I’ve always love cycling. It gave me a sense of freedom and help me get into shape. At one point in my life, about the time I started blogging, I was quite sick. Cycling became out of reach. Even walking or driving were made near impossible. Between vertigo attacks a few times a week and the lack of energy on top of the recovery time from the vertigos and other health issues made things hard to live through.
As soon as I was able to start getting better I started cycling again. I started out with my hybrid Eclipse. A big bike but it got the job done. Then came along the Miele Alba Lx, which had a broken rim. Then I was lucky to find my Bianchi Squadra in a pile of garbage. It was stock with 12 hard gears on it. At that point I had met Dan at Café Roubaix and his cycling club gave me the chance to be a part of a group. It didn’t took long before I knew I had to get a better bike (the drive train was not in great condition) but I cycled along by myself to improve my strength. When you don’t feel good a 20km ride seems so far and so hard. The area is hilly and it made things quite challenging. But I didn’t give up.
Bianchi Squadra with old drive train
I remember one day where my car broke down and I had to go to work. I took my Bianchi determined to not missed work. I cycled the 23km to my job and came back. I remember clearly how hard the ride back was after a day of physical work. But I didn’t give up.
Bianchi at work
Then I found my second road bike in 2012 (I think). A 1988 Fiori Piquante with 14 hard gears. The 2 extra gears and the much better drive train made it possible to achieve a little bit more with a bit of more ease. Still it was an hard bike to ride but it made me stronger. I rode the Fiori for a full season with a bike club. Do I have to mention that I was always the last one when we started? Practice makes perfect they say. Well, with time and dedication I improved my average speed and I soon found myself in the middle of the pack. At that point I was also commuting to and from work with my Eclipse hybrid. You can read about the first time I climbed the big hill with it.
Then the Dedacciai came along in 2014 and I made sure I could climb anything on that one. It took me about 2 years to build it, buying piece by piece. I have been riding this carbon bike for 2 years now. I made lots of improvements to my riding and my strength with this one. I also started riding with the Cafe Roubaix team once more. I started at the back of the pack. The 50kms rides were still hard and I wasn’t very fast on the climbs. The group was very encouraging and help me to keep going. I rode my bikes as much as I can. For the most part, all I was able to to do was 20km during the week as I was still too tired to do anything else. Strength came back and my pace improved. By October 2016, I could go 85 or so km.
This year have been a great one. So much progress have been made. My team mates are noticing it. It still feel unreal that I can keep the front at times and lead for much longer period of time. Today another goal was checked off my list. I’ve achieved my goal to cycle 600 km this month. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without pain. I suffered at times but I made a point of always keeping a smile and remembering where I came from. I am also very grateful to have friends that encourage me through this journey. I’m not sure what is the next step but I think I foresee some cyclo touring. For now, I know the Dedacciai needs a bit of an update on the drive train and a new set of custom wheels is on the way.
Small goals and patience made this journey possible. It seems like it was yesterday that I wasn’t able to get out of bed and was barely able to walk. Now, I can cycle 100 km and still have the energy to do other things. I still have my struggles with vertigos and other things but not near as much as they use to be. Cycling and bicycles have always helped me getting through things and I’m grateful I still have that passion burning inside me, pushing me further and further into bigger goals. Never give up!
All of my bikes mentioned above are still in service. The Bianchi as now gotten a retro fit to get rid of the malfunctioning parts and is now used on club rides and commutes. Steel is real!