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Tag Archives: cycling

Reaching goals

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fiore Piquante

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.

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Dedacciai Nerissimo

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.

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Goal!

 

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!

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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!

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Retrofitted Bianchi

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Rapha 100 woman ride

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Rapha 100 woman ride

On July 23rd, I had the pleasure to lead the Rapha 100km ride sponsored by the Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio. With the influence of Liz (who set up pretty much everything to have our ride registered with Rapha) and the help of other team members of the Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio, we, a group of dedicated woman, took part in this great challenge to ride our first 100 km on our bicycles. This ride was done through Rapha Woman 100 challenge which is an international ride. Woman around the globe rode their 100km on the same day. The ride was opened to any woman that wanted to attend. We were 4 of our current team and we met a 5th rider which is now a part of our team. The route we established was not that easy as out neck of the woods is filled with hills, but riding with these fierce and strong woman was a treat.

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I can’t say enough how proud of my team mates I am. They are brave women that are strong and that do not give up without putting a fight. They pushed themselves hard and they achieved something big through this ride. I know the last 10-15 km were hard on them and I tried my best to cheer them up and encourage them as best as I can. It was hard for me too, it was also my first 100 km, but knowing that they were there, giving all they have, gave me that strength I needed to help them go through these hard last kms because I knew they could make it.

tackling hills

My wonderful team mates have been working hard training for months to get where they are today and achieve this big ride. It seems like yesterday that I led this group of woman out on their first group ride with our beginner group rider program. I can’t believe the amount of progress they made in such short period of time. To be honest, I’m amazed by their dedication. Week after week they showed up for the Tuesday ride. They motivated me to show up too and ride with them.  I owe them more than they think. I’m proud to be a part of this group.

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Team Café Roubaix is a group of dedicated cycling lovers and they are always ready to jump in to help make things possible. We had the support of 3 vehicles at our disposition for anything we needed. Our men member (Jeff with his dog Reese, Ally and his son Benjamin and dog Brody, and Jerold and his son Sidney) on the support team carried everything we may have needed from food to spare parts and lots of moral support too. We even had a 4iii innovations vehicle following us to insure our safety on the road. The best way to feel safe while riding and not having to think about anything else but our bikes and the road. Let’s not forget Dan and Rita (and and their daughters Danica and Leah) from Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio that hosted this even for us and that welcomed us with some bubbly and lots of food. They made this event something big that I will remember forever.

4iiii escort vehiclemid race lunch

You can see our route segment 1 and Segment 2. I had a little issue with my Garmin VivoActive watch from a fault of mine so I have the ride in two segments. A silly side note about our route. I was once called a mountain goat by a team member for my love of climbing. I’m nowhere near fast or anything special but I have a thing for hills. When I saw the rolling hills coming through our ride, that kept me motivated.

Congratulations to Stacey, Linda, Lizzy and Halyna for completing this challenging hilly 100kms ride. It was a pleasure to ride with you all.

This ride was made possible by the dedication of passionate people that donated their time and efforts for us.

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Note: I can’t remember who took all of these wonderful pictures. The credits go to Ally McLean and Jeff Simpson. Thanks you!

 

 

Book: Wheels of Change

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Another while since I’ve posted. I guess I was quite busy with bikes (riding and fixing them) plus I’ve been announced the death of Vic Mroszczak who was a friend and what a great man. It’s also been raining quite a bit lately which means more time to read. I’ve read lots of books but they were not interesting enough to post about. “Wheels of Change” I had read before but I have to admit that my reading was limited to the pictures. This time I read it all and loved it.

This book is by Sue Macy and published by the National Geographic. Macy also wrote Bull’s Eye and Bylines. I took a peak at Bull’s Eye and it was a nice book. So what is “Weels of Change: How Woman Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a few Flat Tires Along the Way)” about? This book is not very long (96 pages) and filled with beautiful pictures and the design is awesome. It’s easy to read and eye catching. Like most historical book it as a portion about how the bicycle was invented but it’s focused on the bicycle for the woman. You can see how the machines were made so the woman rode side saddle way to accommodate the skirts. I can’t believe how woman made it with those cumbersome lengths of fabric that could weight up to 25 pounds and those corset the cut you in half. There’s also a quick portion about bicycle related inventions by woman in the 1890’s which is basically when the high wheeler was in service. There’s a page on Alice Austen a woman photographer and avid cyclist. It mention celebrity cyclist such as Katharine Wright (the Wright brothers sister), Marie Curie and Annie Oakley.  There’s a nice part about bicycle fashion for woman and how the bloomers were created thanks to Amelia Bloomer. Believe it or not there was song written about woman cyclists like “The Bicycle Girl” by Nettie M. Wagner and j. Carroll Chandler. I liked the portion about woman racing bikes. Not just the safety one but the high wheelers. One of the known figures were Elsa von Blumen and Louise Armaindo. The later was a french Canadian so I saw my heritage in her. Then some woman like Annie Kopchovsky took the chalenge to go around the world by bicycle with no money on them and come back with at least 5000$. I was happy to read that back in the late 1800’s there was ladies cycling publications done like the “Bearings”. I love the name!

That resumes the book pretty well. Two thumbs up for that book that I can’t bring back to the library because I keep going back to re-read information. Captivating!

 

Book Cover

 

A peak of inside the book. Note the design.