Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas trips and falls

What does;

+ 2 Degrees outsie
+ An Ice covered bike trail
+ No Gloves
+ No Winter cycling kit
+ No Puncture repair kit
+ No Helmet

make for? A whole lot of fun and a few cuts and bruises :)

Ok so I decided after 5 days at home and quite a few run and swim sessions I'd head out on my mtb for a few hours in the cold. 

First mistake was leaving all my cycling kit in Vancouver. This left only some (purely summer) Kiwami tri shorts to wear leaving my legs pretty exposed, luckily I had my running stuff so my upper half was relatively warm. 

Second mistake was forgetting my gloves. I had actually looked them out in the house but was about 300m down the road when I realised I had left them in the kitchen... so listening to my man instinct of "never turn back for anything you left behind under any circumstances" I continued into the cold... bare white knuckles. 

Due to the first two mistakes this meant I had to improvise in order to keep warm, so from about km 10 onward I had to ride with one hand on the bars and one hand neatly tucked down the side of my skin tight blue tri shorts ... (this started to get a few stares). 

Now under normal conditions my mtb handling skills are questionable at best but today, in the ice, one hand down my shorts, struggling to maintain core temperature and losing basic motor skills ... they were crap. 

This lead to increased weaving ... more so than usual ... which lead to a high number of violent swerves, usually toward something, like a parked tractor, fence post or cow. After maybe my 10th swerve I ended up aiming straight toward the only hole within 100 miles and ploughing straight into it, PUNCTURE. yay 

Of course I had also left all my puncture repair stuff in Vancouver also. So now I was stuck, 15 km from home, in spandex, no gloves and my face had started to do that thing where your bottom lip and jaw become limp and you look like a fish. Well a sensible person, with a healthy body temperature and feeling in their brain, would have called their sister to come pick them up... but I decided it would be much more fun to ride all the way home on the rim. Well If my handling skills were bad before now they were terrible, the bike had a nice little mind of its own and coupled with my hands - which were now bright red - they started to try and hurl me into bushes and fences etc. 

I guess I got about 5 km from home before I successfully managed to drive into a ditch, fall over sideways and of course hit my head. But to be honest by this time I had given up. I did however, continue to ride home on the rim and stop to take some pictures of the dark Scottish afternoons. I've put them all below...

I forgot how many sheep there were in Scotland...
YAY puncture.
Hand died
The path I was riding along
Pretty dark considering this was mid afternoon!

I still had fun and it's nice to be back riding on some of my old trails,

Have a good christmas,


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Coming home

Time to come home. 

...for a few days at least. 

Will arrive back in Scotland tomorrow, if all goes to plan by around 5pm. Currently it's looking like a delay full travel schedule over the next 30 hours, snowing heavily here in Vancouver - 6 inches since this morning - with most flights cancelled or delayed so far this morning. 

Drove back down from Whistler last night after a few days skiing post exams. Not sure if it's made the news back home but the 4th gondola tower on the main Blackcomb mountain lift snapped in half yesterday around 2.30pm taking the gondola cars down with it. Luckily no one died but the scene was pretty intense, I was in the process of downloading on the Whistler gondola when I saw the lines of fire trucks and ambulances pulling up. I knew something serious was up when I saw the military helicopter arrive! 

Looks like the mountains will be shut for a few days, no doubt every tower on every lift on both mountains will have to be inspected - 38 lifts, maybe 30 towers per lift....could take a while...

Really looking forward to coming home for a few days, seeing everyone I've missed and enjoying christmas at home. Exams finished last Thursday - everything went really well, had studied pretty hard and done some solid revision so was glad they went past smoothly. Training's just been ticking over since the 8th, will get some work in once I'm home but it's been a busy week! 

Hope everyone has a good christmas


ps. quick action shot of me playing in the snow last weekend...I'm the one on the ground!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

University Exams

They're as inevitable as taxes, the looming recession and Brown being booted out of government at the next election...everyone who goes to University must sit all the exams that go along with it.

I am now on my 5th set of University exams, after these....only 3 more sets to go. They are still hard, still stressful and you are still convinced you will fail before you enter the examination room! I have studied hard, done the homeworks, sat the mid terms, gone over the past exams ... yet each time I enter that exam hall a thought crosses my mind ... "have I done enough".

This got me thinking about racing. As a swimmer I would proudly march over to the blocks at nationals, get my goggles correctly positioned for my 1500m, check to see that my fastskins were tightly tied, look over at my coach one last time, stand up on the blocks then one thought would always cross my mind ... "have I done enough to win..."

As it turned out, sometimes I had and sometimes I hadn't but that wasn't the point. The point was as an athlete you shouldn't be worrying about the things in the past when it comes to race day. I know they are the things that got you there and the training you have done is what will bring you across the line BUT the race isn't set in stone, the race is yet to happen. You have full control over what you do in that space of time and regardless of what is flying through your mind you need to remember why you are there and why you are doing it. Your mind shouldn't be filled with fear that you "might not win" but more filled with excitment that "you might". It is that "lets give this 100% and see what we can do" energy that is important to hold on to...

...even in exams


Monday, 1 December 2008


17 days until I'm back in Scotland
24 days to Christmas
30 days to New Year

The "completely obsessed with any and every holiday" thing that seems to be oh so popular over here is rubbing off. Christmas lights and a mini tree have been up in my room for the last few weeks and now that American thanksgiving is over and done with the entire province of BC is lit up with lights and christmas trees, tis the season to be merry etc.

Unfortunately there is no rest for the wicked and training goes on as usual. Last week was pretty good, spent Thursday - Sunday in Whistler for the opening of the 2008/9 Ski season, snow was good on the Friday but got increasingly slushy as the weekend went on. Managed to get in some great, snow covered, trail runs and a decent amount of swimming also. This week is another hard one, decent chunk of time spent on the saddle today, swim/run/core tomorrow and then more hard work continuing through Friday when I head up to Whistler once more.

Being only 2 hours (at most - depending on traffic) away, Whistler is a definite temptation to anyone living here. Even though cycling is almost impossible at this time of year the cross training possibilities are endless. XC Skiing, downhill skiing, running, swimming, endless gyms (with indoor bikes etc), snow shoeing...
It is also just a great place to hang out, very much a bubble up there, once you're in you never want to leave.

Anyway I have returned to Vancouver for a few days mainly to study...so that's really what I should be doing!

Check out this link if you get a chance, my buddy Collin (film production student) put together some clips of me on my turbo for a film of his, he's put it together with some footage from my recent swimming races...


Back to school work :(