Riding the “Tam-Wagon”

I like the hot weather we had last week and the warm days of the week before.  Yes I do! Wow, what a boost of energy I received from that crazy weird hot March sun (I’m sure that’s not normal for Mother Nature but I am not complaining).   My average pace automatically went up that week, thanks to the heat.  Made this girl feel alive, like she’s doing a good job.  The sunburn from that crazy weird hot March sun also made me feel alive.  This is my official warning that I need to start preparing my skin better for the sunny warm rides I see in my near future (hope I’m good at telling the future).  Honestly, it looks worse than it was, didn’t really hurt, healed fast, and the skin didn’t peel.  I have begun developing my new tan lines for the upcoming season.  I take pride in these lines, they show others that I am out there doing it!

The best part was for two weeks all my rides were done outside.  Was nice to put away the trainer for a while. Very nice!  I also had the opportunity to ride with a variety of friends because when the sun comes out, so do more bikes.  Riding all winter long has meant many days going out alone.  While I do not mind that, as I can work in my proper zone without feeling the pressure from the company, I do find friends help make the ride more fun…like we are kids again, playing together outside.

One day, I decided to take up a group invitation and join Eno, Michelle, Tim, and Brad for a “chill” ride.  I will admit right now that their idea of chill is not the same as mine and I knew I’d be working it no matter what if I travel with them.  I was worried I wasn’t going to last, that at some point I would bonk, they are serious cyclists.  At the same time I saw it as a time trial for me and I had a chance to push myself, motivated by riding with them, and test out my legs. Well…I didn’t bonk, had lots of energy after the ride was over, and I’m totally happy where I am at in my training with the bike.  I did not lag too far behind, and for the most part, was able to keep right up.  It was a good time.  I’m thankful for the fact that they stuck to their “chill” ride plan as they could have dropped me at any time.  However, what I like about this gang is they aren’t like that, not with me anyway, and this is the reason why I join with them from time to time.

As for my longer rides I like to go slower and I’m thankful that there are people out there that like to do the same, spin at around my slow pace, and will ride with me on these long training days.  One lovely afternoon, Karen Toews decided to join me on the ride for a while.  Karen and I haven’t known each other for that long but we have totally connected, building a great new friendship, and seem to have a fair amount in common.  We both have a thirst for an active healthy holistic fulfilling lifestyle and we are making it happen!  Much discussion goes on around this topic.  Karen also spoils me rotten (which is nice as being single, I have no one to spoil me at home and I’m not one to spoil myself).  Hold on a minute…I should say she spoils me ripe! Ha! Karen is a nutritional consultant (owner of Real Food Matters) and she has been providing me with food and recipes using all wholesome holistic ingredients, while I’m training for this crazy ironman thing.  She makes sweet yummy running gels (done away are the store bought ones, never again) made with dates, chia seeds and other wonderful things.  The recipe can be found by clicking the link and scrolling down a bit (and sign up for her newsletter while you’re at it, she provides wonderful recipes and nutritional information):  http://www.realfoodmatters.ca/node/14 

Anyway, on our ride that day we planned to meet up on Grimm Road. When I approached her, there she is handing me a wonderful slice of a bread she made, recipe and nutritional value included.  Needless to say I ate the bread right away and as usual with everything she makes, was in heaven.  See, she spoils me…and I LIKE IT!  After I woof down the bread, thank her for it, we get on our way for a truly beautiful ride about discussing how lucky we are to have such a wonderful place to live.  Another commonality – we appreciate this area and don’t ever seem to get bored with it nor tired of hearing each speak of how awesome it is.  I am pretty happy to have Karen on board the “Tam-Wagon” in training for EPIC Dartmouth.  Oh…and I must also mention she is currently organizing a fundraising event for me tomorrow.  More on that in another blog, stay tuned…

Speaking of the Tam-Wagon, Steve Kemp has recently jumped on board.  I’m so blessed with how people can be eager to help someone out when they discover what they are trying to accomplish.  I have come to know Steve through our Tuesday night spins at the HB Sports Studios Centre in Bridgewater, NS.  One evening Steve couldn’t bare to look at my bike any more and offered to take care of my bike while I train for EPIC.  I will admit, I’m not the best bike-looker-after person.  I should be kicked in the arse for it too as a clean bike works better than a dirty one.  It’s just I juggle so much in life and I don’t really have time to clean my bike.  Steve loves to keep a clean bike,  look after it well, has a passion and a talent for it, and again I am a lucky girl!  Steve not only cleans my bike for me but he also has replaced some parts for me AND is now joining me on some training rides.  Like really thou…does it get much better than that?  I am ever so grateful for his kind offer and the best part – he does a fantastic job!  My bike has never looked so good…I swear it sparkles. Ha!  Anyway, I will admit, his passion for keeping a clean bike is rubbing off on me.  I finally bought my first bottle of chain oil from Al at the Lunenburg Bike Barn and even oiled my chain twice.  That is a step in the right direction.  I hope over the season, I will learn more from Steve and become a better bike-looker-after person. 

While I am speaking about the generosity of others, the growing Tam-Wagon, and how appreciative I am of all the support I’m receiving, I must mention some others.  Dion Mckay, a triathlon and racing buddy of mine for 6 years now, hosted a Trivia Night Fundraiser at the Michelin Social Club in Bridgewater on Thursday, March 22nd.  For several weeks he promoted the evening.  While not a lot of people showed up, $60 was raised amongst a small and fun crowd. It was a fantastic evening!  It’s too bad more people didn’t show but at the same time, this was the hottest March 22nd in history and I don’t think too many people wanted to be inside that evening.  A huge thank you Dion Mckay, for your support and being a great friend all these years.  He cracks me up!  Dion is truly amongst one of the funniest people I know..and smart as a freakin whip…and fast…I must mention he’s fast.

The Bridgewater Triathlon Club (http://bridgewatertriclub.com/) has also jumped on the Tam-Wagon by raffling off tickets for a free entry into the Riverport Duathlon this coming October (The Riverport Duathlon is currently our club race. See last year’s event here:  http://bridgewatertriclub.com/2011/10/2011-riverport-du-its-a-wrap/) .  This is my 6th year being a member of this club…this club is where it all started for me.  It has become like a family to me and the members are wonderful, many have become very good friends of mine.  I’m so proud of this club, brag it up all over the place (which I’m really good at).  I feel pretty special about playing a bigger role within the clube since I first joined, participating not only as a member but in my second year as the beginner triathlon coach for our ‘My First Triathlon’ program (http://bridgewatertriclub.com/2012/01/my-first-triathlon-2/)   Writing the story of how I joined this club and got involved into triathlons would require another blog post, and I will do this for sure, but I want to say a huge thank you to Tom Rogers and all the club members supporting me in my cause.  It definitely makes me smile and probably perform better during race day, right?  YES! Cause when I’m out there I will know each and everyone of you will understand completely what it is I’m doing and what it takes to get there.  I will feel your support while I’m on the race course, your tri-spirits will be with me!

Of course I can’t sign off without mentioning once again, Liane Clarkson and Rachelle Rebman.  These gals are growing closer to my heart each day.  Liane is pretty much my right-hand woman in this adventure but Rachelle has been huge support too.  They are both very willing to join in on many training sessions when they have time. Also, they are regular participants of the fitness classes I teach.  They support me in more ways than one.  Liane juggles a full time job and family.  Rachelle also juggles a full time job and is single like me (we share “the single life of a triathlete” stories, I love it).  It just amazes me how excited they both get when I asked them to join me in some of my training…even the stuff that puts you in the pain zone.  They are totally up for it and that’s pretty darn special to me.  Liane has also been a sounding board for discussing my training strategies.  I wonder if she ever gets tired of me discussing the sciency-techy stuff but she says she loves it.  She better be telling the truth. Ha!  But she also is a shoulder for the rough days.  These girls make my heart sing.

To be honest, all the people mentioned above have given me a push  and pull from time to time, there to remind me to look after and love myself.  The support has been amazing.  And there are others too, like my family and non-athletic friends. Although they don’t train with me, they allow me to train without making me feel guilty that I’m missing out on time with them.  I am sure to tell them that I love them and when I do have a moment here and there, I spend it with them and we are sure to celebrate life together. So I’m riding well, the Tam-Wagon has grown, fundraising events are happening, and all is still pretty exciting.  It will be interesting to see what the Tam-Wagon looks like when it comes race day.  I think after the race is over, we should take out the Tam-Wagon and go for a celebratory ride.  It shall be a time, I’m sure.

Karen Toews on the Grimm Road
Steve Kemp by the Lahave River
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