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.

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

2019 Gran Fondo Badlands

Today was the first of the two gran fondo rides I have registered for this year. This was the third time I have entered the Gran Fondo Badlands, the previous times were last year and the year before. It’s a great ride: completely different from the sorts of rides I do normally and also very different from the Tour de Victoria, which we will be doing as a family again this year in August.

The weather this week has been ranging from miserable to horrible, so it was a stroke of luck that the weather cleared up this morning. The day was dry, with a mix of cloudy and sunny periods. I drove with Adam to Drumheller, and he, Hannah, Wing and I were a team for the day.

Me, Adam, Wing and Hannah

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New Wheels for the Roubaix

Two weeks ago, I was leading out the Wednesday night Bow Cyclist Club ride. Once on the way back and once when we got back to the shop, some of the riders mentioned to me that my rear wheel was not true. It had a slight wobble to it.

Paul having fun on the ride.

Mark (club president and the Parts Manager at Bow Cycle) was there and I mentioned it to him. So he pulled the wheel off and put it on the truing stand. He used the spoke wrench to work most of the wobble out, but couldn’t get it perfect. He was looking closely at the wheel and noticed this:

A two-inch crack in my rim

These are the stock alloy rims that came with the bike in 2016. I don’t know what cracked the rim, but it marked the end of its life. I limped home from the shop and started working out what to replace the rim with. It’s been a couple of weeks of sporadic emails with Mark, but today all was ready and I picked up my bike with its new Mavic Cosmic Pro UST wheels.

Look really close and you can read the name on the spoke

Right now my thumbs are in so much pain. The wheels came with some free tires, while I had bought some much better tires late last year. I intended to simply take the cheap tires off and put the better tires on the new wheels, but the new wheels are really, really tight. It was so much work to get the cheap tires off and then even more work to get the good tires on. I expect to not be able to grip anything tomorrow.

But it’s done now. Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t too promising, but I might get a chance to go for a ride. I’d better not get a flat. I doubt I would be able to fix it roadside. It took two hours to change these tires tonight.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that they cost more than our house insurance, a fact that Tammy keeps reminding me about. 😘

Updated Saturday

I went for a 110 km ride with the Bow Cyclists today on the new wheels and they worked great. The only hiccup was the long, fast downhill into Cochrane. These wheels have a deeper cross-section and more prone to get caught by gusts of wind. I had a couple of wobbles on the downhill, but nothing too dramatic. I slowed down and took it easy.

They sure look nice.

Parked in the sun in Bragg Creek

Since my Norco Valence is now back on “rollers duty”, I took the carbon fibre wheels off and put the heavier alloy ones back on. I made an offer to Miranda that she could try the good wheels on her bike, but she declined when I told her that they would be more difficult to brake with.

So I put $1600 wheels on Ian’s $300 road bike. Ridiculous, you say? Mais oui!.

Better than just hanging them on the wall

The May Long Weekend and Beyond…

2019’s May Long Weekend will not go down in the annals of history as a great one. The day with the best weather was Victoria Day, but that was a cool day with a high of 8 and a wind that cut. A number of my cycling club friends went for rides, but they all reported that they were damn cold. Sunday I went for the ride with the club, and realized when I started riding that it was colder and nastier than I thought it was. Still ended up with a 54 km ride and some good memories, though. Tammy and the kids felt guilted into going for a ride of their own, and my group passed them on 12 Mile Coulee Road just as we had crossed Highway 1A, and didn’t let me forget it for the rest of the day. It was windy and cold and the rest of the day was spent inside. 😀

We did barbecue hamburgers on Victoria Day, but there was no chance of being out on the deck.

I think the neatest thing to happen this weekend was Ian and I playing some music together. Twice over the weekend he sat down at the drum set and I grabbed a guitar and we played some rock music. It was a lot of fun. Makes me want to get my guitar chops back up to speed.

I bought Halo 5 with some birthday money from Dad, and it’s fun to play, but last night when Ian and I sat down to play some Co-op mode, we realized that it didn’t have a Co-op mode. !?!? It’s the only Halo game that doesn’t.

It’s a four-day week this week with two workshops with the National Energy Board (one down, one to go as I write). Then it’s off to Ontario next week for Tech Trek. Then it will be off to Edmonton the following week.

No rest for the wicked. 👿

Aaaaand… Just like that, it’s summery!

Gotta love life in Calgary. It’s 23 degrees and sunny today. Nothing is growing (yet), but it will be soon. We had a lovely BBQ slupper on the deck this afternoon: hamburgers à la Tammy. And our Chinese neighbors were having a get together too, and they gave us some skewers of BBQed meat to share. We offered some lemon squares in return, but they looked pretty full by that point, and they refused.

Today was a Bow Cyclist Club Saturday ride, so the timing of the weather was excellent. Here’s the scene outside the coffee shop in Bragg Creek:

L to R: Rich, Perry, me, Brett, Chris, Bart, Doug, Phil, Richard and Derek

Richard and I are wearing last year’s kit. Everyone else is in the 2019!

Here’s another picture that I took on the way home. It ended up being almost 110 km under my wheels today. Nice day for it.

Heading back to Calgary through Springbank

Family Ride Down and then Up

Last weekend, when I was leading the BCC Saturday Ride out to Cochrane, I got into a little trouble when picking a route through the town. I was relying on another ambassador on the ride to know the route, but he turned back early because he wasn’t feeling well. So it was a bit of a gongshow.

This morning I resolved that I would scout out the right route, so that I would know where I was going. I “invited” Tammy to join me, and when Ian heard we were going, then he was in. I’m not sure if Miranda volunteered or was guilted into it, but I’ll assume it was voluntary.

I rode out first, and met everyone at the top of Cochrane hill. That got me a good 26 km before the family ride started. Then we all rode down the hill, through Cochrane along River Ave, then across the river and into the residential area on the far side. Then I went up the hill as far as Highway 22 so that I would know the route for the club, and returned to join Tammy and the kids for coffee & hot chocolate at Cochrane Coffee Traders.

Then it was time to climb the hill. It took a little while, and Tammy had a blood sugar crisis partway up, but in the end we all made it with smiles.

Ian enjoying the view halfway up

Then Tammy and the kids drove home and I hoisted the sails: a lovely tailwind all the way home along Highway 1A. That was their first time up Glen Eagles hill, and it won’t be the last.

Spring Break Comes to an End

It has seemed like a long week off, which I believe to be a good thing, but all good things must come to an end. This past week, I have taken vacation at the same time as the kids, so it’s been good family time off. Tammy had to work four evenings last week, but we’ve had the days together. Tammy has been working out every day with the kids. They’ve been doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I have to applaud them. They have kept at it, and I’d say even Ian is enthusiastic about it. I joined them today (more on that below). We had a good Earth Hour. It is an excuse to power down as a family and spend time together in the candlelight. We had a good long family talk in the living room and didn’t turn the lights back on until well after the hour was up.

We didn’t really go anywhere on this time off, except yesterday when Tammy and the kids went to T&T Supermarket. There they managed to find lots of oriental treats like miso, mochi and super hot ramen noodles (that was Ian’s pick). We had some of the ramen today at lunch and even with the sauce at 1/4 strength it was about all they could handle. I did a bit at 1/2 strength and it was not popular. 😁

The super weather that we had the week I was in Virden has dampened somewhat, but it was enough to kill our skiing season. When we went to Nakiska on Thursday, we found that the Bronze chairlift was not in operation. I guess the very bottom of the hill was melting beyond saving. That was the first time that we’d been surprised like that: I don’t think either Tammy or I were anticipating that. Tammy got a drive out to Nakiska and not much else. I, on the other hand, had the best run of my life. I was carving my heel edge like I had never done before.

There’s the feeling that spring is around the corner, but everything is still dead and grey-brown. I had my first Bow Cyclist Ride on Saturday (the loop out to Cochrane for coffee), but I think riding will still be intermittent for a bit yet. We had our first BBQ of the season: some burgers.

Today was the last day before back to school for the kids and back to work for me. Tammy is now off for the next two weeks in between semesters at college. Too bad the timing wasn’t better. We “celebrated” with a movie day. We rented The Dead Zone and then Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse off of iTunes. Then we all did a cardio workout to get the blood working. There is just barely enough room in the bonus room for all of us in there. Then the last movie was Solo: A Star Wars Story off of Netflix. My opinion was that they were all good movies, if very different. The Dead Zone was Tammy’s choice, and I think it was the best surprise of the day. We were zipping through iTunes and Tammy spotted it.

My next weeks are going to be very full at work, with a trip to Vancouver on Tuesday, then Edmonton mid-month and Regina early in May. There are other engagements in between and there will be documents to write. I’ve managed to put most of that out of my mind for the week, but I note that as of right now, I have 128 unread emails for work. With that and four meetings tomorrow, I doubt I will have time for much else. Somehow I will have to reserve the time and energy for Camp Nanowrimo. I have got everything in line for finishing my latest novel this month. I have been editing since January and everything is in good shape.

Changing Sports

The weather in Calgary has been unseasonably warm this week, hitting highs of 16 degrees. The snow is disappearing rapidly. In fact, when I left for Virden, you couldn’t see our lawn at all, and when I got back there was only one patch left, and it’s gone now.

The results are:

  • My first cycling commute of the year on Thursday,
  • Buying a badminton set on Friday, and
  • Going for a bike ride with Peter and Justin today.

Thursday was my only day in the office this week, since with the extra time traveling and working in the evenings meant I didn’t need to work Friday. But I had to work for it: Thursday was a hectic day and with lots of meetings and phone calls. It was a good thing I rode my bike: it kept my attitude positive the whole day.

The badminton thing is something that I’ve talked with Ian about: he’s playing it in gym at school and enjoying it quite a bit. We don’t have room in our yard to set up a net, but there is the big field only a short walk from our house. Badminton sets aren’t exactly expensive, so it wasn’t a big deal to pick one up. But there was one in particular at Canadian Tire that caught my eye as being easy to set up and transport.

The picture from Canadian Tire’s website

We got it home and set it up indoors, which is a good thing, because there is some initial “putting together” to do, and then it’s ready to set up and tear down. It’s really quite brilliant when torn down: it is all in a tight package that’s easy to carry.

The net set up in the living room

The field is still too wet to play on, but it won’t be long. Miranda, Ian and I contented ourselves with whacking the shuttlecock around the driveway.

Today’s ride was an ad hoc affair. Tara had been talking about declaring an unofficial club ride this morning, but the weather forecast had a chance of snow. Peter reached out on WhatsApp, and he and I agreed to meet at the shop and go for a ride. Peter ran into Justin on the way to the shop (figuratively) and he tagged along. It was nice to be riding and actually in motion.

Justin and I (I’m the one with the huge butt in front!)

We had fun. Snow is still threatening for overnight, so it might be a bit before there’s an encore.