Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Epiphany - A Continuation from My Car Vs. Bike Dilemma

Something struck me like a bolt of lightning the other day...

It was brought to my attention by a friend that whenever I am seen on the roads in my car, that I am always cursing at something, at other drivers, flailing my arms at whatever..  being very animated as if the whole world was against me.  I can not deny this as I fully admit that I have occasionally found myself 'raging' against everything when I am driving my car.  I just never realized how bad it's become.  This is somewhat of an eye-opener for me as the 'Eli' behind the wheel of a car is a completely different 'Eli' at all other times.  It is truly out of my character...  some of you (close friends) can attest to this (..I hope, hehe.. ).

bumper to bumper traffic - downtown Vancouver
What has dawned on me was that everything that I do with my car, in my car, and anything associated with cars has been negative these past few years.  I realized that whenever I get into my car it is usually to go to work, and there is not a day of work that doesn't start the day off in a negative way.  I get called in to work because there is a problem, clients call me in because there is a problem, there is never a time when a client would call and say "Hey Eli, I just wanted to call and say everything is working fine! Have a great day!".  So point one - work equals negative.  Then even before getting to my work, I have to spend hours in my car fighting off traffic, stupid drivers, stupid roads, stupid cab drivers, stupid bus drivers, stupid pedestrians.. etc.  Finding parking, paying $20/day on parking, getting tickets, getting fines, paying hugely inflated gas prices especially here in BC. ARGH! Point two - Driving to work equals negative.
Point three, Working on my cars = NEGATIVE!  ...I used to enjoy this, I'm not sure what changed.  But lately, I hate working on cars, hate it, hate it, hate it.  I've had the wonderful fortune of having my rear brake caliper and brake master cylinder go bad on one of my cars in a span of one week..  And of course I will never take any of my cars into a shop and get work done if I am able to fix them myself..  UGH, I fixed it but all I could think of was how much I hated working on it.  Add to that, racing my car.. whenever I'm racing it or even driving it to the racetrack, there is always that feeling of will it make it home?  Will it hold together just long enough to get that one pass or that one lapping day without it exploding?  And when it breaks, because it WILL break, I will have to fix it again! It's a ridiculously constant battle.  I used to be able to just shrug all this off and chalk it up to 'racing', but I now wonder  why I ever put myself through that for over 10years!  A definite negative.  The car has become a vehicle to all things negative.

Atop Burnaby Mountain during a beautiful sunset
There was a time in my life when my cars gave me so much enjoyment and so much satisfaction.  A great satisfaction of a job well done when it came to my racing,.. goals and achievements to have been met.  A time when I would drive off on solo cruises somewhere far away just to get away from life and it's daily struggles.  Great friends that I have met through car clubs and car activities to whom will remain with me forever.  I realize that this is now being replaced by my bicycles.  It's the same cycle of life all over again.

What I must do is separate all the negative that I have associated with 'the car', from the enjoyment and gratification that it has brought me in the past.  Now that this is apparent to me, this may very well lead to the answers I've been looking for.  I know that it could never lead back to the extent of my passion but possibly, quite possibly, it may restore my love for this thing we call 'Car'.
At the Cypress lookout point overlooking Vancouver


Friday, July 15, 2011

Cycling Across Canada for Charity

This past Monday I had the honour of spending a short time in the afternoon with two guys who are cycling across Canada for charity. Two kids I may add. Both 21 years old. They are both from Toronto area and have already cycled from TO to PEI on the first leg of their trip. From PEI they flew to Victoria and passed through here on Monday going on back to TO. I must say that I couldn't have been more envious of these 2 guys riding on the ultimate journey. Inspired isn't even enough of a word to describe how I felt. I wish I was out there with them right now.
Here is the website and blog of their adventure http://wearemadetogive.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/day-27/ The link is the blog post for their trip passing through the greater Vancouver area on to Mission. They've just passed through Penticton/Kelowna right now according to their blog and will probably be in Alberta in a few days.

I think I'm set. This will be my goal in the next few years or however long it takes me. Ride across the country before I am no longer able. It's time to pick up the training.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canada Day - My First Century Ride

Today I hit a milestone in doing my first (metric) Century Ride. 109.63 Kilometers in total.
After having one of the roughest roller coaster month I've had in a long time, there was only one way to top it off, by riding for 100+ Kilometers on my bicycle!  And on Canada Day to boot!  Happy Canada Day to everyone!
As mentioned, quite the roller coaster month of June has passed with so many highs and lows, ups and downs, that it has become emotionally draining.  With the toughest work month I've had in a while, the ups and downs of the Canucks on their Cup run, along with the advent of the hockey riots here in Vancouver, and personal lives getting in the way, I've become very drained.  It was as if there was a grey cloud over me these past few weeks that I couldn't shake.  Was also the reason for the severe lack of blogs lately..  I just didn't feel like writing.
Well today gave me that chance to do that epic ride I've been longing for.  Something that would allow me to relieve some stress.  I will say it once again that cycling is a great form of medicine, it has helped me out once again.
On River Road with the Alex Fraser Bridge on the backdrop.
GPS tracking of the whole trip. Using Everytrail app on my iPhone.
The above map shows the whole bike ride from start to end.  Please see http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1167160 for more details.

The bike ride started off from Burnaby to Tsawwassen, from Tsawwassen to Westham Island, back to Tsawwassen and then back home to Burnaby.  My good friend Ian, who lives in Tsawwassen, joined me from his home to Westham Island and there we visited the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in the Alaksen National Wildlife Area.  It was nothing short of a relaxing bike ride, the weather was perfect, it wasn't hot, it wasn't cold, just perfect.  We got to travel on a mix of pavement and gravel and we saw many wildlife including beautiful eagles and huge cows!  The ride ended off with me rushing to get home before it got dark as I did not have any lights on me on my bike.  I made the 2hr trek home from Tsawwassen with plenty of daylight left.  This bike ride I can say was truly Epic!
Tsawwassen Road overlooking the Ferries.  Very low tide!

Old chapel with an old boat beside it. Random
Some of the many eagles and birds we've seen today. So awesome.

These cows were the biggest cows I've ever seen!
Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Crossing the narrow bridge into Westham Island

Checking the GPS for directions. No, I wasn't playing with my crotch.
Parting ways from my good friend Ian.
edit - I just noticed the nasty farmer's tan on my arms and legs. Or is that dirt??!
Total Kms for the day.  This is a great accomplishment as it shows I can do it. A great start for future plans.
I'm feeling much better now.