Tag Archives: Cycling

Home is the Mountains

I didn’t want to call him.

Big Ring was expecting it; I know he was. He didn’t say he was, but the implication was there. This is the way you need to go,” he said, his eyes boring into mine. These are the roads you want to be on,” he emphasized, sloooowly. “Do you know where you’re going? Do you know where you’re going to turn around? Do you know your landmarks,” he asked, the volume of his voice increasing with every new question. And finally, “I’ll be around for an hour or so if you need me,” he called out as I was shutting the door behind me.

Big Ring isn’t usually this over-protective. I have a history of getting lost; no matter how detailed the directions, 98 per cent of the time, I somehow get completely twisted around on the road, and in the mind. I’ve done it countless times both driving and running, so much so it’s a given I’ll be calling him to help unlose me. But this time I wasn’t driving or walking, I was cycling. It was to be my first solo ride to the city, and I don’t know why I wanted to go against my nature, but I was determined to not get lost, to not need outside assistance, to not call on Big Ring.

Holly GoQuickly: It’s just you and me baby!

Years ago, when I first started riding again, I was riding solo all the time, but that was when I was still living in the valley, where I grew up; if I got lost there, it didn’t take much brainpower to figure out how to reroute myself back to an area I was familiar with.

City cycling is a whole other can of worms.

In the city, I’ve only ever ridden with Big Ring and a friend of ours, never alone. And I’ve only ridden to the city a handful of times; the other times, I’d drive and meet up with Big Ring on the bike before starting. It never once crossed my mind to go it alone. I ran alone in the city all the time, but cycling, that was a Big Ring and I thing to do.

But then we had Little Ring…

Riding together was becoming harder to achieve.

And then I couldn’t run….

I needed to learn to go it my own.

And so, I waved a worrying Big Ring goodbye and set out on my solo adventure. And at first, it was going well. I was following the B.C. Parkway, which essentially no one (except for maybe me) can get lost on as it follows the Skytrain the entire way into the city. As long as I could see the Skytrain tracks above me or to the right, I was good.

Central Park: Wahoo! Made it to Burnaby without getting lost!!!

I veered off at Central Park, away from the Skytrain line, and was to follow the Ridgeway path into the city; as long as I saw the green signs that said Ridgeway, I was good. There was one, mini hiccup where the sign was posted just past the street I was to turn on, so I kept going straight thinking I was to turn on the next street, only to realize seconds later I should have already turned, and then when I turned around, I turned left, which I quickly realized I should have turned right. Oops. No biggie.

I was only planning on a two-hour ride as we were heading out of town the next day and I had some packing to do. I thought 20 km out would be a good place to turn around, but when I saw a turnaround road that Big Ring had mentioned, I was only at 18 km, so I kept going figuring I could hook up with the next turnaround road at Heather.

At this point, I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Minutes in to the turn, something didn’t feel right. Big Ring and I had ridden on Heather coming out of the city the other day, but we were going the opposite way that I was currently going. Hmm… I kept going, I kept following the little green signs, because surely the green signs would guide me in the right direction. Nope. A few more turns and a couple more kilometres and I knew something was most definitely not right.


Don’t call him. Don’t call him. Don’t call him.

A commuter cyclist headed towards me. Pointing directly in front of me, I asked him if this was the way to the city. There was a look of laughter in his eyes, or was it pity? Nope, that’s the way to Richmond, he said, and then pointed behind me saying that was the way to the city. Neither of which were the direction I needed to go.

Soooo, which way to New Westminster? Which way to home?

Home is to the mountains, he said. North, he said. Go north. Go to the mountains.

Phew, no phone call to Big Ring!!!

I got back on the route I came in on figuring I best not be too adventurous in trying new routes given my two hours had already passed and I needed to get my sorely padded butt home. Things somewhat fell off the rails when my blood sugars went drastically low. I try to test every hour on the bike, but getting lost distracted me; wanting to get home lickety split distracted me; and the diabetes was forgotten. Had I kept to that testing regime, I likely would have caught the low before it dipped below 3.0. Argh..

Waited out the low, found the B.C. Parkway, and off I went.

I came to a crossroad. The little green sign told me to go straight, but the path off to my left looked exactly like the path we’d ridden a few rides earlier, and given the so-called trusty green sign had already gotten me into an earlier pickle, I went with my memory.

Big mistake.

Oh bloody fricken hell, why do I not follow signs. Yes, it was the same path we’d ridden, and good on me for recognizing it, but I failed to recognize the turn I was to take to get back home, and suddenly here I was about to merge on to a crazy assed busy street. What the freaking hell? I had nothing left in me. My butt was sore. My head felt like a volcano had erupted. I was hungry. I was tired. I just wanted to be home.

And the phone came out. His number was punched in. Big Ring was called.

After all, it wouldn’t be a proper PoP adventure without getting lost at least once, right!

Not even the chicken scratch directions on my arm helped.

8:20 a.m. BG pre-fuel: 6.9 – PB&J sandwich (39g)
9 a.m. BG pre-ride: 7.8
Temp. basal: -70%
Time: 2:53:29
Distance: 44.86 km
Average speed: 15.5 km/h 😦
Ride BG: @60 min. 4.1 (applesauce + temp. basal -100%) @130 min. 3.1 (dried apricots) @200 min. 8.9
2:30 p.m. BG post-ride: 10.4
Temp. basal: +70% 2 hours

Cycling and Diabetes: Third Time Lucky

Third Time Lucky.

It took three rides on the bike before I managed near blood sugar perfection.

All the rides began around the same time, a few hours after breakfast, but varied in distance and length. The first ride back, I was chasing lows the entire time, even before we began, my blood sugars were dropping. Ugh.

About 30 minutes before the ride, I inhaled half a peanut butter and jam sandwich on whole grain bread, around 25g carbs, no insulin. My blood sugars were 7.6 before the sandwich, and 20 minutes later were down to 6.1. I dropped my continuous basal insulin down 70 per cent. An hour into the ride, my blood sugars were at 4.5. I ate a savoury salted sweet potato Clif gel, which was all sorts of disgusting, had 2 dried apricots, and turned my basal off completely. At lunch, an hour later, they were 4.2. I had a bowl of smoked salmon soup and a hunk of foccasia bread, no insulin. An hour and a half later, they were 5.1 – more dried apricots. The ride ended at 6.4 to which I increased my basal by 70 per cent over 2 hours, in the hopes of warding off post-ride highs, but instead resulted in a blood sugar crash an hour later.

Well that was a fail.

Pterodactyl’s got to get his pre-flight PB&J fuel on too!

Next ride two days later, I upped the sandwich intake and had a full-sized peanut butter and jam sandwich, approximately 42g carbs, no insulin. My pre-sandwich blood sugars were 6.4, and post-sandwich were 10.1. I dropped my basal 70 per cent. One hour in things looked promising; my blood sugars were holding at 6.7. But this is an iffy area for me. If I kept riding without eating, they could continue to drop. Or if I ate without taking insulin, they could surge up. Or if I ate and took insulin, they could bottom out. What to do? What to do? What to do? I opted for a packet of apple sauce, no insulin. One hour later, they were up to 9.7, and by the time the ride was done they were at 12.1. Argh.

Well that was a fail.

This was much tastier than that salted sweet potato blech!

The next ride, I didn’t do too much different for the pre-ride prep. I ate a full sandwich an hour before the ride, no insulin. The pre-sandwich blood sugars were 6.4 and the post sandwich were 10.7. I dropped my basal down 50 per cent. One hour in, my blood sugars were 6.3. I had half of a cashew-date-ohmygawdthisissodisgusting bar. An hour later, they were 6.1 to which I plugged my nose and swallowed the other half of that bar. By ride’s end, they were 5.9. I increased my basal by 50 per cent over the next two hours. No lows. No highs.

Oh happy girl!!!

But was it fourth time lucky? Only time will tell…

Lonely in Cycleville

We were about 2.5 hours into a nearly 3.5 hour ride when we entered the trail head. Big Ring had been chatting about this path for the last 20 minutes or so, a look of mischief on his face the entire time. I didn’t know what I was in for; I’d never ridden trails before, and knowing my husband, I was picturing crazy, straight-up, steep, dirt climbs coming my way. We were near my recent running grounds, I knew this because there was a huge sign we’d passed announcing Burnaby Lake, and as soon as we came upon the path, Big Ring asked if I’d run here before. Without pondering it over, I right away said No, the road we’d just come off didn’t look familiar at all. But then, a few pedals in I thought, Hey, maybe, nah, could it be, maybe, no, yes, yes I think it is – yes, it is! YES! Seriously, I was saying all that out loud, and mostly to myself. A huge smile on my face when I realized it was the Central Valley Greenway that pretty much I’ve been doing speed intervals on every Thursday for the past year!

I run here. I ride here.

I run here. I ride here.

I wish I could say that smile held true for the entire ride.

I can run for hours and feel confident with nearly every stride I take (well, maybe not these days with this dang injury) . But get me on a bike and my confidence shoots out the window.

Last week was my first ride upon Holly Go-Quickly in 2 years. I was nervous as heck. You know how they always relate things to It’s like riding a bike, well, for me, like riding a bike is almost like mastering bloody chemistry. If I’m not doing it, I forget it. So the night before the intended first ride (with a friend, not Big Ring) I was incessantly grilling Big Ring about shifting gears – How do I know it’s in the big ring? how do I get it back down to the little ring? is there a clutch? Yes folks, I did ask if there was a clutch.

His response, with a smirk in his eyes, was: You’ll be fine; it’s like… riding a bike.

Oh crud.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

Please clouds, give me cycling strength.

I got on Holly Go-Quickly, I clipped into her pedals, and I rode, oh did I ride. For like all of one minute. Living in New West we face hills every which way we go, and so the first hill, two seconds into the ride, I tried gearing down into the little ring, but instead beefed up to a harder gear – right at the bloody tip of the ascent!!! – and my legs got all weak and shaky, and my brain all wigged out. Out popped my right foot, down to the ground it went, and a waddle bike walk up the hill we went.

Well that was a cruddy start!

I don’t remember it being this difficult before. I remember wanting to climb hills, cursing them in the moment, but feeling immense pride at conquering them in the end. I remember loving the wind whipping my face with every descent. I remember enjoying the chase of Big Ring, who always rode ahead, and loving the thrill of those few times I actually passed him (regardless of whether he let me or not). I remember at times feeling frustrated with my lack of speed when my legs grew tired, but more over I remember loving nearly every moment of every ride, even the bloody hard ones – hello Horseshoe Bay!

But the last two rides for me were, well, they weren’t exactly love. I liked them, I liked them a lot, but I struggled. Wow, did I struggle. I struggled to keep up, I struggled to feel comfortable and at ease with Holly Go-Quickly’s swiftness, I struggled to push hard, I struggled with my confidence.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Lonely cyclist alert.

Last week I discovered my neighbour chick just bought a new Cannondale, hers the more muscular version of mine. I’d contemplated sticking a note to her door, welcoming her to the world of Cannondale love, and signing off with a friendly Hey, we should ride together.

Now, I’m not so sure.

It wasn't all unhappies :)

It wasn’t all unhappies 🙂

YESTERDAY’S 2nd RIDE in 2 years:
10:30 a.m. BG before: 8.8
Temp. basal: -100% (4 hours)
Time: 3:24:34
Distance: 51:68 km
BG: @60 min: 6.6 (1/2 box raisins) @90 min: 9.1 (lunch: Granville Island sandwich and Chocolate Arts ice cream bar) @140 min: 4.0 (Larabar)
3 p.m. BG after: 5.6
Temp. basal: +100% (1 hour)

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Yep, that is chocolate in my teeth – worth every tasty bite!

Weird aside: Following my aqua jog session the other day my hands and arms felt like they were moving through a mass of thick cobwebs. Seriously, every time I moved them, I could feel the hairs moving. I thought my blood sugars were low, you know that tingly feeling, but nope, they were perfectly awesome. It was the creepiest thing ever!

T-minus 29 days until Global Heroes Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile. I will conquer this.

Welcome to sucksville

You know what sucks…
Waking up at 5 am for a run, and not being able to run.

You know what sucks…
Squeezing into a sports bra, which, seriously, is no easy task, all for naught.

You know what sucks…
Fueling up for a run, but not actually running.

You know what sucks…
Spending a whole week icing, Advilling, stretching, foam rolling, being a good little injured runner, and yet, seeing hardly any positive steps towards healing.

You know what sucks…
Running 200 meters only to be struck down by the feeling of hammers ferociously pounding down on your pelvis.

You know what sucks…
The memories of not being able to walk a week prior instilling the fear of the running gods in you and stopping you dead in your tracks.

You know what sucks…
Sitting on a bench at 5:30 in the morning frantically sending worried emails to your coach and physio, looking so forlorn even the family of ducks sauntering across the boardwalk look at you with pity in their eyes.

You know what sucks…
Doing everything right and still being struck by injury.

You know what sucks…
Being that one person to prove all the cycling enthusiasts wrong and actually get injured on the bike, something they all told me – multiple times! – would not happen.

You know what sucks…
Being a runner with a cycling injury.

You know what sucks…

The road that never ends

Holly Goquickly had her rubbers majorly worked over Saturday.

Big Ring and I hit the American roads once again, this time entering from a different border crossing, with the same goal of reaching the base of Mt. Baker, but with mapped out alternate routes if need be.

130714usa1It may look all peaceful and serene, but looks can be deceiving!

I don’t know what it is about these American towns, but somehow, they’re like the ON button for the radio in my head. And on Saturday, I was singing Lambchops 😀

This is the hill that never ends.
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started cycling it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue cycling it forever just because…

Reece Hill Road: “Eff me! Will you never end???”

A somewhat stressful journey on a road that motorists seemed to think was a high-speed highway had us altering our route and heading towards Silver Lake instead of Mt. Baker. While the new route cut down on mileage, it didn’t cut down on ease.

The road was bumpy as hell with heavy pavement. My butt was growing ever sorer. I was beginning to wonder if I had saddle sores developing – it was that bad!!! My pace was abysmally slow on a road that didn’t appear to be going up. (Although later I learned we were on an incline for quite some time.) And it seemed every time I’d catch up to Big Ring, I’d lose him again in a heartbeat; he’d become but a dot in my peripheral vision, and oftentimes I couldn’t see him at all.

I started to think worst case scenarios. What if one of these vehicles hit me? What if Big Ring got hit? What if his body was lying on the side of the road, and I zoomed by so fast I didn’t see him? (Hey! My Garmin said I maxed out at 100.5 km/h, so really, anything’s possible ;)) What if we were lost? What if we had to knock on someone’s door for directions? What if that someone was Annie Wilkes???

When I finally caught up with Big Ring, my frustration and fears boiled over. I snapped, and then before he could respond, I proceeded to speed off on my bike. And, oh man, my legs were giving her. I was powering up the hills, zooming down them, and pushing hard through the straight stretches too. And when I heard Big Ring easing off on his pedals in my slipstream, that pissed me off even more, and I pushed even harder.

Angry pedaling = super fast cycling chick!

Unfortunately, however, I was only able to be a speed demon for about 10 minutes, after which, one of my earlier fears had me slowing pace.
Me: Do you know where we are?
Big Ring: Welllll, I thought I did, but now, I’m not so sure.
Oh frick! We were 100 per cent lost. In the middle of small-town nowhere. The plot of Misery flashed before my eyes.

Figure 8? Or bow tie?

We flagged down a motorist, who thankfully didn’t murder us, and got proper directions that put us back on quiet country roads towards home.


  • 9:30 a.m. BG before: 6.3
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with partial bolus
  • Distance: 80.08 km
  • Average speed: 20.0 km/h
  • Time: 3:59:17
  • Fuel: @11 a.m. BG: 3.2 (1/2 PB and honey sandwich and raisins) @12 p.m. BG: 3.9 (1/2 PB and honey sandwich) @12:30 BG: 8.4 (Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad with bolus) @2 p.m. BG: 6.0 (1/2 Pocketfuel) @3 p.m. BG: 5.9 (1/2 Pocketfuel) 
  • 4:15 p.m. BG after: 4.8

I later learned that Big Ring has lived his life wanting to get lost on the saddle of his bike. Me, I like my detailed routes thank you very much 😀

Cycling in America

Not long after crossing the border, with my lactic-acid filled legs pushing Holly Goquickly’s pedals, classic American anthem style music began to fill my ears. Not full songs, just blips; it was as though my mind was switching stations until it found the perfect tune.

Born In the USA… nope.
Jack and Diane… nope.
Don’t Stop Believin’… ohhh yeah.

“Just a small town girl, livin’ in a cycling world…” 😀

So last week Big Ring started his annual Tour de France holidays where he spends two weeks waking up super early to watch the Tour live (because apparently watching it on the PVR isn’t the same) and then getting on his bike for hours and hours after. And on Saturday, thanks to my super awesome parents for looking after Little Ring, the two of us, and our respective lovelies, hit the roads together.

We debated riding through the familiarity of the Valley, or towards the beach in White Rock,  but for this ride, those locales just didn’t seem adventurous enough. And so, we decided to pedal new terrain – by way of America.

Much easier to cross the border on a bike than in a car 😀

My parents live about 20 km from the border so it wasn’t too far a stretch to get to, and we’d been hemming and hawing about heading out that way for some time, and so, when we saw the forecast for Saturday – HOT! – Big Ring did some research, found a route that would take us to the base of Mt. Baker and back, including a stop at a Dutch bakery for lunch in between..

I sure hope these directions are right!

Big Ring We may have underestimated how long it would take to ride such a distance, approximately 95 km, with a 45-minute stop for lunch, a lunch that had a super tasty sandwich, but a very UNWISE cookie that caused both blood sugar drama from too much insulin (hello lows) and major belly issues from the sweetness battling the scorching sun above.

For the most part, bakeries and cyling go hand-in-hand… at least in my world they do!

We journeyed along quiet country roads, passed by windmills, and corn fields, and happy faced barns, and tractor-based sprinklers. We could see the mountain in the distance, and with the strong breeze consistently splashing our face, it would have been a much welcomed rest stop.


Unfortunately time was our enemy. At the border of Lynden and Everson, Big Ring made an executive decision to cut the ride short. However, one wrong turn had us off the comfortably quiet roads and onto a major thoroughfare. And let me just say, having cars buzzing you every second, squeezing you to the curb, sure does blow your speed confidence. Instead of picking up the speed, I majorly slowed down, which was also around the time my belly and blood sugars started wreaking havoc 😦


  • 11:45 a.m. BG before: 5.2
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Vega pre-workout energizer (16g) no bolus
  • Distance: 76.82 km
  • Time: 3:42:58
  • Average speed: 20.7 km/h
  • Fuel: @12:30 p.m. BG 6.2 (1/4 PB and honey sandwich) @1:30 p.m. BG 8.0 (Sandwich and cookie with full bolus) @3 p.m. BG 3.8 (energy bar) @3:45 p.m. BG 3.6 (1/2 PB and honey sandwich and Swedish Fish)
  • 4:45 p.m. BG after: 7.2

The majority of this ride was what Big Ring called a sprinter’s stage, fairly flat. But the last 20 km, there were some impressive hills to conquer. At one point, I was crying out “No more! No more! My legs have no more gas!” To which Big Ring responded: “You know what to tell them…”


By the time I rolled into my parents driveway, a good minute or two behind Big Ring, my feet were throbbing, my legs were jello, and I honestly had no idea how I was to get off Holly Goquickly! And yet, not even an hour later, I was begging Big Ring for another go at making it to the mountain’s base.

Will I never learn 😉

Endurance training and baby

I knew that when I got pregnant with Little Ring, our lives would change huge. We would no longer be able to go out at the drop of a hat, traveling would become more challenging, $200 jean expenditures less frequent, etc., etc.. And that was okay. But the one thing we were both adamant we would not do was become gluttonous couch potatoes. We would not give up touring the outdoors via our sneakers, hikers and bicycles. We would not stop doing what we love.


Keeping that promise, however, has required some serious ingenuity.

We don’t have a babysitter. Big Ring’s family lives in Onterrible Ontario and mine live across the pond, and because most of our friends are outside the New West area, we don’t have a pool of trusted sitters to draw from. (Really hoping to change that soon!) But instead of throwing our arms up in defeat, we took it as an opportunity to try new things, learn to share our time, learn to love early mornings, and think outside the box.

Because I’m not a huge fan of running with BOB, and because it’s not always logistical to get my proper runs in with BOB, I’ve taken up running at 5 a.m. most days. And you know what? I’m actually really enjoying it. (Shocking, I know!) Seriously, there’s hardly anyone else on the road, which gives me the perfect opportunity to focus on form, pace, and breathing without distraction. And for hours after, I’ve got major endorphins shooting through me, which is super awesome! Big Ring then goes for rides in the evenings and on Sunday mornings with his cycling buddies. And Fridays, well, this past week, we developed a super awesome tag-team system 😀

I was scheduled to run 7 km. Big Ring wanted to ride a bunch of kilometres. We also wanted a day together. What, oh what to do? We headed to UBC! The university district is a beautiful area to run, ride and eat. And so, after mapping out a route, Big Ring dropped me off just outside the university, and while I went for a run, he and Little Ring hung out on the sands at Spanish Banks.


We designed the route to end at Mix Baker, one of our favourite post-ride/run lunch spots in the area. I highly recommend the Tuna Waldorf sandwich – it’s so good, it’s dream worthy! And when lunch was done, Big Ring pulled his Lapierre off the top of the car and tagged me in for Little Ring time.


It worked out so perfectly. We got me time, us time, Little Ring time – all of which we love. And while we’ll have to tweak it somewhat as our respective distances increase, I am sure this was the first of many more tag-team adventures to come!



  • 5 a.m. BG before: 7.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus
  • Distance: 6:30 km – 10′ warmup/10x 1′ fast 1’easy/8′ cool down
  • Average speed pace: 4:35 min/km
  • Time: 36:49
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 8.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent 1/2 hour

If you have a child, how do you find ways to fit in endurance training?