Monday, March 26, 2012

"Polar Bears Are Epic"

7:42 sunrise
20:30 sunset

I am really not a kid person but the ones in this short clip about biking in Portland make me smile. Watch it.  The two who appear between 2:37 and 3:05 pretty much melt my heart.  It's a feel good kinda thing.  And it just might make you get on your bike a little more often.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fiscal Year End

7:45 sunrise
20:27 sunset

I'm sure a time-space physics kind of person somewhere can tell me why weekends move faster than weekdays.  How is it already Sunday night?

What have I been doing over the last couple of weeks?  Feels like a lot of work, to be honest.  My job has been really busy lately and stressful in a not-all-that-rewarding kind of way.  What else have I been up to?

Well, my face didn't turn any particularly interesting colours after the Mingus incident.  My cheek swelled up funny on my left side (you can sort of see it here) but the pain was obvious really only to me.

Ben's been on a pancake kick lately.    I think he has cooked breakfast for our friends the last three Saturdays.  That's fine with me!  I especially like that our younger acquaintances like Rowan seem to enjoy hanging out at casa Jennjamin.

Made my first outing to Mt. Sima last weekend!  It wasn't a great day but I did enjoy drinking beer in the lounge after our last run.

Spring is definitely here even if we did see -20C on the thermometer when I left for work Thursday morning.  The long days are back and when the sun is out, this is a glorious time of year.  Check out the super nice light that comes in through our living room window:

What else....  the end of March means the end of spinning.  Here's my last class for spring 2012. Next up: that bike needs to get outside and see some pavement!

And this weekend I ventured out - even though I was cranky and not in the mood - on a longish snow bike with three girlfriends.  We were hoping for glorious blue skies and we didn't get them but it was still, at the end of it all, a pretty great day.  Just being outside is good for the soul.  My bike-wife has already blogged about the day and, given my laziness of late, I'll let her post speak for the experience.  Well, except I am going to share this photo - love my posse of bike grrls.

And now, as Sunday nears its end, I shall finish off this bottle of perfectly acceptable Shiraz Grenache and think about how to get through Monday.  I'm away to Ottawa this week which means tomorrow is another full and chaotic day.  Fiscal year end is worse than calendar year end if you're a civil servant like moi.  Next time I post I hope it will be from Toronto - after 3 days of meetings in Ottawa I shall be visiting good friends in the big city.  Looking forward to it.

PS I feel compelled to tell you that my red face is not actually a result of the wine but is wind burn from our ride yesterday.  I know you won't believe me, mom, but it's true.

Kisses all!  Happy fiscal new year!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Butting Heads With Mingus

8:25 sunrise
19:54 sunset

Also known as how I got a concussion from my dog.

I borrowed a fancy-pants camera from my friend Margi for our trip to Arizona.  I haven't returned it to her yet and I thought that tonight I would take some photos of Mingus while out on a walk.  We've had a lot of new snow over the last week or so and I thought it would be a pretty background for my cute canine.

Little did I know that this activity would leave me with a swollen cheek and a really sore head.

I crouched down, in the trail, and called Mingus to come and see me.  He came barreling at me, sprinting along the path.  I just assumed he would deke around me or stop in front of me.  But no.  He ran full-tilt into my face.  Check it out:

He knocked me over into the snowbank, D90 camera flying and I was seeing stars.  It's the most painful head knocking I have taken in some time.  Of course, as soon as I stood up, I took a photo of myself:


So I am off to bed with what I suspect is a low-grade concussion. If my cheek bruises impressively enough I will document that in the coming days.  Until then - goodnight.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dawson Overland Trail

7:41 sunrise
18:42 sunset

Ya know, if this was a different sort of blog, I would probably share with you a really grotesque photo of the excruciating crotch abrasion I gave myself over last weekend on the Dawson Overland Trail.  But it's not that kind of blog so you will just have to imagine and trust me when I say it hurts.  I chose to not wear a chamois or padded shorts during our 100km bike excursion.  I figured I never wear them in the winter; there's already so much going on down there with long underwear and ski pants.  I figured I'd be fine.  I was wrong.  But early on our first day you can see that I had a smile on my face.

And now I am home and I am well and I am still smiling.  Two days biking the 100km trail that was part of the first winter road between Dawson and Whitehorse with three other grrls on fat bikes was a lot of fun. The Jills drove all the way from Anchorage to spend the weekend on bikes in Whitehorse.  How cool is that?!
                                                           Photo: Jill Homer

We got a late start on Sunday and left Braeburn around 2:30pm (orange marks the overland trail and grey shows the current highway).  We got dropped off at the north end and rode 100km to the Takhini River.

The road was constructed in 1902 as a winter route between Whitehorse and Dawson.  Although the fastest (and I would assume easiest) way to travel between these two communities was via the Yukon River, river travel was problematic during the seasons between open water (boat) and frozen (dog team or snowshoe). Once the winter road was complete, it was used to transport mail, freight, and - in a White Pass & Yukon Route sleigh - even passengers.  

Maps courtesy of the Klondike Snowmobile Association and

The kind of cool thing about biking along a trail like this is that from time to time you come across artifacts from when the route was used prior to the Klondike Highway being built.  Giggle all you want, but I love seeing things like this when I am out exploring.  This cat track is from the c.1930s and was probably used to haul mail along the route.

We enjoyed a long, mellow ride divided almost perfectly in two by spending the night in a fabulous trapper's cabin along the trail.  While the trapper's cabin wasn't the original plan, we were extremely grateful that Sky, a friend who snowmobiled food and wine in for us, found it as an alternative when the Klondike Snowmobile Association cabin was occupied by bison hunters. 

Splitting the trip into two days was the prefect way to ride this trail.  I'm enthusiastic about adventures, group rides, and being outdoors.  But I am also not an endurance machine and by the second day, somewhere around the 85km mark, I developed a wicked headache and I was tired.  Perhaps I bonked, perhaps I was just done.  And, remember my mistake in not wearing bike shorts?  Yeah well that caught up to me too.  I walked several sections of trail.  But the company couldn't be beat and I enjoyed several hours of what I enjoy most about trips like this: the silence and the particular meditative state that comes only from cycling. It's the rhythm that comes from turning the pedals and, in the winter, the crunchy noise of the tires on the snow.  It's the sound of mellow happiness.

Good times, awesome women.  Excursions like these remind me how lucky I am in life.  Thanks, friends.