Monday, February 10, 2014

"One day there were three tomatoes walking down the street, a mama tomato, a daddy tomato and a baby tomato. Baby tomato is walking too slowly, so the daddy tomato goes back, steps on him and says 'ketchup!' "

Time to Catch Up.

I’m not “living the dream,” I’m “living my dream.” And even then, I never could have dreamt up this life. 

I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent before I dive into the macro details of the past year. I’ll stray for a while but I’ll get back on track, just bare with me. Now I can't go on about how I’m living “the” dream because how can I say that really? It seems to be the saying of choice amongst elite cyclists. It suggests that it’s the ideal dream and everyone’s dream, which is not always the case. Initially when I first started hearing “living the dream,” before it became #livingthedream, it wasn’t mentioned in such a literal context. My friends would make the comment as an off-the-cuff quip. Let me indulge you… 
Me: Sitting back watching the commotion while trying to put in my 8th hour of study time for my anatomy midterms.
Roomate Ricky: What’cha doin Will?
Husband Will: Hunched in the rain, covered in mud with a water hose, “Washing bikes! What are you doing Ricky?”
Roomate Ricky:  Slumming it in old sweats, a thick insulated plaid shirt and chunky rubber boots, “Just going out to clean up some chicken poop.”
All together now:  “Living the dream.”

The whole scenario screams, “This is the life we chose!” 
It’s not all glamour but it’s life and it is my life. And it may not be for everyone. This bike racing dream includes: traveling all the time, never living in one place for too long, never really feeling settled, pushing one’s body to the limit, rain or shine, and by times, racing in innerving, adrenal tapping circumstances, for prolonged periods.  I’m not complaining but like I said before, it’s not for everyone.

Okay, back on track! Starting in January 2013, I flew to Europe for a 7-month trip. It started with a couple days in Belgium, and then a quick Ryan Air flight to Girona, Spain for a 5-week training stint then back to Belgium. However this little training stint gave me a not so little injury. I was injured for over 2 months and it was definitely challenging. Not being able to train or race made me feel trapped. Trapped in an area where I knew no one and couldn't do what I came there to do. So in the midst of my self wallowing I had to build the motivation to enjoy this forced time off. Luckily, I knew that my in-laws were flying over to visit us and that meant I needed to pick the cat up off my lap and stop eating so much speculose and chocolate!
They arrived to our tiny town of Beselare, Belgium, where we were stationed. We were renting a farm house in an area rich in war history and they loved it. I on the other hand was blown out on the tiny town and needed a distraction.
So we started planning trips. First, we took the train to Paris on the hunt for the best macaroons. We toured around snowy and rainy Belgium, checking out numerous war memorials and testing the delightful Belgian brews. We toured around Italy to watch Will ride bikes fast, and to discover the long-ago discovered floating city known as Venice. Although I enjoyed being distracted, I had to keep telling myself that in the grand scheme of things, a couple months was nothing and to live in the moment.
Eventually I was able to ride again. With a late start to my season, I got back on the program. I trained and raced though April and May in time to return home for nationals and the rest of my season with my Vancouver based team, Trek Red Truck. It turned out to be a good season despite the earlier setbacks. Later that summer I was a selected to do a National team project funded by sport Canada in Belgium and in Nice France. It was a great experience and has motivated me to get selected for more projects this year and keep pushing myself. That’s why I keep doing it! Because I keep seeing steady improvements! Cycling is a tough sport, both physically and mentally. It can be difficult to overcome injuries and lulls in racing, but if you can, you’re bound to come out with more success. That’s at least how I’m looking at it.

Aside from biking, I’ve been checking things off the bucket list of life. This past fall I was organizing our wedding in Mexico and in the middle of all that, we were casually checking out the housing market with no real intention to buy. But, isn’t that how it always works? In October we signed the papers to buy a small 2 acre farm in Abbotsford. REAL GROWN UP STUFF! This was no easy task. We didn’t just buy a nice little newly renovated home. No sir not me. It was a 70 year old, sea-foam green abode, and of course it looked and sounded like it was in much better condition than reality would hold true. We luckily had our worker bees (aka: Will’s parents) who have done many renos on homes in the past, and have a wealth of experience in all-things-to-do-with old run-down places. I won’t go into too much detail but with a full interior renovation as well as a roof to fix, all of our time was being focused on this little marshmallow colored house. This is when I would insert the phrase “living the dream.”

In the middle of these fall/winter renovations we got married! And it was amazing! I picked up my self-designed wedding dress on our way to the airport, trying to keep the stress as low as possible (where is the sarcasm font?) We rented a 15 bedroom, seaside villa, placed in a recluse area, where we hosted the wedding ceremony and reception as well as stayed for 5 nights. It surpassed our expectations in every way, from the staff to the magnificent ocean views. It was such a diverse group of guests but everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. On the wedding night a group of the guys decided to go skinny dipping in the center-stages pool and instead of parents and grandparents averting their eyes, Will's nanny (british for nanny) was thoroughly enjoying the view! That just gives you a little sense as to what the entire trip was like. It was so much fun but if I were to make one recommendation, it would be to spread out the 2 life events (house purchase and wedding) over a year rather than a month if possible.

It’s hard to place a year of happenings on 2 pages but there you go. That’s it for the re-cap.

Mexican Wedding
Beautiful Girona, Spain


Italian follow car for  Coppi Bartali. 

This is Sweet Cat Lobelia

National Team Cappuccinos in Belgium 
Our typical table setting in Girona

Famous Belgian Frittes
Too much famous Belgian chocolate


  1. There are times that we encounter fear and disappointments in life yet we still manage to stand up straight and face it rather that being silent. That was a very good example of being a brave person. Well, I would like to thank you for sharing a very good article it is very much appreciated, good job! You can visit my site too if you want. Have a great day!

  2. I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.