Shout out to team captain Brit who answered my many questions before the ride and has been super welcoming and positive throughout - you're awesome :)

2:42 - All the bikes have pilot's names on them - it's amazing the difference it makes. "Hi Lauren" from a complete stranger is enough to encourage to keep pedalling.

2:43 - Mmmmm melty rice crispy squares are pretty yummy

3:47 - you know you're ready to be done, when you ask every person coming towards you "how much further?"
Woohoo!!!  Crossing the finish line :).  About 3:50.

4:10 - the last 10km were stunning, but that wind.  OMG that wind.  

Still smiling :)
 4:52 - I'm excited the water bottle I didn't get at the start line was available at the finish :)

Raised $3,240 and rode 225km (according to my bike computer)
5:17 - I feel like tomorrow might be one of the best uses of a random vacation day :)

8:39 - everything hurts and I'm exhausted.  But somehow still happy.   Tomorrow's plan is to sleep in and watch Beauty and the Beast (thanks to my awesome husband who picked it up for me :).  If I'm feeling super ambitious, I may go visit my dog.  But, well, my car is standard and I sense the clutch may be more work than I'm up to.

Thanks for sharing my adventure!

Ride to Conquer Cancer - Day 1

I wrote mini blog posts and a number of Facebook updates throughout today's adventure.   Will post all here in order, unedited.  Apologies for the font changes.  Consider yourself forewarned ;)

5:22 (that'd be am):  Ride to Conquer Cancer today! On about 4h sleep.... Wish me luck - or endurance. I may need more endurance than luck!

6:00 - And we're off! My wonderful mother is driving me to the race start at shortly before 6am on a sunny Saturday. Tires are pumped, chain is oiled, and I am thoroughly slathered in sunscreen and sporting super sexy RBC sunglasses ;). I'm also going on roughly 4h sleep -- frig! I tried though -- I was in bed trying to sleep by a civilized 10:00 last night. Here's hoping that becomes the only failure of the day! Lol happy peddling! 

7:00 - I'm here and it's an impressive organization! We're to meet for a team pic but was no one here when I got here so went exploring. Went to get breakfast when I realized my wrist band, which I'd been fiddling w in the car, was either still in the car or lost to time. Frig. Fortunately I'm not the only one to have done such silliness and getting a new one was a fast and painless process. Grabbed a banana and granola bar and good to go. The team is gathering - there are about 160 of us, two of whom I know... 

7:30 - team pic is done and back and corral now. It is insane! Glad I came when it was empty earlier :). High energy level and happy people. I'm highly amused at the variety of things people have stuck to their helmets - plungers, stuffed toys, flags, pylons... things newbies wouldn't even think of :) They have water bottles that I'd really like - but I'm not willing to give up my ice water so have to forego...

A great team!  I'm at the front, right behind the people with the sign...
7:57 - So I have my ride watch but I don't think it has enough power to run all day - fingers crossed!

Almost ready for the start of the pre-game show!
8:07 - The numbers are in: 1250 crew, 5042 riders, and $20,533,000 raised for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.    And personally -- thanks to so many of my amazing friends, your contributions totalled $3,240!  As I had a goal of $2,500 that I feared would be impossible, I'm still amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity of everybody!  Team RBC had an amazing total number, but I wasn't able to write it down at the time I overheard it ;)

8:32 - We're off!   Slowly.

9:50 - at pit stop 1 (20km) and so far so good! Weather is perfect :). I was feeling good and tempted not to stop but remembered my rule for surviving is to stop and eat at each stop and at least one bottle of water. Done :). I'm riding faster than planned - will likely regret that later but sobeit. Charlene came out to cheer - super excited to see her :). And all the other random cheering people! It was a slow start getting out of TO, but that actually made it less intimidating somehow.  A few traffic jams as too many riders tried to fit through small spaces, but it's starting to spread out now.  Okay - back to the ride!

11:13 - It's a lovely day for a walk. Lol did not make it up the hill after 4th line. Congrats to those who did! And the awesome people cheering at the top - esp dude w the jeep and 2 dogs.  All the enthusiasm!

11:20 - Stopped at the train by the farm where I used to board Lexi; have never been so grateful to see a train!

11:45 - at 50km rest stop. Was very hard to get going again after the last one but got better as I went. Shoulders are killing me but the rest is okay. I'm averaging about 25km on the flat but only about 10 on hills! One I had to abandon ship and walk. About 30km I was suddenly starving! So pulled out my energy chews - which are supper tasty - and then dropped them :(. So sad. Had to make due w moderately inedible protein bar. Ah well. The lineup for water is insane, but access to food is easy.  Okay back on the bike! After another collection of food. All the cookies!

12:50 - To the people at the top of #1 Sideroad w water and an optional sprinkler - you are awesome.

1:17 - It's a bad sign when you're doing 5km/h and asking the stranger next to you if he knows when the hill ends...

1:20 ...the hill ended at lunch :) 70kms - a new personal record! That last section was... hard. Really hard. All the hills. Steep hills, rolling hills, gradual hills that never end -- all the varieties. Awesome people at the top of one of the worst sections had set up a sprinkler on the road so we could ride through - myself and a few others ditched the bikes and just went to stand under the sprinkler. Physically my neck and shoulders are in pretty constant pain. The rest of me is tired but okay. I also seriously underestimated the amount of food that would be required to get me through this. I'm a little dismayed that lunch doesn't have any "take out" food (granola, rice crispies, trail mix, etc) so I can't restock my bike. I haven't made it from one rest stop to the next without replenishing yet so may be a challenge. This time I didn't feel hungry but I did feel like crying -- and I know from past experience that when that's uncalled for, esp if I'm active, it usually means I need food. Part of me wants to close my eyes and have a nap and part of me thinks that'd be a v bad idea. So on the bike I go...

2:22 - "A lot of downhill coming just around the next corner" -- if that guy wasn't lying, he's my new best friend.

3:12 - 90k - really struggled w the last 20. Although a 3 min break upped my speed significantly. At water stop, went through the line, filled bottle, went through the line again - and by the time I got to the front my bottle was ready to be refilled.

3:14 - at the start of this I was hesitant to let my precious bike out of my sight. Now it's approximately 3 blocks away in a ditch and I'm like "meh, if it gets stolen, I get a drive to the end" :) Also to the enterprising kids selling freezies at the 90km rest stop - I'd like you a lot better if I had any money!

3:15 - Rest stop: a banana, 2 orange slices, 3 cookies, a rice crispy square, and 3 bottles of water later and I'm ready to go. This is insane. And I'm taking another rice crispy square for the road.

4:07 I made it!  Thankfully pretty well the whole last section was downhill -- part of it quite steep (made 50 km/h without pedalling!). SO much fun.  The (thankfully short) flat section I was managing all of about 10km/h.  My quads are done.  Completely done.   But I'm in camp now, my bike is parked in row 29, and I've found food.  All good.   Shower, sleep, and do it all again tomorrow!   Admittedly *slightly* concerned about that, given how my body wanted nothing to do with the last 30kms, but here's hoping stubbornness, ummm I mean determination, wins out!

At first I dismissed this as the ride isn't finished,
But then I realized, I just completed my first century!
And that definitely *does* deserve a photo.

The time has come, the Walrus said,

to bike and bike some more.   Okay, maybe that's not what he said -- bonus points to anybody who knows what he did say and where he said it ;)

For me though, it is indeed time to bike.  This weekend, I'll be riding more than 200 kms from Toronto to Niagara Falls to raise money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.  You can help!  Click here to sponsor my epic ride and together, we can help end cancer in our lifetime!  So far I've raised just over $3000!  Thanks to all those who've already supported this amazing cause.  Really appreciated!   For those still considering, it'd be wonderful to get to $3500 :).  Every little bit helps!

And it will be epic.  Why?  Well primarily because this spring has been miserable so my training has been, umm, rather intermittent.  With a max ride of 65km, the approximately 113 on the first day is going to be a challenge!  I'll be setting a target goal of...  let's say 7h...  Maybe 8 ;).  There is a distinct possibility I could walk there faster.  Ummm maybe not -- I remember last year's half marathon effort.  Sheesh.  But still, suffice to say, I'll be at the back of the pack and hopefully arrive in time for dinner.  But the effort is what makes it worthwhile right?  Nobody sponsors a jog around the block!

I will be blogging at each of the rest stops -- and maybe random other locations; we shall see.  The adventure probably won't get posted until the end due to lack of data, but they will be shared for the curious. 

Thanks again for all the support -- the enthusiasm and interest so many have shown has been so inspirational.  Wish me luck!