Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two weeks to go

Toronto, May 29, 2013

Two weeks to go. We only have two more weeks to go until we leave for Scotland. We are trying to be prepared/trained for this trip, but something is always getting in the way. The primary issue for our training (or lack of training) has been he horrible weather here. It has been so rainy and so cold virtually every time we have wanted to ride. Then we have had mechanical problems that have cut rides short. Since my daughter Lauren had our SUV at school until last Sunday, we haven't been able to drive with our bikes anywhere with decent trails (our bike rack only fits on the SUV). Adam has been working, traveling back and forth to NY, and studying for the CFA exam (that is the financial industry's version of a lawyer-to-be bar exam), so time has been an issue for him.

Then there are other issues. Like last weekend for instance. Even though Adam was in NY I thought it would be a good idea to get some training in, so I went with my daughter Lauren to a mountain biking area about 45 minutes away from the house. We found the trails, rode for 4-5 kms and then somehow we lost the trail and had to bushwhack along an incredibly dense mosquito-laden river for over an hour to reconnect with the trail. I fell a couple of times (my mountain biking technique is not very good), smashed my toenail (it is completely black and I am going to lose it for sure), and emerged beaten, scratched, and less confident than before. I forgot to mention that a couple of weeks ago I signed Adam and I up to a mountain bike skills course of 4 sessions designed to ground us in some basic but important techniques. Unfortunately for us, the first 2 sessions got postponed due to the rain. So last night we finally had our first session. 

Sadly, even though our instructor Derek did the best he could, we couldn't even go outside due to torrential rain. We did do an indoor session and even though we were inside, we did learn a lot. Bike set-up, tire pressure (keep them soft for mountain biking), and ride posture were covered. Just as the session was ending, the rain finally let up and we were able to do some riding in the parking lot just to cover the most basic techniques. We learned the "ready position", "ratcheting", and how to properly do a front tire jump. Interestingly, many of the techniques share common themes with road cycling, and anyone who has taken Mike Munk's skill session (like the one we had in Crescent City, CA on the Rode the West trip last September) will relate to some of the stuff we learned last night.

Plus, the equipment and gear is different (and expensive!). Today we have to go get mountain biking shorts and non-clip in shoes. But we are still excited to be going, despite the fact that Ian Peden (an ABB alumni from the 2010 cross-country trip) just posted pictures of snow on the ground in Scotland where we will be riding in 2 weeks. We won't be doing much training in the next few days. The Duchess and I are taking our kids to Vegas to celebrate Lauren and Samantha's 21st birthdays. Now just to prove that I remember how to post a picture to this blog, here is a picture of Lauren from the mountain biking we did last Saturday. More updates to come in the next 2 weeks. 
my adventurous daughter Lauren with me at Hilton Falls
Conservation area before we got lost!

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