Mid-Season BCC Update

Today’s the first day of August. There’s about a month of summer riding left before the weather will start getting more unpredictable. It’s Calgary, so we’re talking snow as a possibility.

This year I made a major change: I shifted my ride leadership from Wednesday+Sunday to Wednesday+Saturday. This was major because it forced me into riding long rides (80-110 km) every weekend and riding with the “A” riders every week. It has had the result I expected: I’m a lot stronger than I was at this point last year (2018). I would say this has been my most ambitious riding season, maybe even besting 2017, the year of five gran fondos (MEC x 2, Cycle of Life, Badlands, Tour de Victoria).

The best part has been that the feedback has been very positive. I was worried about how  I would be accepted by the Saturday ride regulars, considering that they had a reputation as being take-no-prisoner all-out rides and I like to make things more inclusive. But for the first time ever, I’m getting regular kudos in the form of comments directly from riders, notes on Strava and even emails to myself and the director complimenting me on the way I’m running the rides. It’s really put a shine on this year for me.

This Saturday will be a special Saturday ride: we’ll be starting in Banff and riding to Moraine Lake. That’s a ride I’ve never done before. Looking forward to it.

Here are a couple of photos from last night’s Wednesday night ride. We stopped on one of the lookouts over the Bow River and took a group photo.

Summer Baking

Not sure what the whole story was, but this morning Tammy and the kids did some baking. Ian made a sour cream and cherry brownie, while Miranda made vanilla-sea salt ice cream.

We tried them out at dinner tonight. Delicious!

Happy Birthday, Ian!

It’s been twelve years since Ian joined our family. Today was his birthday, and it went really well. It started at breakfast time, with opening cards from Baba and Grandpa, Grandpa Biickert and Auntie Stephanie, Tristan, Zachary and Brianna, and opening presents.

Most exciting present goes to…

Ian said that he didn’t want a birthday party this year, but we did end up inviting his friends Joey and Ilia for lunch and playtime. They arrived just after 11, and played ping pong downstairs until it was time to come up and build your own pizza.

Joey, Ian and Ilia

The pizza fixings bar

At Ian’s request, his birthday present wasn’t a cake… but a giant-sized peanut butter cup. It was in a flan pan, with melted milk and dark chocolate, and peanut butter and icing sugar on the inside. I think we were all surprised at how well it worked out. No offence, dear. 😙

It was good, but even a small slice was a lot of sugar and chocolate. There was only a light breeze, so we pulled out the badminton net and the Nerf guns and headed over to the park for a couple of hours.

Joey, Miranda, Ilia and Ian

The Springbank airshow was on this afternoon, apparently. From where we were, we watched a CF-18 doing its thing in the distance, and then later we watched the Snowbirds. Then we came home and played a few minutes of Halo together before Joey’s dad and Sepideh came to pick the kids up.

It might not have been a really complicated “party”, but they all had a great time.

Summer’s Here

Okay, so the last two days have been super-windy, but it seems as though summer has finally arrived here in Calgary. I’ve been able to commute without extra layers, anyways.

The kids are well into their vacation now. I’m glad to say that both of them are getting out and “playing” more than last summer. It helps that Ian is spending time with Joey and Ilia, who like riding bikes. Miranda is riding with the club, but her favorite rides are the Thursday night ladies’ rides, especially when they end up being an ice cream ride to Village Ice Cream to celebrate Alice’s birthday.

Miranda next to Alice, salted caramel ice cream cone in hand

Not to be outdone, Ian and I also went out for ice cream before meeting up with Miranda at the end of the ride and coming home together. We didn’t go as far for ours, but we enjoyed our DQ dipped cones a lot!

Tammy was teaching her last evening class of the term, or she would have been with us, I’m sure. She’s been riding on Tuesdays pretty regularly and making time for her own rides to the shops and other things.

Without the wind it would have been a perfect evening. You can’t see the wind in this photo of the river and a train, so enjoy!

Looking across the Bow River to a CP Rail train

First Taste: Homemade Cider

When Tammy was taking me home after my cycling ride today, I asked her when we wanted to crack open the first bottle of our cider. I know that I’ve been a bit nervous about it:

  • Would it taste good?
  • Would the yeast work with the sugar tabs to make the cider sparkling?

Well, the first good sign was the psht of escaping CO2 when the bottle cap came off.

Fizzy cider

As for the taste, it’s quite dry. I don’t mind it, but Tammy prefers a sweet cider. We’ll know for next time to take steps to enhance the sweetness. But I’d say that the cider is a success!

Stampede Activity: BC/DC at the Wildhorse Saloon Tent

For the second year in a row, Tammy and I had a night out during Stampede courtesy of Bow Cycle. Kurt secured a bunch of tickets, and the BCC Ambassadors had the first crack at them. We had fun last year, so I put my hand up.

First step was heading downtown on the C-Train. We walked up (it was a lovely evening) and met with the group at the Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington. Tammy and I shared a “Date Night” pizza (blue cheese, bacon and roasted garlic) along with a couple of ciders. We had a good time talking with Hannah and Ashley, who were sitting across from us.

Then we all walked over to the Wildhorse Saloon tent. Tammy wasn’t too happy about that part: her boots aren’t made for walkin’, and so we ambled rather than strode.

Phil, Hannah, Ashley and Tammy on the Peace Bridge

We got there, and it was the same as last year: nice and airy (it’s a huge tent, the size of a gymnasium) but loud with the music and people’s (shouted) conversations. Expensive drinks. There was the obligatory people-watching. As a couple of people who have been in a committed relationship for 27 years… we don’t envy people trying to find love at Stampede.  😝

But we were there for the band. The band was BC/DC, an AC/DC tribute band that has been playing together for 20 years from Nelson, BC. They went on at 9:00, but not before the canned white-bread country music that was playing switched to some Queen and Bon Jovi first to warm up the crowd. 🤘

View of the stage before the show

It was loud. The sound was not nearly as good as when we watched the Scorpions in 2010, but more in line with the opening band (Dokken) at that concert. But we had a great time anyways. We ended up on the floor, about 20 feet back from the stage. Tammy couldn’t see much, since I didn’t hoist her on my shoulders. But they had a number of cameras and were projected on the big screen.

The show

Ian asked me to list all of the songs they played, but that was difficult. Highway to Hell, Back in Black, You Shook Me All Night Long, If You Want Blood, You Got It, High Voltage, Hells Bells, Shoot to Thrill, For Those About to Rock, Thunderstruck, Bad Boy Boogie… It was an hour and a half at high speed.

When the encore was over, Tammy and I headed for the exit. We were both sweated out and ready to hit the hay. I had a bike ride in the morning and neither of us had slept well the night before thanks to my stuffed up nose and snoring…

I caught a little bit of the concert. It’s the intro to Hells Bells, which is one that Ian and I sometimes play with him on the drums and me on guitar.

Hello from Vernon

It’s late in the evening on Wednesday night. I flew into Kelowna at 10 this morning, and Steve drove me to Vernon to meet with the folks from Tolko Industries. There was a short pre-lunch meeting, then lunch at Station BBQ, then a few hours of pre-workshop meetings in the afternoon. There is always so much to talk about at these workshops, and it made sense to do a little extra.

From the highway between Kelowna and Vernon

The weather was nicest when I arrived, but slowly clouded over. After the meeting was done, five of us arranged to go mountain biking. Dan, a consultant from our Kelowna office, was the instigator and had mentioned this before I came. I brought a helmet, gloves, water bottle, shorts, jersey and shoes for the trip. He got Thomas, Leon and Greg from Tolko to come as well, and we spent over an hour riding up and back down again in the Vernon woods.

Heading out

I rode Dan’s old bike for most of it, but partway down, Leon took pity on me and lent me his bike. There was a fair bit of difference between them in ride quality and forgiveness.

The views were great, when we weren’t surrounded by woods.

Lake Okanagan from the summit

We regrouped afterwards for dinner at the Outboard Waterfront Pub. The sky was grey but the temperature was warm. We sat out on the patio. It was a good time, but then I was super late checking into the hotel and needed to shower and iron my shirt for tomorrow. Sleepy time now. 🌙

Ian’s Longest, Toughest Ride Yet

I think the title says it all, don’t you? 35 km, and 477 metres of elevation gain.

Starting in the lower right (Tammy’s work) and ending at home.

When I got home off the train this evening, I had an urge to go for a ride. I’d missed out on commuting today due to a forecast that said rain, but then didn’t really materialize. It was a beautiful evening, and Tammy hadn’t left for work yet. The plan was to put the bike on the car and ride with her to work, then start home along a loop around the north end of Calgary. I originally thought about just doing this myself: I’ve never done this route before. But then I thought Ian would like to do it and offered to Miranda too, but she declined. So off Ian and I went. It took almost 2.5 hours and was a lot of climbing when I wasn’t stopping to check the GPS.

Definitely longer and more climbing than the 30 km distance of the Tour de Victoria, so he’s ready for our trip!

Looks like some down, then a lot of up.

Canada Day 2019

I am not sure how to summarize Canada Day this year, other than it was a good day spent together (mostly) as a family. Mother Nature had a spoiler role to play as well. The original plan (if you can call it that) was to hop on our bikes and roll downtown. The festivities are spread out across Prince’s Island Park, the Riverfront and Fort Calgary. When we went downtown for Canada Day when Stephanie and the kids visited a few years ago, we really got footsore trying to get to everything. There had been alternate suggestions of spending part of the day in Banff, Cochrane or even Drumheller.

But we’re a family of homebodies. And the suggestion was made that we stay home and play board games instead. As the Canada Day Activity Coordinator in Chief, I suppose I was a bit disappointed, but I couldn’t fault the desire to spend time together. We walked out to Sobey’s for some groceries (buns, pickles, snacks). The weather was perfect.

All of us in red shirts. Good thing this isn’t Star Trek

We extended the walk a bit just because it was so nice. We played Rainbow Towers (a version of Jenga) before lunch, and had some hot dogs while watching the National Film Board of Canada film The Sand Castle. You can’t get more Canadian than that. The Miranda’s friends Dennam and Jordan showed up and all the kids went for a bike ride to the playgrounds over in Watermark. When they returned, we picked up the games with Castle Panic (we won-the castle withstood the invasion) before sub sandwiches.

But it was during the late afternoon that Mother Nature showed up and wasn’t happy. The weather turned foul, with hurricane force winds, light rain and the temperature dropping from 20 degrees to 8 degrees. We thought that there was no chance of fireworks, but the weather leveled out a bit after dinner. It was still chilly, but just overcast. Tammy wasn’t feeling well (she’s on some iron pills from the doc) and Miranda wanted to stay home. But Ian wanted to see the fireworks in Cochrane.

He and I bundled up and spent a few hours at the festivities in Cochrane. We walked around for a bit, and managed to find a frisbee to play with for a while. We watched the headline band Daring Greatly from where we were playing and later from up close.

A thin crowd under a threatening sky

In the end, Ian got his wish and we saw the fireworks. We were up close.

Happy 🇨🇦 Day!

First Husband-Wife Ride

I’ve been in the club since 2013 and Tammy joined in 2018, but until now we’ve never been on a Bow Cyclist ride together.

Pat, Ian, Simon, Susan, Nora and Tammy (Susan P. took the picture)

I worked from home today in part because I had a light workload of meetings today and partly because while the weather was nice in the morning, it was supposed to be rain and thunder in the afternoon. When I was delaying putting on my cycling gear to ride to the office, Tammy suggested that I could go for the 10 am Tuesday ride with her. It’s no longer a “ladies ride”, even if it is predominantly women. I booked the time off work and joined in.

It was a nice ride and the weather cooperated. It was a pretty slow pace, but sometimes you have to slow down and chill. I had a lot of fun and didn’t get in trouble once saying something to Tammy that I’d regret. That’s a victory right there. 😄

Tammy’s in the green helmet