Saturday, January 16, 2010

maiden voyage

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon last weekend, Gavan took his maiden voyage in the Chariot behind a bicycle. As I predicted, he loved it. He likes looking at Daddy or Mommy in front of him rather than craning his neck in a vain effort to see us pushing him in stroller mode. Even so, he fell asleep after about 20 minutes of whipping along the tarmac.

We went on the bike pathways in Fish Creek. Kelley went as well (on her own bike, not in the chariot) but she turned back a bit early since she had an errand to do for someone else. Gavan and I continued on to the very west tip of Fish Creek Park riding on twisty paths through the forest. All in, it was a 2 hour ride.

The Chariot worked great. It was solid and handled well. It rolled well but it will definitely give Daddy a good workout. When using it you have double the contact patch of your tires, much more wind resistance and of course the weight of the rig and baby (Gavan is only 5 lbs. less than my bike itself). So Daddy will be a much better climber on my bike this year when I'm riding solo.

It sure was nice to have some family time, get a workout, and relieve some stress all at the same time... Gavan says "Thanks for the biking attachment G'ma and Gmpa!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spring in January...

On Monday of this week I got an e-mail from Shawn calling a ride for Saturday. The weather forecast was a very promising 7 degrees without the "-" sign before it. I haven't gone for a significant ride in quite a while let alone a good group ride so I told Shawn I would do my best make sure I make it to this ride.

Saturday morning rolls around and I had the best of intentions of getting to Cadence, one of our favourite meeting spots early to socialize a bit over a coffee before we depart on what I'm sure will be a fun but also painful and humbling experience as most of the guys are fitter and getting a lot more saddle time than I. Needless to say, the early arrival never manifested itself. I rolled in 5 minutes late, chugged the rest of Dallas' coffee which he generously offered me, then it was off rolling. There were about 10 of us. It was awesome to see everyone that I don't get as much opportunity to see in the winter. Also, It was a special pleasure to ride with Dylan, Ross, Jamie and Thomas since I rarely have opportunity to enjoy there company.

The weather was co-operating and so was the group. I got the impression that some people will looking for a bit of a training ride but with it being so early in the season a "lower" level base ride was the order. We didn't even break it up on the COP hill. I remember last year getting dropped on that hill on a similar ride (never a good sign). From there It was to the Shell gas plant southwest of Cochrane on a mix of gravel and secondary paved road skiffed with a bit of snow. It was great. I was feeling acceptably good and able to maintain a conversational pace with my ridemates.

The weather was only getting nicer as we approached the gas plant and everything was going well save for Jamie's derailleur breaking and then single speeding then subsequently breaking the chain again (too much power in those legs for most bikes). It got fixed again and we were off. Thomas was beginning to feel the dreaded bonk the further west we got antagonized by the strong headwind that we had been experiencing. I've been there so many times and made a point to make sure that we didn't leave anyone from our group. There was an awesome group effort to help with pushing and drafting. Thomas pushed through the pain and lightheadedness like a pro.

The only negative part of the ride happened when we encountered an irate rancher who apparently was not pleased with us being on what he called his property. It was our understanding that a lot of this land is leased for oil and ranching purposes. It is a network of dirt roads and fences and gates (none closed). Occasionally, you see a no trespassing sign but I am guilty of assuming that that is only to minimize liability concerns in the event that a sue-happy yahoo hurts himself out there. Anyway, this rancher was not happy about our presence. Dallas and Jamie already got through before the rancher blocked the road with his John Deer. He was not listening to any rational argument and was treating us like I would expect a 3 yr. old would react if a peer stole a toy from him. We were within about a kilometre or two from the reserve which would be out of his property. To turn around would mean that we were on his property for double the time than if we just kept going but he would have none of it. All he did was shout that he was "DEAD SERIOUS" and "OUT!". It was like talking to a big gorilla trying to protect his family. The thing is we aren't harming anything! No motors, no alcohol, certainly we weren't hunting. We were simply en route. Honestly, I think the problem is that he just hates city people. In the end, we convinced him to let Shawn go on to catch the other two and the rest of us turned back into "no man's land". We were fine but it could have put one or two of us into a world of dehydration and pain since it unexpectedly added a lot to the trip.

We never met up with the rest of the group again but we did meet Chris on our way back to Cochrane. Eventually, we refuelled at the Coffee Traders, a very cyclist friendly establishment.
On our way back, Craig showed us a new, exciting singletrack route that leads to an enjoyable climb up the Cochrane hill. From there, it was a spectacularly, easy spin with the wind and sun on our backs pushing us to Calgary... Great ride.

Today I am looking forward to Gavan's first chariot ride behind a bike. I'm sure he will enjoy it and it will be good for my leg strength.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Haaaaaappy New Year!

Happy new year everyone!

Kelley, Gavan and I had a pretty good New Year's Eve and Day. New Year's Eve was pretty quiet by most people's standards but was very enjoyable. We hung out with Drew and Jo which is always fun. The first part of the evening was spent at the Zoo's Zoo Year's Eve. Basically, it is a lot of lights and neat displays. It was fun but freezing as the temperature was in the minus 20's. We had to move quickly to keep our internal furnace going. Afterwards, we went back to our house, ordered pizza and rung in the new year with good fellowship.

New Year's Day...

On New Year's Day I always like to do something fun, active and a foreshadow of the upcoming year. Kelley, Gavan, Izzy and I went to Barrier Lake to do some skating. I've never seen anyone skating there before but, for at least the last five years, I've been meaning to try it out. The scenery is sweet, of course, and the incessant wind is cold but perfect for clearing the snow. I took my pick axe to test the ice and it was more than adequate at about 1 1/2 ft. deep or more. Kelley took a lot of convincing and a little time to get used to the idea (antagonized by the expansion cracks that admittedly do look ominous) but after a while had a great time. We skated to the end of the lake and then let the wind push us back through a maze of low snow drifts... A great time and a great way to spend the first day of the year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a little showing off...

I thought I'd post a couple pics of some of the work that I did earlier this year. The house is now complete and all beautiful for Christmas. I'm particularly proud of these since It was an opportunity to do the designing as well. I hope you think they are cool.

Wine Room:



gavan energy is soon to be kinetic energy

Today Gavan pulled himself up from the floor to a standing position by himself! He has been pretty close for the last while but today he did it all the way and without falling... Awesome!

He can walk around a little bit using the furniture. It won't be long before he starts propelling himself all over the house. He can't crawl yet and doesn't seem to want to learn so maybe he'll just decide he doesn't need that. Walking is cooler anyway.

Mom keeps reminding me to not push him too much (Incidentally, I am not. He just likes to move and has to keep his curious hands busy). Personally, I love the fact that he's getting closer to the mobility stage. I know it will be a lot of work but I can't wait to play tag and hide-and-go-seek.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My boy...

Before I get to some of the other posts that I have in mind I should blog about the coolest thing about my life right now. That would be my son -- Gavan.

He's not that new I guess. He just turned 7 months old on Dec. 4th. Right now he's learning all kinds of new things. He said his fist word... Kind of. He said "Izzy", our dog. I'm not surprised that would be his first word since it is probably the most frequently used word in our house -- often loud and pointedly. I'm know he doesn't really know what he's saying but he's saying it really well. It certainly grabs Izzy's attention... Next comes "Dadda".

Gavan is making some pretty good inroads in the mobility department as well. He's not crawling yet but I think he will be any day.
He can "wheel-barrow" (I hold his legs up and he walks with his arms). Also, if I hold his hands he walks really well. I think he will be walking sometime in when he's 10 months old. But, if he doesn't that's really ok too. The real, important question is when he will learn to ride a bike. Notice that his shirt in the first picture says "I love my tricycle". He may skip the tricycle stage though... I know he has a norco push bike on his horizon. That will be sweet!

Right now he's screaming at the top of his lungs because he's board in his crib. It is way past his bedtime but he just isn't tired. The more he cries, the more tired he'll get. Just one of those life lessons you got to learn... Just so you know, he usually sleeps really well. He makes being a parent seem really easy -- for now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blogging again?!?

After a long hiatus, I have decided to start posting on my blog again...

I'm at a point in my life where I would like to get myself more self-disciplined and I think disciplining myself to do regular blog posts will help me be disciplined in other time management areas. Basically, I have a pretty busy life but sometimes waste the time that I do have on frivolous and unimportant things. Somehow I suppose that if I can achieve the time management skills to do regular blog posts (more on the to do list!) that I will be able to manage my time with more important things...

That, and it will keep me from watching too many TLC re-runs when there are much more productive things to do.

I would like to post one thing per week. It will likely not be the most interesting or entertaining piece of literature you'll come upon in any given week but it is more for me than for you... If "you", the readership, exists. That said, I hope some of my banter is worth the read.

We'll see how this goes...